Wednesday, 31 August 2016

31st August 1816: Daniel Harwood & Thomas Thody are executed at Norwich for their parts in the 'Bread or Blood' disturbances

Two accounts of the execution of the 'Bread & Blood' rioters Daniel Harwood & Thomas Thody appear in the local press, both of which are reproduced below. The executions took place on Saturday 31st August 1816,

The Norwich Mercury of 7th September 1816:
On Saturday last were executed at the Castle Hill, Thomas Moy, for sheep stealing, and Thomas Thody, and Daniel Harwood, for rioting at Downham. They were all of them men of honest and reputable connections, and were brought to their untimely end by Sabbath-breaking—by bad company of both sexes—by occasional intoxication, when in their power—and by following a multitude to do evil. As far as their time permitted, they endeavoured to atone for their former neglect of their duty to God, by assiduously employing themselves in devotional exercises, and there is reason to think that, had their lives been spared, they would have been better men, better subjects, and better Christians; but the prevalence and danger of the crimes for which for which their lives were forfeited and the necessity of making severe examples to deter others from similar crimes, rendered all applications in their favour to the higher powers fruitless. Their behaviour since they were left for execution, was meek and contrite; and they passed their weary hours in reading the Scriptures, in fervent prayer, and in attentively listening to the terms of salvation held out by the Saviour to truly penitent sinners. Having taken a last farewell of their relatives and friends, and an affecting leave of their fellow prisoners, and after being indulged in waiting till the last moment, in the forlorn hope of reprieve, they proceeded to the place of execution.—When the prayers appropriated to the solemn occasion were concluded, they submitted, with manly resignation, to the awful preparations for death. Harwood was first fixed to the fatal tree. Thody was the next sufferer, and he suffered indeed, as far as related to mental suffering: he had hitherto conducted himself with patient fortitude, and with a steady step had ascended the scaffold; but, when the rope was placed on his neck, the remembrance of his wife and children, whom he loudly called upon and deplored, overwhelmed his mind, and with agonising screams he would have fallen in a fit, had he not been supported by the exhortations of the Ordinary and of his fellow sufferers, and by the soothing attentions of those around him, he recovered soon from his fainting state, and stood up firmly while the executioner performed his office upon him and Moy, who was the last tied up. The raised part of the platform immediately fell, and they died with some convulsive struggles, in which Moy appeared to be the longest sufferer. No malefactors ever expired with greater sympathy from the immense multitude, which covered the whole surface of the hill joining the place of execution.—Thomas Moy, aged 32, was born at Guestwick in Norfolk, and has left a wife and seven young children. The pressure of the times had involved him in great distress; and he had undertaken to hire a farm of considerable extent at Binham, to which his circumstances were by no means equal. His relations are respectable, and the crime for which he suffered was the only one which brought him under the sentence of the law.—Daniel Harwood, aged 32, was a native of Gooderstone, in Norfolk, unmarried, and pursued an agricultural mode of life, by occasionally working with his waggon and team in jobs for farmers, as is the custom, in that part of the country where he resided, near Downham. This wandering manner of life led him into bad company, and together with a neglect of his religious duties, at length involved him in the riots which brought him to his untimely end.—Thomas Thody, aged 22, was born at St. Neots, in Huntingdonshire, and has resided several years at Necton, in Norfolk, where his father was coachman to the late Mr. Mason. He has left a wife and two small children.
The Norfolk Chronicle of 7th September 1816:
This day se’nnight, Daniel Harwood, and Thomas Thody, for rioting; and Thomas Moy, for sheep stealing, were executed on the Castle Hill, pursuant to their sentence at the last Assizes, amidst an immense concourse of spectators, who expressed their pity for the unfortunate but guilty sufferers.—The execution not taking place till half-past one, gave strength to the prevalent though unfounded rumour that a reprieve had been received for these unhappy men. Harwood and Moy behaved with great firmness; as did Thody until he was placed under the fatal tree. The recollection of his wife and children, and the horror of immediate death, then overcame his fortitude; he was nearly sinking down under an agony of grief and terror, which he expressed by convulsive shrieks, and was obliged for a short time to be supported by several men. By the admonitions, however, of those attended him on the scaffold, and of his two fellow sufferers, he soon recovered and underwent the last painful part of his sentence with manly resolution. During the short period that intervened between their condemnation, and execution, they received every help and consolation that Religion could afford; and they died with penitence, in the faith of their Saviour, and in a firm trust in the mercies of HIM, who is the great foundation of all mercy!—Moy was in his 33d year, he was born at Guestwick in this county, and his relations are respectable, he was (as we have before had occasion to notice) a farmer, occupying nearly a hundred acres of land at Binham; and has left a wife and seven young children.—Thody who has also left a wife and two children, was 22 years old, born at St. Neots, in Huntingdonshire, and has resided several years at Necton, in this county.—Howard, aged 22, was a native of Gooderstone, in this county, and unmarried.—We are authorised to state, in opposition to a report which has been pretty widely circulated, that none of these unfortunate men, had ever made any profession of religion among any body of Christians; but on the contrary, they acknowledge that they lived in an awful neglect of religious duties, and had been sinking in sin, prior to their commission of those crimes, which brought them to their unhappy end

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