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Laurence Shirley Ferrers


FERRERS, LAURENCE SHIRLEY, 4TH EARL (172o 1760), the last nobleman in England to suffer a felon's death, was born on Aug. 18, 172o. In 1758 his wife obtained a separation from him for cruelty. The Ferrers estates were then vested in trustees, an old family steward, Johnson, being appointed re ceiver of rents. On Jan. 18, 1760, Johnson called at the earl's mansion at Staunton Harold, Leicestershire, when Lord Ferrers shot him. Ferrers was tried for murder by his peers in Westmin ster Hall. He pleaded insanity, but was found guilty. On May 5, 1760, dressed in a light-coloured suit, embroidered with silver, he was taken in his own carriage from the Tower of London to Ty burn and there hanged. It has been said that as a concession to his order the rope used was of silk.

See Peter Burke, Celebrated Trials connected with the Aristocracy in the Relations of Private Life (London, 1849) ; Edward Walford, Tales of our Great Families (London, 1877) ; Howell's State Trials (1816) , xix. 885-980.