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Post by wangrong on Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:06 am

Before his execution, Turpin was frequented by visitors (the gaoler was reputed to have earned 100 from selling drinks to Turpin and his guests),[77] although he refused the efforts of a local clergyman who offered him "serious remonstrances and admonitions".[78] John Turpin may have sent his son a letter,[nb 10] dated 29 March, urging him to "beg of God to pardon your many transgressions, which the thief upon the cross received pardon for at the last hour".[80] Turpin bought a new frock coat and shoes, and on the day before his execution hired five mourners for three pounds and ten shillings (to be shared between them). On Saturday 7 April 1739, followed by his mourners, Turpin and John Stead (a horse thief) were taken through York by open cart to Knavesmire, which was then the city's equivalent of London's Tyburn gallows. Turpin "behav'd himself with amazing assurance", and "bow'd to the spectators as he passed".[81] He climbed a ladder to the gallows and spoke to his executioner. York had no permanent hangman, and it was the custom to pardon a prisoner on condition that he acted as executioner. On this occasion, the pardoned man was a fellow highwayman, Thomas Hadfield.[76] An account in The Gentleman's Magazine for 7 April 1739 notes Turpin's brashness: "Turpin behaved in an undaunted manner; as he mounted the ladder, feeling his right leg tremble, he spoke a few words to the topsman, then threw himself off, and expir'd in five minutes."[82]

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