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Thomas Blood
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Outlaw
    (1618-August 24, 1680)
    Born in County Clare, Ireland
    Officer during the English Civil War
    Attempted to steal the crown jewels from the Tower of London (May 9, 1671)
    During the Civil War, he switched sides from the Royalists to Cromwell’s Roundheads.
    After the Restoration, he plotted unsuccessfully to storm Dublin Castle and kidnap the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, James Butler, Duke of Ormonde (1663).
    Years later, he and a group of conspirators abducted Ormonde from his coach and planned to hang him, but the Duke managed to escape (December 6, 1670).
    While stealing the crown jewels, he struck the custodian of the jewels with a mallet and shot one of the Tower warders.
    During the theft, he flattened St. Edward’s crown and filed the royal scepter in two.
    He never served any time for his crimes.
    His body was exhumed to confirm his death, since there were suspicions he had faked it to avoid paying a £10,000 judgment won against him by the Duke of Buckingham.
    His epitaph declares: ‘Here lies the man who boldly hath run through/More villainies than England ever knew/And ne’er to any friend he had was true/Here let him then by all unpitied lie/And let’s rejoice his time was come to die.’
    Seized before leaving the Tower, he told his captors, ‘It was a gallant attempt, however unsuccessful.’
    He demanded and got an audience with King Charles II.
    In addition to pardoning him, the King granted him lands in Ireland producing an income of £500 a year.
    Although the King never explained the reason for his actions, speculation has ranged from simple amusement at Blood’s audacity to the suggestion that Charles had hired Blood to steal the jewels, which the chronically short on money monarch would have secretly sold.

Credit: C. Fishel


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