On this day March 18, 1789

Catherine Murphy was executed at Newgate prison on March 18, 1789, for coining. Her co-defendants, including her husband, were executed at the same time by hanging, but as a woman the law provided that she should be burnt at the stake.

She was brought out past the hanging bodies of eight men and made to stand on a foot high 10in square platform in front of the stake. She was secured to the stake with ropes and an iron ring. When she finished her prayers, the hangman piled faggots of straw around the stake and lit them.

According to testimony given by Sir Benjamin Hammett, then Sheriff of London, she was hanged before being burned. In part through his efforts, burning as a method of execution was abolished the next year.


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