Clare Market
5th February 1724

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This now lost area of London is now subsumed under modern developments - including parts of the London School of Economics. In 1724 it was still a bustling food market area - with areas set aside for Jews to butcher kosher meat.

In February of that year, Jack Sheppard, in partnership with his brother Tom and his mistress Elizabeth Lyon. Initially Tom was arrested - but informed on Jack. He had been caught once himself and been branded for the crime and fearing the hangman's noose elected to rat on his brother.

Jack was duly arrested when one of the criminal gang he hung around with betrayed him to the police in return for the usual 40 reward. Sheppard was duly imprisoned on the top floor of St. Giles's Roundhouse while awaiting questioning, and it was from here that he staged the first of the escapes for which he would become famous. Breaking through the wooden ceiling onto the roof, he lowered himself to the ground using bedclothes tied together as a makeshift rope, before joining the crowd that had gathered to watch the escape.

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 3rd April 2012 | © Weird Island 2010-2019
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