1731: Two murderers and three crooks at Tyburn

Add comment May 14th, 2020 Headsman

The Ordinary of Newgate (in this case, James Guthrie) furnishes us the following “ACCOUNT, of the Behaviour, Confessions, and Dying Words, OF THE MALEFACTORS, Who were EXECUTED at TYBURN, On FRIDAY the 14th of this Instant May, 1731″:


BEING THE Third EXECUTION in the MAYORALTY OF THE Rt. Hon. HUMPHREY PARSONS, Esq;

Number III. For the said YEAR.

LONDON:

Printed and Sold by JOHN APPLEBEE, in Bolt-Court, near the Leg-Tavern, Fleet-street. M.DCC.XXXI.

[Price Three-Pence.]

THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE, His ACCOUNT of the Behaviour, Confession, &c.

AT the King’s Commission of Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol-Delivery of Newgate, held (before the Rt. Hon. HUMPHREY PARSONS, Esq; Lord Mayor of the City of London; the Rt. Hon. the Lord Chief Justice Raymond; the Hon. Mr. Baron Cummins; the Hon. Mr. Baron Thompson; the Hon. Mr. Justice Denton, and others of His Majesty’s Justices of Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery for the City of London, and Gaol-Delivery of Newgate, holden for the said City and County of Middlesex) at Justice-Hall in the Old-Bailey, on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday, being the 28th, 29th, and 30th, of April, and the 1st and 3d of May, 1731, in the Fourth Year of his Majesty’s Reign.

Nine Men, viz. James Berry, Richard Cooper, Francis Woodmarsh, Richard Trap, alias Blue Dick, John Peaverly, John Butler, Francis Lynn, alias Glynn, James Owen, and Ambrose Newport, were by the Jury found guilty of capital Crimes, and receiv’d Sentence of Death accordingly.

After Sentence, they were instructed in the chief Articles of our most Holy Christian Faith: That it is necessary to know that there is one God, the Sovereign Lord of Heaven and Earth; who made all Things by the Word of his Power, and who preserves every Thing in its Being; “For in him we Live, and Move, and have our Being, as certain also of your own Poets have said, for we are also his Off-spring:” As saith the Apostle St. Paul, Acts. xvii. 28.

And as from the omnipotent Word of God, we have our first Existence, and by his powerful Providence we are preserv’d in our Being; so we ought to believe, that there are three Persons in this one God; the Father, who creates and preserves us; the Son of God, who redeems us by his Death and Sufferings, and thus purchases us to be an holy, peculiar, chosen People unto God, zealous of good Works; and God the Holy Ghost, who sanctifies the elect People of God, and who preserves them by the mighty Power of God, through Faith unto Salvation.

And as we ought to believe in the Divine Unity, and that there is a Trinity of Persons in the Godhead; so are we to believe, that there is one Mediator or Intercessor between God and Man, according to the Holy Apostles Doctrine, 1 Tim. ii. 5, 6. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and Men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a Ransom for all, to be Testified in due Time. I exhorted them to believe in Christ, the Son of God, and only Saviour of Sinners, with an operative and lively Faith, moving us to Holiness in all manner of Life and Conversation, for Faith without Works is Dead being alone; as St. James says, Holiness is that which makes us like unto and resemble God, the Archetype of all Perfection, Purity and Virtue. And therefore, since they had been young Men void of Holiness and the Fear of God, which was the occasion of Gods forsaking them, since they had forsaken him, and knew nothing of his Ways, and giving them up to themselves, to their own Hearts Lust, to commit all Uncleanness and all manner of Wickedness with Greediness, I took occasion to offer them a serious Exhortation to Holiness in Heart and Life, to redeem their Time, because the Days are Evil, to improve the few Moments allow’d them upon Earth, in fearing and loving God, and endeavouring to keep his Commandments according to the Apostles Advice. “See then that ye walk Circumspectly, not as Fools, but as wise Men; redeeming the Time, because the Days are Evil.” Eph. v. 15, 16. And I desir’d ’em, to resolve, by the Grace of God, that if they had done Iniquity and Sin, they would do so no more: That whereas formerly they had been the Servants of Unrighteousness unto Sin, henceforth they would become the obedient Servants of rigteousness unto holiness; as the same Apostle adviseth us, “Neither yield ye your members as Instruments of unrighteousness unto Sin; but yield your selves unto God, as those that are alive from the Dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” Rom. 6, 13. And I prest upon them to endeavour after habitual Holiness, because of the great Danger and Destruction ensuing upon a wicked Course of Life. As the Apostle also acquaints us, “For the Wages of Sin is Death: But the Gift of God is eternal Life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Rom. vi. 23.

Two of them having been Convicted of Murder, I us’d many Motives and Arguments to convince them of the greatness of their Guilt. I show’d them that this was one of the blackest and most atrocious Crimes, Man was capable of committing, and that therefore, by all Laws Divine and Humane, the Punishment annext to this Sin is Death by the Sword of publick Justice. The History Moses gives us of the Creation and the antediluvian World, is Compendious, and the Account of the Flood itself, and the Times immediately following is but very short; yet that holy Man, inspir’d by the Spirit of God, in an extraordinary Manner, not making mention of other Laws and Customs proper to those very antient Times, takes particular Notice, no doubt as well knowing how prone Mankind is to prosecute Malice and Revenge, by extending their Resentment of suppos’d or real Injuries or Affronts too great a Length of Gods express Command, that the Murderer should by no Means pass unpunished, but that he should die a violent Death by the Hand of Justice. “And surely your Blood of your Lives will I require: At the Hand of every Beast will I require it; and at the Hand of Man, at the Hand of every Mans Brother will I require the Life of Man. Whosoe sheddeth Mans Blood, by Man shall his Blood be shed: For in the Image of God made he Man.” Gen, ix. 5, 6. Yet notwithstanding the greatness of their Sins, I desired them to throw themselves upon the Mercy of God which is Infinite, and if with David and Manasseh, who were true Penitents for the same Sin and Crime, they truly and sincerely repented, even of this henious Sin of Murder, then God would receive them into Favour, and Pardon that Sin, as he did remit the same to others; for Pardon is promis’d in general to a true Repentance for all his Sins without exception.

I instructed them also in the most important Affair of the Lords Supper, as a special Means to avert their Thoughts from all sinful Appetites, to dispose their Minds for receiving the Grace of God, and to prepare them for the Glories of a future State.

While these and many other good Instructions were given, all of them attended in Chapel; only James Berry was indispos’d for some Days, but behav’d Christianly, and show’d a great Desire to take the Sacrament, as did also some of the rest, and in general they behav’d with a better outward Decorum, than these unhappy Creatures use to do. Peaverly the poor Boy was also Sick for some Time, and carried himself always very decently. When I ask’d him, why he robb’d his Master of so great a Sum of Money as 48 Guineas, and what he intended to do with it, or if any Body advis’d him to such a Crime? He said he could not tell why he did it, that he knew not what to do with it, but to cram his Belly with good Victuals, and that no Body advis’d him, but that it was a Motion of his own wicked Heart. All of them made regular Responses; Butler and Lynn, although they declar’d themselves Romans, yet they gave close Attendance in Chapel, excepting one Afternoon, made Responces and comply’d with the Worship, as did the rest in time of Worship; they read a little too loud upon some Romish Manuals they had; but when I reprov’d them for it, and told them our Worship was such as no Christian could in Reason refuse to comply with, although there might be some other Differences, they did so no more, but were attentive with the rest.

Upon Tuesday, the 11th Instant, the Report was made to his Majesty in Council, of the nine Malefactors under Sentence of Death in Newgate: When John Butler and Francis Lynn, alias Glynn, of St. Giles’s in the Fields, for assaulting Edward Dyer on the King’s Highway, putting him in Fear, and taking from him a Hat, val. 5 s. and a Muslin Stock, val. 6 d. the 23d of August last; John Peaverley, of St. George’s Hanover-square, for feloniously stealing a Purse, val 2d. and 48 Guineas, in the Dwelling House of Robert Dickenson, the 25th of April last; and James Owen, of St. Bartholomew’s-Exchange, for feloniously stealing a Bank-Note, value 100 l. the Property of Thomas Butler, the 4th of February last, receiv’d his Majesty’s most gracious Reprieve.

The other Five, viz. James Berry, Ambrose Newport, Richard Cooper, Richard Trap and Francis Woodmarsh were order’d for Execution.

Francis Woodmarsh, of St. George Hanover-Square, was indicted for the Murder of Robert Ormes, giving him one mortal Wound with a Sword, on the left Part of the Body, near the left Pap, the Length of half an Inch, and the Depth of six Inches, of which he instantly died, the 19th of April last.

He was likewise indicted a second Time, upon the Coroners Inquest, for the Murder of the said Robert Ormes.

1. Francis Woodmarsh, 33 Years of Age, born in North-, of honest respected Parents, who liv’d much in Y-, and gave him good Education at School, in reading, writing, Latin, and Accompts, to fit him for the World, and instructed him carefully in the Principles of our holy Christian Faith. He did not go to any particular Business, when of Age, but acted the Gentleman more than any Thing else; he serv’d some Time in the Army, and was advanc’d (as he said) to be an Ensign in a marching Regiment, but soon left that Business; and afterwards not following any particular Trade of Life, ’tis to be feared he was too much addicted to Iddleness. He was married to a Wife, who appear’d to be a good, discreet Woman, whom he commended as such, and recommended to the Care and Kindness of his Friends, who were People of Respect. He had some Children, but they had all the good Fortune to Die before him. He said, he serv’d a Person of Prime Quality, till he went Abroad some Years ago, but without Hopes of returning in haste; and that some of his Friends serv’d that noble Family for some Generations past. He was a Kind of Dealer in Wigs; when any great Man, whom he knew, wanted a Wig, he us’d to make or provide him One, and by that he sometimes made 2 or 3 Guineas, which was the mot he had to Live upon for some Time past. He said, that about the Time of the late Rebellion, he did several good Services, kept some Gentlemen from joyning in that unnatural Rebellion, and travail’d over best Part of England and Scotland upon that Occasion.

