Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 18 April 2014), September 1755, trial of Mabell Hughes (t17550910-41).

Mabell Hughes, Killing > murder, 10th September 1755.

347. (M.) Mabell Hughes , widow , was indicted for the murder of Alexander Knipe , July 3 . She stood charged on the coroner's inquisition for manslaughter. ||

John Travilian . I was 13 years of age last April.

Q. Do you know what will become of you if you tell a lie upon your oath?

Travilian. If I tell a lie upon oath, the d - l will have me.

Q. Did any body bid you say so?

Travilian. No, no body.

Q. Has any body set you on to tell a story?

Travilian. No. (He is sworn.)

Q. Where do you live?

Travilian. I live in Aldgate workhouse .

Q. Where did Alexander Knipe live?

Travilian. He lived there too.

Q. How came you to live there?

Travilian. Because my father and mother died.

Q. What business do you do there?

Travilian . I wind silk.

Q. What did Knipe do?

Travilian. He wound silk.

Q. Where did Mabell Hughes live?

Travilian. She lived there. She used to mind us to see that we did our work right.

Q. How long has Knipe been dead?

Travilian. I can't tell how long it is.

Q. Where was you when he died?

Travilian. I was in the workhouse then.

Q. What occasioned his death?

Travilian . I don't know.

Q. Do you know any thing against Mabell Hughes?

Travilian. I know she stamped upon him.

Q. How long was that before he died?

Travilian. He was dead the next morning.

Q. How old was Knipe?

Travilian. I don't know how old he was.

Q. Was he bigger or lesser than you?

Travilian. He was lesser than me.

Q. What time of the day was it that she stamp'd upon him?

Travilian. It was in the afternoon.

Q. What time?

Travilian. I don't know what time.

Q. How long before night?

Travilian. Not long.

Q. Where was it?

Travilian. I was by, it was in the open garret.

Q. Were the rest of the silk-winders by?

Travilian. No, all of them were not, some were gone out.

Q. Who was by besides you?

Travilian. I don't know who.

Q. What were they that were there besides you?

Travilian. They were little children.

Q. How many were there of them?

Travilian. I believe there were half a dozen children there then.

Q. Were they winding silk then ?

Travilian. No, it was on a Sunday.

Q. What were you all a doing?

Travilian. We were all at play quietly, and she came up, and fell a licking us.

Q. Who did she beat?

Travilian . She beat me, and all of us, but she beat none of us so much as him.

Q. How did she beat him?

Travilian. She beat him with a stick, with her left hand first, and because that was not enough she took her right hand, and hit him with the head of the stick.

Q. Where is the stick?

Travilian. The church-warden has got it. ( An oaken stick with a knob to it produced in court.) This is it.

Q. Where did she hit him with it?

Travilian. She hit him on his shoulders and his back.

Q. How many blows do you think she struck him?

Travilian. I don't know how many.

Q. Did she give any reason why she beat him?

Travilian. No.

Q. What did she say before she beat him?

Travilian. She said nothing before she beat him.

Q. Was you sent up there to read your books, or to do any thing of that kind?

Travilian. No, we were sent up to play quiet, and she came up.

Q. Where was Knipe when she came up?

Travilian. He was sitting upon a trunk, and she hawl'd him upon the ground with her hand, and stamped upon him.

Q. Did he fall on his back or his belly?

Travilian. He fell on his back.

Q. What part of his body did she stamp upon?

Travilian. Upon his groin .

Q. How many times?

Travilian. Just so. (Giving a stamp with his heel, directing that leg forward.) She kick'd him with the toe of her shoe, and then stamp'd upon him with the heel of her shoe.

Q. How many times did she stamp upon him?

Travilian. She stamp'd upon him once, and kick'd him once.

Q. How long did she keep her foot upon him?

Travilian. I can't tell justly, when she let him get up she did not do any thing else to him.

Q. What did she do after that?

Travilian. She went down stairs?

Q. What did he say after this?

Travilian. When he was going to bed, he said Mrs Hughes had kill'd him.

