From the 17th century up until the mid 19th century people were being hanged for stealing as little as 5 shillings in value, this law was later referred to as “The Bloody Code”. In fact many people sentenced to death during this period were pardoned to be transported for periods of 7 or more years or even for life.
In the period 1800 – 1835, 84 people were hanged in Warwick, comprising 76 men and 8 women. A detailed breakdown is available in the attachment on this page.
Worthy of note
High Treason – coining was when a person was found guilty of filing or clipping coins that defaced the Monarch’s head.
Petty Treason was the charge for a woman that had murdered her husband (presumably because she had killed a potential soldier).
There is an interesting case of a man, Lancelot Cooper, who returned from transportation before the end of his sentence and was hanged in Warwick on the 25th April 1810 for his effort.
1836 to 1899
- A very significant change took place when Parliament passed the Prison Act of 1835. The effect of this Act saw the end of capital punishment for crimes other than murder or attempted murder, and Penal Servitude became the sentence for serious crimes other than murder.
- In the period 1836 to 1861, six men were executed for murder or attempted murder.
- A further change in the law came with the Prisons Act of 1861 when only murder remained a capital crime.
- In the period 1861 – 1899, ten people were hanged in Warwick, all men.
- The last person to be publicly hanged in Warwick was Henry Carter, on the 6th April 1863, for the murder of Elizabeth Hinkley.
- Transportation of prisoners ended in 1857 to be replaced by penal servitude.