Tuesday, 10 November 2015

10th November 1815: The death of the prisoner William Walker

'A view near Woolwich in Kent, shewing the employment of the convicts from the hulks', a hand-coloured engraving printed for Bowles and Carver, no. 69 St. Pauls Church Yard, c.1790-1800
On Friday 10th November 1815, William Walker, a Collier from Gee Cross in Cheshire, found guilty of riotous assembly and grand larceny on 21st April 1812, died on board the Retribution prison hulk at Woolwich.

Walker had been sentenced to 7 years transportation at Chester Special Commission, and seemed to have been singled out for punishment principally because he dubbed himself 'General Ludd' during the events of 21 April 1812. However, despite the sentence, he had evidently never left England.

The prison hulk register is the only source of information about Walker's fate, and the cause of death is not recorded there. He would have been aged around 62-63 at the time. Given his age, Walker had done well to survive for over 3 years - the prison hulks were notorious for their poor conditions.

It is not known where Walker's remains are buried.

The Prison Hulk register is at HO 9/4.

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