Hanged by the Neck - Haunting True Stories from the Tyburn Gallows

2 Feb 202440:11
32 Likes 10 Comments

TLDRIn this History Squad video, Kevin Hicks explores the history of Tyburn, an execution site in London used for 600 years, infamously known as the Triple Tree. He delves into the evolution of hanging as a form of capital punishment, the notorious criminals executed there, and the public spectacle of Tyburn Fayre. Hicks also discusses the social and legal context of the time, including the Black Act, which introduced severe penalties for numerous offenses. The video brings to life the stories of individuals like Jack Sheppard and Jonathan Wild, highlighting the harsh realities of justice in medieval England.

  • 🏛️ Tyburn in London was an active execution site for 600 years, known as the Triple Tree or Triple Hanging Tree.
  • 💧 The Tyburn stream, after which the execution site was named, once provided fresh water and was a sport fishing spot before becoming a sewer.
  • 🎣 Hanging as a form of execution was introduced by the Saxons in England, but was temporarily banned by William the Conqueror, only to be reinstated by Henry I.
  • 🎭 The first recorded execution at Tyburn was in 1196, with William Fitz Osbert being executed for sedition against King Richard I's heavy taxation.
  • 🎇 Tyburn became a public spectacle known as Tyburn Fayre, where people gathered to watch executions and socialize.
  • 🎭 Notorious criminals like Jack Sheppard and Jonathan Wild were executed at Tyburn, with their stories reflecting the harsh realities and public sentiment of the time.
  • 🏴‍☠️ Executions at Tyburn were not only for common criminals but also extended to religious figures during the reign of Henry VIII.
  • 📜 The Waltham Black Act of 1723 introduced the death penalty for over 350 criminal acts, severely impacting the English legal system.
  • 🎭 The journey from Newgate Prison to Tyburn was a public event, with the condemned given the opportunity to drink and interact with the crowd before execution.
  • 🚶‍♂️ The last execution at Tyburn took place in 1783, after which public hangings moved to outside Newgate Prison due to complaints from the wealthy about the disruption caused.
Q & A
  • What was the Tyburn execution site in London known for?

    -The Tyburn execution site was known for being in use for 600 years and for being the location of up to 50,000 hangings, earning the nickname 'Triple Tree' or 'Triple Hanging Tree'.

  • How did the Tyburn stream get its name?

    -The Tyburn stream gets its name from the small river that runs underneath London, including prestigious areas like Mayfair.

  • What was the significance of the Tyburn stream in Tudor times?

    -In Tudor times, the Tyburn stream was bricked over and became a sewer, marking a shift from its earlier use as a source of fresh water and a sport fishing stream.

  • Who was the first recorded person to be executed at Tyburn?

    -The first recorded execution at Tyburn was William Fitz Osbert in 1196, who was charged and executed for sedition.

  • What was the role of the hangman in medieval England?

    -The hangman played a crucial role in executions, not only carrying out the sentence but also profiting from the sale of the executed individuals' clothes, which were believed to have magical powers.

  • What was the Waltham Black Act and why was it significant?

    -The Waltham Black Act was a far-reaching piece of legislation passed in 1723 that introduced the death penalty for over 350 criminal acts, including many minor offenses, significantly expanding the use of capital punishment in England.

  • How were public hangings viewed by the public at Tyburn?

    -Public hangings at Tyburn were seen as a form of entertainment and a social event, with people gathering for the spectacle and participating in what was known as the Tyburn Fayre.

  • What was the Triple Tree at Tyburn?

    -The Triple Tree was a gallows at Tyburn that allowed for the simultaneous hanging of multiple individuals, with the capacity to hang up to 24 or even 28 people at once.

  • Who was Jack Sheppard and why was he notorious?

    -Jack Sheppard was a burglar and escape artist who became notorious in the early 18th century for his ability to escape from prison multiple times, even from manacles and locked cells.

  • What was the fate of Jonathan Wild, the Thief Taker General?

    -Jonathan Wild, despite his efforts to become a respected figure in London, was eventually arrested, found guilty, and sentenced to death at the Old Bailey, hanging at Tyburn in 1725.

  • What was the impact of the Tyburn Fayre on the wealthy residents of London?

    -The Tyburn Fayre, with its associated crowds and disruptions, led to the wealthy residents of London pushing for the relocation of public executions away from Tyburn, as they found it undesirable and disruptive to their living areas.

