What You Should Know About The Damned Crew Gang

Gangs and organized crime have had a huge influence on the development of the modern world's major cities, but some gangs made their mark in ages past. The Damned Crew gang prowled the streets of London all the way back in the Renaissance Era, active around the turn of the 17th century (via Cambridge). Though they were mainly "roisterers" — obnoxiously self-obsessed drunks — their image over the centuries has turned to one of stealthy assassins and hellish revelers thanks to their many portrayals in British media.

Most of the historical record about the Damned Crew is dedicated to their leader, or at least a temporary one: Sir Edmund Baynham. Baynham and his men thought themselves pre-destined to spend their eternities with the devils in hell and spent their years among the living without a care for any consequences of conscience. Baynham himself would later get involved with the infamous Gunpowder Plot — a failed assassination attempt of the king that is still celebrated in parts of the United Kingdom today.

Sir Edmund Baynham frequently escaped the law

According to History of Parliament, Sir Edmund Baynham was knighted by the Earl of Essex in September 1599, though this wasn't as honorable of an event as one might think. Those who were in cahoots with the Earl of Essex were known to be a major pain for the authorities, and Baynham certainly was no exception. Along with his fellow Damned Crew members, there is an account of the rabble-rousers rousing rabble at a local tavern, stripping down to their bottoms and parading around the streets of London armed with daggers and rapiers, attacking the watch.

The Damned Crew would later pay a hefty fine and serve in prison. Baynham would have a few more scraps with the law, mostly for anti-monarch speech and demonstration, and would even be condemned to death before his acquittal after paying a large amount of money. He was later implicated in the Essex rebellion and the Gunpowder Plot (his role was mainly staying quiet after learning of the plan). The captain of the Damned Crew ultimately left England and spent the rest of his years wandering Europe. His gang swiftly fell apart afterward, but they have been immortalized by their more fearsome portrayals in media.