The unfortunate case of ‘Duckfat’ Bradshaw

We are really pleased to report the History Centre is now open as normal after being closed for repairs. Whilst we were closed two of my colleagues worked on an enquiry about a character from Coventry’s past, Edward ‘Duckfat’ Bradshaw.

In September 1820 a group of men including Edward planned a robbery at the Punch Bowl Inn, Spon End. The men intended to rob the inn and enjoy a meal there at the landlord’s expense. The landlord disturbed the men and all escaped apart from Edward who was found eating a pie at the table. A neighbour, Mr Lines, hearing the men escape, came to help the landlord but was fatally stabbed trying to disarm Edward of a knife he was holding.

During his trial Edward was asked if the knife he had been holding was to cut the pie or to defend himself. He replied that the knife was for self-defence and was duly found guilty and sentenced to hang. To the right is a copy of the original execution warrant from the History Centre Archive Collection, available to search online at Coventry Collections.

Despite the tragic death of Mr Lines there was a lot of sympathy for Edward in the city. Edward had been educated at Bablake School but appeared to later fall in with a bad lot of pickpockets and gamblers. Whilst awaiting execution he was sent on errands and given several opportunities to escape from Coventry Gaol but always returned. On the morning of his execution at Whitley Common on 18th April 1821, he shook hands with his fellow prisoners who were reported to be ‘truly affected’ by his parting.

Edward’s execution was witnessed by over 15, 000 people (Coventry Herald & Weekly Advertiser 20 April 1821). He was just 18 years old.

References
History of Coventry and its Antiquities by Benjamin Poole
Humorous Reminiscences of Coventry Life by T.W. Whitley
Coventry Herald and Weekly Advertiser 20 April 1821
BA/E/K/114/109 Execution warrant 17 April 1821 Edward Bradshaw

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Posted on 28/07/2011, in Coventry, History Centre and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Fascinating story …. keep em coming!

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