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Jonathan Wild
Birth: c. 1682
Death: May 24, 1725

Criminal. 18th Century England's most notorious lawbreaker, he was also one of the first modern racketeers. The son of a wigmaker from Wolverhampton, he went to London around 1700 to learn a trade, but wound up in debtors' prison for several years. There he made the acquaintance of many thieves, and after his release he used these contacts to set himself up as a receiver of stolen goods. Feeling it was too risky to sell the pilfered items on the open market, he hit upon the scheme of returning them to the rightful owners in exchange for a reward. This proved so lucrative that he began commissioning robberies himself. By 1720 Wild had become the Kingpin of London's criminal underworld. His vast organization, which he called "The Office of Lost Property", had hundreds of "agents", each a specialist in a particular form of theft, craftsmen to make alterations, several warehouses to store the loot, a carting company, and an armed ship for trading on the Continent. Every pickpocket, grifter, and hijacker in London had to give Wild a piece of the action. Those who didn't were informed on to the authorities, with Wild supplying the evidence to ensure their conviction. Not only did this cut down the competition, it enabled Wild and his gang to present themselves as a private police force acting in the public's best interest. Wild even gave himself the title "Thief-Taker General". With the complicity of corrupt politicians and law enforcement, who shared his profits, Wild was able to plunder the city for years. His downfall was finally triggered in 1724 by one of his own men, Jack Sheppard, a 21 year-old burglar. When Sheppard decided to go into business for himself, Wild had him arrested. Between August and November Sheppard escaped from prison four times, twice from the dungeons of Newgate; each time he was captured by Wild's men. Sheppard's youth and daring exploits made him a folk hero to Londoners, and after his execution popular opinion turned against Wild. A special act of Parliament passed a law making receivers of stolen goods accessories in theft, and Wild's government protection vanished. Soon afterward he was charged with receiving a reward for returning some stolen lace, tried at the Old Bailey, and condemned to death. He attempted to elude justice by swallowing poison, but his stomach was pumped and he was hanged at Tyburn on May 24, 1725. Wild was buried next to his third wife in the churchyard of Old St. Pancras, but a few nights later his body was dug up and sold for dissection. In 1749 his skeleton was acquired by London's Royal College of Surgeons, where it is on permanent display at the Hunterian Museum. Many books have been written about this criminal mastermind, among them the novel "Jonathan Wild" (1725) by Daniel Defoe and Henry Fielding's satire "The Life of Jonathan Wild the Great" (1743). He was the model for the character Peachum in John Gay's "The Beggars' Opera" (1728) and its adaptation by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, "The Threepenny Opera" (1928). (bio by: Bobb Edwards) 
St Pancras Old Church Churchyard *
St Pancras
London Borough of Camden
Greater London, England
Plot: Skeleton now at the RCSE Hunterian Museum, London
*Former burial location
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
Record added: Jan 21, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 10353456
Jonathan Wild
Added by: Bobb Edwards
Jonathan Wild
Added by: Bobb Edwards
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To one of the models (as mentioned by Arthur Conan Doyle at the start of his novel, "The Valley of Fear") for Professor James Moriarty, the center of the crime in London and a large part of England.
- J.B.
 Added: Jan. 31, 2017

- Deb
 Added: Dec. 1, 2014
May GOD Bless you
- Jonathan Robert De Mallie
 Added: Mar. 10, 2014
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