This is the story of those who ended up on the end of the hangman's rope at Norwich Castle Prison, Norwich City Prison on Earlham Road and the later Victorian Norwich Prison on Knox Road. The executions included in this book range from some of the earliest recorded in the county during the thirteenth century, then down the years including two gallows survivors and the execution of Kett and many of his rebels in 1549, to the last execution conducted in the county in 1951, when two young men went to the gallows for separate incidents but having committed the same crime - they both murdered their pregnant sweethearts.
Recorded here are executions for a host of forgotten cases and a cornucopia of crimes as diverse as highway robbery, housebreaking, riot, arson and theft of livestock. Norwich was the location for the hangings of such notorious criminals as Frances Billing and Catherine Frary `The Burnham Poisoners' - the last public double execution and last women to hang in the county; James Blomfield Rush, the Stanfield Hall Murderer; William Sheward, the murderer who confessed almost eighteen years after the murder and dismemberment of his wife; and Herbert Bennett, the Yarmouth Bootlace Murderer who may, or may not, have been guilty of his crime. Norwich Castle Prison was also the scene of one of the most infamous incidents in the history of British hangings and recalled with trepidation by all executioners who came after as `The Goodale Mess'.