On May 9, 1671, Colonel Thomas Blood, a disgraced Anglo-Irish former landholder attempted a daring heist – trying to steal the Crown Jewels of England. Blood served Cromwell and the Roundheads during the English Civil War and was granted vast lands in Ireland.
Upon the restoration of the monarchy under Charles II, Blood, like many other Cromwellians, lost much of his land and wealth. The Colonel was not one to take such disgrace lying down. He was implicated in an attempt to kidnap the royalist Duke of Ormond, but somehow managed to escape an execution for treason that was the fate of some of his co-conspirators.
In 1671, Blood undertook the biggest plot of his life – trying to steal the Crown Jewels. Disguised as a parson, Blood gained the friendship of Talbot Edwards, the keeper of the Jewels, and his family. After gaining Edwards’ trust, Blood and his fellow plotters overpowered the keeper and bound him. They then made off with the Crown, Septre, and Orb, only to be captured as they left the grounds. As with the kidnapping attempt, Blood somehow avoided serious repricussions prompting rumors that he was a double agent for Charles II. This attempt was the last time that anyone successfully gained unauthorized access to the Crown Jewels.