The New Newgate Calendar

Blogs about the history of crime, justice and punishment

Calendar     Blogs
We’re delighted that our quest to take over the entire known universe of the history of crime continues with a panel session at this year’s British Crime Historians Symposium: The Digital Panopticon: New perspectives on criminal justice r...
On this date in 1938, Soviet playwright Vladimir Kirshon was shot at the Kommunarka “special object” shooting range outside Moscow. Kirshon (English Wikipedia entry | Russian), purged as a “Trotskyist counter-revolutionary” as...
Most any sequence of days on the calendar would do for capturing Soviet citizens destroyed in Stalin’s terrible purges of the late 1930s. There are, of course, the great names — Zinoviev, the Old Bolshevik senior to Stalin; the Red Army M...
Thursday 30 January 1840 Somberly, Miss Martin calls the two little boys to her. Tomorrow their thirty day sentence will be up and they will leave her charge. Since their boisterous cellmates departed last weekend, the hours have slipped by slowly wi...
“Who ME? Eavesdrop? Never!” A bit of eavesdropping never did anybody any harm, did it? We’ve all done it. A chance conversation that next door have a bit too loudly in their back garden; an argument between two lovers at the next ta...
On this date in 1973, former cabaret star Mimi Wong Weng Siu and her husband Sim Woh Kum were hanged for the murder of Wong’s Japanese lover’s wife. “Overwhelmed by a consuming jealousy” (her prosecutor’s words) for Hiro...
On this date in 1847, the execution of Maya leader Manuel Antonio Ay in Valladolid kicked off the Yucatan’s decades-long Caste War. Under Spanish administration, Mexico had a dizzying 16-tiered racial caste hierarchy. The casta system was offic...
On this date in 1785, a Sunderland-area farmer named John Winship was hanged for killing his Grace Smith maidservant with a poisonous draught of corrosive mercury sublimate which Winship had intended to induce an abortion. His body was delivered to a...
An anecdotal and statistical meander through nineteenth century lunacyDavid J. Vaughan Institutionalizing the Insane in Nineteenth-Century EnglandStudies for the Society for the Social History of Medicine: 20Anna Shepherd 2014 (Pickering & Chatto...
(Thanks to Robert Elder of Last Words of the Executed — the blog, and the book — for the guest post. This post originally appeared on the Last Words blog. Fans of this here site are highly likely to enjoy following Elder’s own pithy...
Elizabeth Margaret Burch, 39, enjoyed a comfortable life in a large house in the sunny suburbs of Ashford, Kent. In …Continue reading →
On this date in 1896, John Pryde hanged in Crow Wing County jail for a Brainerd murder over a little bit of money. Pryde had worked all the preceding winter in a lumber camp but closed his engagement (so he said) with a Valentine‘s Day jaunt to...
On this date in 1995, Nigeria’s military dictatorship struck a bloody blow against the country’s surging crime waves with a mass execution of 43 prisoners at Kirikiri prison in Lagos. Soldiers dressed in camouflage and with black shoe pol...
On this date in 1683 at Lincoln’s Inn Fields in London the great Whig parliamentarian William, Lord Russell was beheaded with a legendary want of dexterity by Jack Ketch. The third son of the Earl (later Duke) of Bedford, Lord Russell emerged f...

Departure

20 July 2014
Friday 24 January 1840 Tomorrow William Hickling, Walter Tunmore and Robert Harrod will leave the prison. Miss Martin meets them for their final exhortation before departure. “How are you to conduct yourselves so that when you meet me I may not fee...
“Accident. Thursday evening, a poor Woman who was crossing the Road near Hyde-Park-Corner, with a Basket of Radishes on her Head, was thrown down by a Coach and four Horses, which ran over her, and kill’d her on the Spot.” From the...
On this date in 1780, three men were executed in London — John Gamble was hanged at Bethnal-Green, Samuel Solomons in Whitechapel, and James Jackson in the Old-Bailey — for that summer’s working-class Gordon Riots. These three all d...
On this date in 1476, a peasant preacher who nearly stirred a revolution was consigned to the flames in Wurzburg. Hans Behem (or similar variations on that surname, e.g. Bohm or Boheim) is known to posterity as the Drummer of Niklashausen, for when h...
Gloucester Crown Court, opened 1816. (Jill Evans, 2010)   Gloucestershire folk are used to seeing photographs of the frontage of Gloucester Crown Court in the newspapers, accompanying reports of the latest trials. This courtroom has a long his...

