Jack Sheppard, Burglary

Ah, now here's a good one. Jack Sheppard, once referred to as "a youth both in age and person, tho' an old man in sin." [1] He broke into and burgled many homes, as well as many other crimes. He got away from us once, didn't you Jack?

"Ah, hell. So this is that tour, eh? Yes, I escaped once from the Castle here. I meant to go and chop down the gallows so's they couldna kill me. Didn't get to do it, though."

And why don't you tell these nice folks about your crimes...

"My crimes? I'm innocent, of course. Aren't we all innocent here on Death Row? Isn't that right, boys! Seriously, though, I can't remember half of them, but I'll tell you what I can recall.

"I once broke into a man's house -- Mr. Baines, I think his name was -- and no one could figure out how I done it. Boy, that one kept me warm at night. I took up the iron bars at the cellar window and after I'd stole em blind, I nailed them bars right back down, so's Mr. Baines never know'd I was in there. They thought some woman staying there done it.

" Another time, there was a whole crowd a folks standin' around watchin this man yell at a lady cause he thought she'd tried to steal his watch. So, me and a buddy of mine, we saw this and couldn't help ourselves. We stole his watch. All of a sudden, they was all screamin, "Stop thief!," and chasin us down the road. I got picked up and took to St. Anne's Round-house in Soho, then the next morning they took me to the judge and then to New-prison. I escaped from there, too, you know.

"Got caught again, though, for stealin some other stuff. Got off on the first two at the trial, but they got me on the third. But I escaped again. They can't keep me here! Ha!"




Yes, yes, Jack, we all know...you're going to escape again.

Actually, he won't. He'll be executed at Tyburn on Monday, November 16th, 1724. He will be sorely missed. Never was there another felon in England whose adventures have caused such a clamor as Sheppard's. There have even been stories written about him. Now that's impressive. And of course, we'll talk a bit more about Mr. Sheppard here when we get to the "Pardons and Other Ways Out" portion of our tour.[2]

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