Q. How long was this after?

Travilian. I do not know.

Q. Was it an hour?

Travilian. A little more, I believe.

Q. What did he say to her at the time she was beating him?

Travilian. He did not say any thing, he only cried.

Q. What did she say to him?

Travilian. She said nothing to him.

Q. Was he quiet and easy after she had stampt upon him?

Travilian. Yes.

Q. You did not observe any thing the matter with him, did you?

Travilian. No.

Q. What did he do after she went down?

Travilian. Then he got up and set upon a trunk.

Q. How was he then?

Travilian. He cried and complained of his belly.

Q. What complaint did he make of his belly?

Travilian . He said, Oh, my belly aches!

Q. Did he make any complaint of that the day before?

Travilian. No, he did not.

Q. Did he continue complaining till he went to bed?

Travilian. Yes.

Q. Who lay with him?

Travilian. I did, and because he should not die in my arms, I got out of the bed and lay on the floor.

Q. How was he when he was in bed?

Travilian. He was very hot, and said nothing but, Oh, my belly aches!

Q. Did he go to sleep?

Travilian. He did a little while, and then he waked .

Q. How long was it before you got out of the bed after you got in?

Travilian. A good while.

Q. Was he better after he was in bed?

Travilian. He groaned worse and worse, he groaned and could not speak.

Q. When did he die?

Travilian. I do not know, I went to sleep on the floor.

Q. How soon did you know he was dead?

Travilian. I did not know till the morning, then one of the boys came and told us.

Q. What time was that?

Travilian. That was about six o'clock.

Q. Did you see him after he was dead?

Travilian. I saw him dead in his bed.

John Cox . I live in this workhouse. Alexander Knipe was about 11 years old.

Q. How long have you been in the house?

Cox. I have been in it about 12 months. Knipe came into the room to me about five in the evening, nine weeks ago to-morrow.

Q. Do you know how he came by his death?

Cox. I did not see it; about five in the afternoon, I was sitting in my room which is on a floor with that the boys were at play in. Knipe came in and pulled off his coat and waistcoat, and shew'd me his arms, and said Mrs. Hughes had killed him.

Q. Did he say what she had done to him?

Cox. No, he did not, but went to bed directly, and complained of his belly; he said his bowels pain'd him much, and he was very uneasy.

Q. Did you hear any thing pass in the other room while you was sitting there?

Cox. No, I did not.

Q. How did his arm look?

Cox. That look'd very much bruised. Two women brought him up about one o'clock next morning, I suppose he had been down to go to the necessary-house. They put him in bed.

Q. Was he alive then?

Cox. He was; and about five o'clock, I heard the words, Alexander Knipe was dead.

Q. Did you see him when he was dead?

Cox. I did.

Q. Did you observe any bruises?

Cox. His arm was very much bruised, and his side was bruised; I saw it green.

Q. What did they appear to be given by?

Cox. They both appeared to be given with a stick, his cod was swell'd, and black and green; he was born bursten.

Q. Did the prisoner know he was bursten?

Cox. Yes; I knew she did, all the house knew it.

Q. Did you talk with her about it?

Cox. I never chang'd a word with her in my life.

Q. What was she?

Cox. She was a sort of an over-looker of the children; a very cross four woman to the children.

Q. Did you ever see any severities by her?

Cox. Yes; I have seen her beat the children.

Philip Watson . I have liv'd in this workhouse 10 or a dozen years; I heard the child cry out in the next room to me, it was in a three pair of stairs, in a garret; it was about six or seven o'clock; I was sitting in a chair by the child's bed side. After he came out of that room, I ask'd him what was the matter? he came out crying: he told me Mrs. Hughes , or mother Hughes, had kill'd him. Said I, how has she kill'd you? he strip'd himself, and shew'd me his arm. I saw two or three ugly marks there, he told me his back was worse; I saw two or three stripes that look'd black and blew; he told me she had thrown him down, and stamp'd on him; he said she had kill'd him, had kill'd him, and he should die. I bid him go to bed, and accordingly he did and I heard him nothing but groan in bed; and at about 11 o'clock, he went down stairs.

