The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

 
 
 
William Terriss

William Terriss


A carte-de-visite portrait of the actor William Terriss (1847-1897).

Known for his swashbuckling hero roles, such as Robin Hood, Terriss was also a fine Shakespearian actor. Today, however, he is best remembered for his murder, which occurred on 16 December 1897. Arriving at the theatre for the evening performance, he was stabbed by Richard Archer Prince, also known as William Archer Flint, a deranged and disgruntled actor, outside the stage door entrance (Maiden Lane) to the Adelphi Theatre. When captured, Prince told police, ‘I did it for revenge. He had kept me out of employment for ten years, and I had either to die in the street or kill him.’

Prince was tried at the Old Bailey on 13 January 1898. The jury found him ‘guilty, but according to the medical evidence, not responsible for his actions.’ He was sent to Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum and became involved in entertainment for the inmates and conducted the prison orchestra until his death. His relatively mild sentence was met with anger by the theatrical community.

Photographed by the London Stereoscopic Company.

 

Code: 125757
 
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© Paul Frecker 2018