His Father had an Estate and a good Farm in the Country, bestow’d very liberally upon him, and gave him several Sums of Money, of which he never made any good Account, and for that Reason, he had not much left him by his Father, and was he less esteem’d by his Relations. He said, that he was a sober Man, kept the Church, hated Cursing and Swearing, and other Vices, that he read his Book much, shunn’d idle Company, and lov’d a quiet, peaceable Life.

The Account he gave of the Murder of Robert Ormes, for which he died, was to this Purpose.

On the 19th Day of April last, which was Easter-Monday, he walk’d out alone, as far as Chelsea, for his Diversion: When he was upon his Return to Town, the Sun was pretty hot, and he being thirsty, went into on Ale house in Chelsea-Fields, where there was a Company of People, altogether Strangers to him, who Swore and Blasphem’d very much; he was impatient at the hearing of this, and gently reprov’d them, saying that there could be no Profit in using such execrable Oaths, and that it would be much better to be more Smooth in their Conversation, and not to provoke God, by such vain and very sinful Repetitions. They did not think him a proper Person to administer Reproof, but gave him Names, which he took to be opprobrious, and call’d them Scrubs; but insisted that he was a Gentleman and a Scholar, and repeated Si Deus est animas, &c. They bid him pay his Reckoning and begone, and said, they doubted if he had any Money in his Pocket, &c. several satyrical Expressions having past, he was weary of their Company, paid his Three-half-pence, for a Pint of Beer, and went off. The Deceas’d Mr. Ormes, his Wife, and the rest of the Company went out after him, and some of them swore, and cried out to dash out the I-n’s Brains. Upon which they beat him unmercifully, with their Canes and Sticks, upon the Head and other Parts of the Body. He was confounded and knew not what to do, but thought upon nothing but his being murther’d: To save himself, he retir’d a good Way, till he came to the Garden hedge, then he drew his Sword to defend himself, and call’d out to hold off and beware of him, being upon his own Defence. At this Time, Mr. Ormes, (as he suppos’d) rush’d upon his Sword and was kill’d, which was the easier done, because his Breast was naked, as he said. And more than this he knew nothing of the Matter: Only to extenuate the Affair, he said, he was very short-sighted, and never saw Ormes, nor none of the Company.

This is an Account, which contradicts the Evidence of the Prosecutor, and all who were against him, who swore possitively, that he stabb’d Mr. Ormes, without any Provocation, and that they did not see him receive any Stroaks with a Cane. I told him it was not probable, so many People would witness any Thing but Truth, without varying; but after all the Reasons could be us’d for an ingenious Confession, he never alter’d in his Narrative to me, nor to all those who visited him in the Prison, under Sentence, to whom he always repeated the same Thing, with abundance of Tears trickling down his Cheeks. He said he commonly walk’d out with a Sword, (which was very unfortunate to him, on that unhappy Day); although contrary to the Advice of his nearest Friends.

The Reason he gave for dressing like a Gentleman, was, because he had once been an Officer in the Army, and he also expected to get into the Service of some great Man, to whom his fine Dress would be one Recommendation. He made no Reflections, but only said, he heard Mr. Ormes was Quarrelsome.

He was Pusillanimous and of a mean Spirit, always wept and cried like a Child, when he told his Case to any Body, the Tears gush’d out in a very strange Manner, so that he could scarce speak because of his deep Sighs and Groans. I comforted him against the Fears of Death, but he remain’d inconsolable. I often told him, that his undiscretion, in medling with Strangers, of whom he knew nothing off, and with whom he had nothing to do, was the occasion of the unhappy Misfortune that happened; and therefore, laying aside all Pretences of Excuse, seeing he was legally Convicted, it was his Duty to repent of that grievous Sin of Murder: He said he did so, but it’s to be fear’d, he had some Reserve; and it’s certain, there could not be a Man more unwilling, and more afraid of Death than he was.

He had been of a careless and idle Disposition, which exposed him to Temptations, and brought him to a violent and shameful Death. He behav’d well, and appear’d very penitent. He declar’d that he hop’d for Salvation thro’ Christ, that he sincerely repented of all his Sins, and forgave all Injuries, as he expected Forgiveness from God.

On Wednesday Evening, the second Day before their Execution, One in a Lay-Habit, whom they supposs’d to be a R-sh P-st, came to him and spoke silently in his Ear, That it was necessary for him to Turn, for that there was no Salvation out of their Church. Woodmarsh was but a weak Man in his Intellectuals, and he said this Assertion of that Stranger, put him into the greatest Agony and Perplexity immaginable, all the next Night. I told him, he need not be afraid to trust his Salvation upon the Mercy of God, through the Merits of Jesus Christ; and that their Way of Instruction was, to teach Men to confide in their own Merits, and the intercession of the Saints, which was an uncertain Way of obtaining the Favour of God, and contrary to Scripture-Revelation. He was content, and said he did not believe him; but that being so near Death, it put him in no little Confusion, to hear himself upbraided, as if he had liv’d in so gross an Error all his Life.

This is a Freedom, which those of our Communion dare not take in some neighbouring Countries.

The following ACCOUNT of the Killing of Mr. Ormes, was delivered by Francis Woodmarsh, to a Gentleman in the Press-Yard, in Newgate, the Morning before his Execution, (in the Sight of a great Number of People there present,) and by him requested to be delivered to Mr. Applebee, to be publish’d to the World.-

As it is customary for Persons under my unhappy Circumstances to declare the Truth at their last Moments concerning the Fact for which they Suffer: I hope by this to satisfie the World as to the real Truth; tho’ things have been much misrepresented, which have done me no small harm.

ON Easter-Monday last, towards the Evening, calling at the Three Moor-Cocks in Chelsea-Fields (by my self) for a pint of Beer, I unluckily happen’d to go into the Room where Mr Ormes the Deceas’d was with his Friends, all Strangers to me, and all of them seem’d to be much in Liquor; and some of them talking very Profanely, I took the Liberty to Reprove them. At which the Wife of the Deceas’d was very Angry, and used me with a great deal of Ill manners, and gave me very abusive Language, and prompted Mr. Ormes her Husband to Quarrel with me; and her Expression was to knock my Brains out, with several other indecent Expressions, unbecoming her Sex; upon which I paid my Reckoning, and was going out of their Company; but to my great Surprize, Mr. Ormes push’d me out of Doors, and pursued me seven or eight Yards, giving me several Blows with his Cane, which at last obliged me to Draw my Sword in my own Defence, not with any Intention to Kill the Deceased, but only to make him desist from abusing me; but the Deceased-still pursuing me with his Blows, the unlucky Accident happened, for which I am immediately going to suffer Death.

I had no premeditated Design against the Deceased, he being an utter Stranger to me, having never seen him before.

Mrs. Middleton, the Landlady of the House, was in the Celler when I went out of the House, and so could not possibly see whether Mr. Ormes struck me or not, though she swore to the contrary; and likewise gave a false Description of the Ground, to discredit the Evidence of Mr. Bell, who appear’d as an Evidence for me: For which I pray God Almighty to Forgive her, as I do the rest of the Evidences that were then in Company, who I think aggravated Matters to the Court.

As for Mr. Bell, he was an utter Stranger to me, I never having seen him to my Knowledge, till the Time of my Trial, he coming voluntarily to declare the Truth, which was to the same Effect as I have already related, as to the Deceased’s following and striking me; for which I have been inform’d, he has been reflected on: But to do him Justice, I have, by the Assistance of my Friends, obtain’d a Certificate, under the Hands of his Officers, in regard to his Character, which I have hereunto annex’d, and which if I had produc’d on my Trial, I believe might have been of Service to me; but my Trial coming on so soon after my Commitment, prevented me from making so proper a Defence for myself, as otherwise I might have done.

I hope I have made my Peace with God Almighty, through the Merits of my Saviour Jesus Christ, for this and all other my past Offences.

I die an unworthy Member of the Church of England, and beg the Prayers of all good Christians.

May 14, 1731.

Francis Woodmarsh.

A Copy of a Certificate of Mr. Edmond Bells Character, who was an Evidence for the Prisoner; (Sign’d by his Officers)

WE whose Names are hereunto Subscribed, do Certifie, That we have known some Years Edmond Bell, now a Corporal in Lieutenant Col. Henry Wingfields Company in his Majesty’s First Regiment of FootGuards, Commanded by the Right Hon. Sir Charles Wills, and that we have always found him to be a Person of Integrity and Honesty; and that we do believe he wou’d not Swear or Depose any thing but the Truth, upon any Account whatsoever.

As Witness our Hands this 6th, day of May, 1731.

H. Wingfield, Col.

M. Rawlins, Capt.

R. Walter, Ensign & Adjutant.

Richard Cooper, of St. Catherine Creed-church, was indicted for the Murder of Margaret Harle, alias Hall, by giving her one mortal Wound with a Pistol and leaden Bullet upon the right Part of the Bck, of the depth of five Inches, of which she instantly died, the 16th of April last.

He was likewise indicted a 2d Time on the Coroners Inquest for the same.

2. Richard Cooper, 28 Years of Age, Born of honest Parents in the Strand, who gave him good Education at School, in Reading, Writing, casting Accompts, &c. and instructed him in religious Principles. His Father, who was a Maker of Gold and Silver Lace, Died and left him Young; and when he was of Age, his Mother put him to a Shoe-maker, and his Master dying in two or three Years, and he not liking that Employment, would not be turn’d over, but follow’d after that, (as he call’d it) publick Business in Taverns and Shops, by way of a Servant or Porter.

