Ordinary's Account.
12th February 1728
Reference Number: OA17280212

ActionsCite this text | Print-friendly version | Report an error

THE ORDINARY of NEWGATE his ACCOUNT, Of the Behaviour, Confession, and dying Words of the Malefactors who were Executed at Tyburn, on Monday the 12th of this Instant February, 1728.

AT the King's Commission of Oyer and Terminer, and Jail Delivery of Newgate, held (before the Right Honourable Sir EDWARD BECHER, Knt . Lord Mayor of the City of London; the Right Honourable Lord Chief Baron Pengelly, the Honourable Mr. Justice Reynolds, the Honourable Mr. Justice Cooper, the Honourable Mr. Baron Thompson, Recorder of the City of London, and John Raby, Serjeant at Law ; and others his Majesty's Justices of Jail Delivery, and Oyer and Terminer aforesaid: Together with several of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace (for the said City of London, and County of Middlesex) on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, being the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th of January, 1727, in the first Year of his Majesty's Reign.

Seven Men, viz. Joseph Barret, Richard Jones, John Matthews, James Sherwood, alias Hobbs, George Weedon, Henry Hews, and John Spurgins, were found guilty by the Jury of Capital Offences, and receiv'd Sentence of Death.

While under Sentence, they, having been for the most part young Men of lewd and dissolute Lives, and consequently ignorant of Religion, both in Speculation and Practice, were instructed in those Principles, which are necessary to be known, for the Conduct of our Lives as Men and Christians. I show'd them, that Nature itself teacheth us, that unto God the Sovereign Lord of the Universe, Worship, Reverence and Homage is due from all his Creatures, and that Man, (who has the Heathens who were only led by the Light of Nature acknowledg'd) was form'd after the Divine Image, and Substituted Lord of this inferior Orb, was in a more especially Manner bound, in Token of his Dependence, to give all due Obedience, by dedicating himself to the Service of God his Creator and special Benefactor. But if they fell short in complying with the first Principles of natural Religion, which is insufficient for Salvation; how much greater must their guilt be, who being deseas'd of Christian Parents, and living in the Middle of so great Light, had despis'd those glorious Revelations which were intended to elevate and perfect our deprav'd Nature? I explain'd to them the greatness and dangerous Consequence of those particular Sins for which they suffer'd. That Theft and Robbery were destructive of all human Society, and reduc'd Man, who is made the Image of God, and who is the God of Order, into the State of Savage Animals and Birds of Prey: Besides the Consecration of the Sin of Theft and Robbery with innumerable other the worst of Sins; such as, a Tendency to Murder, and commonly, a continued Practice of Lying, Drinking, Whoreing, &c. These who give themselves up to such a wicked Course of Life, being vile Wretches a bandon'd to every thing which is good.

Joseph Barret having been convicted of the Murder of his Son, I let him see the great evil of this the greatest of all Sins, in the Case of Cain the first Murderer of good King David, and from several other Instances; exhorting him to Repent and believe the Gospel, it being the only way to be free'd from the guilt of innocent Blood, to be wash'd in the Blood of that immaculate Lamb of God, who, died to do away the Sins of the World.

I instructed 'em in the nature of the Christian Sacraments, particularly, that the Lord's Supper, as a proper Viaticum to strengthen your Faith, in order to prepare them for a new State of Life, and that endless Eternity, upon which they were to enter.

While these and many such like Exhortations, were given them, they were all attentive and seem'd to comply with the Prayers, altho' not with that Seriousness and Concern which was requisite. Richard Jones was much of the time indispos'd and did not attend in Chappel, but when I visited him, he himself was Penitent for his sinful Life.

Upon Monday, the 5th of February, the Report of these seven Malefactors under Sentence of Death was made to his Majesty in Council: When John Matthews,

for Felony and Burglary, in breaking the House of Mr. William Trehern, and taking thence a Hat, four Perukes, and a Suit of Cloaths, a silver hilted Sword, a mourning Sword, a gold Headed Cane, on the 23d of December last, in the Night Time; and John Spurgins for assaulting Paul Chamberlain on the Highway, on the 21st of December last, and taking from him a Cloath-Coat, a Waist-Coat, a Pair of Shoes, a Hat, a Peruke, and a Linsey Woolsey Apron, received his Majesty's most gracious Reprieve. The remaining five, viz James Sherwood, alias Hobbs, George Weedon, Henry Hews, Joseph Barret, and Richard Jones were ordered for Execution.

The following Account is for Information of all concern'd, as to their Behaviour and Confessions before, or at the Time of their Death.

James Sherwood, alias Hobbs, George Weedon and Henry Hews, were indicted for Felony and Burglary, in breaking the House of William Meak, on the 11th of January, in the Night-time, and taking thence 12 Gloucester Cheeses. The Fact appear'd plain upon Hobbs only. The Jury found him Guilty. Death.

