Executions Yearly by Sex in England and Wales, 1715-1799

face of a prisoner

Penal executions in England and Wales, 1715-1799, by year and by sex. Includes data by region, and some data on earlier executions.

From 1715 to 1799 in England and Wales, 98 males and 6 females were executed on average per year as the penal punishment of death (death penalty). The ratio of males to females executed was 17.5. That sex ratio is higher than the sex ratio for imprisonment and banishment in the late-eighteenth century, but lower than the punishment sex ratio after World War II.

Executions per year varied from about 60 to numbers in the 200s. Total executions yer year were highest from 1783 to 1787. Across those years, executions averages 231 per year, with a execution sex ratio of 27.8. Soldiers returning from defeat in the American Revolution may have contributed to unrest from 1783 to 1787 and prompted increased use of the death penalty. The over-all incidence of punishment, 1783-1787, wasn’t extraordinarily high relative to the incidence of punishment from 1750 to 2010.

Counts of executions actually carried out (given above) are much different from counts of sentences to death. Many sentences to death, particular for women, were commuted through a variety of means. The Clark-Mossop execution data provide the best data on executions in England and Wales.

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

Dataset sheets:

  • combined: executions in England and Wales, by year and sex, 1715-1799
  • probable: executions in England and Wales, by year, 1735-1799, distinguished between confirmed and probable
  • females: females executed in England and Wales, 1735-1799, by year
  • regional: executions in England and Wales, by circuit, place, and year 1735-1799
  • regional checks: comparing counts in different sources for regions where such data are available
  • other data: executions statistics from region studies

Related datasets:

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