Executions by Year and Sex about London Before 1840

face of a prisoner

Persons executed under death penalty, by year and by sex in London area (London and Middlesex). Includes data on sentences, reprieves, and execution type (hanging and burning).

The best data on executions in England before the mid-nineteenth century is for the London region. Sir Stephen T. Janssen, elected Lord Mayor of London in 1754, compiled yearly execution totals for London and Middlesex from 1749 to 1771.^ Pioneering prison reformer John Howard also compiled execution statistics for London and Middlesex that he included in an appendix in his monumental work, State of the Prisons.

Good data for executions in London (Middlesex) are available from 1695. Across those years executions average 31 per year, with a sex ratio of 10.6 males executed per female executed. Yearly total execution counts for 1608-1617 (averaged 70 executions per year) and 1625-1659 (averaged 36 executions per year) are also available. Almost all executions were by hanging. A few women were burnt for treason (killing their husbands).

Executions by year in England and Wales from 1715 to 1734 have been estimated from the London data. Based on data for later in the the eighteenth century, executions in London amounted to about 30% of all executions in England and Wales. That parameter is used to scale the London (Tyburn) executions yearly from 1715 to 1734. The Tyburn execution sex ratio for each year is then used to estimate separate counts for males and females executed in England and Wales as a whole.

Thanks to Dave Mossop and Richard Clarke for extraordinary work in collecting information on capital punishment in the UK.

Dataset sheets:

  • EW 1715-34: yearly executions in England and Wales by sex, 1715-1734, estimated from corresponding data for London 1715-1760
  • London-Middlesex 1695-1839: executions yearly by sex, with comparison of available data sources
  • London-Middlesex 1772-83: yearly executions by sex, with crime for which executed
  • Middlesex 1608-58: yearly executions
  • Tyburn detail 1695-1783: yearly death sentences and yearly executions, by means of execution and by sex, at Tyburn execution site (gallows)
  • Newgate 1783-99: yearly death sentences and yearly executions, by means of execution and by sex, at Newgate execution site (gallows)
  • other data: other published counts of capital convictions and executions in London in the long eighteenth century

Related datasets:

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