Sunday, 28 January 2018

Lichfield's Last Execution

June 1st 1810 is an inauspicious date in history. Indeed the whole year lacks any real major milestones - Napoleon was being Napoleon, Lord Byron went swimming, Chopin's mother went into labour with Frederick, Moose went extinct in the Caucasus, and in Ruthwell in Scotland the Rev Henry Duncan opened the world's first commercial savings bank.

Meanwhile in Lichfield an open cart leaves the Guildhall. From there the procession passes up Boar Street and St John's Street to Gallows Wharf with the Sheriff of Lichfield leading the procession. Here, by the canal bridge on London Road, John Never, William Wightman and James Jackson were, as the local paper termed it at the time, "allowed to say their piece before being despatched to eternity".

The men had earlier been convicted of uttering forged banknotes to a Mr Marshall, a draper in the city of Lichfield. These were the last three men to be executed in the city of Lichfield.

Of particular note is those last words spoken of. Someone, or someones, managed to make note of their last words and within days on sale courtesy of Mr Lomax's Printing Works. Based in Lichfield on the corner of Bird Street and Market Street, these words of wisdom were available for an old penny.

Note the canal was filled in years ago. However there are plans to reinstate this historic stretch of canal and work has already started as can be seen on their website.

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