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‘Receive this as a voice from the dead ’: The final words of the English Hanged, 1840-68

Published onJun 03, 2022
‘Receive this as a voice from the dead ’: The final words of the English Hanged, 1840-68

 This article explores the final words of condemned prisoners who were executed in England between 1840 and 1868. Drawing on a sample of just over a hundred accounts of executions from the provincial press, we show how, although the majority of those sentenced to death died penitent, appearing resigned to their fate and offering warnings to others should they risk a similar demise, there was some deviation from this script. In particular, we focus on the role of chaplains in encouraging, if not cajoling, suitable contrition and penitence from the prisoners from the condemned cell to the gallows.

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