Performing capital punishment in an age of reform: the contentious death of Charles Bartlett

In April 1837, Charles Bartlett was executed at Gloucester Gaol for the murder of his mother-in-law. His execution was widely reported and became a subject of controversy. Not only had Bartlett theatrically declared his innocence from the gallows, but the behaviour of officers in charge of the spectacle drew comment. Abolitionists and opponents of public executions were appalled by the disorderly conduct of the hangman, the sheriff and the governor. In this article, Steve Poole explores how the death of Charles Bartlett led to heated debate over the reform of capital punishment.

The man who’d have blood for his supper: the killing of Henry Murray

'If the maintenance of order on the streets of early nineteenth century Bristol was never a simple matter, the constantly shifting presence of large visiting communities of seafaring Europeans cannot have made it any easier. With inns, lodging houses, streets and quays frequently awash with colourfully vibrant but uncustomary sights and sounds, social tensions and conflicts between host and 'outlandish' communities were rarely far beneath the surface. Often the detail of these cultural tensions went unrecorded but, as Steve Poole shows here, papers from a coroners inquest kept at the Bristol Record Office, bring them vividly back to life'.

A Malefactor Brought to Book

In 1821, John Horwood was charged with the murder of Eliza Balsam. The sentence followed an Act of Parliament which required the body of those convicted of murder be dissected and anatomised following the death sentence. In this article, John Lyes uncovers the curious and gruesome story of John Horwood’s body.