Jack Sheppard

by William Harrison Ainsworth

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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 354

Jack Sheppard

Jack Sheppard, a housebreaker and popular jailbreaker. After many crimes and several escapes, he is seized at his mother’s funeral and executed at Tyburn.

Joan Sheppard

Joan Sheppard, his mother, widow of Tom Sheppard (executed for theft). Insane from worry over Jack’s dissolute, criminal life, she is put in Bedlam hospital; recovering her senses, she is released. Jonathan Wild reveals that she is Sir Rowland’s long-lost sister Constance, stolen in childhood by a gypsy. She kills herself rather than marry Wild after his brutal murder of Sir Rowland.

Owen Wood

Owen Wood, a London carpenter who becomes wealthy.

Mrs. Wood

Mrs. Wood, his wife, murdered by Blueskin.


Winifred, their daughter, who marries Thames Darrell.

Sir Rowland Trenchard

Sir Rowland Trenchard, an aristocrat plotting to inherit his sister Alvira’s estates. He is arrested for treason on Wild’s accusation; after his release from prison, he is murdered by Wild.

Thames Darrell

Thames Darrell, Sir Rowland’s nephew and foster son of Owen Wood. He is rescued from drowning as a baby. In youth, he is arrested as a thief and sent to sea after escaping prison with Sheppard. Thrown overboard, he is rescued and taken to France, where he serves under Philip of Orleans. Returning to England to visit the Woods, he learns through letters that he is of noble birth, and he inherits the Trenchard estates.


Darrell, a fugitive drowned while being pursued by a mob led by Sir Rowland; in reality, he is the French marquis de Chatillon and father of Thames Darrell.

Lady Alvira

Lady Alvira, mother of Thames and widow of Chatillon; later wed by force to her cousin, Sir Cecil Trafford.

Jonathan Wild

Jonathan Wild, a thief-taker. Pretending to aid Sir Rowland’s plot, he counterplots to get the Trenchard fortune for himself. Eventually found out, he dies on the same gallows to which he had sent Tom and Jack Sheppard.


Blueskin, the devoted henchman of Jack Sheppard.

Van Galgebrok

Van Galgebrok, a Dutch seaman and conjurer who attempts to drown Thames.

Sir Montacute Trenchard

Sir Montacute Trenchard, grandfather of Thames.

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