Richard Trantum or Trantham, 1698-1723

Serial Burglar

Richard Trantum, the second member of his family to be executed for theft, was a member of a gang which committed a series of burglaries between 1720 and 1723.

Early Life and Family

Richard Trantum was christened on 15 January 1698 in the parish of St Ann Blackfriars, the third child of Thomas and Abigail Trantum.1 At his execution Richard described his parents as "honest" and "pray'd that no Reflections might be cast on [them] for his untimely Death". He was the second of their children to be executed, following the hanging of his younger brother John in 1721. At the time of his death Richard was married with one child, and his wife was pregnant with a second.

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Trantum was tried at the Old Bailey in July 1720 for stealing a box of clothes the previous month, and sentenced to transportation. His punishment was then commuted to being burnt in the hand. He and his brother John had also been involved in a burglary in April 1720, for which John White was tried at the Old Bailey in March the following year. The fourth member of the gang, William Field, turned king's evidence and claimed that he, White and the Trantums had committed the break-in.

Richard was also one of the gang who burgled Mr Folwell's house on 28 July 1721. According to the evidence given by Christopher Leonard, he, Mary Darbieau and Trantum carried out the burglary and sold the goods to Thomas Glanister, a notorious receiver of stolen goods. Richard was not taken and tried for this offence until the April Sessions 1723, when he was found guilty and sentenced to death.

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With the Ordinary in Newgate

The Ordinary of Newgate described Richard as having a "Grave and Sober Deportment" and very attentive in chapel. He was expecting a reprieve as the crime had been committed nearly two years before the trial. He spent much of his time in Newgate reading books brought in by his friends. Shortly before his death he confessed to the Ordinary that he had been involved in several other burglaries - "A House near the Waterside, in George-street, York-Buildings. The House of the Reverend Mr. Raymour Curate of St. James's Westminster. A Merchant's House in Winchester-street. Brigadier Grove's House near, St. James's. A Stone Cutters House in Chiswell-street, and Mr. Folwell's in Spittle-Fields".

Trantum was executed on 25 May 1723. His body was intended for burial in Mitcham, Surrey, where he had a house.

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External Sources

  • London Metropolitan Archives, Parish Register of St Ann Blackfriars.
  • Family Search.


1 Family Search, consulted 20 April 2010; London Metropolitan Archives, Parish Register of St Ann Blackfriars. Thomas Trantum and Abigail Gainsford were married at All Hallows, London Wall on 3 October 1689. Between 1694 and 1703 they had five children: Thomas, Elizabeth, Richard, John, and Stephen.

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About this Biography

Created by

Mary Clayton 

Further contributions by