9 May: Captain Blood and the Crown Jewels

Fugitive Thomas Blood sneaked his way into the Tower of London’s jewel room on 9th May, 1671 – bludgeoning the 77 year-old Keeper of the Jewels, Talbot Edwards, in the process. 

Disguised as a parson, the Irish adventurer had cat-fished Edwards in an audacious and complex heist that involved multiple pairs of white gloves, a fake nephew and stuffing an orb down his trousers.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how Blood failed to steal the jewels, but got away with a Royal pardon from Charles II; recall his earlier escapades as a fake doctor and a mock executioner; and ask why, after all that planning, the criminal gang didn’t BRING A BIGGER BAG… 

Further Reading:

• ‘Attempt to steal the Crown Jewels’ (The National Archives): https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/significant-events/attempt-to-steal-the-crown-jewels/ 

• ‘Thomas Blood and the Theft of the Crown Jewels’ (Historia Magazine, 2017): https://www.historiamag.com/thomas-blood/

• ‘The Crown Jewels Thief – Colonel Blood’ (Historic Royal Palaces, 2021):