Mar 18, 2020

March 18: Jenny's Last Dive

On March 18th, 1741, an Irish woman known as Jenny Diver was hanged in England. Born Mary Young, Diver migrated to England where she became a skilled thief, robbing high society using many techniques including false arms which made it possible for her rob people with her hands seemingly visible in her lap.

As a member of a street gang run by a woman named Anne Murphy, Diver was so skilled as a thief that she became the leader of Murphy's gang and given the name Jenny Diver.

In 1728 Diver was the inspiration for the role of the same name in John Gay's 1728 The Beggar's Opera.

Twice she was arrested and banished to the New World, and both times she bribed the captain on the prison ship to allow her a comfortable travel with her property, bribed the governor in Virginia to relieve her of her sentence, and bribed the captain to take her back to London again. But on January 10th, 1741, she was arrested for the third time, and sentenced to death.

Due to her notoriety she was taken to her execution in a mourning carriage in a black dress and hat with veil, and reportedly behaved with composure to the very end.