The New Newgate Calendar

Blogs about the history of crime, justice and punishment

Calendar     Blogs
Covenanter John Dick was hanged at the Grassmarket in Edinburgh on this date in 1684. He had been condemned for rebellion just the day before. This divinity student had been due to swing the previous September, but broke out of Canongate Tolbooth wit...
In extending [Cesare] Beccaria‘s views on capital punishment to the history of lynching in the West, one begins to see that the “violent passions” of the mob were regularly invoked to justify their actions, but as Beccaria predicted...
Bob Jones and Billy Miller were hanged together on this date in 1882 for the murder of three sons of Judge J.P. Walker. The Walker boys had been traveling together for an Arkansas plantation to which their prosperous Alabama father was relocating the...
Last month, I visited Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, and it had quite an effect on me. Unlike many sanitised dark tourism sites, Kilmainham remains a forbidding site. The first thing to mention about it is the cold. Little effort has been made to bring...
In her last blog (http://staffblogs.le.ac.uk/carchipelago/2015/02/05/the-politics-of-comparison-writing-a-global-history-of-punishment/), Clare Anderson points to the challenges the Carceral Archipelago Project faces in writing the history of punishm...
On this date in 1401, Lollard priest William Sawtre(y) was burned at Smithfield for heresy — the first known heresy execution in England. The highlight of late 14th century English literature, Piers Plowman, was a great favorite of Lollards.
On this date in 1996, Antonio James downed a last meal of fried oysters and crab gumbo, then went to the death chamber of Angola Prison to suffer lethal injection for the murder of Henry Silver. Silver was a 70-year-old fellow whom James shot dead in...
On this date (or very close to it) in 628, the Persian emperor Khosrau* II was put to death by the order of his son and usurper. Chip off the old block, that boy, since he was taking power the same way as Khosrau himself had done way back in 590. But...
  The notion of prisons was a lot different in the 19th century to what we associate it with today. This post will look at 18th century prison reform – specifically the House of Correction: Coldbath Fields. I will investigate the treatment of...
Marie Manning, hanged with her husband Frederick outside Horsemonger Lane Gaol on 13 November 1849 – witnessed by Charles Dickens. “I was a witness of the execution at Horsemonger-lane…The horrors of the gibbet and of the crime whic...
Click here for the full page image from the 1871 Curiosities of Street Literature: Comprising “cocks”, or “catchpennies”, a large and curious assortment of street-drolleries, squibs, histories, comic tales in prose and verse,...
Tiny Liechtenstein last conducted an execution 230 years ago today: Barbara Erni — the legendary “Golden Boos”. Nicknamed for her strawberry blond hair, the Golden Boos had an ingenious scam that required every bit of her Bunyanesqu...
On this date in 1601, Queen Elizabeth’s last great favorite became the last man beheaded in the Tower of London. Vain and dashing Robert Devereux rolled into the royal court in 1584 around age 19 and immediately established himself as the new...
Charles Dickens 1812-1870 Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations published in 1861, is suggested to mirror many of the events from Dickens’ early life. Like Dickens, Pip works at a job he hates, often considers himself far superior to his surr...
On this date in 1937, Ethiopian prince Desta Damtew — the son-in-law of Emperor Haile Selassie — was captured by the Italian troops occupying his country, and summarily executed. An aristocrat who married Selassie’s eldest daughter,...
Niccolo Machiavelli‘s exile from Florentine politics — and subsequent entry into the intellectual canon — was cinched this date in 1513 when two of his friends (or possibly co-conspirators) were executed for a plot against the Medic...
The avid reader(s) of my blog may recall that I’ve recently had a problem with an energy bill which has been sent in error to me by an energy company (‘The Behemoth’), in the belief that I have been using energy in a property we own...
(Thanks to Meaghan Good of the Charley Project for the guest post. -ed.) On this date in 1848, Harriet Parker was publicly hanged in front of the Debtors’ Door at Newgate for the murder of her lover’s two young children. The sad story is...
Of all historical periods and subjects, crime and justice in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century London is the most extensively digitised. Through the digitisation of countless numbers of court records, transportation registers, prison archives, trial...
If present-day electoral politics strike you as disreputable, take comfort in the knowledge that the Republic has survived its share of low-down, brass-knuckle campaigns in the past. The presidential election of 1828 might have been the very dirtiest...
I’ve been meaning to do this post since last summer – but better late than never! This is an insight into one of the magistrates I studied for my PhD, which includes a look round his house… Richard Colt Hoare and his son Sir Richard...
I have one body And to you I offer and return it. Here is my flesh; Here is my blood; Let me be slain, reduced to nothing; Let my bones be split apart For those for whom I am praying, if such is your will. -Prayer of St. Catherine of Siena (Source) T...
(Thanks to Meaghan Good of the Charley Project for the guest post. -ed.) On this date in 1942,* a middle-aged man was hanged in the Lodz Ghetto in front of an audience of twenty thousand. His name was Max Hertz, son of Salli Hertz and Helena Hertz n...
Inspiration for posts about crime and insanity originates from a thousand sources. This latest offering came after spying a 'heritage blue plaque' while out doing the weekly shop! after Wikimedia CommonsJames Cowles Prichard, ethnographer, physician...
The retaliatory executions a U.S. Army lieutenant carried out on this date in 1861 helped set in motion a decade-long war with the Apaches. Three years out of West Point and brand new to Arizona’s Fort Buchanan, George Bascom in retrospect was...
(Thanks to Meaghan Good of the Charley Project for discovering the original June 1813 broadsheet we reprint here.) LINES COMPOSED ON THE EXECUTION OF W. CLEMENT’S: [maddening sic] Who was SHOT for Desertion, on Fort Independence, Feb. 18 having...
Guillaume Jobert, one of the first Reformation martyrs in Paris, had his tongue bored through on this date in 1526,* then was burned at the stake at the Place Maubert. Jobert, the young gentleman son of the avocat du roi of La Rochelle, incurred this...
On this date in 1894, a young Indian named Joe Dick was executed outside the courthouse of Eufaula in present-day Oklahoma. At the time, Eufala was part of the Muscogee Creek jursidiction of Indian Territory. Until the 1898 Curtis Act, the tribal gov...
Around this time in 904, Pope Sergius III allegedly had one or both of his deposed predecessors put to death in prison. Sergius held the throne of St. Peter for seven years, which was a longer incumbency than achieved by his seven immediate predecess...
Fig. 1 – Jack Sheppard taunting and escaping the cage in Willesden Jack Sheppard was infamous for his mischievous antics – stealing from the wealthy, and escaping from gaols (not to mention taunting those who tried to catch/contain him).
In 2013 ten people were killed in level crossing incidents in the UK. This death toll is serious, is avoidable and the aim should be to achieve perfect safety. To tackle the problem, Network Rail are planning to close many level crossings. 500 should...

