Surrey Executions lists in chronological order all the criminals hanged in the county during the nineteenth century. It opens in the era of the Bloody Code, when there were more than two hundred capital crimes on the statute book and executions took place in public on the roof of Horsemonger Lane Gaol, often with crowds of several thousand watching. In the early years of the century, the condemned were guilty of crimes such as highway robbery, rape, arson and sheep theft. Others included Colonel Despard and his fellow conspirators who were executed for treason and coiners Benjamin and Sarah Herring, the first of two married couples to stand together on the scaffold. It was not until 1836 that William Harley became the last Surrey villain to hang for a crime other than murder. The notorious murders described include those committed by Frederick and Maria Manning who murdered a friend, Dr Lamson who poisoned his brother-in-law, Catherine Webster who killed her employer and baby farmer Margaret Waters. In the closing years of the Victorian age, executions were carried out away from the public gaze, behind the walls of Wandsworth Gaol. This thoroughly researched work is enhanced by contemporary illustrations to provide a fascinating read.
Martin Baggoley was born in Eccles, Lancashire and after leaving the local grammar school he worked as a civil servant for a number of years. For a while he lived in Surrey and although he returned north he has retained strong links with the county. He has worked as a probation officer in Manchester for more than thirty years and gained a masters degree in criminology. He has had an interest in the history of crime and punishment and has written extensively on the subject for many magazines in the UK and USA. He is the author of several true crime books and is especially interested in the nineteenth century. He is married with two adult children and lives in Ramsbottom.