22 November 1780 – Mary Gardner
Mary Gardner obviously didn’t know her own strength after she was hanged alongside eight men for literally bringing a house down during the Gordon riots of 1780.
Gardner was hanged at Tyburn for helping to level a house during a four-day riot in opposition to the controversial Catholic Relief Act of 1778. The Act allowed Roman Catholics in the UK to own property, inherit land, and join the army.
Needless to say, there was a backlash in the mainly Protestant nation to what was view suspiciously as the growth of Papism provoked unremarkably by a person named Gordon – Lord George Gordon to be exact. He encouraged his activists to rise up and challenge the Act as the Scots had the year before.
Sadly the riots killed around 850 people. And of those, 285 were rioters killed by the army. There were many arrests too and roughly 20 to 30 were executed, of whom Mary Gardner was one.
Unbelievably Gordon was also arrested and charged with high treason, but found not guilty.