Until the passing of the Suicide Act 1961, Suicide was still a criminal offence in England and until 1882 suicides had to be buried on unconsecrated ground. In the seventeenth and eighteen century, those declared to have commited felo de se (the archaic term for suicide) were given a shameful burial, usually under cover of darkness with a stake driven through the body, and forfeited their estate to The Crown.

In 1806, the Oxford Journal reported the burial of Jacob Sallis of Littleport in an unmarked grave beside the Littleport to Ely road (known to locals as the Gil Gals).

From the Oxford Journal – Saturday 23 August 1806