🏛️ Introduction to Tyburn Execution Site

The video begins with Kevin Hicks introducing the topic of Tyburn, an execution site in London that operated for 600 years. He mentions that it was also known as the Triple Tree and that it was believed that up to 50,000 people were hanged there. The site gets its name from the Tyburn stream, which runs under prestigious parts of London. The history of hanging as a form of execution in England is discussed, from its introduction by the Saxons to its temporary ban by William the Conqueror and subsequent reinstatement by Henry I. The first recorded execution at Tyburn is also mentioned, which was in 1196.

🧵 Methods of Hanging and Tyburn Fayre

This paragraph delves into the different methods of hanging, including the slow suspension and the short drop, which was used at Tyburn, leading to the phrase 'dance the Tyburn jig.' It also contrasts these with the modern long drop method through a trapdoor. The paragraph then discusses the evolution of Tyburn into a public spectacle known as the Tyburn Fayre, where people would gather to watch executions. It includes a humorous anecdote about a hangman and his contract to keep the clothes of the executed, which were believed to have magical powers.

📜 The Waltham Black Act and Its Consequences

The Waltham Black Act is introduced as a significant piece of legislation that expanded the death penalty to over 350 criminal acts, initially aimed at deterring poachers. The Act included a wide range of offenses, from property damage to stealing goods worth a shilling or more. It is noted that the Act was so severe that merely conspiring to commit a crime was enough to warrant execution. The paragraph also describes the impact of the Act and quotes Sir Leon Radzinowich, who highlighted the Act's extreme severity and its encompassing nature.

🎭 The Tyburn Journey and Public Executions

This section describes the process and spectacle of public executions at Tyburn. It details the annual sittings at the Old Bailey and the subsequent journey of the condemned from Newgate Prison to Tyburn. The paragraph paints a vivid picture of the event, mentioning the grandstands, the behavior of the crowd, and the various activities that took place during the Tyburn Fayre. It also touches on the protocol for executing women, emphasizing the concern for public decency.

🏃‍♂️ Jack Sheppard: The Notorious Escapist

The story of Jack Sheppard, a notorious burglar and escapist, is recounted in this paragraph. Born in Spittalfields, Sheppard began his life of crime after becoming disillusioned with his apprenticeship as a carpenter. His daring escapes from various prisons, including Spittlefield’s Roundhouse and Newgate Prison, made him a celebrity among the public. Despite multiple escapes, Sheppard was eventually captured and hanged at Tyburn at the age of 22. His attempts to avoid execution and the public's reaction to his hanging are also discussed.

🥊 The Violent End of Jonathan Wild

Jonathan Wild, known as the Thief Taker General, is the subject of this paragraph. Wild profited from capturing and convicting highwaymen, earning rewards and pardons for his own crimes. His eventual downfall came when he was arrested, found guilty, and sentenced to death at the Old Bailey. His execution was marked by public hatred, with the crowd throwing excrement and dead animals at him during his journey to Tyburn. Despite his attempts to avoid his fate, Wild was hanged, but rumors circulated about the disposition of his body afterward.

😢 Tragic Tales from the Triple Tree

The paragraph concludes with several tragic stories from the Tyburn gallows. It recounts the execution of Joseph Harris, a 15-year-old boy sentenced to death for theft, and the public's somber reaction to his hanging. It also tells the story of Hannah Dagoe, an Irish woman who fiercely resisted her execution, and the account of a man who survived an arrow to the knee in medieval times. The paragraph ends with a reflection on the disparity between the punishments for the rich and the poor in the legal system of the time.

