Local historians reprint book on Kenn hangings
By Carol_Deacon | Wednesday, March 06, 2013, 12:09
A book about the last public hanging in England has been republished with new information by local historians from North Somerset.
Updated and reprinted
Three 19th century arsonists - William Wall, John Rowley and Richard Clarke - set fire to the wheat ricks belonging to a Kenn farmer and were hanged while another three culprits were transported to Tasmania.
Jane Lilly and her uncle Derek have been researching Clevedon's history for many years.
Jane whose specialist subject is the medieval and regency period is a librarian at the University of the West of England.
And Derek, a retired milkman, delves mostly into Victorian Clevedon and record deposits held at the county office at Taunton.
More than 20 years ago the pair founded a research group called Village Pump and give illustrated talks on a variety of topics from archaeology in North Somerset to natural history and from Clevedon shops to steam trains.
They have collaborated on several publications about Clevedon and their book on the notorious public execution of three men in 1830 at Kenn was first published in 1994.
This tells the story of three criminals who were sentenced to death for rick burning.
This is believed to be the last public execution at the scene of the crime to be held in England and a newspapers of the time reported that a crowds of up to 15,000 people watched the grisly event in a small lawless village given at the time to much drunkenness.
Now new information has been added to a limited re-print.
The appeals for William Wall and his wife Mary – discovered in the Public Record Office at Kew – have thrown new light upon who was the real villain of the crime.
The book also includes memoirs taken from the Rev Leifchild's account, first published in Sunday At Home in 1867, about how he had addressed the multitude after the hanging.
The Kenn Hangings of 1830 published by Galloway & Webb is on sale at the Clevedon Pier gift shop, Books And Puzzles at Queens Square and on eBay.
It costs £5 plus postage if ordered online.