British Executions

Will Maw

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Crime: robbery

Date Of Execution: 29 Oct 1711

Crime Location:

Execution Place: unknown

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown



Having committed a Robbery, Maw ordered his Wife to organise a Mock Funeral, so that People should think he was dead. He was executed at Tyburn in October 1711

 THIS noted villain, aged fifty years when he was hanged, was born at Northallerton, in Yorkshire, from whence he came to London, at about twenty years of age, and served his apprenticeship with a cabinetmaker, and for a great while followed that occupation in the parish of St Giles's Cripplegate, where he dwelt for above eighteen years together; and for many years before his death, having left off working at his trade, he maintained himself by some illegal ways of living, such as the buying of stolen goods, and thereby encouraging thieves and robbers. He had also been addicted to coining, and for some of his irregular actions had a fine of ten pounds laid upon him in September, 1705, was burned in the hand in April 1710, and in September following, and twice ordered to hard labour in Bridewell.

 Having once committed a robbery, for which he was afraid to be apprehended, when he lived in Golden Lane he pretended to be very sick at home, and ordered his wife to give out that he was dead. His wife, being a cunning baggage, so ordered the matter that she cleanly executed his command, bought him a coffin, invited about forty or fifty neighbours to the funeral, and followed the corpse in a mournful condition, as if her poor husband had been dead indeed. As they were coming by the Red Cross ale-house, at the end of Red Cross Street, to St Giles's Churchyard, near Cripplegate, some company who were drinking at the door were inquisitive to know who was dead, and told it was old Maw, whom they knew very well. About five years afterwards one of those persons who were drinking, as aforesaid, was a prisoner in Wood Street Compter for debt, and Maw coming in also a little after him the former person was so surprised at the latter that at first he had not power to speak to him; but at length recovering some courage, as dreading he had seen a ghost, quoth he: "Is not your name Maw, sir?" Maw replied: "Yes, sir; as sure as your name is Watkins." The other said again: "Why, I thought you had been dead and buried five years ago!" "Yes," replied Maw," so I was, in trespasses and sins." "But I mean," said Watkins, "laid yourself corporally in the grave." "No," replied Maw, "I was not dead; but being at that time under some troubles, I was at the charge of a coffin to save my neck, and my wife gave out I was really defunct, supposing then my adversaries would not look for me in my grave."

 After a long course of iniquities Maw was at last committed to Newgate himself, and at the ensuing sessions convicted of five indictments; and on Wednesday, the 29th of October, 1711 , he met with the punishment he so well deserved, at the usual place of execution.