Swansea’s most notorious public execution - also a hanging - was that in 1290 of William (Gwilym) Cragh of Llanrhidian, sentenced to hang by William de Breos, with the execution carried out on Gibbet Hill (by today’s North End Road). Bizarrely an apparently dead Cragh later recovered, and this was regarded as a miracle.
The last person to be publicly executed in
The Cambrian commented, “We are far from believing that any salutary effect is produced upon the minds of the spectators by the exhibition presented them, by seeing a poor wretch deliberately and publicly strangled, and would gladly welcome the alteration in the law.”
Public executions were often held on market days to enable the largest number of people to see them, with school parties attending as a moral lesson, and public houses and gin shops doing a very brisk trade on a hanging day. Sometimes executions were carried out around midday to give people time to get there. Death masks might be made of famous criminals after their execution and put on display - that of body-snatcher William Burke, executed in
The last public execution in mainland