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David Coe and John Hulbert

Hanged at Northampton for stealing meat

Friday, 3rd August, 1787

David Coe, by trade a weaver, was sentenced to death "for breaking into the House of John Loake, of Desborough, Victualler, in the Night and stealing thereout a Flitch of Bacon and a Quantity of Pork, of the Value of Thirty Shillings."

Another Desborough weaver, John Hulbert, was also sentenced to death for being "an Accomplice with David Coe, in the above Burglary and Robbery."

Shortly before his execution David Coe wrote to his parents:

28th JULY 1787

Hon. Father and Mother;

THESE come with my Duty to you both, with my kind Love to my dear and loving wife, and all my dear Children, begging that will not grieve for me but for yourselves. For I am only going a little before you; and I pray God grant us to meet in Heaven, where we shall never part no more. I hope my untimely Death will be a warning to all that know me, that they may beware bad Company, and Sabbath-breaking. I must leave this wicked World on Friday next, and I pray God to receive my departing Soul, through Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour. Amen, Amen.

I desire you would let me see my Coffin before I die, and I beg you will be here on Thursday Night, and all my Friends that desire to take their Leave of me before I die, so the Lord be with you all.

So no more, from your dying Child,



In all, six men were executed that day:

"On the fatal Morning (having received the Sacrament, and taken their last Farewell of their Friends) they were put into two Carts, and conveyed from Gaol a little after Ten o'clock, to the Place of Execution; where their Behaviour was very suitable for Persons in their unhappy Situation.—They all acknowledged the Justice of their Sentence, and begged the surrounding Multitude to take Warning by their untimely End. And about Twelve o'clock they were launched into Eternity. Smith was near 53 Years of Age, Pettifer appeared about 40, Bowers was about 36, and Coe, Hulbert and Law were about 30. After hanging the usual Time, their Bodies were delivered to their Friends. The Concourse of Persons who attended the Execution was very great.

David Coe and John Hulbert were buried at St Giles in Desborough on 4th August, the day after the execution.


Note: the above information was sent to me by a contact, Anita. The original source is not known.


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