Tyburn refers to a historical execution site in London used from the 12th to the 18th centuries. It gained notoriety for the mass executions that took place there, particularly by hanging. In the script, Tyburn is discussed in depth, including its origins from a stream's name, its evolution as a major site for public executions, and its transformation into a symbol of capital punishment in England. The Triple Tree, a notable gallows, symbolizes Tyburn's unique place in English legal and social history.
💡Triple Tree
The Triple Tree was a form of gallows used at Tyburn, designed to execute multiple people simultaneously. This structure symbolizes the industrial scale of capital punishment at the time. In the video, the Triple Tree is described as a means to hang up to 24 individuals at once, underscoring the mass nature of executions and the spectacle they became, known as the 'Tyburn fayre.'
💡Execution Dock
Execution Dock was another execution site in London, specifically used for pirates. Unlike Tyburn, the script notes that condemned pirates were hanged at low tide, and their bodies left to be washed over by the tide multiple times. This method highlights the variety of execution practices and the particular infamy reserved for piracy during this period.
💡Waltham Black Act
The Waltham Black Act, mentioned in the script, was a significant piece of legislation passed in 1723, creating over 50 capital crimes, many relating to poaching and property rights. This Act illustrates the harshness and breadth of capital punishment in 18th-century England, where minor offenses could result in death. It reflects the historical context of legal severity and its societal implications discussed in the video.
💡Hangman's Knot
The Hangman's Knot, as described in the script, is a type of knot specifically used in hangings. It exemplifies the technical and procedural aspects of executions. The script explores the different methods of hanging and how the knot plays into the effectiveness and cruelty of the punishment, contributing to the overall theme of the history and evolution of execution methods.
💡Seduction and Rebellion
These terms refer to the reasons why individuals, like William Fitz Osbert, were executed. Fitz Osbert, known for rising against unfair taxes, represents those who were put to death not just for criminal acts but for challenging authority. This reflects the broader narrative in the script about how capital punishment was used as a tool for social and political control.
💡Jack Sheppard
Jack Sheppard was a notorious English thief and escape artist in the early 18th century. His repeated escapes from prison and eventual execution at Tyburn are detailed in the script, illustrating the public's fascination with criminal figures and the punitive measures taken against them. His story serves as an example of the complex relationship between the public, the criminal justice system, and sensational crimes during this era.
💡Public Decency
Public decency is mentioned in the context of executions, especially regarding the treatment of female convicts. The script discusses how, even in the act of public execution, efforts were made to maintain a certain level of decency, such as tying down a woman's dress. This contradiction highlights the complex social norms surrounding the spectacle of public executions.
The term 'highwayman' refers to robbers who targeted travelers on public roads. The script ends with the mention of John Austin, the last person executed at Tyburn, who was a highwayman. This serves to underscore the variety of crimes and social classes of those executed and reflects on the romanticized view of highwaymen in contrast to the brutal reality of their fate.
💡Arrow to the Knee
This phrase, popularized by the video game Skyrim, is used in the script to transition into a discussion on medieval injuries and survival. The video explores the literal and figurative impacts of such an injury in medieval times, including the medical, social, and personal consequences of being wounded in this way. This ties back to the theme of historical pain and punishment, bridging the gap between past and present cultural references.

Tyburn, an execution site in London, was in use for 600 years and was also known as the Triple Tree or the Triple Hanging Tree.

It is estimated that up to 50,000 people were hanged at Tyburn alone.

The Tyburn stream, from which the execution site gets its name, once provided fresh water and was a site for sport fishing.

Hanging as a form of execution was introduced to England by the Saxons, but was temporarily banned by William the Conqueror.

The first recorded execution at Tyburn was in 1196, with William Fitz Osbert being executed for sedition against Richard the Lionheart's heavy taxation.

The infamous Tyburn Triple Tree allowed for the simultaneous hanging of up to 24 people.

Public executions at Tyburn became a spectacle known as the Tyburn Fayre, where people would gather to watch the hangings.

The Waltham Black Act of 1723 introduced the death penalty for over 350 criminal acts, including many minor offenses.

Jack Sheppard, a notorious criminal and escapologist, was hanged at Tyburn at the age of 22 after a series of daring prison escapes.

Jonathan Wild, known as the Thief Taker General, profited from capturing and executing criminals, but was eventually hanged himself.

Hannah Dagoe, an Irish woman, was hanged at Tyburn after attacking the hangman and throwing her clothes into the crowd.

Joseph Harris, a 15-year-old boy, was hanged for the theft of two half sovereigns and some silver, highlighting the harshness of the justice system.

Public executions at Tyburn ceased in 1783 due to the wealthy class's objections to the disruption caused by the Tyburn Fayre.

The history of Tyburn and its executions provide a stark contrast between the treatment of the rich and the poor under the law.

The video also explores the hypothetical scenario of surviving an arrow to the knee in medieval times, based on the game Skyrim's popular phrase.

Medieval soldiers could protect their knees with padded hose, leather, or even plate armor poleyns, which were steel kneecaps.

The book 'Medicine in the Crusades' mentions a knee brace made of copper alloy strips on leather, which could have been used for mobility after knee injuries.

Despite severe injuries, people in the medieval period adapted and found ways to continue living, such as using crutches and slings.

The video concludes with a call to like, share, and subscribe for more historical insights and Patreon support.

Rate This

5.0 / 5 (0 votes)

Thanks for rating: