TYBURN WAS A NOTABLE PLACE, OF WHERE PEOPLE WHO COMMITTED TREASON WOULD MEET THEIR DEATH. EXECUTIONS WERE PUBLIC, AND PEOPLE WOULD COME SOMETIMES FROM ALL OVER AND SPECTATED WHILE THE EXECUTION WAS IN PROCESS.
Tyburn is a village in the county of Middlesex, near the Southern end of Edgware Road in present-day London. It had taken the name Tyburn, from Tyburn Brook, a tributary of the River Westbourne. A William FitzOsbert, or “William with the Beard”,was first man to be recorded to of been hanged for sedition in 1196.
The Elms near Tybourne was called "the King's Gallows". Thus, Tyburn from the beginning was clearly going to be place of the King's gallows for London and Middlesex criminals. For centuries, it was place of capital punishments for traitors. In the 18th Century it was known as a place of 'God's Tribunal'. When Public executions took place at Tyburn, the prisoners were usually processed from Newgate Prison in the City, via St Giles.
In 1537, Henry VIII used Tyburn to execute the ringleaders of the Pilgrimage of Grace. This included Sir Nicholas Tempest, who was one of the northern leaders of the Pilgrimage and the King's own Bowbearer of the Forest of Bowland.
In 1571, the Tyburn Tree was erected near the modern Marble Arch. The "Tree" or "Triple Tree" was a novel form of gallows, consisting of a horizontal wooden triangle supported by three legs (an arrangement known as a "three-legged mare" or "three-legged stool")
The executions were public spectacles. They proved to be very extremely popular, attracting crowds of thousands. The enterprising villagers of Tyburn erected large spectator stands so that as many as possible could see the hangings (for a price/fee)
It’s important to clarify, that sometimes criminals were also executed and then hung in chains where their crime was committed.
THE DAY OF EXECUTION
40% of those who could not get a pardon for their crime, would be executed. The Sunday before execution, a sermon who be preached in Newgate prison. Even then strangers were willing to pay a fee to come and be present at this.
The journey of the convicts started from Newgate prison. It’s was about three miles, from Newgate to Tyburn. They were all put into a horse-drawn open cart and taken to Tyburn. It’s could take up to three hours as the street could be full of people watching, out of curiosity. They would stop of the cart was at the Bowl Inn, in St Giles, where the prisoners could drink strong spirits or wine, in order not to be too conscious of their destiny.
Once they got to Tyburn, the prisoners found themselves in front of a crowded and noisy square. Rich people even paid to sit on the stands erected for the occasion, in order, to have an unobstructed view. Before the execution, the prisoners were, allowed to say a few words to the crowd, most expected to admit their guilt.
There was a noose that was placed around their neck. Then a cart pulled away. Death was not straightaway the fight against strangulation could last for nearly an hour. It is fascinating to note that, even on these occasions, there were instances of pickpocketing in the crowd, People were that distracted with the process of the execution to be aware.
After the executions, the bodies would be buried nearby or in later times removed for dissection by anatomists. The crowd would sometimes fight over a body with surgeons for different reasons. there were fights between the pickpockets and the surgeons, who wanted the bodies for medical research Some people even had a fear, that if the body was dismemberment, that this could prevent the resurrection of the body on Judgement Day.
In 1752, the authorities adopted the Murder Act, which established that 'any corpse of people hanged for wilful murder would be given to surgeons to be dissected and examined'.
PEOPLE EXECUTED IN TYBURN FROM 1196-1685