The death of Sarah Jacob in 1869 brought an end to the first stage of the controversy surrounding “The Welsh Fasting Girl”, whose case had become famous far beyond her home in Llanfihangel-Ar-Arth in rural Carmarthenshire, though it initiated a series of legal proceedings. The twelve year old girl was reputed to exist without food or drink and received many visitors who came to view the phenomenon. Whilst she was being watched by nurses to confirm the veracity of the claim she died. The subsequent legal proceedings, which culminated in her parents being convicted of manslaughter and imprisoned, give an insight into more than simply a tragic local incident but highlight the competing claims of Victorian science and popular religion.
Richard W. Ireland's forthcoming article “Sanctity, Superstition and the Death of Sarah Jacob”, based on an address to the 19th British Legal History Conference in July 2009 explores the context and legal complexities of the case. What follows here is the beginning of a pictorial database of material relating to the case. The Carmarthenshire Register of Felons, also at this website, contains details of the sentence and a photograph of the parents upon their remand to prison.