Tag Archive | Execution

He who dispatched King Charles

Execution of Charles I

Execution of Charles I

This is the confession allegedly made by the hangman who dispatched Charles I (from 1649):

His beheading his late Majesty the King of Great Brittain (upon his Death bed) who was buried on Thursday night last, in white Chappell Church-yard, with the manner thereof.
Upon Wednesday last (being the 20. of this instant June, 1649.) Richard Brandon, the late Executioner and Hang-man, who beheaded his late Majesty, King of Great Brittain, departed this life. But during the time of His sicknesse, his Conscience was much troubled, and exceedingly perplexed in mind, yet little shew of repentance, for remission of his sins, and by-past transgressions, which had so much power and influence upon him, that he seemed to live in them and they in him. And upon Sunday last, a young man of his acquaintance going in to visite him, fell into discourse, asked him how he did, and whether he was not troubled in conscience for cutting off of the Kings head?

He replyed, yes! by reason that (upon the time of his tryall, and at the denouncing of Sentence against him) he had taken a vow and protestation, Wishing God to perish him body and soul, if ever he appeared on the scaffold to do the act or lift up his hand against him. Further acknowledging, That he was no sooner entred upon the scaffold, but immediatly he fell a trembling, and hath ever since continued in the like agony.

He likewise confessed, that he had 30. pounds for his pains, all paid him in half Crowns, within an hour after the blow was given, and that he had an Orenge stuck full of Cloves, and a handkircher out of the Kings pocket, so soon as he was carryed off from the Scaffold, for which Orenge, he was proffered 20. shillings by a Gentleman in Whitehall, but refused the same, and afterwards sold it for tens in Rose-mary Lane.

About 6 of the clock at night, he returned home to his wife living in Rose-mary lane, and gave her the money, saying, That it was the deerest money that ever he earn’d in his life, for it would cost him his life. Which propheticall words were soon made manifest; for it appeared, that ever since he hath been in a most sad condition, and upon the Almighties first scourging of him with the Rod of meeknesse, and the friendly admonition of divers friends, for the calling of him to repentance, yet he persisted on in his vicious Vices, and would not hearken thereunto, but lay raging and swearing, and still pointing at one thing or another, which he conceived to appear visible before him.

About three dayes before he dy’d he lay speechlesse, uttering many a sigh and heavy groan, and so in a most desparate manner departed from his bed of sorrow. For the buriall whereof, a great store of Wines were sent in, by the Sheriff of the City of London, and a great multitude of people stood wayting to see his Corps carryed to the Church-yard, some crying out, Hang him Rogue, bury him in the Dung-hill; others pressing upon him, saying, They would quarter him, for executing of the King: Insomuch, that the Church-wardens and Masters of the Parish were fain to come for the suppressing of them, and (with great difficulty) he was at last carryed to White-chappell Church-yard, having (as it is said) a bunch of Rosemary at each end of the coffin, on the top thereof, with a Rope tyed crosse from one end to the other.

And a merry conceited Cook living at the sign of the Crown, having a black Fan (worth the value of 30 shillings) took a resolution to rent the same in pieces, and to every feather tyed a piece of pack-thread dy’d in black Ink, and gave them to divers persons, who (in derision) for a while, wore them in their hats.

A murder of a maid – Thomas Savage

Thomas Savage

Thomas Savage from exclassics.com.

The following excerpts can be found in A Complete History of the Lives and Robberies of the Most Notorious Highwaymen, Footpads, Shoplifts, and Cheats of Both Sexes by Captain Alexander Smith. They document the murder of a maid by a sixteen year old apprentice, a Thomas Savage from St Giles in the Fields. It is said the accused was later captured and hung for his deed.

Historical records of the era detail a Thomas Savage, 3rd Earl Rivers (born 1628), who died 14th September 1694 on Great Queens Street, St Giles in the Fields.  Thomas Savage was a wealthy royalist and reputable person of note, but it is recorded he had three children – Richard Savage (4th Earl Rivers, born 1654), Elizabeth Savage, and a Thomas Savage (born circa 1648). A connection between this Thomas Savage and the Thomas Savage spoken of in the excerpt is speculation, but there is likely a connection given the date and location.

The following text is paraphrased as the original text is several pages long.

This unhappy person, namely Thomas Savage, was born of honest parents in the parish of St Giles in the Fields.

Breaking the Sabbath (by his own confession) was the first inlet of his vices, especially whoredom, drunkenness, and theft; for frequenting a bawdy-house in Ratcliff Highway, he there became acquainted with one Hannah Blay, a vile common strumpet, to whom he would often carry two or three bottles of wine at a time, to junket with her.

The strumpet, her wicked desires unsatisfied, requests Thomas bring her money, which he may do by robbing his master. This is something Thomas can not do, as at home the maid is always with him. The strumpet entices Thomas to murder the maid:

Hang the jade, quoth she, knock her brains out, and I’ll receive the money, and go anywhere with you beyond sea, to avoid the stroke of justice.

On the day of the murder, the strumpet made him “almost drunk with bad brandy” before sending him on his way between 12 and 1 o’clock.

The maid then upbraiding him with having been at a bawdy-house, which would be the ruin of him in the end, he was much vexed with her, and while he was at dinner, the devil entered so strongly into him that he resolved within himself to kill her.

He went into the bar and fetched a hammer, with which he began to make a great noise, as he sat by the fire, by knocking on the bellows. Hereupon says the maid to him: “Sure the boy is mad! Sirrah, what do you make this noise for?”

To this he made no answer, but going to the kitchen- window began to knock and make the same noise there, of which the maid then taking no notice, he, to provoke her, got on the clean dresser, and walked up and down thereon several times with his dirty shoes. This piece of malice exasperating the maid, so that she scolded at him pretty heartily, he threw the hammer at her suddenly with such violence that, hitting her on the head, it felled her to the ground, and she shrieked out. He then went and took up the hammer, intending to repeat the blow, but laid it down again thrice, not being yet hardened enough in cruelty to strike her any more; but at last, taking it up the fourth time, the devil had then gained such an absolute mastery over him that he gave her several strokes with all the force he could, and quickly dispatched her out of the world.

The account is several pages long, speaking of the eventual capture of Thomas Savage, but a strange turn of events occur when the man is hanged:

The sheriff ordered him to be cut down, when, being received into the arms of some of his friends, he was conveyed into a house not far from the place of execution. There being laid upon a table, he began, to the astonishment of the beholders, to breathe, and rattle in the throat, so that it was evident life was whole in him. Hereupon he was carried from thence to a bed in the same house, where he breathed more strongly, and opened his eyes and mouth, though his teeth were set before, and he offered to speak, but could not recover the use of his tongue.

However, his reviving being blazed abroad within an hour, the sheriff’s officers came to the house where he was, and carrying him back to the place of execution, hung him up again till he was really dead.

It was a common belief at the time that if a prisoner survived a hanging it was deemed as an Act of God, meaning the prisoner would be set free. The accuracy of the above paragraph is therefore open to debate.

As for the strumpet, it was said she delayed her execution by claiming to be pregnant. Often, in these cases it is common to escape execution.

More can be read on Google Books and ExClassics.