In this Station he serv’d an Apothecary near Covent-Garden upwards of six Years; during which Time he was in Love with a young Woman, and was in Terms of Marriage with her: But after he had Spent all his Money in attending and treating her upon all Occasions, she gave him the Slip and married another young Man, with whom (as he observ’d) she liv’d but a miserable and comfortless Life.

But this Disappointment prov’d still a greater Misfortune to him, for he being naturally inclin’d to Melancholy, and his Mother, who was left in pretty good Circumstances by his Father, having lost her Money by supporting a naughty Brother, who is gone beyond Seas, and an unlucky Sister, and he having advanc’d some Money upon their Account, he turn’d altogether discontented, and would not serve the Gentleman, who had been a very kind Master to him any longer, but came and engag’d in the Service of Mr. Day a Gentleman of the same Business in Leaden-Hall-Street, where he had the Misfortune to Murther the poor Girl Margaret Hall, for which he died.

At first he own’d that he kill’d the Maid, but said, it was only by Accident, by Reason of the Pistol being cock’d, and its going off as he took it out of his Pocket he knew not how; but before he died, he own’d that he did it purposely, and being ask’d Why? He said he knew no Reason, but the violent Temptation of the D-l. He denied that he had any premeditated Design, and that there ever was any Difference between them excepting some hasty Words, which may happen in any House, when Persons live together any considerable Time, as he liv’d with her seven Months. As to the cutting or hurting her Arm, he said it was only accidentally.

His Master said, he lost two good Servants, he having been with him nine or ten, and she seven Months. He said, he was always very honest and obliging to his Masters, and that by Serving seven Years about. Apothecaries Shops, he had acquir’d some knowledge of the Business, could make up Drugs and understood Receipts. He had of a long Time thought upon doing away with himself, and some Years ago he threw himself into the Thames but was drag’d out alive; and some Time ago he bought a pocket Pistol for the same Purpose, and (as he said) he intended to shoot himself with it in the back Room, at the same Time he murdered the Maid, but his Master coming in interrupted him, and then he going to the Kitchen, he was tempted to Discharge it in the poor Maids Back, as she was throwing up Coals into the Fire, of which Wound she immediately died, only having gone some Steps into the Shop, she said, Richard had shot, kill’d or murther’d me.

He was so indifferent about Life that he made no Application for saveing it, as all of them commonly do. He said, there was no Reason for alledging that he Shot the Maid, because She would not allow off to great Familiarities, for he never intended, nor proposed any such Thing. He had been of a Peevish, Surly and melancholy Disposition; he spoke much and fast, and was of a Hasty passionate Temper; but was not Mad or out of his Senses as they represented him to have been. I represented to him the evil of Murder, especially, Self-murder, and desir’d him to Repent of those Sins particularly. He said he did so, and beg’d Grace of God to assist him. He was never much guilty of Cursing, Swearing, Drinking or Whoring, tho’ not altogether free of those Vices. He had some good and virtuous Inclinations, and when he was not necessarily detain’d, he went to Church. He declar’d himself Penitent for all his Sins, that he hop’d for Salvation through the Merits of Jesus Christ his only Saviour, and that he died in Peace with all the World.

James Berry, of St. Peter’s-Poor, was Indicted for Burglariously breaking the House of John Mendez de Costa, and feloniously taking 6 Silver Spoons value 40 Shillings, a Silver Tankard, value 7 l. the 29th of March last.

3. James Berry, Sixty-five years of Age, born in Lancashire of honest Parents, who gave him Education at School according to their Ability, and had him instructed in religious Principles. They bred him to House-painting, at which Trade he serv’d out his Time, and afterwards liv’d in a creditable, honest way; married a Wife, and had several Children, some of whom, both Sons and Daughters, are now married and following business in an honest way in the Country. He was a Soldier in the Wars of Flanders seven Years, and serv’d there to the satisfaction of his Officers; and afterwards he went to Sea, and was Cook of a Ship two or three Years. In all the different Stations of Life he had been in (as he said) he behav’d himself well, and had still a good Character and Reputation. For a great many Years past he liv’d in or about London, and his late Wife Nurss’d a Son to Mr. De Costa whom he robb’d twenty Years ago, and liv’d after that for the most part in his House as a Servant, and both he and she were very much oblig’d to that Family, for both of them had much of their Bread to eat. Him they employ’d to wash and Paint their House, and about other little Affairs, and her they kept as a Servant, so that he was very ungrateful in robbing his Benefactor. About a Year ago his Wife died, and in a very short Time, though he was pretty well advanc’d in Years, yet he ventur’d upon a second Wife; and not having to support her and keep up a Family, and his old Friend upon some Misbehaviour, having Discharg’d him his House, and he not being capable to Discharge some old Debts, his Creditors thought fit to take out an Execution upon his Goods. The poor old Man could not tell what to do in this Extremity, but knowing perfectly the Situation of De Costa’s House, without imparting his Mind to any Body whatsoever, he thought fit, by breaking softly with his Hand a Pane or Two of Glass, to open the KitchenWindows in the Night-time, and to take the Silver Tankard and six Silver Spoons, mention’d in the Indictment. He declar’d his Wife knew nothing of all this, but afterwards the Goods being once in their Possession, his Wife and he went in Company to Pawn the Plate, that they might have Money advanc’d to pay off a 4 l. Debt, for which he was then distress’d by the Landlord, who seiz’d his Goods. But the Pawn-Broker, and a Goldsmith employ’d to weigh the Plate finding them to be advertis’d, as stollen Goods from a certain Person, stopt them, and then Berry was taken up, imprison’d, convicted and Executed for the said Crime. He was always very Penitent while under Sentence, and behav’d with a deal of christian Submission, having never been guilty of any Dishonesty in his Life, as he said, excepting the Crime for which he died. He lov’d to keep the Church and follow’d a regular Life; only upon his Travels and the rambling Part of his Life, he had been sometimes Irregular, but not much as he told me. Two or three Days before he died, he was in a little Passion, but when I represented to him the unseasonableness of being so, he declar’d he was very Sorry and Penitent for it. He declar’d, that he firmly believ’d, that he should be Saved by the Mercy of God through Christ, that he sincerely Repented of all his Sins, in Evidence whereof he often shed Tears, and that, he forgave all injuries done him, as he expected forgiveness from God.

Ambrose Newport, of Thistleworth, was Indicted for feloniously Stealing a black-brown Mare, value six Pound, the Property of Charles Clinch, the 26th Day of April last.

4. Ambrose Newport, Twenty-one Years of Age, born in a Country Town in Wiltshire, of honest Parents, who educated him at School, so as to fit him for Business, suitable to their Station, and got him instructed in religious Principles.

When of Age, his Father educated him to his own Business, which was that of a Gardiner; this Trade he followed for some Time, but being soon weary of constant Employment, he betook himself to an idle Life, going about the Country, and keeping wicked Company, which in the End prov’d his Ruin.

But all this, (as he said) happen’d after his Father’s Death, who by his paternal Authority, kept him in some Order; but when his Parents were once dead, being left without any Restraint, he gave himself up to all Manner of Wickedness, and could not be holden in, by any of his Relations or Acquaintances. His Brother’s Admonitions, (who often told him, that he would certainly be hang’d,) were of no Manner of Effect, but he still continu’d an abandon’d Wretch, forsaking every Thing that’s Good or Virtuous.

He continu’d in this Course of Life, and refuss’d the Advice of all those who endeavour’d to Reclaim him.

About Michaelmas last, he met with a Company of common Thieves, House-breakers, Highway-men, and Horse-stealers, who did his Business at once, and brought him to his fatal End.

They advised him to engage in their Gang, and all gave him fair Promises, that he should never Want, while he had Success in their laudable Enterprizes. He being of a perverse Disposition, too readily concurr’d with them, and succeeded in the stealing of five or six Horses, till at length the unlucky Mare, for which he died, was his final Overthrow.

He confess’d that he Stole the Mare, which he sold at Brentford; and that his Sentence was just, according to Law, that he had Stollen several other Horses, and had been guilty of many other Crimes, such as Housebreaking, Highway, Robbing, Picking, Stealing, Whoring, Drinking to Excess, Swearing and Blaspheming, and that he knew no Kind of Sin he had not committed, excepting Murder, or some such atrocious Sins.

He acknowledg’d that he suffer’d most justly, for his Contempt of God and Transgression of his Laws, and for his neglecting the good Admonitions of his Instructors and Well-wishers.

He always behav’d very well, both in Publick and Private, and made regular Responses to the Prayers. He declar’d that he believ’d in Jesus Christ, repented of all his Sins, and died in Peace with all Mankind.

Richard Trap, alias Blue Dick, of Paddington, was Indicted for assaulting John Monk, on the Highway, putting him in Fear, and taking from him two Cloth Coats, Value thirty Shillings, a Wastcoat, a Pair of Boots and Spurs, a Guinea, a half Guinea, and twelve Shillings in Money, the 19th of March last.

5. Richard Trap, about 26 Years of Age, of mean Parents in Dorsetshire, who gave him no Education at School, having a numerous Family of Children, for whom they could not provide.

When of Age, he learn’d to be a Bricklayer, and a Pavier; and by following those Employments, he gain’d his Bread. Business not being very brisk in the Country at some Times, he us’d to came up to London about Harvest Time for some Years past, and Wrought at Country Work, Brick-laying, or Paving of the Streets as he could be Employed.

He fell in Love with, and lately Married a young Woman at Harrow on the Hill, which occasion’d his coming oftner to, and staying longer in or about London than he intended.

As for the Highway-Robbery Sworn against him, he said he knew nothing of it, and that Humphreys who swore himself an Accomplice, knew as little of it as he; but that he was induc’d to do it upon some other Motive. After all the Arguments could be us’d for an ingenious Confession; he still said, he did not do the Robbery, but that he was at Home all the Night it was committed, in Company with his Wife at Harrow on the Hill; and that Humphreys the Evidence was all that Night in the same House with them.

