Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 Lives of Remarkable Criminals: John Tyrrel


a Horse-dealer and a Murderer

John Tyrrell, the first of these malefactors, was convicted for stealing two horses in Yorkshire, but selling them in Smithfield he was tried at the Old Bailey. It seem she had been an old horse-stealer as most people conjecture, though he himself denied it, and as he pretended at his trial to have bought those two for which he died at Northampton Fair, so he continually endeavoured to infuse the same notions into all persons who spoke to him at the time of his death. He had practised carrying horses over into Flanders and Germany, and there selling them to persons of the highest rank, with whom he always dealt so justly and honourably that, as it was said, his word would have gone there for any sum whatsoever that was to be laid out in horse-flesh.

He had been bred up a Dissenter, and above all things affected the character of a religious and sober man, which excepting the instances for which he died, he never seemed to have forfeited; for whatever else was said against him after he was condemned, arose merely from conjectures occasioned by the number of horses he had sold in foreign parts. He himself professed that he had always led a most regular and devout life, and in the frequent voyages he made by sea, exhorted the sailors to leave that dissolute manner of life which too generally they led. During the whole time he lay under sentence, he talked of nothing else but his own great piety and devotion, which though, as he confessed, it had often been rewarded by many singular deliverances through the hand of Providence, yet since he was suffered to die this ignominious death and thereby disgrace his family and altogether overturn that reputation of sanctity with which so much pains himself had been setting up, he inclined to atheistic notions, and a wavering belief as to the being of a God at all.

As for the other malefactor, William Hawksworth, he was a Yorkshireman by birth. His parents, reputable people who took a great care in his reputation, intended to breed him to some good trade, but a regiment of soldiers happening to come into the town, Hawksworth imagining great things might be attained to in the army, would needs go with them, and accordingly listed himself. But having run through many difficulties and much hardships, finding also that he was like to meet with little else while he wore a red coat, he took a great deal of pains and made much interest to be discharged. At last he effected it, and a gentleman kindly taking him to live with him as a footman, he there recovered part of that education which he had lost while in the army. There, also, he addicted himself for some time to a sober and quiet life, but soon after giving way to his old roving disposition, he went away from his master, and listed himself again in the army in one of the regiments of Guards.

His behaviour the last time of his being in the service was honest and regular, his officers giving him a very good character, and nobody else a bad one; but happening to be one day commanded on a party to mount guard at the Admiralty Office, by Charing Cross, they met a man and woman. The man's name was John Ransom, and this Hawksworth stepping up to the woman and going to kiss her, Ransom interposed and pushed him off, upon which Hawksworth knocked him down with the butt end of his piece, by which blow about nine o'clock that evening he died.

The prisoner insisted continually that as he had no design to kill the man it was not wilful murder. He and Tyrrell died with less confusion and seeming concern than most malefactors do. Tyrrell was about thirty and Hawksworth in the twenty-eighth year of his age, on the 17th of June, 1723.

Source: Hayward, Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals