HANGMAN William Marwood – known as the Gentleman Executioner – took the lives of approximately 200 convicts in the 19th century.

He was also a pioneer in the realms of capital punishment, inventing many techniques to help make death quicker for those condemned.

And now, for the first time, the life story of the Horncastle shopkeeper-cum- executioner has been put into print.

Author Derek Mathews has spent four years researching the life and times of Marwood, given his nickname for the manner in which he conducted himself.

Mr Mathews was originally planning to put together a book on a number of famous hangmen – but soon found himself intrigued by his subject.

Marwood was a keen advocate of the death penalty, and was quoted as declaring: “Hanging should never be done away with. Show them the gallows and they shall think twice.”

He also introduced the long drop method of execution, which allowed condemned men and women to a much quicker death, as well as other methods to help his work.

Mr Mathews’ book traces the life of the cobbler and shopkeeper whose roots can be found in Horncastle and Goulceby.

Marwood – who didn’t turn to executions until the age of 54 in 1879 - was something of a celebrity in his day, carrying out executions in England and Ieland. There was also a famous rhyme, which went: “If Pa killed Ma, who’d kill Pa? Marwood.”

The biography is an intriguing read which charts his life, lists his victims and is accompanied by photographs.