# 14051


Recollections of John Thurtell, who was executed at Hertford … for murdering Mr. W. Weare …

$800.00 AUD

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London : Knight &​ Lacey, 1824. Octavo, recent half black morocco over marbled boards, gilt, spine with raised bands lettered in gilt, modern marbled endpapers, frontispiece engraving, A correct view of the execution, taken on the spot by an eminent artist (as called for by Ferguson), with a second frontispiece engraving (apparently not present in any institutional copies), Elstree Churchyard and Weare's grave; this additional engraving bears the imprint of B. Bensley, Bolt Court, Fleet Street on the verso, but its format and framing are identical to the main frontispiece; 44 pp; occasional spotting, page 44 with a few ink marks, else a very good copy. Ferguson, 963.

This work was published as an appendix to Pierce Egan's contemporary account of the trial of John Thurtell and Joseph Hunt for the murder of William Weare. 

In 1823, in what was known at the time as the Elstree Murder or the Radlett Murder, John Thurtell murdered solicitor William Weare near Radlett in Hertfordshire, in a dispute over a gambling debt. Thurtell and his accomplices buried Weare's corpse near Elstree, a neighbouring village. Following their arrest and trial, Thurtell and one of his accomplices, Joseph Hunt, were found guilty of murder. Thurtell's punishment was execution by hanging followed by dissection of his body. Hunt was also sentenced to death but this was commuted to transportation to New South Wales for life. Hunt was eventually emancipated and became a police constable in Sydney, where he died in 1861.

Numerous works about the murder of William Weare were published in 1824 and are listed in Ferguson (under Hunt, Joseph: Ferguson, 954-970). The copy of Recollections of John Thurtell which we offer here appears to be an uncommon variant with two engraved plates by Bensley. The extra plate, depicting the Elstree Churchyard, does not appear to have been issued separately and it would seem to have been produced especially for this publication, although not included in most copies. 

Three copies (with only one engraved plate) are recorded in Australian collections (National Library of Australia; University of Melbourne Library; State Library of New South Wales).