One Thursday evening in October, 1837, Horatio Jasper, aged 22, and his friend Mr Peters, went to visit the servants of a Mr Webb, who lived near them in South Cerney. In the course of the evening, the young female servants said that they had been given some gingerbread nuts, but refused to give Jasper and Peters any. The women shortly afterwards had to leave the room, and so the men thought it would be “a good joke” to try and find the nuts, and eat them before the girls returned.
They rather nosily went through all fate cupboards, until they found one that they thought contained the nuts. The ate them all, greedily.
Unfortunately for them, though, the master of the house, Mr Webb, had previously put poisoned gingerbread nuts there. Presumably, he hoped to kill some infestation of pest with them – and not a visitor. However, that’s what he managed to do. Both men were taken violently ill, and Horatio Jasper died six hours after eating the nuts. Peters was luckier, and survived.
The local paper, the Cheltenham Chronicle, tutted that a “caution is afforded to those persons who so thoughtlessly endanger the lives of their fellow creatures” – but presumably, Mr Webb never realised that visitors to his house would be so rude – and so greedy – to raid his cupboards for food…