William Frederick Horry

William Frederick Horry

William Frederick Horry, also known as Fred Horry (December, 1843 in Boston, England - 1 April 1872 in Lincoln, England) http://www.stokeuncovered.co.uk/empty/] was the first person to be hanged by Victorian hangman William Marwood, [ [http://www.richard.clark32.btinternet.co.uk/hangmen.html The English hangmen 1850 - 1964 ] ] and the first to fall using the long drop method. [ [http://www.horncastlediscovered.com/william-marwood.htm William Marwood - Hangman - Horncastle Discovered ] ] He was hanged at Lincoln Castle, Lincoln, England on 1 April 1872, aged 28, [http://uk.geocities.com/becky62655@btinternet.com/1868.html] for the murder of his wife, Jane Horry.


Horry was born in December 1843, in Boston, England. He married Jane in 1866 and they took over the George Hotel in Wolstanton, England. By September 1871, the two were estranged due to Horry's alcoholism and accusations of Jane's infidelity with customers. Jane went to live with Horry's father in Boston with their children whilst William stayed with at the hotel.

William made attempts to visit his family but due to his abusive behaviour, he was barred from visiting. Unable to maintain the business on his own, he sold the hotel and moved to Nottingham.


Unable to live without his wife, William purchased a shotgun in 1872 in Nottingham and travelled to Boston, killing Jane.

Trial and Execution

At his trial on 31 March 1872, he pleaded insanity but the prosecution successfully argued that the crime was premeditated. He was sentenced to death by hanging the following day.

William refused all appeals and was executed by William Marwood on 1 April. William Marwood had never hanged anyone before but persuaded the authorities in Lincoln to allow him to try a new "long drop" method. The long drop method is designed to snap the condemned persons neck instantly, causing unconsciousness and eventually asphyxiation, it was considered a more humane method than the existing short drop method that had been used for centuries. The execution went without any complications and Marwood went on to hang 176 people.

A memorial to William Frederick Horry exists in Burslem, Staffordshire consisting of a granite obelisk. William is buried in a simple grave in the Lucy Tower of Lincoln Castle. The grave (featuring only the initials of the condemned and the date of death) is well preserved and is still visible, along with many other criminals' graves.

The name Horry is still common in the Lincolnshire area, but William's particular line has apparently died out following the First World War. [Boston Standard: Letters to the editor] .


See also

* Official Table of Drops - The long drop method evolved into this standardised method which was used for British hangings until 1964. It is still used in many countries around the world.

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