Open main menu

Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/79

This page needs to be proofread.

9'" S. IX. JAK. 25, 1902.1 NOTES AND QUERIES.


Hangman and Death' (press-mark 669 f. 14/51), he will find a woodcut which repre- sents Richard Brandon, the executioner, immediately after cutting off the head of Charles I., with the body of the king kneel- ing before the block, &c. If he turns further to the tracts named 'The Confession of Richard Brandon' (press-mark E. 561/14) and

  • A Great and Bloody Plot ' (press - mark

E. 1021/8), which are both in the same library as 'A Dialogue,' &c., he will see that the identical cut was used a second and a third time. It was probably, according to the practice in such cases, used still more fre- quently, and to illustrate very different themes. The cuts in question here are, in the above order, B.M. Satirical Prints Nos. 762,761, and 949. As portraits, MR. SIDNEY must take them for what they are worth, and he will bear in mind that, whereas King Charles was put to death 30 January, 1649, Thomason, who was a bookseller in St. Paul's Churchyard, and to whom ' The Confession,' &c., belonged, wrote with a pen and ink upon the copy of the tract here in view the date " June 25, 1649," while the publication line of the work is " Printed in the Year of the Hang-mans down- fall, 1649." On the title of ' A Dialogue,' &c. (which has no publication line), he wrote "July 3 d ." It is understood that these holo- graph dates refer to the days upon which Thomason bought these tracts, which are comprised in a prodigious gathering of similar publications, numbering nearly 30,000. There might have been earlier issues of the cut than that which the old bookseller of blessed memory dated "June 25 "as above- that is, prints of Richard Brandon in the performance of that function to which MR. SIDNEY refers ; but if such is the case, they did not come to my notice while I was ex- amining the whole stupendous collection of tracts (including Thomason 's) and broadsides in the British Museum which Carlyle (more suo) actually ventured to call "rubbish heaps " At any rate, 25 June, 1649, should be taken into account while we are studying the his- tory of 30 January in the same year. Accord- ing to the text of * The Confession,' Richard Brandon "departed this life," with a con- science much troubled, 20 June, 1649, i.e., five days before Thomason bought the tract in question. Richard Brandon was some- times called " Gregory," as if, with the office of his father Gregory Brand on, he had accepted his name. More frequently Richard was de- scribed as " Young Gregory," who " claimed the gallows as an inheritance." In reading about these worthies one has to hold tight to cue's chronology.

In 'The Last Will and Testament of Richard Brandon, Esquire' (B.M., press- mark E. 501/12 ; see Satirical Print No. 760), the testator expresses his wish to benefit various distinguished members of the Par- liamentary party by bequests from his estate, e g., his "Manor of Tyburn to the luncto and all Rebels in General," and "a parcel of land lying by Mary bone Park, to build a Chapell on, and one piece of ground lying by the Kings high-way for a burying- place for them, and their heirs for ever." This may interest those correspondents of

  • N. & Q. ' who have recently been illustrating

the descent of the " Manor of Tyburn." The beneficiaries were to bind themselves to "build a Colledge on the same parcell of ground known by the name of Doctor Stories Cap" I understand that the "Colledge" was to be a gallows, i.e., the " triple tree " so often mentioned in the literature of Lon- don crime, which was a triangle of stout timbers mounted high upon tall wooden legs, a record of which is preserved in Hogarth's delineation of the last scene in the career of Mr. Thomas Idle, who came to grief by its means at Tyburn. This structure was called after Dr. Story, who, temp. Elizabeth, 1571, preceded Idle from that spot into the other world. The doctor's offences were alleged to be cursing the queen at meals, employing magical devices, and invoking foreign enemies against her. He was one of those who, vide ' The Purchasers Pound ' (B.M., E. 1040/13), were

English Traytors, that have had their scope, To act a part, upon their Sovereign King ; for which on Dr. Story's Cap theyl swing.

Some of ' N. & Q.'s ' correspondents who, not long since, were exercised anent the attitude assumed by King Charles at the final moment of his life that is to say, whether he lay prone with his neck upon a very low block, or whether he knelt before a block such as that in the Tower may find comfort in the woodcut of 'A Dialogue,' which distinctly illustrates the latter mode, and was actually published in London within a few weeks of the event it professes to represent.

' The Last Will and Testament of Richard Brandon ' tells us that, after having flatly refused to perform his office upon the " White King," he was fetched out of his bed by a troop of horse ; paid thirty pounds, all in half- crowns, for the deed ; went into Rosemary Lane, where he lived, to his wife, gave her the money, and then had a drinking bout, with effects which look very like those which often attend delirium tremens ; finally, the