Speaker: Summer Strevens
Tue, 4 May 2021
About the lecture:
‘For the sake of decency, gentlemen, don’t hang me high.’ This was the last request of modest murderess Mary Blandy, who was hanged for the poisoning of her father in 1752. Concerned that the young men amongst the crowd who had thronged to see her execution might look up her skirts as she was ‘turned off’ by the hangman, this last nod to propriety might appear farcical in one who was about to meet her maker. Yet this was just another aspect of a case which attracted so much public attention in its day that some determined spectators even went to the lengths of climbing through the courtroom windows to get a glimpse of Mary while on trial. Indeed her case remained newsworthy for the best part of 1752, for months garnering endless scrutiny and mixed reaction in the popular press.
Born in London, Summer Strevens now lives and writes in Oxfordshire. Capitalising on a lifelong passion for historical research, as well as penning feature articles of regional historical interest, Summer’s published books include Haunted Yorkshire Dales, York Murder & Crime, The Birth of Chocolate City: Life in Georgian York, The A-Z of Curiosities of the Yorkshire Dales, Fashionably Fatal, Before They Were Fiction and The Yorkshire Witch: The Life and Trial of Mary Bateman, the first dedicated biography of the woman who on the morning of 20th Match 1809 was hanged upon York’s ‘New Drop’ gallows before an estimated crowd of 20,000 people.