Sunday, 9 May 2021

Thomas Blood and the Theft of the Crown Jewels

 On the 9th May in 1671, Thomas Blood became the first and only man to attempt to steal the Crown Jewels.

Colonel Blood as he would come to be known, was born in Ireland, the son of a blacksmith. Blood had fought for the Royalist forces of Charles I during the English Civil War. However, he switched sides to fight under Oliver Cromwell, his reward for which were land grants and a position in local government. When the new Stuart king was restored to the throne in 1660, Blood was forced to flee back to Ireland where he attempted to kidnap and later killed the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. On returning to England he befriended Talbot Edwards, the keeper of the crown jewels, who living quarters were above the room where the jewels were kept. It was today, in his guise as Parson Blood and accompanied by three others, that he made his attempt to steal the crown jewels.

Blood was captured when Edward's raised the alarm.

Thomas Blood evaded punishment for this crime as he had with the murder of the Duke of Ormonde. He managed to sweet talk his way out by replying "I would endeavour to deserve it, Sire!" when Charles II asked "What if I should give you your life?"

Eventually though the Irish adventurers luck finally ran out, he died following his stint in prison after being convicted of making defamatory remarks about his patron the Duke of Buckingham for which he was also fined £10,000.

​Following his release he died on August 24th 1680 - he didn't pay his fine!

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