Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Tyburn was the principal location in London for public executions by hanging. It was an extreme western suburb of London, and executions took place there for many centuries.

Hogarth's Idle 'Prentice

Tyburn gallows, as depicted by William Hogarth in his print, The Idle 'Prentice executed at Tyburn (1747), was a triangle in plan, having three legs to stand upon. It came first into existence in 1571 at the execution of Dr. John Story. It was fixed in the open space at the end of Edgware Road, formed by the junction of the roads near where the Marble Arch now stands. The location was well known, appearing in many cant phrases and folk songs: "Tyburn Tree" being the scaffold; "To dance the Tyburn Jig" meaning to be hanged, etc.

In 1759, the old Triple Tree was removed, and a new movable gallows, set up near the union of Bryanston Street and Edgware Road, superseded it. The last person executed at Tyburn was John Austin on November 3, 1783.

Tyburn got its name from the Tyburn brook, which since being covered over is now one of the subterranean rivers of London. It rises near to Tyburn before flowing into the Serpentine in Hyde Park thus joining the River Westbourne. A church called St Marys, built upon the banks of the Tyburn, gave rise to the areas present name Marylebone. Marylebone being a contraction of St Mary by the bourne.

The Tyburn Convent is a Catholic convent dedicated to the memory of martyrs executed during the Reformation.

See also