Q. How do you know that?

Watson. I know he went out of the room; I saw him, for I was setting upright in my bed. I lay in the same room, within three yards of his bed, two women brought him up to bed again; and when they had put him in, I thought he was very easy and quiet. In about two hours, I heard him groan very much; all he said was, she has kill'd me, she has kill'd me. In the morning, two women came up to look at the child, and told me he was dead; then they searched his private parts, and told me it was black.

Q. What time did they come up?

Watson. I believe it was about six or seven o'clock.

Q. Did you look at the body after it was dead?

Watson. I never looked at the body after.

Q. Did you ever speak to the prisoner after the child was dead?

Watson. No; I never spoke to her in my life.

Mary Primmer . I live in Aldgate-workhouse; I knew Knipe.

Q. How long had he been in the workhouse?

Primmer. I cannot tell, he had been there some years.

Q. Did you know that he was bursten?

Primmer. He was born bursten; I was at the birth of him. On the Monday morning about three o'clock, I heard the groans of a child, as I lay in bed.

Q. Where was this?

Primmer. He lay in the garret; but this was down at the bottom of the house. I got up and open'd the door; the child said it is me, mamma Primmer; then I knew it to be the deceased. I went down to him, he lay upon the ground, just within the threshold of the door, flat on his back, holding up his belly with his two hands. I took hold on his right arm, he said O mamma, I cannot stand (the child used to call me mamma,) I am a dying, I shall die. Then Gilmore ran down to me, and we took the child under his shoulders and back, and carried him up to his bed, and laid him down in it; and cover'd him up warm; and in the morning about half an hour after five the bell rung for the boys to get up, and the child was then found to be dead.

Q. During the time of your carrying him up, and your tucking him up, did he make any complaint .

Primmer. He never spoke a word more. The people that found him dead, told me he was not cold then.

Q. Did you examine the body after it was dead?

Primmer. I did, I found he had had a kick in his right groin, and the place was as black as a shoe; it was dented in like the print of a toe of a shoe, into the side of his groin.

Q. Did the prisoner know he

Primmer. She did.

Q. How do you know that?

Primmer. She has called him bursten coded dog, a thousand times I believe.

Q. How long has the prisoner lived in the house?

Primmer. They talk she has liv'd in the house 15 or 16 years.

Q. Had you any talk with her after the child was dead?

Primmer. I told her of it. She said if she did kick him, she could not tell whether she did or not.

Q. What was her employ?

Primmer. Her business was to overlook the boys when they were at work, and keep them orderly.

Penelope Gilmore . I live in this workhouse; the child came down in the morning, about three or four o'clock, and could not get up again. He made heavy moans. Primmer went down to him, and I went after her; the child called mamma, mamma, we carried him up stairs, and put him into bed, and left him there.

Q. Did you see the body after it was dead?

Gilmore. No; I did not.

Q. Did you know that he was bursten before that?

Gilmore. I did.

Q. Did the prisoner know that too?

Gilmore . She did; all the whole house knew it, old and young.

Sarah Cole . I am mistress of the workhouse, and have been two years and better. Mabell Hughes's work was to take care of the silk, and the children that spun it; on this Sunday, after the duty of dinner was over; the deceased child was among the rest of the children; he was as well as usual to all appearance, in perfect health . I saw him again at half an hour after three, to all appearance, then in present health; and I never saw him alive after that.

Q. Was he bursten?

E. Cole. He was, but he was very chearful.

Q. Did you see the body after he was dead?

Cole. No; I did not. I was so much surprised, I had not power to speak to her.

Q. How came you to let her beat the children in such a manner?

Cole. I never gave her the power over them; she had that power before I came there.

Prisoner. She has told the truth

Q. How was the child for temper, easy or hard to be govern'd?

Cole. He was a very mild temper'd child, he would not hurt a worm ; she had no occasion to beat him.

