April 20th, 2015 Headsman
Bondy, today a Paris suburb, was in the Middle Ages a forest notorious for the bandits and murderers who laired in its leafy shadows — a reputation stretching back to antiquity. The Merovingian king Childeric II was assassinated while hunting there.
Just as the French Revolution swept away the titles and prerogatives left over from feudal Europe, it put the onetime thieves’ forest on the track to respectability. The golden age of the highwayman was rapidly closing anyway; as the 19th century unfolded, the lumberman, the railroad, and the police inspector combined to drain away the outlaw’s arboreal habitat.
Take the tram where angels once feared to tread. ((cc) image from gasdub.
But such transitions do not happen overnight, and on this date in 1824 were guillotined in Paris three representatives of this vanishing species — brigands from a ferocious gang who, in the words of their executioners’ memoirs, “excelled in the art of waylaying stage-coaches, and killing the passengers if they refused to give up their money.”
Renaud, Ochard and Delaporte were their names; five others of their band had received sentences of life in prison at hard labor.
On this day..
- 2017: Ledell Lee - 2017
- 1785: Alexander Stewart, the first to hang at the Tolbooth - 2016
- 1963: Julian Grimau, the last casualty of the Spanish Civil War - 2014
- 1945: The children of Bullenhuser Damm - 2013
- 1954: Michael Manning, the last hanged in Ireland - 2012
- 1534: Elizabeth Barton, the Holy Maid of Kent - 2011
- 2004: Abdullah Shah, Zardad's dog - 2010
- 1994: Rwandan Queen Dowager Rosalie Gicanda, and six attendants - 2009
- 1622: Antonio di Nicolo Foscarini - 2008