1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Tyburn

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

TYBURN, a small left-bank tributary of the river Thames, England, now having its course entirely within London and below ground. The name, which also occurs as Aye-bourne, is of obscure derivation, though sometimes stated to signify Twy-burn, i.e. (the junction of) two burns or streams. The Tyburn rose at Hampstead and ran south, crossing Regent's Park, striking the head of the modern ornamental water there. Its course is marked by the windings of Marylebone Lane, the dip in Piccadilly where that thoroughfare borders the Green Park and at times by a line of mist across the park itself. It joined the Thames at Westminster (q.v.). But the name is more famous in its application to the Middlesex gallows, also called Tyburn Tree and Deadly Never Green, and also at an early period, the Elms, through confusion with the place of execution of that name at Smithfield. The Tyburn gallows stood not far from the modern Marble Arch. Connaught Square is said by several authorities to have been the exact site, but it appears that so long as the gallows was a permanent structure it stood at the junction of the present Edgware and Bayswater roads. The site, however, may have varied, for Tyburn was a place of execution as early as the end of the 12th century. In 1759, moreover, a movable gallows superseded the permanent erection. On some occasions its two uprights and cross-beam are said to have actually spanned Edgware Road. Round the gibbet were erected open galleries, the seats in which were let at high prices. Among those executed here were Perkin Warbeck (1449), the Holy Maid of Kent and confederates (1535), Haughton, last prior to the Charterhouse (1535), John Felton, murderer of Villiers, duke of Buckingham (1628), lack Sheppard (1724), Earl Ferrers (1760).

In 1661 the skeletons of Cromwell, Ireton and other regicides were hung upon the gallows. The last execution took place in 1783, the scene being thereafter transferred to Newgate. The Tyburn Ticket was a certificate given to a prosecutor of a felon on conviction, the first assignee of which was exempted by a statute of William III. from all parish and ward duties within the district. The hangman's halter was colloquially known in the 16th century as the Tyburn Tippet.

See A. Marks, Tyburn Tree, its History and Annals (London, 1908).