Mr Arthur Lloyd contributes the fo lowing to the “ Entr’acte Annual A few months ago I was on tour am giving a concert at the C< rn Exchange Horncaslle, Lincolnshire. lam gene rally in the neighborhood of the pay box when I travel with my concer party ; and on the evening in question as I was at my customary place, some little time after the doors opened an elderly man, shortish rather, with irongrey whiskers and moustache, accompanied by a stout female, came up to me and presented a card, on which was printed William Manvood, executioner, Church lane, Horncastle.” Being a Crown official, I of course passed him in free. When I told the various members of my troupe that among the audience was a no less distinguished individual than England’s hangman, they no sooner came on the stage than they began to use their eyes in a manner as enterprising as it was comic. After the performance was over I found that he had waited to thank me for a most pleasant evening, and to say that he had been delighted with the whole entertainment, but more particularly with the drawing-room sketch in which Mrs Lloyd and myself had appeared. He supplemented this politeness by inviting me over to the neighboring hotel to have a drop with him; and when I expressed a hope that he didn’t mean his notorious “ long drop,” he grimly smiled. I accepted his invitation and accompanied him to the hotel. We had a cigar and a drink together, and during our conversation, 1 found him to be a most intelligent man. There was really nothing in his appearance which indicated his profession, except, perhaps, a very firmly-set lower jaw. lie talked with the greatest freedom concerning his sensational experiences, and told me how some of his best-known clients, such as Wainwright and Kate Webster, behaved during the little time he had the opportunity of knowing them. He also showed be his pinioning straps, assuring me that he always provided his own. Until this interview I had been under the impression that before he obtained his present appointment, Marwood had acted as assistant to Calcraft; but he assured me that such was not the case. I asked him if he was personally acquainted with his predecessor, and then he vouchsafed to me the information that he had seen him but once, and that that solitary interview was not altogether of a pleasant nature. I rather pressed him on this
point, and then he informed me that the only occasion on which he "had seen and spoken to Calcraft was once when , he had been taken to the house of the latter by a mutual friend ; that the old man was not over-rejoiced at the introduction, and was, in fact, anything but agreeable; told him that he did not : believe in the “ long drop,” nor in his (Marwood’s) style of doing business : j generally. I asked my informant if he had ever given the old man any offence 'that would justify his surliness, and he replied that the case, he thought, was this: —It seems that when Marwood was announced as the successor of Calcraft he received a letter from the ■old man telling him that he had no ■ right to take the appointment, as he (Calcraft) had promised the office to a “gentleman,” a friend of his, who was anxious to try his hand when Calcraft retired. This I thought very funny. .| suppose, though, that hangmen have their little affairs of honor like other
folks. During my stay in Horncastle I got to know that Marwood had been ‘‘ doing duty as a hangman some time before his neighbors knew of the circumstance, and it would have been a £ ; :t secret for some time longer but that a Horncastle man happened to be pre- • sent at an execution which took place • at some distant town, and on seeing 1 the operator recognised his fellow v townsman. The news spread like wild- . fire at Horncastle, and when Marwood , -arrived home he found himself the object of a few attentions which were more demonstrative than nice, and for some time after, when he started for or , came back from an execution, he was
■. followed about by people who showed their displeasure by hooting him, and by beating tin kettles, pots and pans. - This grew to a veritable. nuisance, so - bad that Marwood was compelled to • write to the Home Secretary claiming
protection. After he had done this the 'head of the Horncastle police was , communicated with, and since that time Marwood has been permitted to depart from and return to this town ■ without molestation; in fact, he walks '- about the place without attracting any “special attention. I noticed that his fellow townsmen greeted him in an un--1 marked but friendly manner, and he appeared to be on good terms with everybody. He keeps a shoemaker’s shop, and is comfortably off, owning several houses in Horncastle.
Permanent link to this item
MARWOOD INTERVIEWED., Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 637, 16 May 1882
MARWOOD INTERVIEWED. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 637, 16 May 1882
Using This Item
See our copyright guide for information on how you may use this title.