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  • Death of the Doctor December 31, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Death of the Doctor

    Poor old reverend William Dodd! Hanged in 1777 at Tyburn he was the last Englishman to be sentence to death for forgery. His trip to the gallows was greased by money. He was never able to make enough and yet he was always able to spend too much. In February 1777 he forged a bond […]

    Modesty and Killing November 27, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Modesty and Killing

    When Benito Mussolini was ‘executed’ (jolted out of a car by some communist partisans and shot in the chest in a ditch) he did not die alone. By his side was his lover and perhaps the most significant woman in his life, Clara Petacci. CP was gunned down a moment before Mussolini himself. The corpses […]

    Lord Ferrers and the Silk Rope September 28, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Lord Ferrers and the Silk Rope

    Beach read the following description of an execution this summer and it has remained in his mind so vividly that he thought that he would share it here. Lord Ferrers (obit deservedly 1760) was a bad lot who used to put fireworks in his wife’s bed (he loathed her) and eventually shot a steward who […]

    Torturing Guy June 21, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Torturing Guy

    At present, the Beachcombing family are under assault from a group of teenage toughs who have taken to ringing their bell in the evening and running off into the dark. Of course, the sensible thing would be to ignore the little idiots and hope that their antics don’t wake up the children. But Beachcombing never […]

    Last Words of the Executed May 27, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
    Last Words of the Executed

    Beachcombing will not deny it: he’s been in a real Last Words mood recently. So when a friendly book dealer sent him Robert K. Elder’s Last Words of the Executed he was hardly going to complain: even if, by a bizarre error of the printer’s art, the index had ended up being bound in the […]

    Review: A Handbook on Hanging September 10, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Review: A Handbook on Hanging

    Beachcombing recently stumbled upon and cannot now shut up about Charles Duff’s A Handbook on Hanging: Being a Short Introduction to the Fine Art of Execution (1928) in a Nonsuch reprint.*  Yes, it gives a caricature of the history of hanging, while also communicating the case for and against abolition back in the days when the […]

    Surviving Hanging June 20, 2010

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Surviving Hanging

                      Beachcombing has a file on ‘failed executions’: men and women who were sent to meet their maker but whom, thanks to chance, and, more often than not, the stupidity of their executioners, lived to die another day. Of course, survival rates were always small but the […]