Esoteric London

No. 182: Stroud Green Road, N4

Posted in Amusements, Crime and Punishment, Funereal, Shops by esotericlondon on November 9, 2010

Stroud Green Road, London, N4. Photo © Roger Dean 2010

Old and New London, A Narrative of its History, its People and its Places – Walter Thornbury, 1872-78:

The 1745 rebellion brought the heads of fresh victims to [Temple] Bar, and this was the last triumph of barbarous justice. Colonel Francis Towneley’s was the sixth; that of Fletcher (his fellow-officer), the seventh and last.

Fletcher, Towneley, and seven other unfortunate Jacobites were hanged on Kennington Common. Before the carts drove away, the men flung their prayer-books, written speeches, and gold-laced hats gaily to the crowd. Mr. James (Jemmy) Dawson, the hero of Shenstone’s touching ballad, was one of the nine. As soon as they were dead the hangman cut down the bodies, disembowelled, beheaded, and quartered them, throwing the hearts into the fire. A monster – a fighting-man of the day, named Buckhorse – is said to have actually eaten a piece of Townley’s flesh, to show his loyalty.

The heads of Fletcher and Townley were put on the Bar on August 12, 1746 . On August 15th Horace Walpole, writing to a friend, says he had just been roaming in the City, and passed under the new heads on Temple Bar, where people make a trade of letting spy-glasses at a halfpenny a look.

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