Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 Lives of Remarkable Criminals: Richard Trantham


a Housebreaker

Though vices and extravagancies are the common causes which induce men to fall into those illegal practices which lead to a shameful death, yet now and then it happens we find men of outward gravity and serious deportment as wicked as those whose open licenciousness renders their committing crimes of this sort the less amazing.

Of the number of these was Richard Trantham, a married man, having a wife and child living at the time of his death, keeping also a tolerable house at Mitcham in Surrey. He had been apprehended on the sale of some stolen silk, and the next sessions following was convicted of having broken the house of John Follwell, in the night-time, two years before, and taking thence a silver tankard, a silver salver, and fifty-four pounds of Bologna silk, valued at L74 and upwards. During the time which passed between the sentence and execution he behaved in a manner the most penitent and devout, not only making use of a considerable number of books which the charity of his friends had furnished him with, but also reading to all those who were in the condemned hold with them.

The morning he was to die, after having received the Sacrament, he was exhorted to make a confession of those crimes which he had committed, particularly as to housebreaking, in which he was thought to have been long concerned; thereupon he recollected himself a little, and told of six or seven houses which he had broken open, particularly General Groves's near St. James's; a stone-cutter in Chiswell Street; and Mr. Follwell's in Spitalfields, for which he died. At the place of execution, whither he was conveyed in a mourning coach, he appeared perfectly composed and submissive to that sentence which his own misdeeds and the justice of the Law had brought upon him. Before the halter was put about his neck, he spoke to those who were assembled at the gallows to see his death, in the following terms:

Good People,

Those wicked and unlawful methods by which, for a considerable time, I have supported myself, have justly drawn upon me the anger of God, and the sentence of the Law. As I have injured many and the substance I have is very small, I fear a restitution would be hard to make, even if it should be divided. I therefore leave it all to my wife for the maintenance of her and my child. I entreat you neither to reflect on her nor on my parents, and pray the blessing of God upon you all.

He was thirty years old when he died and was executed the same day with the malefactor afore-mentioned.

Source: Hayward, Lives of the Most Remarkable Criminals