Ordinary's Account.
9th May 1679
Reference Number: OA16790509

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THE Behaviour, Confession, and Execution OF The several Prisoners that suffered at TYBURN On Fryday the ninth of May, 1679.

VIZ. George Rawline, For Robbery on the Highway. Thomas Benfield, For Burglary. Sarah Dent, - For Murther. Together with THO. PICKERING, Drawn, Hang'd, and Quarter'd for High-Treason.

GIVING A true Account of their Deportment after

Condemnation, penitent Expressions, and

last Words.

Published for a Warning to others.

Having perused this Narrative, and conceiving the same may he very full to Admonish other Ill Livers, I do Attest that the matters therein contained are truly Related. Sam. Smith Ordinary.


LONDON: Printed in the year 1679.

The Confession and Execution of the Prisoners at Tyburn, &c.

AT the Session holden for London and Middlesex, ending 2d 1679. there were in all Fitfeen that received Sentence of Death. An Account of their respective Tryals hath already been divulg'd, to which we refer the Reader: Our Work at present being to acquaint you with their deportment after Condemnation, as far as is remarkable, or may serve to caution others to avoid the evil Courses that brought them to this untimely Destruction; which is the main End for which this Paper is Published.

Several of the before mentioned unhappy and Condemned Persons obtained his Majesties gracious Reprieve; which as it was mercifully extended, that by Reformation they

may avoid Destruction; so 'tis hoped that in Gratitude it will work in them such a real and deep sense of their former ill-spent Lives, and horrid Crimes, as by the Operation of Divine Grace on their Consciences, it may serve to reclaim them from those pernicious extravagant courses, and put them on the study of redeeming their time by Repentance and good Actions for the future: For he or she whom neither the terrors of Death, nor indulgence of Pardon can Reclaim, deserves (if afterwards they offend) neither Mercy nor Pity.

However since that gracious favour (no less to be expected than immerited) was kept strictly private from their notice, it will not be unfit to give some Account in general of their Behaviour under those fatal Circumstances.

But first we must take notice of Thomas Pickering, who being above a quarter of a year ago found guilty of High-Treason, and Condemned With Father Ireland and Grove, formerly Executed, for designing and endeavouring to Murther His Sacred Majesty, was this day drawn on a Sled, (but not till about an hour after the rest) and with a numerous Guard conveyed to Tyburn, and there Hanged and Quartered. He was bred up a Tailor , sometimes pretended to be a Merchant, but in truth fell in with the Jesuites, and was admitted a Lay-Brother amongst them. The horrid Crime he was Executed for, was, that he designed to kill the King, and was to have thirty thousand Masses said for his Soul, if he happened to be cut off in, or Condemned for the same. He did once attempt to shoot His Majesty, but Heaven, (the best Life-guard of Kings) ordered his flint to fall out, just in that moment; and yet his Popish Superiours were so impudent, as to make him do pennance, and whipt him severely for his negligence and loosing the opportunity.

Mr. Ordinary, on the Evening before his Execution, told him he was come to offer his service to fit him for his approaching Death: that it was now no time to deal slightly with him, but that he would beg great Repentance of God for his abomi

nable Crimes: The particular Arguments he used are too tedious here to be related. The Prisoner thanked him for his good Counsel, but would not permit him to pray with him, but desired him to pray at home for him. At the place of Execution, according to the usual manner of those men, he would not acknowledge any thing of his Crimes, but repeated the Lords Prayer and Apostles Creed, and so in an obstinate manner persisted, till Executed according to Sentence.

One of them (though not pleased to own the particular Fact) was yet observed to be very penitent, acknowledging, that for his disobedience to the pious Admonitions of his Patents, and extravagant life, especially for these two years last past, viz. in Swearing, Drunkenness, and keeping Debaucht Company, God had most justly brought him to this terrible Sentence of Death, for a Crime of Burglary, which he was involv'd in (as he affirm'd) by the Extravagancies and Incitements of others; and therefore declared it as a necessary Caution to all young men, to take especial care whom they make their Consorts, or contract a familiarity with.

Noscitur ex socio, qui non cognoscitur ex se.

