Executions at Tyburn

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  • Intro

    During the 1700s, those found guilty of murder, rape and treason, but also of lesser offences such as poaching, burglary and criminal damage, could all find themselves on the way to the hangman’s noose. Most punishments were held in public. Executions were elaborate and shocking affairs, designed to act as a deterrent to those who watched. Until 1783 London executions took place at a place known as Tyburn. Prisoners were transported to the gallows along a three-mile route by cart, often followed by a huge, jeering crowd numbering several thousand people. They were then executed in front of these noisy, riotous audiences, and many hangings were more like fairs than serious legal ceremonies. In this passage, writer Bernard Mandeville describes the intense atmosphere of such an event.

     

    Shelfmark: 1028. c. 5. (2.)

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