Trial and Execution, July 1813

The execution of Cox and Shellard, from the Gazette de l'Isle de Guernesey, 17 July 1813. Final sentence handed down by the Guernsey Royal Court. [From the French.]

Last Saturday, the 10th July, W. Cox, a native of Portsea, near Portsmouth, and Adam Shellard, of Willard, near Bath, in England, soldiers in the 82nd Regiment of Foot, were brought to trial at the behest of the King's Officers; they were tried and convicted, of having on the 1st April 1813, at around 9.30 p.m., at the place called the Rouge-Charrières, in the island of Alderney, criminally assaulted Dame Marguerite Le Cheminant, wife of Sr Jean Simon, jr., and having knocked her to the ground endangered her life; and to have taken from her pocket a purse containing five English and Alderney banknotes, one of which was for two pounds sterling, and the others for one pound; twenty or twenty-one silver coins, in dollars or piastres; coins of six French livres, or Tokens of the Bank of England; a third of a guinea and several small écus, shillings, and sixpenny bits; a pocket-book, containing six or more notes from the same Banks of England and Alderney, and various other papers, including a procuration given to the lady by her husband; a contract for the Canteen of the Corblets, occupied by the said Mrs Le Cheminant, etc.

The Court heard the defendants' case, pleaded most enthusiastically by Advocate Le Cocq, who cited everything his wisdom and consummate abilities could find in their favour, and having heard the case for the prosecution, sentenced them to be sent to prison, and to be handed over on Friday to the Executioner, and to be led by him to the place of execution, with the noose around their necks, and there to be hanged until death.


Yesterday, Friday at about 9 a.m., the aforesaid Cox and Shellard left the prison on their way to the place of execution, near the Hougue-à-la-Père; they were accompanied by the Reverends Carey, Grut, Perrot, and Gray; on the way there Cox prayed fervently, and seemed visibly moved by his condition. When they came to the place of execution, they knelt down at the foot of the scaffold, and the Reverend Mr Grut gave a sermon befitting their situation. Before climbing the scaffold, they sang a Psalm. Cox went first, displaying neither dejection nor insolence. When he reached the top, he seemed upset, but he had enough strength to encourage his colleague Shellard, and addressed the crowd, exhorting them to take him as an example. Shellard, however, in the time between his condemnation and execution, seemed hardly aware of his situation. At around 10.30 they were sent to eternity!

The Miroir Politique, 24 July 1813.

CONFESSION OF COX (taken from his own handwriting.)

When on Nonies Guard Shaelard Northwood Sawyer told Shellard that the Canteem womon had good dell of money A bout yer when she com from the Canteem. In A night or to before this hapnad Me & Shellard went and met I nocked down the man & him the womon took her money from yer hid it I was confind Shellard come to me & I told him wer the money was And then I never see it after. John Speak I feely for give you for wat you felse sworn a gaent me.'

Nonies-Guard is Cox's version of 'Monize-Guard.'

The Miroir Politique of July 1813 gives a very detailed account of their trial with long extracts from the witness statements. The witnesses are: the victim, Marguerite Le Cheminant of Alderney; William Reynolds, aged around 30, of the 2nd Batt. 82nd Regiment; John Northwood, soldier in the same, aged 23; Lieutenant John Mercer Wright, 82nd, aged 24; John Mawbey of the 4th Garrison Battalion, aged 25; John Speaks of the 82nd, aged 20; Luke Higgins, 82nd, aged 23; Mrs (Dame) Sarah King, wife of Robert Walker, the Fourrier (Quarter-master) of the 82nd Regiment of Foot, aged 42.