He own’d, he had been a great Sinner in several Respects, but that he was never Guilty of Thieving or Robbery in his Life. Under his Misfortunes he behav’d very Decently and Christianly; and though he was no Scholar yet he was very attentive to Prayers and Exhortations, and appear’d to have some Sense of Religion upon his Spirits. He hop’d for Salvation through the Merits of Jesus Christ our Lord, Repented of all his Sins, and died in perfect Peace with all Mankind.

At the Place of EXECUTION.

Francis Woodmarsh and Richard Cooper, had another Divine, who came that Morning they died, and gave them the Sacrament privately in the Cells.

Cooper came up to Prayers, but Woodmarsh staid below with some of his Friends. Under the Tree, he was in great Confusion and Disorder and a mighty Terrour of Death: He seem’d to be a little Stupid, and call’d aloud two or three Times in Time of Prayer, wanting to speak with Some-body. Some of his fellow Sufferers bid him be quiet. He was impatient to know when they would be turn’d off. He had no further Confessions, but insisted too much upon his Innocence, saying, he had no ill Intention, and knew nothing of any Body being Kill’d, that he only defended himself, &c. When he had hung a little, he was stript naked to the Skin, (by the Executioner) a very undecent Spectacle; and likewise Berry was strip’d naked at the same Time by the Executioner, only leaving his Breeches on.

Cooper had no more to say.

Richard Trap adher’d to his former Confessions, going to Death with a positive Denial of the Fact he died for, or that he was ever guilty either of Theft or Robbery in his Life.

Newport said he was griev’d for his most sinful and wicked Life, but that he hop’d God out of his infinite Mercy would Pardon him.

James Berry earnestly desir’d hearty Prayers to be offer’d up to God for them. They were all serious at Prayers and Singing of Psalms, and ment off the Stage, crying to God, to have Mercy upon them, and the Lord Jesus would receive their Spirits. &c.

This is all the Account given by me,

JAMES GUTHRIE,

Ordinary of Newgate.

ADVERTISEMENTS.

Just publish’d,

A Rational and Useful ACCOUNT of the VENERAL DISEASE: with Observations on the Nature, Symptoms, and Cure, and the bad Consequences that attend by ill Management; with proper Admonitions; recommended as a Friendly Instruction to all Persons who do, or may, labour under this Misfortune.

ALSO

A short Enquiry into Old GLEETS, and other Weaknesses; whether from Veneral Embraces, Self Pollution, or Natural Imbecillity, and the Reason why they are so seldom cur’d: With the Author’s Method of Cure.

To which is added,

Some Hints of the Practical Scheme, the Methods and and Medicines therein expos’d, and the gross Impositions justly detected. With an Account of Specificks, the Use and Abuse of the Name, and how it covers Ignorance and a Cheat.

The Eighth Edition, corrected, with Additons.

By JOSEPH CAM, M. D.

Evasti? credo metues, doctusque cavebis.

Quares quando it erum paveas, iterumque perire

Possis o toties servus! -Horat.

Principiis obsta. -Ovid.

LONDON: Printed for the Author, and Sold at his House in Bow Church Yard in Cheapside; and by E. Midwinter, in St. Paul’s-Church-Yard, Price stitch’d, one Shilling.

Soap sold by Retale.

THE best Cuttings at Four-Pence

Half Penny a Pound; and very good Green Soap, at Four Pence a Pound; which is very sweet, will wash as well, and go as far as the best Crown Soap, and is a Penny a Pound cheaper, by William Cowpland, Soap Maker at the 3 Pidgeons and Crown in the Old Bailey, near Ludgate Hill. He also Makes and Sells, fine hard Soap, white Barrel Soap, and all his other sorts of Soap Wholesale as well as Retale, for Ready Money, at the very lowest Prices, even tho’ a Child be sent for them.

He likewise makes and sells, his admirable new invented Liquid Soap, at one shilling a Pint, which is as clear as Canary, and smells more pleasant than any Perfume, it being the only Soap yet known for washing the finest Laces, Muslins, Cambricks, Silks, Callicoes, &c. even in cold Water as well as hot, and is highly esteemed by most of the best Quality in England, for washing and beautifying the Hands and Face, as also by Gentlemen for shaving. Only to be had as above directed of William Cowpland, who having petitioned his Majesty to grant him his Royal Letters Patents for the sole making thereof, hath obtained the Honourable Attorney General’s Report in his Favour.

THE ROYAL COSMETICK;

To beautify and cleanse the Face, Neck, and Hands, and to preserve the Complection of Ladies and Others: Devised by several learned Physicians, and used by Queens; Princesses, and other Ladies of Quality, in Italy, Germany, France, and England.

Which, for its excellent Virtues, exceeds all others, and beautifies the Face, Neck, and Hands, to the utmost Perfection, giving a charming Lustre and fine Air to the Features, rendering the Face delicately fair, plump, and smooth, though before ever so ordinary; instantly causing a youthful Fairnes, to Admiration, making a Person look young though old; it makes rough and red Hands exceeding white and smooth, infallibly taking away Redness, Wrinkles, Pimples, Spots, Worms, Morphews, Sun-Burns, Heats, or any other Discolourings of the Skin. It nourishes, plumps, smooths, clears and softens the Skin to the last Degree. It likewise heals Chops of the Lips, Hands, and Arms to Admiration.

The Use of it is so clean, and it hath so pleasant a Flavour, that nothing can exceed it; and is therefore a most excellent Thing to preserve or regain a fine Skin and Complection.

Prepared and Sold by the Author, a Chymist, at his House, the second Door on the Right Hand in Bride-lane, near Fleetstreet; ’tis also Sold at Robotham’s Toy-shop without Whitechappel Bars; at Mr. Neal’s Toy-shop opposite the Whiteheart Inn in the Borough of South- ark; and at Mr. Greg’s, Bookseller, next Northumber-land-house, Charing cross.

Price 3 s. 6 d. a Bottle.

Where is also Sold,

FOR a certain CURE of the SCURVEY, and all SCORBUTICK HUMOURS, is recommended the Tincture Magnum, Anti-Scorbuticum: Or, The Grand Anti-Scorbutick Purging-Tincture of Scurvy Grass; prepared after a new compendious Method, whereby is, made much more beneficial in purging the Blood of all salt brinish, and watery Humours, thn any Preparation heretofore prepared of that Sovereign Herb; to be taken any Time of the Year, but more especially Spring and Fall.

At One Shilling a Battle.

An ADDRESS to the GENTLEMEN, By Dr. GREGORIUS, (Noted for his Skill in Surgery and Anatomy, as well as Physick and Chymistry.)

Who having observ’d the frequent Advertisements in the News Papers, of one and another Single Medicine, said to cure all Sorts of Gleets, and Seminal Weaknesses, which their Authors confound together, as if there were no Difference between them, has been prevail’d upon, by his Friends, in this Publick Manner, to inform, and undeceive those who have unwarily been brought into either, (or both together, as it sometimes happens) of these perplexing, draining Imbecilities.

That where the Gleeting is only from a Laxity of the Glands in the Urethra, what leaks and drills away insensibly from them, through the Urinary Passage, and spots or smears the Linnen, though it be yellowish, yet being without Pain, or any ill-condition’d Disorder, is no more than Mucus, and must be cured one Way.

And where it is a Seminal Weakness, that which slips away involuntarily, though it be thin, watery, and unelaborate, either by itself, in the Day-time, or a Nights too frequently, or profusely in the Sleep, or with the Upine, or upon Stool, whether from an Acrimony, or Deravity of the Juices, or by over straining the Spermatick Vessels, or both, is Seed, and is to be remedied another, inasmuch, as that Medicine which will cure the one, will not cure the other, and (vice versa) as every Practitioner that knows the Nature, Make, and different Situation of the Parts ministring to Generation, will allow; and that for want of this due Distinction, and right Application, it is, that so many People are disappointed of Cure; and by Continuance of the Gleetings are drain’d, as they are, into Impotencies, or Infertili, ties, which as it hinders their Marrying, gives them great Anxiety, and the more, when attended, as in some, with Pain and Weakness in the Back and Reins; or as, in others, with Difficulty, or Dribblings of the Urine in, or after making it, which at Length comes away either foul, sharp, slimy, or of an ill Smell.

As this is so in Fact, and the Doctor well known to have experienc’d, in numberless Instances, the noble and neverfailing Effects of Two particular Balsamick Electuaries, which he spared no Pains or Expence to find out, the one to restrain the Mucus, and the other, the involuntary shedding of the Seed, by their respectively bracing up the Fibres, and restoring the Tone and Springiness of the relaxed Glands and Seminals, invigorating the Genitals, and fertilizing the Seed, was also perswaded to recommend their Use, that those, who, for a long while together, had tried other Medicines for the same Weaknesses, and by their not succeeding, concluded themselves incurable, might be convinc’d by their speedy Amendment and Recovery by these, that it was not the Incurability of their Malady, but the wrong Method they had been in for Cure,

But yet, in either of the said Two Weaknesss, or where it happens that they are complicated, and have proceeded, either from Self-Abuses, excessive, or over straining Coitions, or from over Purgations in Venereal Cures, or any other Cause, as a Flux of Humours generally falls down and settles upon all weakened Parts, rendering them still the weaker, and these tender nervous Parts more especially: The first Step to be taken in order to make way for a regular and substantial Cure, (and without which it is not to be accomplished) must, in a pecular Manner, be to correct, and gently divert those Humours; and the only Medicine he could ever rely upon to do this effectually, that is to overcome the Cause, and introduce the Cure of the most difficult of these Weakness, (even where the Vessels had been obstructed, Manhood greatly enfeebl’d, and in some, well nigh extinct, or at least not able to touch a Woman, but ad primum labiorum contactum, semen emittunt;) has been his Preparing Pills, of which when the Patient has taken only three Doses, at due Distances he is to begin (and not before) with one or t’other (or both together, as the Case may chance to be) of the said Two Electuaries, which how to distinguish in, and how to proceed with, the printed Directions, wrap’d up with the Pills, do so plainly shew, that no Persons, even of the meanest Capacities, can be any Loss to understand them; but will, by their observing the easy Rules therein laid down, have their Blood and whole Body, well cleans’d and purified, the debilated Parts strengthened, and by Degrees, compleatly, and lastingly invigorated and restored, so as to be enabled quickly, and safely to Marry, without the least Need of any further, or other Advice or Medicine.

