William Marwood Executioner

“Modern Improvements and Murder “

WRITING on the above subject in the December issue of “Men Only,” Mr. Alan Brock makes the following interesting statement :—


“But perhaps, after all, the modern improvements that are of the greatest importance to the convicted murderer are those introduced by William Marwood, the Horncastle cobbler, who succeeded Calcraft in the office of hangman, or, as he preferred it executioner.

“He it was who after many years’ study of the subject, propounded the theory of the “long drop”, nicely proportioned to the subject’s weight.

“By this the first three cervical vertebrae are broken or dislocated, although it is doubtful if he would have so expressed it.

“In his letter to the authorities, he claimed that by his method instantaneous death would take the place of slow strangulation.

“He gave a successful demonstration of his method when he performed his execution in Lincoln Gaol in 1871, and three years later was appointed execution to the City of London and Middlesex.

“Marwood undoubtedly raised the status of hangman, as well as doing away with a great deal of unnecessary suffering.”

Source: Skegness Standard 9th December 1936

Note: See also Hangman’s Letter Auctioned

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