The New Newgate Calendar

Blogs about the history of crime, justice and punishment

Calendar     Blogs
The Martyrdom of Bishop Farrar [sic] by Ted Hughes Burned by Bloody Mary‘s Men at Caermarthen “If I flinch from the pain of the burning, believe not the doctrine that I have preached.  — His words on being chained to the stake.
The names of the Roman Empire’s various client kings are, when not utterly lost to history, deeply obscure to a present-day general audience. The best exception bar Cleopatra is surely the Judean ruler King Herod of Biblical villainy. Christ...
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...
The frontier town Tombstone, Arizona saw its first legal hanging on this date in 1884 — and its second, third, fourth, and fifth besides. On the 8th of December ult., Daniel “Big Dan” Dowd, Comer W. “Red” Sample, Daniel...
The press was agog in 1899, when it heard about Agnes Roselle Ingrouville. “All must sympathise,” The Era reported breathlessly, “with the distressing position of Miss Agnes Ingreville [sic].” Agnes, aged 27, was appearing in the Divorce Cour...
LEBANON, Tenn., March 27. — Mack Francis and James Turney, negroes, were hanged at 12.23 this afternoon for the murder of Lew Martin last summer. They showed a great deal of bravado and confessed their guilt after ascending the scaffold. Franci...

Love Tokens: A Trio

26 March 2015
Convict Love Tokens allowed convicts who were transported to leave something behind for their loved ones. I have chosen to focus on a cluster of love tokens by a trio of men who were tried and convicted for a group crime of ‘breaking into a cou...
On this date in 1822, Hannah Halley went to the gallows at Derby for murdering her newborn child — by the gruesome expedient of pouring scalding water on it.* “That it was her intention to destroy the infant was inferred, from her constan...
George Cudmore was on March 25, 1830 executed at Devon County Gaol, the present-day site of Exeter Prison. Wanting to run off with his mistress, Cudmore slipped his wife a lethal dose of the 19th century’s prolific domestic assassin, arsenic. B...
Austria’s last execution took place on this date in 1950. Johann Trnka, murderer of a 51-year-old widow and her maid — the late Hermine Kolle’s apartment became popularly notorious as the Grauen Haus (“horror house”) aft...
On March 23, 1761, British highwayman Isaac Darkin — “Dumas” by a dashing alias — hanged at Oxford for robbery. It might be Darkin’s misfortune to have been born just too late for the mythmaking golden age of highwaymen;...
On this date in 1864, Kastus Kalinouski was hanged in a public square in Vilnius. A peasant revolutionary from the European frontiers of tsarism, Kalinouski is a present-day independence hero for Poland, Belarus, and Lithuania. (His name is variously...
A very quick post to note that I have an article in this volume, based on my presentation at the first Our Criminal Past event in 2013. But there’s plenty more there for crime historians to be interested in.Filed under: Academic Work, Crime/Law...
On this date in 1791, the Inquisition in Rome condemned magician Alessandro Cagliostro to death — a sentence immediately commuted to imprisonment for the remainder of his life, which turned out to be only four more years. Cagliostro’s ric...
I’d like to introduce you to David Poultney, a 20-year-old weaver and labourer sentenced to death in April 1829 for aiding and abetting the attempted murder of John Slinn, the principal gamekeeper to the Earl of Denbigh. He was one of a group of po...
A Double Execution. Woodcut from Hindley’s “Curiosities of Street Literature” (1871), p.372. (Accessed via Google Books) Recently I was looking through my lists of people who were hanged in Gloucestershire from 1730 on, and it struc...
In 1839, a rather ludicrous case was heard at the Drumcondra Petty Sessions in Dublin regarding a goat stolen from a former policeman – where the case hinged on the age of the said animal. The former policeman, Samuel Stephens, who was now working...
Dutch artisan Sikke Freriks, beheaded on this date in 1531 in Leeuwarden‘s market, was the first Anabaptist put to death in that Friesland city. While a minor milestone in the crowded history of Reformation martyrdoms, Freriks had a noteworthy...
In what by this week’s measure constitutes a slackening pace, Pakistan hanged four more prisoners today, all for murder: Gulistan Zaman, Abdul Sattar, and brothers Mohammad Asghar and Ghulam Mohammad. Meanwhile, the controversial scheduled Thur...
Today, one day after hanging 12 of its 8,000 condemned prisoners, Pakistan extended its newfound mass-execution campaign. Nine more men went to the gallows at various jails in several Punjab cities. On the heels of Tuesday’s executions, this bi...