They are to be had, Price 7 s. 6 d. the Box, sealed up-ready to be deliver’d to any Messenger, upon only asking for, A Box of Pills, at Mr. Payne’s, a Bookseller, at the Crown, facing the Chapter Coffee-house, in PaternosterRow.

Note, The said Two Electuaries, viz, Numb, 1, for Gleets, and Numb. 2, for Seminal and Genital Weaknesses, are to be had there also, Price 7 s. 6 d. each Pot, and are likewise sealed up, and to be asked for by Electuary Number 1, or Electuary Number 2.

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Entry Filed under: 18th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,England,Execution,Hanged,Mass Executions,Murder,Public Executions,Theft

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1506: James Tyrrell, Princes in the Tower murderer?

Add comment May 6th, 2020 Thomas More

(Thanks to Sir Thomas More, himself an eventual Executed Today client, for the guest post on the knight Sir James Tyr(r)ell — originally from More’s The History of King Richard the Third. Tyrrell was executed on May 6, 1506, for treason, for supporting the exiled royal pretender Edmund de la Pole; according to More, Tyrrell had previously proved his loyalty to the Yorkist house to the extent of orchestrating the murder of the Princes in the Tower. All-in-the-family detail for House Tyrell: the man’s father had been executed in 1462 with John de Vere, Earl of Oxford. -ed.)

I shall rehearse you the dolorous end of those babes, not after every way that I have heard, but after that way thay I have so hard by such men & by such meanes, as me thinketh it wer hard but it should be true. King Richarde after his coronacion, takyng his way to Gloucester to visit in his newe honor, the towne of which he bare the name of his old, devised as he roode, to fulfil that thing which he before had intended. And forasmuch as his minde gave him, that his nephewes living, men woulde not recken that hee could have right to the realm, he thought therfore without delay to rid them, as though the killing of his kinsmen, could amend his cause, and make him a kindly king. Whereuppon he sent one John Grene whom he specially trusted, unto sir Robert Brakenbury constable of the Tower, with a letter and credence also, that the same sir Robert shoulde in any wise put the two children to death. This John Grene did his errande unto Brakenbery kneling before our Lady in the Tower, who plainely answered that he would never putte them to death to dye therfore, with which answer Jhon Grene returning recounted the same to Kynge Richarde at Warwick yet in his way. Wherwith he toke such displeasure and thought, that the same night, he said unto a secret page of his: Ah whome shall a man trust? those that I have brought up my selfe, those that I had went would most surely serve me, even those fayle me, and at my commaundemente wyll do nothyng for me. Sir quod his page there lyeth one on your paylet without, that I dare well say to do your grace pleasure, the thyng were right harde that he wold refuse, meaning this by sir James Tyrell, which was a man of right goodlye parsonage, and for natures gyftes, woorthy to have served a muche better prince, if he had well served god, and by grace obtayned asmuche trouthe & good will as he had strength and witte. The man had an high heart, and sore longed upwarde, not rising yet so fast as he had hoped, being hindered and kept under by the meanes of sir Richard Ratcliffe and sir William Catesby, which longing for no moo parteners of the princes favour, and namely not for hym, whose pride thei wist would beare no pere, kept him by secrete driftes out of all secrete trust. Whiche thyng this page wel had marked and knowen. Wherefore thys occasion offered, of very speciall frendship he toke his time to put him forward, & by such wise doe him good, that al the enemies he had except the devil, could never have done him so muche hurte. For upon this pages wordes king Richard arose. (For this communicacion had he sitting at the draught, a convenient carpet for such a counsaile) and came out in to the pailet chamber, on which he found in bed sir James and sir Thomas Tyrels, of parson like and brethren of blood, but nothing of kin in condicions. Then said the king merely to them: What sirs be ye in bed so soone, and calling up syr James, brake to him secretely his mind in this mischievous matter. In whiche he founde him nothing strange. Wherfore on the morrow he sente him to Brakenbury with a letter, by which he was commaunded to deliver sir James all the kayes of the Tower for one nyght, to the ende he might there accomplish the kinges pleasure, in such thing as he had geuen him commaundement. After which letter delivered and the kayes received, sir James appointed the night nexte ensuing to destroy them, devysing before and preparing the meanes. The prince as soone as the protector left that name and toke himself as king, had it shewed unto him, that he should not reigne, but his uncle should have the crowne. At which worde the prince sore abashed, began to sigh and said: Alas I woulde my uncle woulde lette me have my lyfe yet, though I lese my kingdome. Then he that tolde him the tale, used him with good wordes, and put him in the best comfort he could. But forthwith was the prince and his brother bothe shet up, and all other removed from them, onely one called black wil or William slaughter except, set to serve them and see them sure. After whiche time the prince never tyed his pointes, nor ought rought of himselfe, but with that young babe hys brother, lingered in thought and heavines til this tratorous death, delivered them of that wretchednes. For Sir James Tirel devised that thei shold be murthered in their beddes. To the execucion wherof, he appointed Miles Forest one of the foure that kept them, a felowe fleshed in murther before time. To him he joyned one John Dighton his own horsekeper, a big brode square strong knave. Then al the other beeing removed from them, thys Miles Forest and John Dighton, about midnight (the sely children lying in their beddes) came into the chamber, and sodainly lapped them up among the clothes so be wrapped them and entangled them keping down by force the fetherbed and pillowes hard unto their mouthes, that within a while smored and stifled, theyr breath failing, thei gave up to god their innocent soules into the joyes of heaven, leaving to the tormentors their bodyes dead in the bed.

Whiche after that the wretches parceived, first by the strugling with the paines of death, and after long lying styll, to be throughly dead: they laide their bodies naked out uppon the bed, and fetched sir James to see them. Which upon the sight of them, caused those murtherers to burye them at the stayre foote, metely depe in the grounde under a great heape of stones. Than rode sir James in geat haste to king Richarde, and shewed him al the maner of the murther, who gave hym gret thanks, and as som say there made him knight. But he allowed not as I have heard, the burying in so vile a corner, saying that he woulde have them buried in a better place, because thei wer a kinges sonnes. Wherupon thei say that a prieste of syr Robert Brakenbury toke up the bodyes again, and secretely entered them in such place, as by the occasion of his deathe, whiche onely knew it could never synce come to light. Very trouthe is it & well knowen, that at such time as syr James Tirell was in the Tower, for Treason committed agaynste the moste famous prince king Henry the seventh, bothe Dighton an he were examined, & confessed the murther in maner above writen, but whither the bodies were removed thei could nothing tel. And thus as I have learned of them that much knew and litle cause had to lye, wer these two noble princes, these innocent tender children, borne of moste royall bloode, brought up in great wealth, likely long to live to reigne and rule in the realme, by traitorous tiranny taken, depryved of their estate, shortly shitte up in prison, and privily slaine and murthered, theyr bodies cast god wote where by the cruel ambicion of their unnaturall uncle and his dispiteous tormentors. Which thinges on every part wel pondered: god never gave this world a more notable example, neither in what unsuretie standeth this worldy wel, or what mischief worketh the prowde enterprise of an hyghe heart, or finally what wretched end ensueth such dispiteous crueltie. For first to beginne with the ministers, Miles Forest at sainct Martens pecemele rotted away. Dighton in ded walketh on a live in good possibilitie to bee hanged ere he dye. But sir James Tirel dyed at Tower hill, beheaded for treason.


Although the veracity of More’s account cannot be proven — the purported original confessions do not survive and are not attested elsewhere — Tyrrell’s reputation as the agent of this notorious outrage earned him a bit part in Shakespeare’s Richard III.

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1731: Elizabeth Needham fatally pilloried

Add comment April 30th, 2020 Headsman

On this date in 1731 the English madam Elizabeth Needham stood in the pillory at Park Place, St. James’s, London. It wasn’t a death sentence de jure … but it became one de facto.

“Mother Needham” kept one of London’s most renowned brothels, far more exclusive than the dives of Covent Garden, and she made herself famous enough in the 1710s and 1720s to rate a place in the burgeoning print culture: Alexander Pope makes sly reference to her in The Dunciad, and as Hogarth seems to have modeled the titular courtesan of his Harlot’s Progress plates upon her.


Needham was famous for her recruiting talent. Here, Hogarth’s pockmarked Needham figure inveigles a pretty lass — the series’s central character, “Moll Hackabout” — freshly arriving to London from the hinterlands, while actual Needham client (and notorious sex-beast*) Francis Charteris leers from the stoop. In a subsequent panel in this same series, Hackabout as a seasoned whore encounters another Executed Today customer.

In her heyday a variety of japes, capers, and scandals unfolded in her precincts, beyond the obvious that was her stock in trade. For a number of years she carried out business unmolested by any chastisement from the law, but she suffered a couple of arrests in the 1720s and the heat on London’s brothels escalated uncomfortably with the onset of the 1730s. Thus it was that the wily old procuress earned a conviction for keeping a disorderly house on April 29, 1731.

