Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tyburn - yes it is (was) real......

and so was Plunkett and cohort MacLeane. Who were those buggars?

The basic story of Plunkett & MacLeane as depicted in the movie of the same name is true, and very loosely based on fact - there really was a "Captain" James MacLaine, known as the "Gentleman Highwayman" as a result of his courteous behaviour during his robberies. Buggars with style, darling, buggars with style.

MacLeane really *did* die at Tyburn, though. more is the pity.

"Maclaine was eventually arrested when he tried to pawn lord Elgington's distinctive coat (ripped off during a hold-up on Hounslow Heath). Such was his position among the fashionable glitterati that following his capture in 1750, his trial at the Old Bailey court was a social occasion, while he reputedly received nearly 3,000 guests during his imprisonment in Newgate prison. Reputedly a great many high-society ladies, such as Lady Caroline Petersham and Miss Ashe, clamoured for an audience with him in his cell. Despite calls for MacLaine to be saved from the gallows, he was hanged at Tyburn on 3rd October of 1750, as to have spared him could have been viewed as "setting a bad example".

Johnny Lee Miller is way more hot than the 'real' sir, are in defecit. I see nothing noteworthy about your general appearance or physiognamy. In short, sir, I don't like the cut of your jib

Plunkett really was an apothecary, and eventually (probaby, anyway) made his way to America. (And may have even had a hand in the American Revolution.) As a side-note, there was actually aPlunkett executed at Tyburn - one Oliver Plunkett, 70 years prior who became a saint - thehighwayman William Plunkett made good his escape, leaving poor MacLeane to face the gallows alone. *puts on judgey McJudgerson hankie-o-doom* .....hung by the neck until dead, dead, DEAD.

And yes, the "Tyburn Tree" (as the gallows was called) at certain points in history really was a three sided structure.......and people did consider going to an execution a spectator sport. (eeew) The more graphic (and disturbing) "drawing and quartering" was also carried out at Tyburn (although this type of execution was not used on MacLeane) - as well as quite an assortment of other tortures I will not describe here. Tyburn was known as a place of execution as early as 1106 (earliest date milage varies), and was in use up to the late 1700's

(Check out "Tyburn Tree; It's History and Annals" by Alfred Marks if you want to find out more about Tyburn and its history.)

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