Pirate Executions in Early Modern London

To get this blog going, here’s a guest-post I did for English Legal History back in July. In a nutshell, this is what I’m researching.

English Legal History

In the East London neighborhood of Wapping behind the Town of Ramsgate Pub lies a replica of a noose and hanging scaffold. This commemorates Execution Dock, most famous as the spot where pirates were hung for their crimes in early modern London.  Execution Dock was a place of execution for over four hundred years: the last execution to take place there was 1830.  Execution Dock served as the site for all fatally condemned maritime criminals, but the cruelest treatment was reserved for those to be hung for piracy.

‘A Perspective View of the River Thames’, 1780 (Photo courtesy of National Maritime Museum, PAD1370)

During the early modern period, the vast majority of criminals who awaited a fatal punishment were jailed in Newgate (now the location of the Old Bailey Central Criminal Court) and carted to Tyburn for a public hanging (now the location of Marble Arch).  Pirates and other maritime…

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About Rebecca Simon

A California-girl based in London working on a PhD in early modern Atlantic history at King's College London: piracy, executions, British law. https://twitter.com/beckalex
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