The New Newgate Calendar

Blogs about the history of crime, justice and punishment

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The first native Korean Catholic priest, Andrew Kim Taegon, was martyred for his faith on this date in 1846. Catholicism had begun making inroads in Korea from the late 18th century, a development most unwelcome for the Confucian Joseon dynasty. Cath...
“Reconsidering Southern African Studies from the Indian Ocean.” This challenge underpinned two wonderful days of discussion at the University of the Western Cape last week. As a conference, we wanted to explore what the burgeoning Indian Ocean hi...
On this date in 1731, Catherine (or Catillon) Repond was burned at the stake in Freiburg — the last person executed for witchcraft in Switzerland, more or less.* Repond (English Wikipedia entry | the somewhat more detailed German) got caught ou...
On this date two centuries ago, a man on a mission of mercy found his accidental entry into history. The mercy in question was required for a Maryland fellow named William Beanes. During the War of 1812, the British had seized this 65-year-old doctor...

1418: Beatrice di Tenda

13 September 2014
On this date in 1418, the Duke of Milan annulled his marriage at the headsman’s block. Beatrice (English Wikipedia entry | Italian) was initially the wife of the condottiero Facino CaneFacino Cane, a brutal but successful warrior who gained de...
Tread-Wheel and Oakum-Shed at the City Prison, Holloway, (With a Detachment of Prisoners at Work in the Wheel, and Those Who Have Believed Employed Picking Oakum) Criminal punishment in the Victorian era was psychologically and physically torturous,...
Daryl Holton went to the Tennessee electric chair. Holton was an depressive Gulf War veteran with an acrid relationship with his ex-wife Crystle. Bitter at being kept from his children for weeks on end, Holton picked up his three kids and their half-...
In 1842, the Spectator [1] noted an anomaly “in the courts of justice”, and presented it to its readers in wonder. It was a case that should have caused bad feeling against the defendant – but didn’t. The rather polite case,...
On May 25th 1895, Oscar Wilde was sentenced to prison on the charges of gross indecency with other men. He was convicted for two years in which his career, relationships, marriage and name suffered greatly after the revelation. Wilde was at the peak...

1929: Homer Simpson

11 September 2014
Eighty-five years ago today, the state of Georgia executed a gentleman whose most remarkable characteristic to his contemporaries was that he was the onetime Chief of Police of Cleveland, Tenn. — and most remarkable characteristic to posterity...
My previous post dealt with feigning insanity and Broadmoor and it was shown that one of the reasons Broadmoor patients reportedly feigned (or in some cases developed) madness was the brutality of the Victorian prison regime. One of the cases briefly...
On this date in 1573, the Hanseatic city of Hamburg beheaded the Seeräuber Hans von Erschausen with his crew, leaving naught but a vast row of pike-mounted heads and some excellent woodcuts.

1817: James Lane

9 September 2014
I was born near Goshen, in the state of Connecticut, about the year 1793. My father was a show-man, and his business leading him much from home, I was neglected, and suffered to follow my own inclinations … I chose for my companions the most vi...
On this date in 1971, the Nigerian robber Ishola Oyenusi — “smil[ing] to his death,” in the words of the next day’s paper — was publicly shot with his gang at Lagos Bar Beach. Dubbed “the most dangerous criminal of...
"What I read must be licked into shape by my brain" (Thomas Laycock; quoted in James n.d.: 29)after ypsyork.orgThomas Laycock was born the son of a Wesleyan minister in 1812, in the English county of York. Throughout his somewhat "unremarkable"...
One hundred years ago today, during the Battle of the Marne, seven French soldiers were shot without trial for retreating. Most of the resources about this Gallic tragedy are in French, and so are most of the links in today’s post. The French...
On this date in 1771, the German outlaw Matthias Klostermayr was broken on the wheel in Dillingen. The “Bavarian Robin Hood” (English Wikipedia entry | German) led a band of poachers (their merriness or lack thereof is unrecorded) who in...
While legal authority lay with the king, his secretaries of state, judges, sheriffs, justices of the peace and parish constables, authority within the family lay with the head of each household and the rights of servants were subsumed within those of...
September 5 is International Indigenous Women’s Day, in honor of the torturous execution in Bolivia on this date in 1782 of the Aymara peasant rebel Bartolina Sisa. Sisa (English Wikipedia entry | Spanish) shared with her husband Tupac Katari l...
William Hogarth’s “Servants” One case that came before magistrate William Bromley in Warwickshire in the late 17th century showed the pressure that servants could be placed under by their masters. In 1695, Anne Wilcox, servant to Th...
Salver presented to Tony Norton to mark the end of his six years of service at HMP Brixton Everyone remembers their first working day at Brixton prison.  Tony Norton arrived on Jebb Avenue early one morning in 1951 having just finished a psychology...
On this date in 1922, Spanish royalist Gen. Francisco Javier de Elio was garroted in Republican Valencia. Elio (English Wikipedia link | Spanish) was a career Spanish officer noted for being the last Viceroy of the Rio de la Plata in South America. T...
Till was hung yesterday for murder and rape with trimmings -Ezra Pound’s Pisan Cantos, remarking on the (real-life) execution of an army private later (in)famous as the father of Civil Rights era lynch victim Emmett Till Today’s admittedl...
My new book, Early American Criminals: An American Newgate Calendar, Chronicling the Lives of the Most Notorious Criminal Offenders from Colonial America and the New Republic, has been published and is now available for purchase! Amazon.com (Paperba...
The last executions in Finland occurred on this date in 1944, claiming the lives of three Soviet spies who had been parachuted behind Finnish lines. I have been unable to locate the names of these men. They’re invariably presented simply in con...
  I was thrilled to be invited to take part in the Rochester Literature Festival, especially as the theme of …Continue reading →
Olavi Laiho was the last Finn executed in Finland, on September 2, 1944. Laiho (English Wikipedia entry | Finnish) was conscripted to the Finnish Navy to fight in Finland’s theater of war against the Soviet Union. As a Communist himself —...
Days before tapping out of the “Continuation War”, a bid to retake lost territory from the Soviets that put Finland in the discomfiting World War II position of Third Reich ally, its military conducted the last executions in that country&...
In July 1896, as he was imprisoned at Reading Gaol, some twelve miles from Broadmoor, Oscar Wilde petitioned the Home Secretary for his discharge: For more than thirteen dreadful months now, the petitioner has been subject to the fearful system of so...

