Deals, steals, and news from author Michelle Isenhoff.

Ever hear of the Tyburn Jig? It's a dance you would NOT have wanted to perform. I came across it while writing my children's sci-fi Taylor Davis series. (Sometimes a story can take me down the weirdest rabbit trails!)

Within the story, Taylor and crew must track down a 400-year-old pirate who ate from the Tree of Life and cannot die. At one point, however, they learn that he did hang. So I found myself looking up English hanging laws and customs. My research led me to a little crossroads town named Tyburn that had become synonymous with capital punishment. Built in 1571, the massive triangular gallows known as the Tyburn Tree became one of the main places of execution for the criminal population of London. It was large enough to accommodate mass hangings, such as on June 23, 1649 when 24 prisoners—23 men and one woman—were hanged at the same time.

Monday was hanging day. Condemned prisoners from London’s Newgate Prison were carried in open carts the few miles out of town to the crossroads in the country where the massive structure stood. Public hangings drew tens of thousands of spectators. One enterprising property owner even built risers on her property and charged admission!

It is estimated that as many as 60,000 people lost their lives at Tyburn between 1196, the year of the first recorded hanging at the site, and 1783, when public executions were moved to Newgate Prison. It has also been estimated that 90% of those executed were young men under 21.

Interestingly enough (and relevant to my story), two people actually did survive their executions. One fellow named John Smith dangled for fifteen minutes before the crowd began to call for a reprieve. He was cut down and taken to a nearby house where he revived. A second young man was cut down and taken to the Surgeons’ Hall for dissection but began showing signs of life. He was revived and his sentence changed to transportation out of England. These two stories form the basis for the history I created for my long-lived pirate.

Know any middle graders who like snarky humor, off-the-wall adventures, and bigger-than-life characters? Taylor Davis and the Flame of Findul is always free on all major vendors.

Before you go, be sure to check out the books and promos featured below. They're always free or bargain priced. I generally bounce between speculative and historical fiction (the main genres I write in), and sometimes some fantasy, middle grade, or a bit of romance, just to keep things interesting. 

Happy reading!


If you'd no longer like to receive these emails, please unsubscribe. But consider following me on BookBub or Amazon for notice of new releases. Or sign up for my own New Release List, which is only active when I release a new book—you will automatically be unsubscribed from this list.

New Releases

Deals and steals:

Current Promos:

View all Michelle's books.

Michelle Isenhoff

A former teacher and longtime homeschooler, MICHELLE ISENHOFF writes for children and adults. Her work has been reader-nominated for a Cybils Award, the Great Michigan Read, and the Maine Student Book Award. Michelle writes from Michigan where she bikes all summer and wears flip-flops all winter.