He was observed, during his Imprisonment, constantly to attend the Publick Worship of God in the Chappel, and gave himself very much to the reading of Books of Devotion; in which practice there is good ground to judge him very sincere, for that the Ordinary coming many times near his Chamber-door, unknown to him, hath heard him Pray very fervently, that God would fit him for his Tryal, and sanctifie his Distresses unto him.

Another did acknowledge he had been brought up with a Religious Education, but being obstinate and undutiful to his Parents, which he now much lamented, as a Provocation given to God to desert him to Highway-

Robbery; which he confest he had practis'd for some years, yet affirm'd he never used violence to any persons life: and affirm’d, that once having robb'd a person of 20 s. coming to Market, whom he had reason to believe to be a poor man, he was so smitten in Conscience, that he could not rest till he had inquired him out, and for restitution sent him 40 s. And being demanded why he return'd 40 s. for 20 s. taken away, he said, He did it out of Consideration, for that he supposed the poor man by his robbing him, might loose 20 s. which he might otherwise have gain’d by his Market. Which shews that generally, even in the most profligate persons, God leaves his witness in their Consciences to check them for ill deeds, and that there is a certain innate Principle of Vertue, and Ray of good Nature, which the most Debaucht cannot, without extream difficulty, totally extinguish.

But as to the Persons that now suffer'd, the first we shall mention is George Rawlins, for a Robbery on the Highway near Kensington. He had been bred a Souldier both here and beyond the Seas, and appeared as a person stout and bold. Mr. Ordinary, to bring him to Contrition and Repentance, thought fit, in respect of his

Profession, to use this Argument: That David, though a mighty man of War, yet humbled himself and wept for sin, counting it no dishonourable imputation of Effeminacy. To which he excellently replied, and above what could be expected from his Education, That Souldiers indeed ought to be men of Courage; but, alas, said he, there is no Valour against God: for to him we must all bow in an humble Confession: And therefore he was not at all asham'd to weep for sin, for he felt the Anguish of it, but hoped that his Repentance was Heart-deep, as well as his Eyes moistened with Tears; counting that no Faint-heartedness at the approach of Death; but rather desired to shew himself a man in Christ, than one that, pretending to imitate a Roman Courage, outfaces Death with a stupid ignorance of a future Judgment.

Another was Jonathan Grove, for a Burglary, and stealing 415 l. He confess'd that he served five years an Apprentiship to a Poulterer ; but being corrected for Miscarriages, deserted his Master, and afterwards addicted himself to bad Company: amongst whom he learnt to prophane the Sabbath, Drink to excess, Swear, c. So that he soon became a grand Proficient in wickedness. He express’d good degrees of Remorse for all his sins, and particularly for his unjust folly in leaving his Master and lawful Employment: Upon which he was inticed, for a small Reward, to assist the principal Burglarian (who is fled from Justice) in carrying part of the Money as far as Deal; where being dismiss'd, on his return to Town he was apprehended, and now Convicted.

Thomas Benfield Suffer’d for a Burglary, which he

ingeniously Confess'd, and much lamented; as also those leading Sins, Sabbath-Profanation, Swearing, Debaucht Company, c. all which he express'd himself heartily sorry for.

Sarah Dent was Executed for Murthering of her Bastard Child, which she acknowledged; and that the person that begot it, was her Fellow-Servant; who being since dead, she partly out of Distrust of Providence, as not knowing how to maintain it, and partly to cover her Shame, added Murther to Uncleanness, and made away with it. She much bewailed that in her youth she had neglected to learn to read; whereby from God's Word she might have received Instruction, and now under this Calamity, Directions and Comfort, having been lamentably ignorant of God and her Duty, till now awakened with the Sentence D t professed a deep sense of her bloody, unnatural Crime. And Mr. Ordinary desiring her that she would let him hear what she prayed to God for, since some Convictions were wrought in her; she did Pray in his heading (apart from the rest) very well, and fervently, in expressions suitable to her Crime and Condition, with much Selfabhorrency and brokenness of heart, to the best of his apprehension.

At the place of Execution they freely declared their Crimes, begged Pardon of God, and desired all that were present, of their Acquaintance, or that should hear of their shameful End, thereby, to, take warning, to avoid the like Crimes, and amend their Lives.


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