2015: Twelve in Pakistan

17 March 2015
Repudiating its former death penalty moratorium with bombast, the government of Pakistan hanged 12 men today. From 2008 to 2014, Pakistan while continuing to hand down death sentences had suspended their completion; a soldier condemned by court-marti...

Inventing the Irish

17 March 2015
Little secret has been made of the difficulties faced by Irish immigrants in Victorian England. More than a century and a half ago when England was a less diverse and cosmopolitan place than it is now, men and women of Irish decent were probably the...
In modern day Australia there are two key heritage ‘issues’ that are addressed in completely different ways – firstly, convict heritage; secondly, histories of aboriginal contact and conflict with European settlers. I will explore the tensions...
Two inconsistent versions of a mass-murderer’s moniker in this American colonial news dispatch* can hardly detract from the horror of Jamaica’s first serial killer. The Scots emigre Lewis Hutchinson owned an isolated estate along the only...
Martha Stracey or Tracey hanged at Tyburn on this date in 1745 for assaulting a man named Will Humphreys and robbing him of one single guinea a few months before. Stracey, about 18 or 20 years old, was a prostitute and pickpocket — “a per...
On this date in 1610, Henry Paine was executed on the island of Bermuda for mutiny. Paine arrived on the island most unfortunately on the Sea Venture, the flagship for the London Company bound for the New World under the command of Admiral George Som...
  This tantalisingly brief piece in the Preston Guardian of 14 March 1846 caught my attention as I was searching for something else. The relative lack of detail made me wonder if it was a fictional piece – the Victorian press were not stra...
In an admittedly borderline “execution”, Louis de Bourbon, the Hugueunot Prince of Conde, was killed summarily at the end of the Battle of Jarnac on this date in 1569. This nobleman’s conversion to Protestantism had been attended wi...
David Cobb, Private, Company C, 827th Engineer Battalion (Aviation), on March 12, 1943 achieved the milestone distinction of becoming the first U.S. soldier executed in Great Britain. On December 27, 1942 — a mere 11 days after arriving in Brit...
Acting on impulse: James Hill and his nephew's headWhen James Hill cut off his nephew's head, he was said to be suffering from homicidal mania and impulsive insanity. But was this yet another Victorian excuse for an inexplicable, aberrant act?  ...
Igo Sym tickles the ivories in Zona i nie zona (Wife and No Wife) … his last role. On this date in 1941, the Germans occupying Poland took revenge for the loss of an artist. Handsome Austrian-born silver screen luminary Igo Sym, whose silent fi...
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens ‘Mr. Wemmick and I parted at the office in Little Britain, where suppliants for Mr. Jaggers’s notice were lingering about as usual, and I returned to my watch in the street of the coach-office, with som...
The Ballad of Reading Gaol, Oscar Wilde Wilde was sentenced to two years hard labour for homosexual offences in 1895. Oscar Wilde wrote the poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol after being released from Reading Gaol. Wilde witnessed an inmate, Charles Tho...
On this date in 1899, Cordelia Poirier was hanged in Ste. Scholastique, Quebec with her lover Samuel Parslow.* Cordelia Viau by her maiden name, the femme fatale in this transaction found that in her marriage to one Isidore Poirier she was much the s...
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...
Radical Hussite Jan Zelivsky was beheaded on this date in 1422. 1952 memorial plaque of Zelivsky in Prague Zelivsky (English Wikipedia entry | Czech), a priest, emerges in the 1410s as a fiery populist orator at Prague’s Church of Our Lady of...
On this date in 1715, the legendary outlaw Filip Mengstein was broken on the wheel in Dresden’s marketplace, along with four henchmen. With the wiseguy nickname “Lips Tullian”, our cutthroat’s gangland derring-do cuts a truly...
On this date in 1884, a Louisiana man named Noah Jackson was hanged at Lake Providence for beating in the brains of his 15-year-old wife during a fit of jealousy. (She’d been only 13 years old when they married.) Meanwhile, in Corsicana, Tx., H...
Sarah Waters’ 1999 novel, Affinity, challenges and subverts themes of class and gender in Victorian Britain but also invites us to question our own values and expectations. Written from the perspectives of two women from very different walks of lif...
William Swaine was a Hertfordshire farmer, who had grown accustomed to the help of his young niece around his Stevenage farm. She had been living with his family since she was two and a half, and he looked on her as his own child. This young girl, Ma...
On this day last year, Al-Qaeda’s Ansar Al-Sharia group (Partisans of Islamic Law) executed an alleged American spy in the town of Shahr, in southeast Yemen. Al-Qaeda also released a video (titled “An American Spy in the Arabian Peninsula...
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 i...
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 the...