Crime: highway robbery
Date Of Execution: 4 Feb 1757
Execution Place: Colliers End
Comment At the Assizes for Hertfordshire opened in Hertford on Monday, 11th April 1757, John Gatward (otherwise John Gard Green) was found guilty of the highway robbery of John Pink in the parish of West Hill on 4 February 1757: robbing him of 1 brown and 1 black gelding (each valued at £15), the property of Elizabeth Gatward, of Royston: a leathern mail (valued at 20/-) and 5 leather bags (valued at 5/-), the property of His Majesty the King. (PRO reference ASSI 35/197/3) This was a robbery of the North Mail. A second indictment charges him with the robbery of the content of the mails. He was found guilty and ordered to be hanged near the spot where the offence had occurred and afterwards his body to be hanged in chains - this was usual in cases of Mail robbery. The Sheriff of Hertfordshire paid for a gibbet to be erected (I think something like 16 guineas) having sent out some of his officers to find a suitable place. (PRO reference T90/150)
Gatward was executed on Wednesday, 27th April 1757 at Colliers End, 2 miles from Puckeridge at about 2 in the afternoon. After he had hung for 40 minutes his body was taken down, put in chains and put on the gibbet, 7 yards from the ground. This is reported in both the London Chronicle and the Kentish Post.