On first impressions, a name like "Miss Butterfield" may convey the sense of a sweet little thing, and not a young woman capable of murder. ...Not that I'm accusing her of murder or anything!
Jane Butterfield was born in the late 1750s/early 60s to humble origins. Like many shady women's stories, her's contains many holes and peculiarities. According to Jane, she was very close to her ailing father and perhaps that is why she took a job as a servant to William Scawen as a teenager. The press embellished the story to proclaim that she was "seduced" by a women employed by Mr. Scawen. Apparently this broke poor, ailing Mr. Butterfield's heart and he soon died after Jane took her employment. Jane was wracked with guilt.
An alternative story is that Jane had always been a little slut and she had been sleeping around with a few guys until she hit the jackpot with the wealthy William Scawen. In all likelihood, Jane did begin sleeping with her employer which, to her credit, must have been a difficult task since Mr. Scawen was old and in bad physical condition. According to the periodicals of the time, Scawen required help to stand or sit, was blind, and constantly required his his head bandages to be redressed, which Jane insisted on doing. Wink wink nudge nudge. How a fourteen year old begins to actually have a sexual relationship with a man (or what's left of him) such as this, boggles my mind. Perhaps she should be given credit for that feat.
Then suddenly, Scawen kicked the bucket. To you, this may come as no surprise but to Scawen's personal surgeon, it was highly suspicious...especially since Scawen willed most of his fortune to the simple little maid, Jane Butterfield. Upon further investigation it was revealed that Scawen had indeed died, not by natural causes, but by poisoning through mercury. But was this a suicide, murder, or was someone just putting Scawen out of his misery? Scawen's surgeon was convinced it was a murder and Jane was to be blamed, after all there was a payout to reap and a dead father to avenge.