The New Newgate Calendar

Blogs about the history of crime, justice and punishment

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On this date in 1954, Lucretiu Patrascanu was shot in Jilava Prison outside Bucharest. The widow’s-peaked longtime pol was one of the first inductees of the Romanian Communist Party (PCR) after its 1921 founding. Patrascanu (English Wikipedia e...
The City of Gloucester was a county in its own right from 1483, separate from the county of Gloucestershire, and as such, it had its own court sessions and its own prisons. Until the 1780s, city prisoners were held in the north gate, while the east g...
(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...
Originally posted on Criminal Historian: The view from my seat at the DP data visualisation workshop Yesterday, I went to All Souls College, Oxford, for a data visualisation workshop organised by the Digital Panopticon project. The project – a c...
I have been reading several historical novels of late; a recent blog considered three examples. http://www.guywoolnough.com/historical-novels-accuracy-vs-literary-merit/ Then I came across this comment by Kate Atkinson, in ‘Author note’ at the en...
On this date in 1793, Philibert Francois Rouxel de Blanchelande was guillotined in Paris — victim of two revolutions an ocean apart. Blanchelande (English Wikipedia entry | French) was a comfortable henchmen of the ancien regime, descended of a...

1922: George Hornsby

14 April 2014
On this date in 1922, George Hornsby was hanged in Belton, Texas. We pick up the George Hornsby’s trail 18 months before his execution, when the bludgeoned body of car dealer J.N. Weatherby was discovered outside Brownwood, Texas, on October 19...

1923: Paul Hadley

13 April 2014
(Thanks to Meaghan Good of the Charley Project for the guest post. -ed.) On this day in 1923, Paul V. Hadley was executed for murder in Arizona. His story, however, actually begins on March 20, 1916, when Paul Hadley and his wife Ida Lee — fugi...
On this date in 1776, footpad James Langar was hanged at Tyburn for robbing a Hyde Park gentleman of his watch and coat. Actually, and despite a reputation for honesty attested by his fellow militiamen, Langar was implicated in several highway robber...
Once again, the standard of papers at the Social History Society conference impressed those who attended. I can only comment on those which I heard. As is so often the case, topics which I might have considered peripheral to my areas of interest pro...
On this date, the conservative Mexican Gen. Leonardo Marquez earned himself the nickname “Tiger of Tacubaya” for the mass execution of liberal prisoners after a battle in Mexico’s Reform War. The “reform” warred-over is...
On this date in 1813, the Napoleonic forces occupying Oldenburg, Germany shot Albrecht Ludwig von Berger and Christian Daniel von Finckh as rebels. The Duchy of Oldenburg in northwest Germany could date its history back to the 12th century — bu...
On this date in 1812, the great Cuban revolutionary leader “Black” Jose Aponte was executed with eight comrades. Like South Carolina’s Denmark Vesey, Aponte led a slave revolt but was not actually a slave himself. Instead, he was a...
In regards to crime in the 1800’s hanging days actually meant big crowds and big business. Audiences of up to 100,000 were occasionally claimed in London, and of 30,000 or 40,000 quite often. Crowds of 3,000 – 7,000 were considered standard. When...
On this date in 1642, George Spencer paid the penalty at the New Haven (Connecticut) colony for a pig-fucking that he probably never perpetrated. Seven and a half weeks previous, a farmer named John Wakeman had reported to magistrates that his pregna...
Leah Wilkinson was described as a ‘notorious old offender’ by the Navy in 1712. She had a long career as a forger and con-woman – with known criminal offences being committed over a 30 year duration. She made a living … Continue reading &...
On this date in 1979, just days after a referendum overwhelmingly voted revolutionary Iran an Islamic Republic, its former Prime Minister was convicted by a drumhead tribunal in Qasr Prison. Minutes after the trial closed, he was shot to death in a p...
On this date in 1571, the Archbishop of St. Andrews hanged in his clerical vestments at the Mercat Cross in Stirling. John Hamilton‘s fate was tied up in that of his Romish church during the strife-wearied years of Queen Mary. There was a sure...
The American occupation of the Philippines from 1899 spawned a widespread indigenous resistance whose “hatred of our people is as bitter as it is groundless,” one American general puzzled. Not all Americans saw it that way. William Jennin...

1884: Henry Rose

4 April 2014
Special dispatch to the St. Louis Globe-Democrat (April 5, 1884), which perhaps accounts for the outsized interest in the provenance of the rope. MEMPHIS, TENN., April 4. — Henry Rose was hanged to-day at noon at Osceola, the county seat of Mi...
In January 1823, the Gloucester Journal reported that the County Prison had installed a treadmill. Gloucester Prison, like many other similar institutions, had found it difficult to find suitable work for prisoners sentenced to do hard labour as...
On this date in 2003, the state of Oklahoma executed Scott Hain for a Tulsa carjacking that netted $565 and two dead bodies. The Hain that was strapped down on the gurney that evening was a 32-year-old with a nebbishy middle manager look, high forehe...