1916: Kosta Kromphold

1 September 2014
According to the Portland Oregonian, Kosta Kromphold mellowed to a phonograph in his jail cell on the eve of his execution — including “If I Had a Thousand Lives to Live.” A Russian native, the forgettable Kosta Kromphold had left h...
The Sultan, seated on a golden throne, receives the homage of the viziers and the beys, massacre of 2,000 prisoners, the rain falls in torrents. -Sultain Suleiman the Magnificent (writing of himself in the third person), diary, 31 August 1526 On this...
I went to see the RSC’s The Roaring Girl, directed by Jo Davies, recently – and was rather unimpressed by its assertion that this Jacobean play – and petty criminal heroine – was more about Victorian gender-bending than the society in which i...
(Thanks to Meaghan Good of the Charley Project for the guest post. -ed.) On August 30, 1878, Sevier (aka Severe, Savier) Lewis was hanged in Empire City, Oregon — today known as Coos Bay — for the murder of his much younger half-brother,...
August 29 is a National Day of Commemoration in El Salvador, honoring the execution on this date in 1865 of the country’s beloved ex-president Gerardo Barrios. Today, you’ll find Barrios (English Wikipedia entry | Spanish) entombed adjace...
The second of my posts from Cornwall. Sometimes it is clear that an individual cannot be held responsible for their actions, however, inexplicable that action is. This might even be the case with murder. A horrific murder took place in St Ives in 190...
On this date in 1948 at stately Akershus Fortress, a firing squad carried out the last execution in Norwegian history — that of Ragnar Skancke. Skancke (English Wikipedia entry | Norwegian) was an electrical engineer in academia, and the very f...
On this date in 1610, the priest Roger Cadwallador was hanged, drawn, and quartered in Herefordshire, where he had maintained an illicit Catholic ministry for 16 years. Having spent most of the morning in spiritual preparation (for his end) about ten...
Nuremberg bookseller Johann Philipp Palm was shot on this date in 1806 for publishing a manifesto against the French occupation. For centuries a proud Free Imperial City, Nuremberg had over the few months preceding Palm’s martyrdom been smushed...
Several new pieces ready to post would be insensitive in the light of recent incidents involving an American journalist. Instead, here is a more 'light-hearted', albeit hastily compiled, case history from the annals of crime and insanity in Victorian...
It has been a long time since I have posted on this website, but that is because I have been hard at work writing my next book. Now, I am thrilled to announce the forthcoming publication of Early American Criminals: An American Newgate Calendar, Chro...

1944: Durga Malla

25 August 2014
Seventy years ago today, the British in Delhi hanged Gurkha soldier Durga Malla for spying against them — and on behalf of the army of the Japanese-backed nationalist provisional government, the Azad Hind. World War II catalyzed India’s l...
By blogging for a public audience, historians of crime are contributing to popular representations of the ‘criminal’ past, from the many websites, dramas and ‘true crime’ books devoted to notorious cases and neighbourhoods, to the discovery o...
(Thanks to Robert Elder of Last Words of the Executed — the blog, and the book — for the guest post. Fans of this here site are highly likely to enjoy following Elder’s own pithy, almanac-style collection of last words on the scaffo...
(Thanks to Meaghan Good of the Charley Project for the guest post. -ed.) On Tuesday, the 23rd inst., Harriet, slave of JAMES H. SHEPPERD, JR., aged about 13 years, was convicted of the murder, by drowning, of a son of ALEXANDER McKENZIE, Esq., of Har...
Hay-making, from Birket Foster’s ‘Pictures of English Landscape’, 1863 (Internet Archive Book Image) On the night of 25 July 1833, the hay-ricks of three farmers in North Nibley were set on fire. Each blaze was quickly extinguished...
The first of two posts to mark my recent holiday in Cornwall…and neither of them is related to smuggling! St Ives In 1842, two boys, James Stevens, aged 12, and 16-year-old William Quick, appeared in court before J King Letherbridge, accused of...
On this date in 1879, three Russian nihilists were hanged for an attempted regicide. Revolutionary nihilism flowered in 1870s Russia; in the words of the movement’s expatriate crier Stepniak, In 1870 the whole of advanced Russia was anarchist...
Blogging carnivals, like those hosted by Sharon Howard, began to appear in the early 2000s. The carnivalesque is a suggestive way of thinking about the transformative potential of social media. By orchestrating multiple voices blogging has a levellin...
On this date in 1851, the domestic abuser John McCaffary (or McCaffrey) was publicly hanged in Kenosha, Wisconsin.* His crime — singularly ill-concealed — was a noisy row with his wife Bridgett that ended with him tipping her into a rain...
On this date in 1897,* anarchist Michele Angiolillo was garroted in Vergara prison for assassinating the Spanish Prime Minister. Angiolillo (English Wikipedia entry | Spanish) was an Italian expatriate in England who was so incensed by the procesos d...