British Executions

James Ratcliffe

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 9 Sep 1843

Crime Location:

Execution Place: Chester

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown


James Ratcliffe was convicted of the murder of his wife Elizabeth Ratcliffe and sentenced to death but there is no indication that he was executed. He had stabbed her in the abdomen wife a knife on 22 June 1843.

They had been living together in Stockport in a state of unhappyness. James Ratcliffe had been a tabaconist but was discharged for being regularly intoxicated. However he had 3 children that were old enough to work in the factories to earn them money.

On the day of the murder James Ratcliffe had been behaving violently and then suddenly stabbed his wife without saying anything. She cried out 'Oh Mrs Swan, Im murdered' and then ran out of the house crying 'murder'. He tried to get away but was caught. When caught he said 'I hope to god that I have killed her, and then i'll die happy'.

On the night before his execution he was said to be restless and wished that it would take place at 8am instead of 12 noon.

The route between his death cell and the gallows erected outside Chest Gaol was athronged with vast multitudes of inhabitants waiting to see him pass. When he got to the condemmed cell he appeared nervous but after engaging in paryer with the chaplain there he calmed down and took off his clogs and slept soundly for 30 minutes. When he awoke he asked for a bowl of coffee which he was given. He was hanged in public infront of a massive croud which including relations and friends who were sat in the front who shreiked as he was launched into eternity.

see Yorkshire Gazette - Saturday 12 August 1843

see Sheffield Independent - Saturday 09 September 1843