Her punishment included a small fine and the duty to stand twice in the pillory, exposed to public obloquy. We have already noted in these pages that the horrors of such an ordeal extended beyond the reputational to an outright threat to life and limb. While it was not unheard-of for the pillorying to invert into a ritual of celebration and triumph for its sufferer were the crowd in sympathy, “it would seem that the default crowd at the pillory attended in expectation of an aggressive event.” (“Sodomites in the Pillory in Eighteenth-century London” by Peter Bartlett, Social & Legal Studies, December 1997)

This image of a crowd expecting to abuse the convict is consistent with the report in Fogg’s Weekly Journal in November 1728:

One Mitchel stood in the Pillory in Little Britain, for designing to extort Money from a Gentleman, by threatening to swear a detestable Sin against him [i.e., sodomy] — It was reported that he was to stand again in Aldersgate-street, upon which Occasion the Populace assembled, having furnish’d themselves with dead Cats, and other Ammunition used upon such Occasions, but the Person who was to make all the Sport not appearing, they diverted themselves with throwing their dead Cats at one another.

Elizabeth Needham had a wide notoriety that would have been especially charged in a mob’s eyes by her association with a villain like Charteris: we see her in Hogarth’s illustration above (not yet completed as of the time of her death) as the corrupt agent of predatory magnates. Moreover, she was apparently already weakened by illness. And although she was suffered simply to lie face down on the stage rather than standing dangerously exposed in the apparatus — and although she could afford to hire bodyguards to keep the crowd somewhat at bay — she received the aggressive version of the crowd whose abuse proved fatal to her.

Rictor Norton’s invaluable compilations of reporting on eighteenth century crime capture grub street’s coverage of the frightful end of Mother Needham (and one unfortunate spectator):

The famous Mother Needham was set before the pillory facing Park-place. She was so very ill, that she laid along under the pillory, notwithstanding which she was severely pelted, and it is thought she will die in a day or two … A boy getting upon a lamp post near the pillory, fell from the same upon iron spikes, and tore his belly in so violent a manner, that his bowels came out, and he expired in a few hours in great agonies …

Tuesday, May 4. Yesterday morning died Mother Needham … She declared in her last words, that what most affected her was the terror of standing in the pillory to-morrow in New Palace-Yard, having been so ungratefully used by the populace on Wednesday … They acted very ungratefully, considering how much she had done to oblige them.

* Charteris caught his own death sentence in 1730 for raping a servant, although he had the pull to obtain a royal pardon — with the aid of one of those familiar squid-inking campaigns of smearing his victim and casting doubt on the circumstances. “All the world agree he deserved to be hanged long ago, but they differ whether on this occasion,” one noble confided to his diary.

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1557: Thomas Losebie, Henrie Ramsey, Thomas Thirtell, Margaret Hide and Agnes Stanley

Add comment April 12th, 2020 Headsman


“The Martyrdom of Thomas Losebie, Henrie Ramsey, Thomas Thirtell, Margaret Hide and Agnes Stanley at Smithfield on 12th April, 1557”, woodcut illustration from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

The five ordinary Londoners pictured above had been snitched out by neighbors for shirking the Catholic Mass under Queen Mary — the offense that Protestants would call recusancy when the mitre was on the other bishop.

They had the sturdiness one would attribute to men and women of the common clay, and also the theological unsophistication; our martyrology caveats of their interrogation that “some of them attributed the title and honour of a sacrament to the holy estate of matrimony” — the standard Anglican and also Lutheran position was that there were only two sacraments, baptism and eucharist — but this “undoubtedly was done rather of simple ignorance, than of any wilful opinion.” That’s the kind of interpretive generosity you’re entitled to when you go to the stake for the faith.

(Foxe has some miniutes from their interrogation; scroll down to page 410 of this pdf of Foxe’s Volume 12, from here.)

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1923: Bernard Pomroy

Add comment April 5th, 2020 Headsman

The Dundee Courier of Feb. 7, 1923, brings us the dramatic entrance into the criminal justice system’s toils of Bernard Pom(e)roy, who murdered his sweetheart Alice Cheshire after two-timing her with Alice’s own sister Mabel — getting the latter pregnant.

Girls’ Fatal Taxi Drive

Lover Who Surrendered Charged With Murder

“It Is All Right Cabby, Drive To Police Station”

“There are blood stains on my hands. The woman is in the taxi.”

With that blunt announcement a well-dressed young man dashed into Vine Street Police Office, Piccadilly, London, early yesterday morning.

To the taxi to which he had referred the police rushed, and there they found a girl with a wealth of golden hair lying unconscious on the floor with an ugly wound in her throat. Without regaining consciousness she died shortly after being admitted to Charing Cross Hospital.

Man Charged.

The victim of the tragedy is Alice Cheshire (22), whose home is at Boxmoor, near Memel Hempstead, Herts, and who was in service in North London.

The man who gave himself up, and who is said to have been her lover, was Bernard Pomeroy (25), also of Hemel Hempstead. He was charged with the murder of the woman at Vine Street Police Station last night, and will appear at Great Marlborough Street Police Station this morning.

“Cabby, It’s All Right”

The couple had evidently been travelling in the taxicab for a long time, for more than £2 was marked on the cab’s clock, representing the equivalent of a 40-miles run.

Pomeroy, it is stated, admitted to the police that he had cut the girl’s throat with a clasp-knife, and with this knife was found in the taxi covered with blood.

When the taxicab was crossing Leicester Square the river heard the woman screaming. Looking through the window, he is alleged to have seen a struggle taking place. He pulled the taxicab up, and when he got to the door the man is alleged to have said, “Cabby, it’s all right, drive me to Vine Street Police Station.” The driver did so and on arrival the man made a statement to the police and was detained.

A ‘Phone Call.

Inquiries made at Hampstead show that the dead girl had been employed at West Hampstead for only a few weeks, and very little was known about her. She was a very quiet spoken girl, and always neatly dressed, said a maid at an adjoining house.

“She said very little to me about her affairs,” a fellow-servant said, “but I had an idea that he was very friendly with a man. Whether he was her fiancee [sic] or not I cannot say, but I know they met occasionally. I thought she had been rather worried lately.”

Some light is thrown on the mystery by a telephone call to the house of the dead girl’s employers yesterday.

The telephone was answered by another servant, and the caller — evidently a man — asked for Miss Cheshire. Miss Cheshire was not available at the moment, so the man rang again ten minutes later.

Miss Cheshire then answered, and it is said she agreed to meet the man, it being her night off. She left after dinner, and was due back at 10 p.m., but nothing was heard until the news of her death.

Pomeroy’s parents are an elderly couple, who have lived in Hemel Hempstead with their son and daughter for some years. “I cannot at all understand or explain anything,” the father said when interviewed. “The news came to us just as we were sitting down to breakfast. All I know is that my son went away last night just about as usual. He has been very strange at times since he came home wounded. He was knocked out in the shoulder and has done nothing since. He has been in a number of hospitals.”

“Worshipped Each Other.”

“Alice,” said Mrs Cheshire, the mother of the dead girl, “was 22, and was the third of four daughters. She went into service at Hampstead about three weeks ago, before which she was in a temporary situation.

“As far as we know she had been acquainted with Pomeroy for about four years. We regarded them at first as very great friends, and latterly as sweethearts. They worshipped each other.

“Bernard used to come here very frequently, and even when she was not here he used to come up and spend the evening with us.

“On Monday he came here and said he was going to see the girl’s father. After an interview with him he came back and said he was going to London to see Alice.

“I begged him not to go. I said we would do everything we could for him if he would act straight to Mabel (an elder daughter). I thought I could see Alice and explain the situation to her, and get her to see the matter in the right light and break it off with Bernard.

“We have begged Alice times out of number, but she always said, ‘Mother, I cannot. It has gone too far.’

“Bernard promised me he would not go to London yesterday, but apparently he sent a wire to Alice and met her. Alice informed me that she intended to meet Bernard.

“Alice kept very much to herself, and when she went out it was always with Bernard. Until Sunday she had no idea that Bernard had formed an intimacy with Mabel. Alice was a tall, pretty girl with a wealth of golden hair.”


Further detail is supplied by the same journal’s February 9 edition, covering the resulting coroner’s inquest.

Driver’s Story of Taxi Tragedy.

Murder Verdict Against Girl’s Lover.

A verdict of wilful murder was returned against Bernard Pomeroy, the girl’s lover, at the inquest at Westminster yesterday on Alice Chester [sic], who died from the effects of a wound alleged to have been inflicted in a taxi by Pomeroy.

Pomeroy, who stands remanded on the capital charge, was present in Court, seated between two policemen. He will be tried at the Old Bailey.

Esau Cheshire, of Bourne End, Hemel Hempstead, father of the dead girl, said that she had been keeping company with Pomeroy for about three years. Witness had another daughter, Mabel, with whom Pomeroy had been on terms of intimacy, and on Sunday evening she told witness she was in a certain condition. Pomeroy owned up to it.

On Monday Pomeroy called with his father and said that he was going west. He also said that he was going to see Alice, but witness tried to persuade him to stop.

He suggested that he should wait till Tuesday, as Alice was coming home that day.

“Say Goodbye Properly.”

Gladys Carrie Payne, cook at Hampstead House, where the girl was employed, said that on Monday evening Alice Cheshire twice had conversations on the telephone. Pomeroy came to the house at 6.30, and had tea with the maids. Pomeroy and the girl left after seven, Alice stating she was probably going to the theatre. As they were going out of the door, added witness, Pomeroy said, “Why not say goodbye properly, in case she does not come back again.” I simply that he was joking, said witness, who added that she thought he seemed a bit agitated and impatien[t] to get off.

