James Bannister 1877

Bannister was 40 years old, and lived with his wife and illegitimate child in Hyde, when on 14th December,1876, after a drinking spree, he cut his wife’s throat with a hatchet, and tried to cut his own throat, as well.He was tried and sentenced to death, but there was a petition which stated that the wound on his throat had not yet healed, and he partially breathed through it,and ” that would infallibly invest hanging in this case with peculiar horrors better imaeined than described”.
The execution went ahead with no reported issues.
This was the first ‘private’ execution in Cheshire, taking place within the castle, with the gallows reportedly based on that in Reading Gaol.

Winding its way quietly along the narrow passages from one side of the prison to the other, the procession arrived at the scaffold, or rather the instrument of execution, which is built at the point inside the gaol opposite the end of Shipsate, at about three minutes after eight. The situation and construction of tbe dread instrument prevent our terming it a scaffold. On the slope at the extreme south-east end of the prison quarters, in what may be fairly described as a narrow ravine— a pathway between two very high walls— a hollow of about ten feet deep was built up or “in” with brick, and upon this was erected the traditional two uprights and the crossbeam with its ordinary attach- ments — the double ring ‘or the noose.
“The executioner seemed proud of the new scaffold, which appears to be built on a plan of his, first adopted at Reading, and subsequently at Newgate, and he thinks it is only a question of a short time when they will be generally used.”


Executed by Marwood, 2nd May 1877.