- The subject of a 17th-century ballad and of George Lillo's prose tragedy The London Merchant, or the History of George Barnwell, first produced in 1731. Barnwell, a London apprentice, becomes infatuated with a scheming young woman named Sarah Millwood. At her persuasion he robs first hisemployer and then his uncle, a rich farmer in Shropshire, whom he also murders.Sarah betrays him to the authorities but is then informed on by her own servant;both are hanged, but not before George has undergone a deep Christian repentance. Until 1776 the play was staged at least once a year for the edification of London's apprentices. see also Bürgerliches Trauerspiel.