Thursday, September 22, 2011

Elizabeth Evans, English Thief & Serial Killer - 1635

Thomas Sherwood and Elizabeth Evans, known as “Country Tom” and “ Canterbury Bess,” were London murderers. They “rolled drunks.” Bess would locate a tipsy man in a public place and then entice him to a remote location where her partner would rob and murder him. At least five men were butchered by Tom and Bess. They were caught, however, and executed on the Newgate gallows on April 17, 1635.

There are several contemporaneous sources on the case, most notable: Henry Goodcole, Heavens Speedie Hue and Cry sent after Lust and Murther, Manifested upon the suddaine apprehending of Thomas Sherwood, and Elizabeth Evans, whose manner of Lives, Death, and free Confessions, and here expressed, London, 1635




1 comment:

  1. The executions of Canberry Bess & her partner Country Tom Sherwood took place a year or so before the Inigo Jonesw Anatomy Theatre was built for the Barber-Surgeons. The articulated skeletons of these two malefactors were displayed in the Theatre, probably in niches above the oval tiers of seating. It was specifically stated that she should be exhibited under the Sign of the Planet Venus and under the the Sign of the Zodiac Libra. (The Theatre had an astronomical ceiling.) Tom was displayed there as well, probably under Mars. Thus they became a significant part of the decor of this building and they remained on display until the Surgeons moved out of the Barber-Surgeons Hall in 1745. I do not know what happened to them after that. (The male & female skeletons on display in the new Surgeons' Theatre were Jonathan Wilde and Elizabeth Brownrigg)