On the 8th September, 1747, Richard Henson and Edward Wood saw a linen sheet hung out to dry on a washing line in the parish of Hampstead. In those days, Hampstead was a village a few miles out of London – today it’s been swallowed up into the great urban sprawl of north London. The two thieves took the sheet and went to a pawnbroker. The sheet was still wet and he refused to take it. So they went on to a baker and got a couple of rolls in exchange for it. They didn’t have long to satisfy their hunger being apprehended and dragged before a judge for sentencing. Sarah Johnson got her sheet back and Henson was sentenced to be whipped. It’s not certain how old Henson was – but Wood, whose punishment I’ve not been able to find, was ten or eleven years old. Rough justice!
Published by Tony McMahon
Broadcaster and award short-listed author. Appearances on the History Channel and Yesterday TV talking about the Knights Templar and other popular history topics. Former BBC producer and communications consultant to the UK government. Second edition of The Battle for British Islam (Saqi Books) out in June 2018. View all posts by Tony McMahon