Home Office Baby

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The Home Office Baby was an 1884 publicity stunt perpetrated by the Rev. J. Mirehouse, the eccentric rector of Colsterworth, Lincolnshire, England.

Mirehouse was in dispute with Home Secretary Sir William Harcourt over the proposed closure of a local graveyard. Mirehouse mailed the corpse of a still born infant to Harcourt, marked "perishable". It arrived at the Home Office on 2 November.

Later that month, ecclesiastical lawyer Walter Phillimore gave the opinion that Mirehouse had committed no offence known to the canon law of the Church of England and could not be disciplined.


  • Simpson, A. W. B. (1984). Cannibalism and the Common Law: The Story of the Tragic Last Voyage of the Mignonette and the Strange Legal Proceedings to Which It Gave Rise. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. p.245. ISBN 9780226759425.