The Horrid Story Of William Jobling

Gaslight Pub Marker

An innocuous corner just east of the Jarrow side of the Tyne pedestrian tunnel is where you will find a small stone monument marking where the Gaslight public house formerly stood.

The Gaslight,  known also as the Commercial was once one of the oldest pubs in Jarrow and legend has it, where the body of William Jobling, one of the last men to be horribly hung and gibbeted in England, was brought to soon after his barbaric death.

His battered and disfigured body was then quickly buried in a secret grave by his family who wanted to prevent the authorities putting his bloodied corpse back in the cage.


The trial and sentence unfortunately took place during a miners strike that was being ruthlessly dealt with by the authorities of the time.

Striking miners were being thrown out of their homes by troops and special constables when a Geordie called William Jobling approached a Magistrate and begged for money, but his request was ignored.

Jobling’s companion at the time, suddenly attacked the Magistrate with a stick and a stone before running off.

Instead of stopping to aid the Magistrate, Jobling, who naturally feared getting the blame for the attack also ran off, but was captured by police on a South shields beach a few hours later.

Finding Jobling guilty of the crime, the judge sitting at a court in South Shields stated that the public execution and gibbeting of Jobling should serve as an example to others of “his like”.

Although Jobling was not the actual killer, his gruesome fate was sealed because he was present at the time of the attack ( guilt by association ), while Ralph Armstrong was never put on trial for killing the town Magistrate.

Not far from this former public house is Jarrow Slake ( jarrow’s lake), near Tyne Dock, where Jobling was hung and gibbeted in 1832, for his part in the death of the local Magistrate Nicholas Fairless, after (in Joblings version of events) the sudden unplanned attack by the actual perpetrator, Ralph Armstrong.

Entrance to Jarrow Slake In The Port Of Tyne, Jarrow

Entrance to Jarrow Slake In The Port Of Tyne, Jarrow

It has been said by Jarrow and South Shields locals that Jobbing’s ghost is still walking around the area of “Jarrow Slake” protesting his innocence to any person or persons who may deem themselves  brave enough to stop and listen.


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    • Chris Fairhurst on March 24, 2020 at 11:30 am

    I’ve wrote a musical about the Jobling story.

    1. how do we see it?

        • Chris Fairhurst on April 9, 2020 at 10:59 am

        Working on recording it at the moment …. will work on a video or something to accompany it

        1. Looking forward to it 🙂

    • Geordie on November 4, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Interesting 🙂
    Do you have more information about him?

    • Anne Drew on January 16, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    My cousin has researched family history and he has found that William Jobling was an ancestor

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