Eleanor Fitzer . I live in the workhouse; I know the prisoner has been a very hard-hearted barbarous woman. Alexander Knipe was well on that Sunday in the morning about seven o'clock when I saw him. I never saw him till about five at night, when he came to go to bed; then I saw him rolling about on the bed. He voided blood upwards; he was very troublesome, and complain'd he had a hurt in his groin . I saw the body after he was dead between five and six next morning. I observ'd some bruises about his arms and shoulders.

Q. Did you observe his groin ?

Fitzer. I did not look upon it.

Judith Cosse . Alexander Knipe was a very sober child, he would not hurt a fly , much more a worm. He was playing with me about half an hour after three on that Sunday in the afternoon.

Q. How was he for health then?

Cosse . He was as well for health then, as I am now .

Q. Did you see him after that?

Cosse. I did not till the next morning, betwixt five and six; he lay dead on the bed.

Q. Did you see him after that?

Cosse. I did; and saw a kick she gave him on his right side; the same side, on which he was bursten . There was by his private parts; the print of a toe (by the length she shewed on her finger, the dent was an inch deep) after that I went to the ward were the prisoner lay, and told her that Alexander Knipe was dead , but she made me no answer.

Alexander Hart . I am a surgeon; I saw the body of Alexander Knipe the day after he died. I perceived nothing but a little blackness on one arm.

Q. Did you observe his groin?

Hart. I did, I observ'd no blackness upon it at that time.

Q. Did you observe any thing of a dent ?

Hart. No, I did not .

Q. Was he open'd?

Hart. He was , and we found there had been an inflammation in his bowels, particularly where the rupture was. The child had a rupture, which occasioned a strangilation of the gut that was in the scrotum .

Q. What do you mean by strangilation?

Hart. The gut was tightned by being inflamed, and the gut was a little putrified .

Q. What do you suppose was the cause of his death ?

Hart. I imagine it was that blow, or bruise the child had receiv'd .

Q. Might not these appearances have been without a blow or bruise?

Hart . They might, but I suppose they were by that, because the child was well before.

Q. The state in which you found the body, could that arise from a natural cause?

Hart. It might.

Q. If you had not heard of the blows given, and you had seen the body open in the state it was; what would have been your judgment upon the case?

Hart . I should have thought it was from the inflammation upon the parts; but I could not particularly assign a reason why there should be an inflammation there.

This Sessions being unusually protracted, several remarkable trials are omitted in the present publication for want of room, among which is that of Bradbury , for the detestable crime of Sodomy ; this, and others equally interesting , will therefore be publish'd in a few days.

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 18 April 2014), September 1755 (t17550910-41).

Old Bailey Proceedings front matter, 10th September 1755.

THE PROCEEDINGS ON THE King's Commissions of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery FOR THE CITY of LONDON; And also the Gaol Delivery for the County of MIDDLESEX, HELD AT JUSTICE-HALL in the OLD-BAILEY, On Wednesday the 10th, Thursday the 11th, Friday the 12th, Saturday the 13th, Monday the 15th, and Tuesday the 16th of SEPTEMBER ,

In the Twenty-ninth Year of His MAJESTY'S Reign. NUMBER VII. PART III. for the YEAR 1755. Being the Seventh SESSIONS in the MAYORALTY of THE RIGHT HONOURABLE STEPHEN THEODORE JANSSEN , Esq; LORD-MAYOR of the CITY of LONDON.

LONDON:

Printed, and sold by M. COOPER at the Globe, in Pater-noster Row. 1755.

[Price Four-pence.]

THE PROCEEDINGS ON THE

King's Commissions of the Peace , Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery held for the City of LONDON, &c .

Q. UPON the whole, what is your judgment from the view of the body ?

Hart. I imagine that the bruises there might be the occasion of his death.

Court . You don't seem to say you saw a bruise.

Hart. Then it must be from the inflammation.

