A TEN-VOLUME eBook featuring the career of the country’s longest-serving hangman William Calcraft has been released.

Ivan Sage has painstakingly researched cases of Calcraft’s lengthy career between 1829 and 1874 and in his book, Mr Sage contains a total of 351 stories of the crimes which led to their perpetrators having their lives ended on the scaffold.

Mr Sage, 65, of Harwich Road, Lawford, had published several books prior to embarking on his marathon quest.

He said: “I first wrote about Calcraft for a newspaper feature in 1997.

“I found it fascinating that so many people were hanged for what we would now consider to be relatively minor crimes in Victorian times.

“That’s when I decided to try to find out more about the prisoners and what led them to Calcraft’s scaffold.

“Shortly before I retired, I decided to look for books about Calcraft and was surprised to find only one small pocket book about him.

“Bearing in mind Calcraft was Britain’s most prolific hangman over a 45-year period, I was amazed there were no more books about him so I decided to write my own.”

Mr Sage said he had to split his study into ten separate volumes, because of the amount of information he uncovered after researching newspapers of the day, court and prison reports.

The various volumes include Learning the Ropes, which features Calcraft’s early life and his earlier executions, while The Draw of the Gallows describes how public executions would often draw up to 100,000 spectators.

Mr Sage added: “Calcraft gained a reputation as an inept hangman after a series of high-profile blunders and botched executions.”

“After spending ten years researching Calcraft, I am now delighted to be able to share my study with others.

“I found these stories quite fascinating and I’m confident that readers will find them equally interesting.”

The books are published on Kindle for £3.99 each.