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Jack Sheppard

Sheppard, Jack, 1702–24, English criminal. Raised in a workhouse, he ran away with Bess Lyon, known as Edgeworth Bess, who, with another girl known as Poll Maggott, incited him to a short but spectacular career as a thief and robber. He achieved his greatest fame for his many and astonishing escapes from custody, climaxed by an amazing escape (1724) from Newgate Prison. He was soon apprehended and hanged at Tyburn. His exploits became the subject of numerous narratives and plays, one or two attributed to Daniel Defoe, and he is the hero of W. H. Ainworth's novel Jack Sheppard (1839).

See C. Hibbert, The Road to Tyburn (1957).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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