They wrote it this week: A brace of beheadings ... and bouncy ...

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They wrote it this week: A brace of beheadings ... and bouncy bits on show

Extracts from diaries and letters written between July 15 and July 21

Journalist

July 15

1685, London: A botched beheading

[The execution of the Duke of Monmouth] He was sent to the Tower, had an interview with his late Duchess, whom he received coldly, having lived dishonestly with the Lady Henrietta Wentworth for two years. He obstinately asserted his conversation with that debauched woman to be no sin; whereupon, seeing he could not be persuaded to his last breath, the divines who were sent to assist him thought not fit to administer the Holy Communion to him. For the rest of his faults he professed great sorrow, and so died without any apparent fear. He would not make use of a cap or other circumstance, but lying down, bid the fellow [executioner] to do his office better than to the late Lord Russell, and gave him gold; but the wretch made five chops before he had his head off; which so incensed the people, that had he not been guarded and got away, they would have torn him to pieces...

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