1801: Chloe

18 July 2014
On this date in 1801, the teenage slave “negro Chloe” — as the press reports almost invariably called her — was hanged at Carlisle, Penn., for murdering her owner’s two young children. Although a slave by every experienc...
On this date in 1651, Wilhelm Biener, late the chancellor of Tyrol, lost his head to the rancor of Tyrol’s landed aristocracy. A barrister by training and eventually a judge, Biener or Bienner (English Wikipedia entry | German) transitioned int...
The deadlines for the Liverpool and Sheffield PhD studentships have been extended by a week, to MONDAY 28 JULY. More details here.
On this date in 1517, the Italian cardinal Alfonso Petrucci was put to death for a conspiracy to murder Pope Leo X. Leo had been acclaimed pope in 1513 at a conclave noted for nearly electing the worst possible pontiff when cardinals hedging their fi...
Computers are brilliant microscopes. They make it easy to find needles in haystacks. Want to find references to the famous lawyer William Garrow amongst the millions of words in the printed reports of trials held at the Old Bailey, for instance? A ke...
On this date in 756, the imperial consort Yang Guifei was expediently executed during the An Lushan Rebellion. The Tang dynasty Emperor Xuanzong, whose beloved concubine Yang was, undertook this cruel extremity only in great duress. Initially marrie...
On this date in 1455, the German knight Kunz von Kauffungen was beheaded at the Freiberg marketplace for the trifling offense of kidnapping a couple of Saxon princes. Kunz von Kauffungen (English Wikipedia link | German) fought on the side of Frederi...
A naughty picture Union Hall: J. Price was brought up by Mr Byers, Inspector of Licenses, charged with hawking goods, not having a licence. Mr Byers stated, that being at Richmond on Wednesday last, he observed the defendant going from house to house...
The English diplomat Sir Thomas Roe, envoy to the Mughal Empire from 1615 to 1619 during the reign of Jahangir, recorded in his journal* the unfortunate fate this date of a nameless woman for being caught rendezvousing with a palace eunuch. This day...
A year ago today, China executed self-made millionaire Zeng Chengjie for corruption. Once the subject of glowing media profiles (Chinese link) for his entrepreneurship, Zeng was convicted of bilking 57,000-plus investors out of RMB 2.8 billion (US $...
 There is no authentic voice of the eighteenth century criminal trial as no verbatim records were made during this period; what does survive in newspapers and the few broadsides is edited and, by its nature, incomplete. Judicial sources are bure...
My grandfather, Charlie Payne (c 1914) I have previously written an account of aspects of the German Spring Offensive in March 1918, based on Charlie Payne’s experiences during the  Defence of Bucquoy. Today’s blog involves events some f...

1789: Francis Uss

11 July 2014
On this date in 1789, Francis Uss was publicly hanged in Poughkeepsie, New York, for burglary. Anthony Vaver, author of Bound With An Iron Chain: The Untold Story of How the British Transported 50,000 Convicts to Colonial America, unfolded this wand...
On this date in 1654, the gore-soaked annals of Tower Hill added the names of two of Protectorate England’s highest criminals. John Gerard was only an ensign from the army of the late King Charles I, but he gave his name to a one of the great r...
On this date in 1944, the fascist frogman unit Decima Mas Flottiglia MAS (English Wikipedia link | Italian) executed and publicly gibbeted the partisan Ferruccio Nazionale in Ivrea. The placard around his neck claims the hanged man “made an a...
Below is a high-quality digital image of the original prison rules – which would have been put on display in Brixton after it opened in 1819. It is a wonderful historical source, showing us, for instance how prisoners were treated on arrival, t...
On this date two centuries ago, there was — or at least, there was supposed to be — a military execution for desertion from U.S. forces during its War of 1812 against Britain/Canada. I depend here on only a single source, this public-doma...
Date: 4-6 September 2014 Location: The Edge, University of Sheffield, UK Website: http://www.shef.ac.uk/hri/dhc/dhc2014 The Digital Humanities Congress is a conference held in Sheffield every two years. Its purpose is to promote the sharing of knowl...
***STOP PRESS***I am delighted to announce that Pickering & Chatto, erstwhile publishers of academic and scientific journals, including on the subject of lunacy in the 19th century, has invited Mad, Bad and Desperate to review some of their work...
On this date in 1962, the Buddhist monk — turned Christian convert in detention — Talduwe Somarama was hanged for assassinating Ceylon Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike. (Ceylon became Sri Lanka in 1972.) Somarama was a 44-year-old ayu...
From the fifth edition of William Nelson’s The Office and Authority of a Justice of Peace (London: W. Nelson, 1715, p.374):   Who may not be a Juror: No apothecaries wanted here!    Aliens. Apothecaries. Attainted for any Crime. Cler...
On this date in 1999, Gary Heidnik was executed in Pennsylvania for a horrific spree that saw him kidnap five African-American women to a makeshift torture dungeon in his Philadelphia basement. Intelligent but socially maladroit and diagnosed from hi...
On this date in 1731, Jose de Antequera had his head cut off in Lima for leading a comunero rebellion against the Spanish crown in Paraguay. Antequera, a judge, began his revolution legally in 1721 by affirming an impeachment the city council of Asun...
On this date in 1589, Hans Volckla of Onoltzbach, alias Hemmerlein, was beheaded by Nuremberg. In early modern Germany’s crazy quiltwork of rivalrous fiefdoms and principalities nominally confederated in the Holy Roman Empire, the free imperial...
When I embarked on my PhD I was already aware that a substantial body of legal documents survive from the eighteenth century for Yorkshire which is held in The National Archives (TNA) in Kew. I selected the two sample periods (1735-1745 and 1765-1775...
From the York Herald and General Advertiser (York, England) of Saturday, Aug. 16, 1817. Five English soldiers being on guard, the 18th of June last, at one of the gates of Valenciennes, committed a robbery on the house of an individual, and were cond...
Policing Under Pressure: More For Less, BBC2 June 30th   http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2014/25/police-under-pressure   This programme is the second of two looking at how South Yorkshire Police are coping with the stresses created by pub...
This date, the second of July, would in 1914 have been the eve of the thirty-first birthday of Franz Kafka, so it seems a fit occasion — shall we call it the centennial? — to mark the death of the the character “Josef K.” in K...
I’m off to Turkey tomorrow for a long-awaited vacation. Yes, I realize that no sane person heads to that part of the world in July, but as it’s already 35oC with the humidex in Ontario, it’s really just a lateral move at this point. Glancing t...
“When you did nights there – that was something else.  They’d be a period between 2 and 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning when most of them finally went to sleep.  But as soon as one started – we used to call it the dawn chorus –...
On this date in 1413, France’s treasurer Pierre des Essarts was beheaded and gibbeted on Montfaucon. The backdrop for this disorderly drumhead execution is a popular rebellion of Parisian artisans and laborers. Known as the Cabochien Revolt aft...