John Bulcock . As they thought the boy was murdered, they applied to Mr. Hart and myself to inspect the body: we found no marks of violence on the outward parts, that might occasion his death. The boy had been dead 3 days, and there appeared no other blackness than what might have been on a body that time. We proceeded to open the body, and found there was a natural rupture. We thought the gut had been forc'd down violently into the scrotum from the laxity of the part, and occasioned a strangulation by the tightness of the part, after great part of the intestine was forc'd down into the scrotum.

Q. How long might a blow given before his death, be the occasion of his death?

Bulcock. It might in twelve hours time, where the bruise happens on such a place as that, it mortifies immediately.

Q. Did you observe any thing to lead you to judge there had been violence used or not?

Bulcock. That would be very hard to say, for the skin was not so much as chased, or lacerated upon the ruptured part. I really did imagine he had fallen against a chest as he came out of the room ?

Q. Then was there not reason to believe there had been violence used some way?

Bulcock . Yes, there was great reason to believe there had been some violence in it.

Q. What is your judgment on the whole ?

Bulcock. My judgment is, that the boy had received some blow or injury upon that ruptured part , which I do imagine principally was the cause of his death, though if he had not had a rupture I much question whether it would have been the occasion of his death or not.

Q. Supposing a boy of that age, without a rupture, and a grown woman was to stamp upon him, would not that be dangerous?

Bulcock . Whether it would thrust them out of their place, is very uncertain.

Q. If the boy had a rupture, would it not be the occasion of his death, was a grown woman to stamp upon them parts?

Bulcock. Yes, I really believe it would.

Prisoner's defence.

They were making a sad noise, and they were given to make away with my work; lay it in one place and another, and drop it about, and throw it into the vault, and that was an abominable thing. I did not do this; it was by his falling between two trunks, against the sharp end of one of them, that it was done.

To her character.

Isabella Howlaston. I have known the prisoner ever since I was seven years old, I never heard of any cruelty by her. She has been in my father's house six or seven weeks at a time; she was quite tender to our children. Please to ask the mistress of the workhouse whether any of the people had ever made any complaints to her of the prisoner's cruelties.

Court. If the prisoner has a mind to call her to her character, or ask her that question, she has a right so to do.

Prisoner. Call her to my character.

Mrs. Cole . I beg to be excused in regard to her character, if you please; I can't say, but I have heard of her beating the children very much.

Anne Greenfield . I have known her above 50 years , she is as good a natured woman as ever breath'd . I have had 10 children at a time at my house, and she used to nurse them, and look to them.

Anne Alderman. I have known her above 20 years; she is a very sober good-natured woman .

Mary Larkham. I have known her ever since I can remember myself; I never saw any thing else but good-humour and sobriety. My mother has left her with me when I was a child many a time.

Elisabeth Wilsher . I have known her four years , I can't say I have been much with her; she is a very good-natured woman. When she used to have any fruit, she would say she would give them to her children in the workhouse .

Guilty , Death .

This being on the Saturday, she received sentence immediately to be executed on the Monday following, and her body to be dissected and anatomised. She was executed accordingly , and her body delivered in at Surgeons-hall.

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 18 April 2014), September 1755 (t17550910-41).

Old Bailey Proceedings front matter, 10th September 1755.

THE PROCEEDINGS ON THE King's Commissions of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery FOR THE CITY of LONDON; And also the Gaol Delivery for the County of MIDDLESEX, HELD AT JUSTICE-HALL in the OLD-BAILEY, On Wednesday the 10th, Thursday the 11th, Friday the 12th, Saturday the 13th, Monday the 15th, and Tuesday the 16th of SEPTEMBER ,

In the Twenty-ninth Year of His MAJESTY'S Reign. NUMBER VII. PART III. for the YEAR 1755. Being the Seventh SESSIONS in the MAYORALTY of THE RIGHT HONOURABLE STEPHEN THEODORE JANSSEN , Esq; LORD-MAYOR of the CITY of LONDON.

LONDON:

Printed, and sold by M. COOPER at the Globe, in Pater-noster Row. 1755.

[Price Four-pence.]

THE PROCEEDINGS ON THE

King's Commissions of the Peace , Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery held for the City of LONDON, &c .