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May 24, 2011 / jmeuropeana

Jonathan Wild

On the 24th of May –

(while we’re on the subjectof executions) in 1725 Jonathan Wild, one of the most notorious thieves and con men of 18th century England, was executed at Tyburn. He ran one of the most successful gangs of thieves of the era, all the while appearing to be the nation’s leading policeman. As such he is the inspiration for many a ‘master criminal’ in literature, theatre and the movies.
Ticket for the execution of Jonathan Wild

House in the Old Bailey once the Residence of Jonathan Wild Title Series: European Magazine (Volume 63) VADS Collection: John Johnson Trades& Professions

Portrait of Jonathan Wild

Interestingly the reason for his hanging was not leading a major criminal organisation, but ‘receiving some stolen lace’ – an anachronistic echo of Al Capone’s conviction for tax evasion… Stll – at the time receiving stolen goods was a capital offense in its own right.

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