Newgate Calendar - PHILIP MATSELL


Executed August 22, 1806, at Birmingham, for Firing at and Wounding T. Twyford, a Watchman of that Town

            This notorious culprit was convicted of maliciously firing at and wounding T. Twyford, a watchman, in the Snow hill end of Great-Charles-street, Birmingham; and for which offence he was hanged on a scaffold erected near the spot where he committed the offence.

            The awful scene drew an immense concourse of spectators; but, by the active exertions of the police, assisted by a detachment of the king's own dragoons, the utmost regularity and good order were preserved. With regard to the unhappy criminal, we are sorry to state, that his conduct, from the time of his being apprehended up to the fatal moment of his punishment, exhibited no signs of repentance. When passing through the town to the place of execution, his countenance manifested the utmost indifference, and frequently was marked with a sneering smile. When arrived at the gallows, he resisted every endeavour to draw from him a confession of his guilt, declaring that he was not the man, but that he knew who was. He refused for a long time, to join in prayer with the clergyman who attended him; but at length selected a prayer from the communion service. Addressing himself to the wife of his brother, who was extremely distressed on the occasion, he asked her, abruptly, "What she cried for?" and when the executioner (who had also been condemned, but reprieved, and who was much more agitated than Matsell) was fixing the rope, Matsell desired him to be cautious how he placed it, as one side of his neck was rather sore. The time of preparation being expired, he gave the signal by throwing up his handkerchief, when the waggon on which the platform was erected, drew from under him, and he was launched into eternity.


Previous   Next