In Deep Water

2 April 2014
On 19 May 1844, my 3x great-grandfather, Thomas Willoughby aged 54, attempted to take his own life by throwing himself into …Continue reading →
The wonderful blog Ghosts of D.C. calls our attention (via SanhoTree) to a fabulously gruesome botched hanging in the nation’s capital on this day in 1880. Stone was condemned for a brutal double-throat-slashing attack on his estranged wife, Al...
By rmay 28 June 2009. The law relating to orders to ‘keep the peace’ was enshrined in English law in the fourteenth century,[1]although the notion is of Anglo-Norman origin,[2]and is little changed 650 years later. A person can be bound by a...
During the 19th century more than 165,000 criminals prosecuted in Britain and Ireland were eventually transported to Australia. In most cases this was due to the steep rise of convicts causing overcrowding in the majority of British prison systems bu...
A year ago today, three Persian Gulf states made the news for their April 1 executions. Iraq Iraq four people on April 1, 2013 for terrorism-related offenses, including Munaf Abdul Rahim al-Rawi. This onetime al-Qaeda figure once styled the “go...
The Truk Atoll, in Micronesia, is more commonly known today as Chuuk. It’s a hot diving location notable for the many sunken World War II Japanese hulks to be explored there — the legacy of its once-pivotal position in the Pacific War. Ja...
On this date in 1875, a private named John Morgan was hanged for murdering his fellow. The London Times reported the trial (March 12, 1875: Morgan did not outlive his victim by so much as a month) thus: THE SHORNCLIFFE MURDER Home Circuit. Maidstone,...
On this date in 1875, artilleryman Richard Coates (or “Coote”) was hanged for murder. He’d been detailed as a schoolteacher for the Purfleet garrison. One day deep into his cups, he raped a 6-year-old* girl. And then killed her by b...
For the next two days, we draw a pair of odd cases from the ranks of Her Majesty’s men at arms. Recently spooked by debacles in the Crimean War and a barely-suppressed Indian mutiny — both of which strained the army’s entire manpowe...
In 1954, the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama hired as its pastor a 25-year-old fresh out of Boston University’s doctoral program. In his memoir, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. remembered his entry to civil rights activism in Mo...
On this date in 1878, Joe and Teek* Brassell were hanged in Cookeville, Tennessee. These brothers (their eldest sibling Jim Brassell wisely bowed out of the scheme) and two other buddies got into the whiskey moonshine from the Brassells’ own ho...
This date in 1913 saw the hanging of Henry Lovell William Clark for a sensational pair of domestic murders in the British Raj. The half-Indian Lieutenant Henry Lovell William Clark of the Indian Subordinate Medical Department struck up a sweltering...
(Thanks to Meaghan Good of the Charley Project for the guest post. -ed.) On this date in 1851, 41-year-old Sarah Chesham was hanged before a crowd of six to seven thousand people in Chelmsford, England. She’d been convicted of a single count of...
My Blog post today covers another aspect of my grandfather’s military service during the First World War.  Ninety-six years ago, Private Charlie Payne’s Battalion, the 5th Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment was sent into a...
Mary Ann Cotton She’s dead and she’s rotten She lies in her bed With her eyes wide open Sing, sing! Oh what can I sing? Mary Ann Cotton is tied up with string Where, where? Up in the air Selling black pudding a penny a pair. -ChildrenR...

Making and Mending

24 March 2014
Instruction of the Pauper Children in the Metropolitan District School, Sutton, Illustrated London News, 1872 via @La_Lynne. For history of school click image for Peter Higginbotham’s Workhouses site The boys have served more than half their se...

1860: Ann Bilansky

23 March 2014
On this date in 1860, Ann Bilansky was hanged in St. Paul, Minnesota. Bilansky — her Christian name is given as Ann, Anne, or Anna in various reports — was condemned for poisoning her husband, an immigrant Polish saloonkeeper named Stanis...
On this date in 1819, 16-year-old Hannah Bocking was hanged outside the Derby Gaol for murdering a friend with an arsenic-laced spice cake. She appears to be the youngest girl executed in 19th century England. Bocking had been turned down for a hous...

Themed Set: Arsenic

22 March 2014
One of this site’s recurring themes and criminology’s iconic trappings, the poison arsenic carried off many a soul. Poison has been around forever, of course, but “inheritance powder” was a slow-motion moral panic in the Victo...
(Thanks to Meaghan Good of the Charley Project for the guest post. -ed.) On this date in 1963, hardened killer Frederick Charles Wood, 51, became the next-to-last prisoner to be executed at Sing Sing Prison in New York. Although he came from a respec...
Gloucestershire’s County Petty Sessions records have numerous examples of people brought before magistrates for poaching offences, but this return from December 1833 is unusually detailed and colourful. Edwin E. Page, an attorney-at-law from Wi...
My blog tour has now come to an end. I have travelled some 1,300 miles, journeyed back in time and …Continue reading →
On this date in 1899, Martha Place became the first woman to die in the electric chair. William Place, a widowed insurance adjuster at 598 Hancock Street in Brooklyn, had taken Martha Garretson on as a housekeeper. In time William felt her a suitable...
Before the advent of a national police force, a number of discretionary options were available to a victim of crime in responding to the crime committed against him or her: deciding whether to take an active role in pursuing a prosecution, to exercis...
On this date in 1330, the king’s half-brother Edmund of Woodstock lost his head for treason. Edmund was the youngest son of Edward I. That patrimony didn’t come with a throne attached, but hey, you could do a lot worse than Earl of Kent.
It has recently come into the press that campaigners are pressing the government to increase the age of criminal responsibility above what it is currently at. The current age of criminal responsibility in the UK is 10 years old. Many people believe t...
JACK SHEPPARD lives on in popular memory. He was more than just a criminal; he was the main attraction and lead actor in the theatre known as Newgate Prison. Sir James Thornhill paints Jack’s execution portrait (1724) The Man A typical Jack-the-Lad...
In the late 1890s and early 1900s, Russia’s imperial ambitions in the east drew it inexorably towards conflict with Japan. This was the period when Russia began constructing the continent-spanning Trans-Siberian Railway linking Moscow to the Pa...