Catherine Conway, Deception > forgery, 11th April 1749.

Reference Number: t17490411-39
Offence: Deception > forgery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death > respited for pregnancy
[Note: this edition of the Proceedings was misdated on the original title page. The correct dates for this meeting of the court are MAY 11, 12 and 13, 1749.]

357. Catherine Conway , late of Dublin in Ireland , wife of Richard Conway , was indicted for forging and uttering a counterfeit will with intent to defraud .

Lawrence Barry . One day last summer Mr. Deverix and I were coming into the city, we met the prisoner and three men to the best of my knowledge with her, I did not know them. Mr. Deverix and she had some talk about some affairs; says she, I have not my son along with me, he is going aboard some king's ship, which I do not remember now; he is now willing to make a will and power before he goes; says Deverix, here is a man that will do it for him : we went into the Paul's-head tavern near Doctor's Commons; there the will was fill'd up by me. Deverix, the prisoner, and the other man was in the room at the time; likewise I filled up a letter of attorney for her son, as she call'd him, and they were witnessed by one or two besides myself ; and this said son sign'd both will and power.

Q. What was the name she call'd her son by?

Barry. By the name of William Noble ; she said she was the mother of him.

Q. Did you ever see him since?

Barry . I never saw him before or since; I knew none there but Mr. Deverix. There was Davis that is since dead; I knew him since , but then I did not; he discovered the fraud to me and he and I went and made the discovery .

Q. Who had the will?

Barry . I do not know I left it on the table ; Mr. Deverix and I went about our business.

Q. Have you seen the prisoner since ?

Barry. Yes, as she pass'd and repass'd the navy office.

Q. Have you had any coversation with her since about it?

Barry. No, never .

Q. Do you know what use she made of it?

Barry . I do not, my lord .

Q. Can you remember what she said the time you was with them?

Barry . She said she was the mother of William Noble , and that was her son.

Q. Did that person she called her son acknowledged that to be his name?

Barry. Yes, my lord, and said the prisoner was his mother.

[The original will is put into his hand.]

Q. Is that your hand-writing that it is fill'd in?

Barry. Yes, my lord.

Q. By whose direction did you write it?

Barry. By the direction of the prisoner.

Q. What do you think was her end in having it done?

Barry. Doubtless in order to obtain what wages she could get, she said he had been prick'd down. *R and if Deverix and I could put her in the way how to get the R off she would give us three guineas.

*That is run from the ship.

Q. Do you know any thing of her receiving any money by vertue of this will?

Barry. I know nothing of that, my lord.

John Deverix . I know the prisoner at the bar, but my acquaintance with her has been but very slender; the first time I saw her it was in the Navy-office; she had a man with her she called her husband, and told me she had a son on board a king's ship, that was Rd. this was the first time I saw her. I said to her how long has she been absent ? between two and three months, said she; said I, apply to the honourable board, that will be the way to have relief: Said she, if you will do it for me, I'll pay you: said I, I cannot do it, but I'll recommend you. There was no more of it at that time. In four or five days after, to the best of my knowledge, Lawrence Barry and I were coming into the city.

Q. What time was this?

Deverix . I cannot tell the day, I did not take such notice of the time; it was last summer, but I cannot swear to the month. We met her on the back of St. Paul's church. There were three men with her at that time .

Q. Did you know any of them?

Deverix. None but the man she called her husband. I know that one of the other men was called Mason.

Q. What was done then?

Deverix. After some talk, the man that called himself the prisoner's husband, said , the son was going to make a will and power ; and there was a man there that signed the will and power, and called himself Noble .

Q. Did the prisoner at the bar call him her son?

Deverix. I do not remember she said he was or was not; but the man that call'd himself her husband , said that person they called Noble, was his son .

Q. Did the prisoner desire what effects that man call'd Noble had, should be given to her?

Deverix. She did.

Q. Did you witness the will ?

Deverix. No, I did not.

Q. Did you see the man that called himself Noble sign that will?

Deverix. Yes, my Lord, I did.

Q. What became of it afterwards?

Deverix. It was laid on the table; I know not who took it.

Q. Had you any mistrust of a fraud then?

Deverix. I took the prisoner to be an inoffensive , ignorant woman.

Q. Did you know her name then?

Deverix. I took her name to be Catherine Noble ; because she and her husband told me, her former husband was named Noble; and the person that went by the name of William Noble I took to be her son; and as such he signed both will and power.

Q. If she was married to a second husband how could she then be named Noble.

Deverix. I cannot account for that.

Q. Where was this?

Deverix. In a publick kitchen.

Q. Was the will read over?

Deverix. No, it was not.

The will was read, which runs to this effect.

9th of July, 1744 .

In the name of God, Amen. I William Noble , mariner, dwelling in the kingdom of Ireland, being of sound mind and memory, do make my last will and testment. First, I command my soul to Almighty God, hoping for the of all my sins through Jesus Christ, my Saviour and Redeemer. And as for such effects, as I shall be possessed of at my. I give and to my dear beloved mother, Catherine Noble , of Dawin, in the kingdom of Ireland, widow, my sole executors; hereby revoking my former will made by me, this ninth of July. 1744. in the eighteenth year of his Majesty's reign .

William Noble .

Sign'd, seal'd, publish'd, and declar'd in the presence of us

Henry Welch ,

Lawrence Barry ,

Richard Kennedy .

Q. to Barry. What time did you fill up this will .

Barry . Sometime last summer .

Q. How came you to put the year 1744 to it ?

Barry. I do not know how it came to be so .

Francis Gilder . I am town clerk of Liverpool. Here is the prisoner's examination; here is her mark she put to it, and also the Mayor of Liverpool's name, taken there October 21, 1748. Wherein she says she was born in Ireland, and married to her husband 32 years ago, and never took upon her the name of Noble; but she knows one William Noble, who is along with her son John Conway on board; and about three months since, she and her husband went to London to receive his wages , who died about two months before. That they met at the Paul's Head tavern , near the commons; and that Barry made and wrote this will in the name of William Noble , and made her executrix thereof; that he fixed the seal , and also wrote the name William Noble to it at the bottom of the will, and there was no witness that she knew of. And that after the will was signed, she says Deverix and she went to Doctors Commons, and proved this will. She had a letter of administration, and carried it to Chatham to Commissioner Brown, and there she received 20 pounds , as the representative of William Noble . And after this she came to her lodgings at Mason's house, and that Mason demanded money of her; and that Deverix and Barry were to have three guineas of her for forging the will: but she refused giving them any, with an intent to give it to William Noble . And she also says her husband was there when the will was made and published .

John Redman . I belong to the Navy Office. I have looked into the books of the Office; and find one William Noble had wages due to him

In the Lancaster - 5 3 0

In the Mermaid - 14 18 6

20 1 6.

which was paid July the 2d. 1748. at Chatham, by Commissioner Brown, to the widow Catherine, excutrix .

Francis Gilder . I have seen a person called William Noble in the Mayor's office at Liverpool, but I is gone to Virginia, and is not exp July .

Prisoner's Defence. These four brought me in. Deverix took a false will out of his pocket and gave it to Barry, and he put down what he pleased. My husband agreed to give them three guineas, and they promised to get the money . I never took a sorthing of the money ; it was my husband and he ran away with it . I am an honest woman if there is one in the kingdom.

Guilty Death .


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