Herbert Richard Golding, taxi driver, said Pomeroy hired his taxi at 11.10 on Monday night. Witness drove the couple to Kilburn and then on to Watford. At the latter place Pomeroy said — “It is rather late now. Go straight back to town.” Witness said he took them back to Leicester Square, and then Pomeroy asked him to drive to Templewood Avenue, Hampstead. Approaching Swiss Cottage, witness said he heard a slight scream and what he took to be somebody laughing. When they got to Hampstead Pomeroy asked the time, and said the house was in darkness and they drove back to Leicester Square. It was after 1.30.

Coroner — Weren’t you getting uneasy about your fare? — Yes, sir, but I knew it was in a vicinity where I could get protection. Both appeared fairly well dressed, and in a position to pay.

At Leicester Square Pomeroy told him to drive to the nearest police station. At Vine Street witness noticed accused’s hands were red, but he thought it was red ink.

The girl was afterwards found on her back on the floor of the cab, with the knees drawn up. There was a large box of chocolates on the seat and chocolates were scattered about. The clock of the cab registered 45s 6d.

“Did She Suffer Much, Doctor?”

Dr Gordon Hussey Roberts, of Charing Cross Hospital, said that when the girl was admitted she was gasping through a wound in the neck. She died twenty minutes after admission. Death, added the doctor, was due to hemorrhage. The throat was cut deeply from side to side, completely severing the larynx.

Pomeroy — Did she suffer much, doctor? — No, not after I saw her.

Inspector Rice said Pomeroy told him he had known Alice Cheshire for four years. Asked as to the woman’s injury, he said, “Yes, I did it.” He added that he did it with a knife.

A police official gave evidence that when told he would be charged with the wilful murder of a girl, Pomeroy said, “I have nothing to tell you.” Later, when charged, the accused made no reply.

Inspector Vanner said there were some affectionate letters between the dead girl and Pomeroy. One was handed to the Coroner, who, however, did not read any extracts.

Pomeroy declined to give any evidence.


On April 6, the Courier summed up the Pomeroy would go on to plead guilty to the capital charge, making no effort to oppose his own execution which was carried out on April 5, 1923.

Pomroy Hanged.

Smiled When Sentenced to Death.

Bernard Pomroy, shop assistant, of Hemel Hempstead, was executed at Pentonville yesterday morning for the murder of Alice May Cheshire (21).

The circumstances of the crime were peculiar. Pomroy on the night of the murder took the girl, with whom he had been keeping company, to the Coliseum, and after the performance they travelled in a taxi from Holborn to Watford and back, and thence to hampstead.

Pomroy then told the driver to proceed to Leicester Square, and when the cab arrived there directed him to drive to the nearest police station, where he gave himself up. The girl was lying on the floor of the taxi with a wound in her throat. She died shortly after her admission to hospital.

When put on trial for his life Pomroy pleaded guilty, and refused to withdraw that plea in spite of the Judge’s advice. He also declined legal aid, refused to give evidence, and would not address the jury. He smiled when sentenced to death. An appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal was dismissed.

At the inquest which followed the execution the Governor of the prison said that only nine seconds elapsed between Pomroy leaving the condemned cell and death taking place. There was no hitch of any kind.

Harold Pomroy, of Hemel Hempstead, said that the deceased was his brother. After serving in the war he was a physical wreck, but the family had the consolation and joy to know that he was innocent of the crime for which he had paid the death penalty.

The usual verdict was returned.

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1759: Mary Edmondson

Add comment April 2nd, 2020 Headsman

A sad selection from the Newgate Calendar:

MARY EDMONDSON

Strongly protesting her Innocence, she was executed on Kennington Common, 2nd of April, 1759, for the Murder of her Aunt

This unhappy girl was the daughter of a farmer near Leeds, in Yorkshire, and was sent to reside with her aunt, Mrs Walker, of Rotherhithe, who was a widow lady. With this aunt she lived two years, comporting herself in the most decent manner, and regularly attending the duties of religion.

A lady, named Toucher, having spent the evening with Mrs Walker, Mary Edmondson lighted her across the street on her way home, and soon after her return a woman who cried oysters through the street observed that the door was open and heard the girl cry out “Help! Murder! They have killed my aunt!” Edmondson now ran to the house of Mrs Odell, wringing her hands and bewailing the misfortune, and, the neighbours being by this time alarmed, some gentlemen went from a public-house, where they had spent the evening, determined to inquire into the affair. They found Mrs Walker, with her throat cut, lying on her right side, and her head near a table, which was covered with linen. One of the gentlemen, named Holloway, said: “This is very strange; I know not what to make of it: let us examine the girl.”

Her account of the matter was that four men had entered at the back door, one of whom put his arms round her aunt’s neck, and another, who was a tall man, dressed in black, swore that he would kill her if she spoke a single word.

Mr Holloway, observing that the girl’s arm was cut, asked her how it had happened; to which she replied that one of the men, in attempting to get out, had jammed it with the door. But Holloway, judging from all appearances that no men had been in the house, said he did not believe her, but supposed she was the murderer of her aunt.

On this charge she fell into a fit and, being removed to a neighbour’s house, was bled by a surgeon, and continued there till the following day, when the coroner’s inquest sat on the body, and brought in a verdict of wilful murder; whereupon she was committed to prison, on the coroner’s warrant.

Mrs Walker’s executors, anxious to discover the truth, caused the house to be diligently searched, and found that a variety of things, which Mary Edmondson had said were stolen, were not missing; nor could they discover that anything was lost. Mrs Walker’s watch and some other articles which she said had been carried off by the murderers were found under the floor of the necessary-house.

Being committed to the New Jail, Southwark, she remained there till the next assizes for Surrey, when she was tried at Kingston, and convicted on evidence which, though acknowledged to be circumstantial, was such as, in the general opinion, admitted little doubt of her guilt.

She made a defence indeed; but there was not enough of probability in it to have any weight.

Being condemned on Saturday, to be executed on the Monday following, she was lodged in the prison at Kingston, whence she wrote to her parents, most solemnly avowing her innocence. She likewise begged that the minister of the parish would preach a sermon on the occasion of her death. She asserted her innocence on the Sunday, when she was visited by a clergyman and several other people; yet was her behaviour devout, and apparently sincere.

Being taken out of prison on the Monday morning, she got into a post-chaise with the keeper, and, arriving at the Peacock, in Kennington Lane, about nine o’clock, there drank a glass of wine; and then, being put into a cart, was conveyed to the place of execution, where she behaved devoutly, and made the following address to the surrounding multitude: —

It is now too late to trifle either with God or man. I solemnly declare that I am innocent of the crime laid to my charge. I am very easy in my mind, as I suffer with as much pleasure as if I was going to sleep. I freely forgive my prosecutors, and earnestly beg your prayers for my departing soul.

After execution her body was conveyed to St Thomas’s Hospital, Southwark, and there dissected, agreeably to the laws respecting murderers.

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1542: Margaret Davy, poysoner

Add comment March 17th, 2020 Headsman

Seventeenth century Jurist John Brydall‘s “An abridgment of the lawes of England, touching treasons, rebellious murthers, conspiracies, burning of houses, poysonings, and other capital offences (1679):

Whether killing a man by poyson be more detestable, than by any other means?

To kill a man by poyson, sayes Coke, is the most detestable of all, because it is most horrible and fearful to the nature of man, and of all others can be least prevented, either by Manhood, or providence: This offence was so odious, that by Act of Parliament it was made High Treason, and it inflicted a more grievous and lingring death, than the common Law prescribed, viz. That the Offendor shall be boyled to death in hot water: upon which Statute Margaret Davy [or Davie, or Davey -ed.] a young woman was attainted of High Treason for poysoning her Mistress, and some others, was boyled to death in Smithfield the Seventeenth of March in the same year: But this Act was afterwards repealed by 1. E. 6. c. 12. and 1. Mar. c. 1.

This appears to be the last documented execution by boiling alive in English history. (The far better-known boiling of Richard Roose for attempting to poison John Fisher occurred 11 years earlier, during the run-up to Henry VIII’s marriage to Anne Boleyn.)

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1590: Christopher Bales, Nicholas Horner, and Alexander Blake

1 comment March 4th, 2020 Charles George Herbermann

(Thanks to Charles George Herbermann for the guest post. Herbermann emigrated from Prussia to the United States in childhood and became a prominent scholar of Catholicism at the institution now known as New York University. Herbermann was the chief editor of the gigantic originally published in a volume of Catholic Encyclopedia in the early 20th century, where this text originally appeared; many other contributors were involved, and it’s impossible to tell . -ed.)

Christopher Bales. Priest and martyr, b. at Coniscliffe near Darlington, County Durham, England, about 1564; executed 4 March, 1590. He entered the English College at Rome, 1 October, 1583, but owing to ill-health was sent to the College at Reims, where he was ordained 28 March, 1587. Sent to England 2 November, 1588, he was soon arrested, racked, and tortured by Topcliffe, and hung up by the hands for twenty-four hours at a time; he bore all most patiently. At length he was tried and condemned for high treason, on the charge of having been ordained beyond seas and coming to England to exercise his office. He asked Judge Anderson whether St. Augustine, Apostle of the English, was also a traitor. The judge said no, but that the act had since been made treason by law. He suffered 4 March, 1590, “about Easter”, in Fleet Street opposite Fetter Lane. On the gibbet was set a placard: “For treason and favouring foreign invasion”. He spoke to the people from the ladder, showing them that his only “treason” was his priesthood. On the same day Venerable Nicholas Horner suffered in Smithfield for having made Bales a jerkin, and Venerable Alexander Blake in Gray’s Inn Lane for lodging him in his house.

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1728: Joseph Barret

1 comment February 12th, 2020 Headsman

January 17, 1728:

Joseph Barret, of St. Giles’s in the Fields, was indicted for the Murder of James Barret, (his Son, aged 11) by flinging him down, and giving him a mortal Bruise on the left Side of the Head of which he instantly died. He was a second Time indicted on the Coroner’s Inquisition for the said Murder; to both which Indictments he pleaded Not Guilty.

