Bristol Executions

A list of people executed in Bristol in the 1700s and 1800s. The information includes the names, crimes and date of execution.

Name Crime When Executed
Samuel Goodere Murdering Sir John Dineley Goodere March 30, 1741
Matthew Mahoney Murdering Sir John Dineley Goodere March 30, 1741
Charles White Murdering Sir John Dineley Goodere March 30, 1741
Jane Williams Murdering her Child April 30, 1741
William Nicholas (a boy) Poisoning his Mistress April 23, 1748
Jones and Jackson Highway Robbery April 23, 1752
____ Scudamore Returning from Transportation April 23, 1752
Arnold and Critchley Nameless Offence May 7, 1753
___ Hobbs Murder August 24, 1758
Wm. Delan Sheppard Nameless Offence May 24, 1761
Patrick Ward Shooting the Warner October 16, 1761
William Dawson Robbery April 16, 1764
___ Slack Horse Stealing April 16, 1768
John Faulkner (Drummer) Shot on Brandon Hill December 10, 1771
Jonathan Brittan Forgery May 15, 1772
Isaac Dannett Forgery April 2, 1774
Daniel Haynes Housebreaking Sept. 22, 1775
Thomas Crewys Forgery May 15, 1778
B. Loveday and J. Burke Nameless Offence October 12, 1781
Shenkin Protheroe Gibbetted on Durdham Down March 31, 1783
George Game Hung on Bedminster Down March 31, 1783
William Shuttler Housebreaking May 23, 1783
Wm. Williams alias Motley Forgery May 23, 1783
___ Randall Hung at Totterdown May 23, 1784
John Collins Murder April 8, 1785
Abrose Cook Robbery October 6, 1786
Edward Macnamara Forgery May 7, 1790
William Hungerford Housebreaking July 9, 1790
Robert Hamblington Housebreaking May 3, 1793
Benjamin Smith Forgery April 24, 1795
Powell, Duggan, and Baber Forgery April 26, 1799
R. Haynes Shooting at the Officers April 25, 1800
Robert Maynard Housebreaking May 1, 1801
Duncan McLachlin Forgery May 1, 1801
Capt. W. Howie Sinking a Vessel May 8, 1801
Maria Davis Murdering Davis’s Child April 2, 1802
Charlotte Bobbett Same as Above April 2, 1802
William Badger Forgery April 30, 1802
Jesse Minnett Horse Stealing April 22, 1803
Hugh M’Quire Forging a Seaman’s Order April 22, 1803
Joseph Tyso Forgery April 26, 1805
William Carter Forgery April 26, 1816
John Horwood Murder April 13, 1821
Richard Millard Forgery May 2, 1828
William Walker Housebreaking April 29, 1831
William Clark Rioting and Arson January 27, 1832
Thomas Gregory Rioting and Arson January 27, 1832
Joseph Kayes Rioting and Arson January 27, 1832
Christopher Davis Rioting and Arson January 27, 1832
Mary Ann Burdock Murder by Poison April 15, 1835
Sarah Harriet Thomas Murder April 20, 1849

You can also see some 20th Century Bristol executions.

Sir John Dineley Goodere

There are two other appalling murders connected with this parish which may be here mentioned. The first was that of Sir John Dineley Goodere, Bart., by his brother, Captain Samuel Goodere, Matthew Mahoney, and Charles White, committed on board His Majesty’s Ship, the “Ruby,” man-of-war, then lying in King-road. The murderers assembled at the “White Hart,” an ale-house near the foot of College Green, way-laid and seized their victim in open day, and conveyed him by water to the ship, where they murdered him by strangulation, January 19th, 1740-1. Of this barbarous crime the perpetrators were found guilty, and executed at St. Michael’s Hill gallows, on Wednesday, the 15th of April following, confessing the fact.

The next murder referred to was that of Mrs. Frances Ruscombe and her maid-servant, Mary Champness, otherwise Sweet, which was committed September 28th, 1764. This revolting crime, too, was perpetrated in open day, “whilst the people in numbers were passing and repassing the door behind which were the bodies, and that within a few yards of the cathedral and during divine service; and yet, from that moment even to this, the whole matter was, and is involved in total darkness, and so will now probably remain to the Day of Judgment.” The authors of this foul deed have never been discovered.

Mary Ann Burdock formerly Wade

“The relations of a woman named Smith, having heard nothing of her for upwards of a year, were induced to make enquiries respecting her in Bristol, whither she had gone to reside. Finding that she had died suddenly upwards of twelve months before, and that the persons, at whose house she had lodged, could give no satisfactory account of her death, nor of the property of which she was known to have been possessed, a suspicion arose, strengthened by the character of the parties, that she had been unfairly dealt with. Under these circumstances, the disinterment of the body was determined upon. This was accordingly done; the body was opened, the intestinal viscera taken out, their condition examined, and a portion of their contents analyzed. In consequence of the discovery of arsenic in the stomach, the investigation proceeded. The purchase of arsenic by the accused, the persons by whom it might have been obtained for her, the druggist from whom it was bought, were next inquired into. Then the circumstances preceding the deceased’s illness, the nature of her food and medicine, the hand from which she received it, and the servants who waited upon her, were ascertained: and finally, the amount of the deceased’s property, the circumstances of the accused before and after the death, and the inducements to commit, and increase of wealth, &c., likely to follow such a murder, were taken into consideration.

“The enquiry therefore related to the establishment of four points. 1. The identification of the body. 2. The cause of death. 3. (Assuming it to have been by poison), the person administering the poison. 4. Whether the poison was wilfully administered.

“The first point was proved by the undertaker who supplied the coffin—by the carpenter who screwed it down—by the sexton, who can tell from appearances that the grave has never been disturbed—by the nephew of the deceased, and by two of her fellow-lodgers, who speak to the height of her figure, colour of her hair, and marks upon her stockings.

“The second point was also proved, by the evidence of Dr. Riley, and Dr. Symonds, physicians, and by Mr. Kelson, surgeon, who recognize effects upon the viscera, which might have been produced by arsenic—by Mr. Herapath, who analysed a small portion of the contents of the stomach, and discovered five grains of sulphuret of arsenic—and again, by the medical men, who stated the quantity present to be sufficient to cause death.

“To establish the third point, it was proved that an individual had bought sulphuret of arsenic of a druggist who was in evidence, and that Mrs. Wade, the lodging-house keeper, alone administered food to the deceased. This third point was not proved; the arsenic not having been traced from the druggist’s shop into Mrs. Wade’s hands.

“Upon the last point it was shewn—that Mrs. Wade had cautioned the servant not to taste food after the deceased—that she was singularly anxious, against her apparent interest, to detain the deceased in her lodgings—that the deceased had received £S00 before her death—that the Wades became suddenly rich after that event—and that therefore there were inducements to commit, and appearances likely to follow the commission of such a murder.

“Upon these considerations, which were very clearly stated by the coroner, the jury returned a verdict of ‘ Wilful Murder’ against Mrs. Burdock, formerly Wade.”

Mary Ann Burdock was tried at the Bristol General Assize, April 10th, 11th, and 13th, 1835, and being found guilty of the above crime, that of poisoning Mrs. Clara Ann Smith, was executed at Bristol on Wednesday, April 15th, two days afterwards.