Lead: The alleged abduction and confinement in early 1753 of eighteen-year-old London servant girl Elizabeth Canning electrified and later divided British society. Historians are still trying to explain just what happened.

                Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: On nearly every aspect of the Canning case there is dispute. The quiet, unassuming maidservant of cabinet-maker Edward Lyon disappeared on New Years Day and was gone for almost a month. When she returned on foot to her mother’s house on January 29, 1753, she spun an incredible story. Abducted on the street by two toughs she was taken by carriage to Enfield a tiny village just outside London and there rendered into the hands of a prostitute, Mother Wells. Wells and her cronish gypsy associate Mary Squires, attempted to recruit Canning to work in their brothel. When Canning refused, Squires cut off the girl’s corset stays and locked her in the attic. Canning subsisted on bread and water for nearly a month and then escaped.

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