Thomas Belcher depos’d, That he saw the Deceas’d on the 29th of Decemb. about Noon at the Vault, that going in, his Father, the Prisoner followed him, and the Deceas’d having shoul’d himself the Prisoner kick’d him, and call’d him Dog and Son of a B – h; and going up Stairs the Deceas’d followed him, and then the Prisoner turned, and kick’d him on the Head without Provocation, repeating it again at the Stair-Case. The Prisoner desired this Deponent might be ask’d, If he did not know the Deceas’d followed bad Courses? To which be answered, He only heard of this once staying out all Night.

Elizabeth Nichols depos’d, That she saw the Deceas’d in Bed some Time before this happen’d, and that he was without a Shirt, and his Arms were beat black and blue; that he got out of Bed, and would have made use of the Pot, but his Father would not suffer it, saying, he should go down, which he did, and returning, his Father said, he had foul’d himself before he got to the Vault; that the Prisoner then shov’d him, that he fell, and he then kick’d him on the Head; that this Deponent then said, The Boy is dying, the Prisoner said, he is only fallen, and taking a Cat of Nine Tails, he hit him two or three Slashes as he lay on the Ground, that after the Prisoner kick’d or stamp’d on him he never spoke more, but gave 14 or 15 Breathes, and then departed.

This was likewise confirm’d in every particular by another Evidence, they both agreeing that the Deceas’d was very weak, and could scarcely creep up and down Stairs.

Mr. Rainby the Surgeon depos’d, That he being desir’d by a Neighbouring Justice to examine the Body, he observed it to be bruised in several Places, particularly the Head: for dividing the common Teguments, a Confusion, with a small Tumour without a Wound, appeared on the Left side, extending from the sore, to the back Part; the Skull being laid bare, there was no Fracture nor Depression, which he said might probably to owing to the Tenderness of the Bony Fibres in so young a Subject, and taking off the upper part of the Cranium, and dividing the external Membrane of the Brain, a great Quantity of extravasated Blood lay between this and the Membrane that immediately covers it, which must have been occasioned by some Violence, and very likely the same that produced the external Contusion, and was undoubtedly the Cause of his Death.

Some witnesses appeared in Behalf of the Prisoner, to prove that he had before this Time been a very loving, indulgent Father to the Deceas’d: But the present Fact appearing plain, the Jury found him Guilty. Death.


Ordinary‘s Account, February 12, 1728:

Joseph Barret, (as he said) Forty-two Years of Age, of honest, but poor Parents, who gave him little Education, for he could not Read much, and knew but little of Religious Principles. When of Age, he was not put to any particular Trade, but wrought at Husbandry, or any thing he could get to do in the Country. Afterwards he past some Years at Sea, in Station of a Marine, and when he came Home and Married, he serv’d as a Labourer to Plaisterers, and such Tradesmen.

And said, that he always liv’d Soberly and work most Laboriously for his Family; that the Son, of whose Murder he was Convicted, was of a first Marriage, and turn’d most Extravagant in wicked Courses of any Boy of his Age; for some Weeks before he Died, staying out Night after Night, and sometimes coming Home in the greatest Disorder imaginable; adding that he beg’d, or got Money from People and bought Gin with it, drinking till he appear’d worse than a Beast, quite out of his Senses; and that he was a most notorious Lyar, and withal, that he was of an obstinate Temper, and Disobedient to his Parents. Upon these, and such like Accounts, he was forc’d to use the Rod of Correction against him in an extraordinary Manner, and for that purpose, prepar’d a Cat of Nine-Tails for his Chastisement, as not being in any Danger of breaking Bones.

I told him, that he had certainly been too Severe upon the Boy, and that gentler Methods might have been more proper for reducing him; the way of Correction he us’d, being the Punishment inflicted upon Men of Age and Strength, on Board of Ships. He said, that he never intended harm, but only to reclaim him (if possible) from his wild Courses; and that any excessive Correction was given him, proceeded from the Instigation of his Wife, Mother-in-Law to the Deceas’d, who (it seems) did not Love the Child, and for the spite she bore him lost her Husband, and Ruin’d her Family.

He reflected upon the Witnesses, as not having Sworn true, in the Points of Fact, for which he was Convicted; particularly, that he did not Kick nor Strike the Child down, either below, or as he was coming up Stairs, and that he did not stamp upon his Head with his Foot in the Room. He believ’d, he had treated the Child too Severely, by Advice of his Wife, without any Malice or Thought of wronging him.

I told him, how Barbarous it was to beat the Child, till his Arms and parts of his Body were in a manner Corrupted with the Blows, when he saw him Indispos’d, and scarce able to rise from the Bed. He said, that he was so Sullen as not to tell him that he was Bad, and that he knew nothing of it. Upon the whole, he acknowledg’d that he had been Cruel in his Chastisements; that he remember’d not his Kicking him on the Head with his Foot, which was the immediate Cause of his Death; he could not deny but that the Evidence had Sworn the Truth; only but said, he had never corrected the Child but three Times in an extraordinary Manner, but that whatever Misfortunes happen’d, he had no Evil Intention.

I exhorted him to Repent of all his Sins, and particularly, that unnatural and brutish Sin of killing his own Child. He appear’d to have been a very Ignorant, illeterate Fellow, and, as appears from the usuage of his Child, of a Cruel, brutish Temper. He complain’d upon his Wifes going into the Country, and doing nothing for him, after she had expos’d herself and two young Children to the greatest Hardships, by her foolish and inconsiderate Advice. He declar’d himself truely Penitent for all his Sins, particularly the great Misfortune of Murdering his Son; that he believ’d in Christ his only Saviour, and Died in Peace with all the World.

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1733: Henry Neal, for shoes and breeches

Add comment January 29th, 2020 Headsman

That life is often cheap is Executed Today‘s stock in trade and few hanged cheaper than Henry Neal on this date in 19733.

Two bare entries at the Old Bailey Online constitute, we suspect, something close to the entirety of the documentary trail civilization holds for this soul.

Working backwards in time, we begin with the customary account of the Ordinary of Newgate, James Guthrie, of the twelvefold Tyburn hanging on January 29, 1733:

Henry Neal, Twenty Years of Age, his Father a Porter at Billingsgate died, and left him young, and his Mother being a poor Old Woman, could give him no Education at School, after he was Four Years Old; since which time he was forced to Work for his Bread at One Shilling per Week, and as he advanc’d in Years they gave him more. He commonly serv’d the Carters and Scavingers, till about Seven or Eight Months ago a Cart run over his Leg, which disabled him for Work. He own’d the robbing of Mr. Graves’s House, as was Sworn against him, but with a variation of Circumstances; for he said, that he only took the Hat, Breeches, and some small Things; but as to the Rings, the Guinea and a Half, he never saw them, as he said. He said, that he kept the Church, and was not very wicked, neither did he know the vile ways usually practis’d by such wicked People; and that what he did was merely for poverty and want, he having been disabled for Work, having fasted for three Days, and every body refusing him Charity. This is the Account he gave of himself, but as to the truth thereof, we leave it to others to judge thereupon. He was a poor ignorant Fellow, and knew but little of Religion. He declared himself Penitent for his Sins, that he believ’d in Christ his only Saviour, and that he died in Peace with all the World.


Here’s the preceding trial record that got him the noose, with testimony by those he robbed (the last of them seemingly written progressively to capture his distinctive accent):

Henry Neal, of St. Giles’s Cripplegate, was indicted for breaking and entring the House of William Graves, and stealing a Pair of Breeches, a Hat, a Pair of Shoes, 2 Gold Rings, a Guinea and a Half, and 2s. 6d. the Goods and Money of Richard Sims, and a Pair of Leather Breeches, the Goods of Tho Cecil, November 16, about ten at Night.

Richard Sims. I look after the Dog-house Bar. About six at Night the Prisoner came into the House, and desired me to let him warm himself by the Fire, for he said he had been with a Cart to Edmonton, and was very cold. He beg’d an old Pair of Shoes, upon which, I took Notice that those he had on were very bad; but I did not give him any. He staid till eight o’Clock, and then went away, and I shut up the Door as usual, and went to Supper at the Green Man on Windmill-Hill, and after Supper I returned to the House at the Bar, and went to Bed: Next Morning the Taylor came to mend my Breeches, which I had left in my Room overnight before I went to Supper, and there was two gold Rings, a Guinea and a half, and 2s. and 6d. in a brass Box in the Side-Pocket. I look’d for my Breeches but could not find ’em, and at the same Time I mist my Hat and my Shoes. Searching farther I found the Prisoner’s old Shoes, which were tied with Packthread, at the Door, and the Cellar Door was split in two. The Shoes made me suspect the Prisoner. Next week I met with him. He confess’d that he broke the Cellar-Door with a great Stone, and then thrust the wooden Bolt back, and got and took the Goods; that he had pawn’d the Hat in Golden-lane for 6d. and the Breeches in Turnbull-Street for a 1s. He went with me to those Places, and found them there. He had my Shoes upon his Feet.

– Thompson. I took the Prisoner in Coleman-street. I knew him before, and had heard there was a Warrant out against him. He had pilfer’d some Things while he had work’d with me there. I tax’d him with robbing Mr. Sims. He at first denied it, but afterwards own’d that he broke the Cellar-door open with a Stone, and had pawn’d the Hat and Breeches, but said he was drunk when he did it.

Tho. Cecil. I do keep the Dog-house-Bar for Mr. Graves, my Lord-Mayor’s Huntsman. My Breeches did hang up where I did lye, but being Zick, I was vorced to go home and leave’m there, and he have got ‘en on now.

Court. Go and look on ’em.

Cecil. Yes, these be they, I can zafely zwear to ‘n.

The Prisoner made no Defence, and the Jury found him Guilty. Death.

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