Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 23 August 2014), March 1677 (16770307).

Old Bailey Proceedings, 7th March 1677.

A true NARRATIVE Of the Proceedings at the Sessions-house IN THE OLD-BAYLY, At a Sessions there held on March 7. 1676/7.

Seting forth the exact Tryals OF Tho. Sadler , Will. Johnson, and Tho. Renninger .

Condemned for stealing the Lord Chancellor's Mace and Purses:

And Jane Bosse for being Accessary to them.

As also of two men for Sacriledge, stealing a Surplice, &c. from Enfield-Church, and all other remarkable Transactions. With an Account how many are Condemn'd, Burnt in the hand, Transported, and to be Whipt.

To which is added the substance of the Proceedings at Surrey-Assizes in Southwark, began March the 6th where Six were Condemn'd to die, Thirty Burnt in the hand and Six to be Whipt.

This being the true Book of the Sessions, set forth by one that has done it several years, and all other pretended Accounts are defective and surreptitious.

With Permission.

LONDON: Printed in the year 1676/7.

A true Narrative of the Proceedings at the Sessions in the Old Bayly, March the 7th 1676/7.

THough this Sessions was very considerable both for the numerousness of the Offenders, and heinousness of several of their Crimes, yet none rais'd so much noise and discourse as that impudent Villany of Sadler & his Accomplices stealing the Mace, and other Ensignes of State, from the house of the Right Honourable the Lord High Chancellor of England.

For which they were on Wednesday the 7th instant brought to tryal, and put upon a London-Jury (where they were taken with most part of the things stolen) but after a long discussion of the matter, the prudence of the Court (which delights to do Justa Juste) thought fit to refer them to a Tryal upon Indictments in Middlesex, which were ordered to be drawn up against them; and whereof we shall by and by in course, give the Reader a satisfactory Account.

In the mean time was one arraign'd for stealing Four and twenty yards of black Cloath , who conscious of his Crime, and well tutor'd in Newgate-Discipline of avoiding other Indictment, pleaded guilty to that and all others within benefit of Clergy.

Another was found guilty of breaking open a Minister 's house in Black fryers on the 14th of February last, apprehended in the manner, or (if you will have it in the Language of the Evidence) Taken Napping whilst he was busie at his work.

One for stealing a silver Tankard on the 1 of February , of the value of Six pounds ; and another for a Tankard valued at Four pound ; both found guilty : Their method being so dis-ingenious and vulgar, that 'tis not worth relating.

The two persons for stealing the Mace coming on again to their Tryal in London, the three principals Sadler , Johnson , and Renninger were indicted; the two women before indicted together with them as accessaries, being now reserved to take a tryal by themselves. The debate of this Cause was very tedious; but upon the whole matter the Evidence was thus: That a Burglary was committed in the house of the Right Honorable the Lord High Chancellor of England in great Queen-street , in the night between the sixth and seventh of February , and the Mace valued at One hundred pound, and two Purses richly embrodered and set with Pearls at Forty pound, stolen out of a Closet one pair of stairs towards the street , a pane of glass being taken out justunder the catch of the Casement, and so the Casement open'd, which was the easier to be done by reason the Balcony reach'd very neer to the said window. The same Wednesday morning two of the Prisoners S. and J. came to a house in Knight rider street, where they had lain three weeks by the name of Clarke and Trueman, had been gone a week or thereabouts; and upon inquiry, finding the Room not lett, told the people they were come to lie there again: J. brought in a bundle under his coat, and that night only he lay there, but had a fire, and next day brought down a small quantity of silver Lace, as he said, to burn at the Kitchin-fire; and borrowing a hammer to beat it in his Chamber, lock'd his door and continued beating about three hours: Next morning his Companion came, bringing their other Crony, and that night they all three lay together: On the Friday they all went forth, but carried away the Key of the Closet: Their Landladies daughter going up to clean the Room, observes a great many Spangles of Gold, and about six small Pearls, which prompted her curiosity (having before some suspitions) with a Knife to open the Closet-door, where under a cloath she met with the Coronet on the top of the Mace, and part of the body of it; the sight whereof strangely surprized her, and made her call up her Mother, telling her, they had got the King's Crown: She is no less amazed, but desires a Neighbour to inquire what News there was abroad at the Coffee-house; there he is told ofmy Lord Chancellor's being robb'd; and then concluding this must be his Mace, honestly gives information; whereupon several of my Lords servants, with Officers, plant themselves over the way. That night none of the three Prisoners came there, but a woman to enquire for them (who since pretends to be Sadler's wife) she presently is secured, so likewise was Johnson, who came next morning; and soon after Sadler coming also thither, spying a Croud about the door, strikes down a Lane towards the Waterside, where he is pursued, and after some small resistance, taken. The Closet is search'd and besides most part of the Mace, some of the Purse, and several other pieces of Plate found: And upon search before Sir W. T. in Sadler's Almanack was found a Note where Jane Bosse liv'd in Shoe-lane, who being well known for a bad woman, his Worship sends an Officer with some of the servants thither: They found her in a Garret and Renninger with her. Carrying her away; she was observ'd to fling a piece of Gold, part of the Mace, into the bed, and upon stricter search in a pot of water they found two pieces more. This Renninger, though bred to the Tap, pretended to be a Working Goldsmith; and 'twas prov'd that the Sunday before the Robbery committed, he was between four and five a clock in the morning with the other two walking to and fro in Queen-street, hawking as 'tis thought for an opportunity to accomplish their designe. Sadler confess'd the Robbery, and charg'd Johnson ashis only Confederate therein and that he gave Renninger and the woman what they had: Johnson denied that, and would onely confess himself an accessary after the Fact; but such was the clearness of the Evidence, that the Jury could do no less than finde them all three guilty both of the Robbery and Burglary. And further, S. and J. were also found guilty on another Indictment for Burglary, and stealing Plate and Goods out of a Gentleman s house in St. Martins in the Fields to a great value , part of which Plate was now found in the before-mentioned Closet.