The Literary Criminal

15 February 2015
In chapter 20 of Oliver Twist, we are delivered messages of fear regarding certain types of literature in the early 19th century. As little Oliver is reading the book given to him by Fagan (a book depicting the failed crimes of the past, along with h...
James Roe, an English clergyman transported to Australia for forgery once sent a letter to his brother (around the late 19th century) in an attempt to persuade him to absolve his life of crime and become a decent member of society. Roe uses his own e...
Not a crime story, but I liked this Valentine’s story from 1871, so thought I’d share it: “On the evening before St Valentine’s Day, there was an immense increase of labour in the inland branch of the Post Office, which was me...
On this date in 1942, German troops in Russia’s Pskov Oblast summarily executed 83-year-old peasant Matvey Kuzmin for leading them into an ambush. World War II’s real-life Ivan Susanin was conscripted as a guide for the occupying Wehrmach...
‘In an age when “the criminal classes” were seen as a threat to the established order, detention in exile was strongly influenced by the perceived need to protect British society from further crime by these prisoners’ (Power, 2006, 1). Transp...
Illustrated Police News, 23 Sept 1871 (Courtesy of British Newspaper Archive). The above image appeared on the front page of the Illustrated Police News on 23 September 1871. Inside the paper was an article describing a series of dramatic events at...

My Research Post

13 February 2015
I recently did a research post extending my discussion on ‘King’s Bench: A Madhouse  Wrapped in Iron’. If you would like to have a look at this and give me some constructive criticism then please go to http://www.prisonvoices.org/?
Anthony Vaver’s captivating Early American Crime blog neatly summarizes this story. But for readers with a taste for an original colonial hanging-pamphlet, read on …
I have previously discussed the ballad Francis Winter’s Last Farewell, an account of the execution of Captain Winter, condemned to hang for his part in the death of a constable during a riot against the bricking up of a gate connecting the Temp...
On this date in 1858, Charlotte Jones and Henry Fife hanged side by side in Pittsburgh for murdering Jones’s elderly aunt and uncle the year before. But their dying confessions insistently exonerating their death-sentenced co-accused led the go...
On this date in 1691, Russian Orthodox priest Sylvester Medvedev was beheaded on Red Square. Medvedev was a protege of the great progressive clergyman, poet, and educator Symeon of Polotsk, one of the intellectual champions of the reforming faction o...
Supreme Court justice Anacleto Diaz and his two sons were among 300 Filipinos machine-gunned by the Japanese on this date in 1945 during the Battle of Manila. The distinguished 66-year-old jurist had served in his youth in the forces of independence...

The Final Memento

9 February 2015
The transportation of convicts from Britain to Australia began in 1787. The first fleet of convicts being transported abroad would be a trend that would last until the mid-19th century which was when the deportation of criminals ended. Without teleph...
Reforming the Prison and its Inmates? In my research blog I intend to investigate the rising concern of treatment of inmates in prisons and penitentiaries in the United Kingdom, especially Coldbath Fields Prison in the eighteenth century. There was...

1887: Clement Arthur Day

9 February 2015
new York Herald, June 10, 1887 UTICA, N.Y., June 9, 1887. — Clement Arthur Day, about twenty-five years old, has been lock tender at No. 66, some two miles south of Boonville, on the Black River Canal, in the direction of Rome. For some time Jo...
On this date in 1943, days before their city was liberated, five members of the anti-occupation resistance were shot in Krasnodon in the Donbass. That eastern Ukrainian city* had fallen under German-Italian-Romanan occupation in July 1942. In respons...
This great photo was tweeted earlier today by @oldpicsarchive. Alas, there is no information about its provenance, and all we are told is that it is “1920s London in colour.” It certainly looks right, and it serves to illustrate an import...
At the Police History Society conference, September 2014 As some of you know, I present  talks on topics related to my three main (and somewhat diverse) research interests. These include the First World War, Victorian Detectives, and Biological Pest...

1527: Georg Wagner

8 February 2015
On this date in 1527, apostate Catholic priest Georg Wagner went to the stake in Munich. Called “Carpentarius”, Wagner’s renounced a comfortable pastorship in Emmeringen, espousing the unacceptable tenets that his office was not emp...