To give a brief Account of these Notorious Malefactors, the Reader may be informed, that Sadler was by trade a Brick maker , a fellow whose person may engage the pity of as many Ladies, as his famous Predecessor Duval, if he had but a smack of the Monsieur, without which all other Accomplishments are but slight and despicable: He has divers years followed these courses, several times found mercie on former Convictions, kept some while to impeach others of the Gang: He carried himself now very insolently, and was of so vainglorious an humour, that by their own Confession that morning they had done the mischief, he made one of his Companions bear the Mace on his shoulder, and the other one of the Purses before him bare, quite thorough Lincolns-Inne-fields, whilst he follow'd in State, &c. Johnson was bred up a Coachharness-maker , was not so notorious, yet had been dabbling before: He seem'd much concern'dfor his present condition, and just as the Jury proclaim'd him guilty, fell down at the Bar in a Swoon, so terrible an apprehension it made upon his Spirit.

To rob the King thus was a heinous and daring attempt; but two other ventured higher, presumed to rob God himself, by committing a Burglary on Enfield-Church , and stealing thence a Surplice, a Tippet, a Green Carpet, some Plate, &c. One of them on his Arraignment pleaded guilty , and the other on a fair Tryal was prov'd to.

A Gentleman took a Tryal for killing one of his friends in Finch-lane on the 19th of Jan. last: Upon Evidence it appeared they had been both drinking hard, and a sudden Quarrel happen'd without any grounds, so that both drew their Swords, whereby the man was unhappily slain upon the place; but no malice being prov'd or imagined between them, it was found only Manslaughter , and was burnt in the hand for the same.

Another Gentleman likewise had the Clery ; for being in a Quarrel, he had unhappily killed an Irish Gentleman that interpre'd to part them.

A Fellow that had stolen a Sorrel Mare worth Five pound at Brenchly in Kent , and brought her to an Inne in Holborn, and there sold her for Thirty shillings . The Felony was plainly proved and though the Prisoner pretended he bought her at Guilford in Surrey, yet the contrary being evident, he was found guilty and received sentence of Death .

Jane Bosse , an old notorious Offender, was convicted and condemned as an Accessary, after the Fact, to Sadler and his Confederates, part of the Mace being taken with her : The other arraigned with her on the same account, was acquitted .

The rest were for the most part notorious Criminals, guilty of Burglary and Felony, &c. whose Facts are too tedious to relate. In short, there were in all Fifteen persons Condemned to die, viz. Nine men and Six weomen; Fifteen Burnt in the hand, Two to be Transported, and Four to be Whipt.