They were a second Time indicted, for breaking the House of Daniel Ellingham in the Night-time, and taking thence some Brandy, Tabacco, which was prov'd upon Sherwood, alias Hobbs, and Weedon, and they were both found Guilty. Death.

They were a third Time indicted for breaking the House of Elizabeth Cogdale, and taking thence Eight Pewter-dishes, and Twenty Pewter-plates, in the Nighttime. Sherwood, alias Hobbs, Hews and Weedon were all found Guilty of this Burglary. Death.

James Sherwood, Hobbs and George Weedon, were a fourth Time indicted for assaulting John Wallford on the Highway, on the 4th of January last, and taking from thence a Peruke, a Hat and Cane; which was prov'd upon them by the Deposition of Sarah Payne, and several concurring Circumstances, a Hat, Wig and Cane being found in the House, and swore to by the Proseuter; upon which they were both found Guilty. Death.

JAMES SHERWOOD, alias Hobbs, 26 Years of Age, was as he said, descended of honest, but mean Parents, who gave him but little Education, and what he got he no ways cultivated, for he could not read distinctly. When of Age, was bound an Aprentice to a Waterman on the River, and when out of his Time, he went on board a Man of War, serving in the King's-Fleet ; when he was at Home he was continally doing of Mischief, which was the main of his Business. For his Villanies he had been formerly Transported, and for returning he was tried, but Evidence not being clear against him, he was Acquitted. He was the chief Man of a Band of Thieves, who were shelter'd and lodg'd by a Woman, who receiv'd and dispos'd of their stollen Goods, and appear'd as Evidence against him, Weedon, and Hews. This Woman, Sarah Payne he blam'd for that wicked Combination between him and the other Rogues, in driving and enticing them to betake themselves to Street robberies and House-breaking. He was an audacious Fellow, and too fit for the desperately Exploits he took in Hand. He own'd himself to have follow'd it 18 Years, chiefly employ'd in picking-pockets, stealing and robbing, and that he had been a Fellow of a most lewd and disorderly Life, having been guilty not only of the four Facts for which he was convicted, but so many others, that it was not possible for his Memory to recollect them; and when he was not out upon Purchase, spent his remaining Hours in Whoring, Drinking, Cursing, and Blaspheming, and all manner of Excess of Riot. He said, that he did his Duty in the Man of War to the Satisfaction of his Officers, and equal to any Sailor in the Ship, but he could not keep himself to any settl'd State of Life, but lov'd best to be upon the Ramble, for although he was naturally of a quick Understanding, yet he employ'd his naturally Endowments to nothing but the worst of Purposes.

I exhorted him to Repent sincerely of his Sins, and particularly to those henious ones, continued in for such a long Tract of time, which had render'd him odious to God, and detested by all good Men. Having been so desperately wicked, although he knew other things pretty well, yet he knew but little in religious Matters, therefore I exhorted him in many Words to believe in Christ our Saviour; I instructed him in the general Design of the Christian Sacraments, that he should wean his Affections from this World, to which he had been wholly addicted, and settle them on the Things above, where Christ sits at the Right Hand of God, he should employ the remainder of his Time in loving and serving God, and in seeking his Grace to enable him to Work out his Salvation with Fear and Trembling; I also told him, that as in the first Place, he must make up his Peace with God, so also he must be at Peace with all the World; he turn'd very Bad upon some Discontent or Anger he had receiv'd, yet he never staid from Chappel but once; some Days before he Dy'd, being fully Recover'd of his Health, he appear'd with great Devotion at Prayers and other Duties. He declar'd himself a true Penitent having been one of the greatest of Sinners, that he believ'd to be sav'd only through the Merits of Jesus Christ, and that he died in Peace with all Mankind.

George Weedon, 22 Years of Age, born of honest Parents, who gave him good Education, instructing him in Christian Principles, in Reading, Writing, and other things to fit him for Business in the World. When of Age, his Mother bound him Apprentice to a Book-binder , but before his Time was out, upon some Miscarriages, he left his Master. He staid at Home for some Time and behav'd indifferently well, but haunting Gin shops in a certain Place of the Town, he said they prov'd his Ruin. For there it was he contracted Acquaintance with Sherwood, Hughs, and such others who advis'd him to those vile Courses, which brought his fatal Misfortunes upon him. He particularly nam'd Sherwood to have induc'd him, by his wicked Persuasions, to engage in those desperate Courser, which brought 'em all to a miserable End. He lamented his having sinn'd so much against Light, and good Instructions he had receiv'd in his younger Years, declaring that his Sin was double to that of others, who had not the like Opportunities of Improvement, having for Seven Years gone constantly and regularly to Church on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. He said that it was to supply an infamous Woman with Money, that he undertook the breaking of Houses and Street-Robberies. In the preceeding part of his Life he had not been so profoundly Wicked, as most of these unhappy People are, although he had not been free from Whoring, and sometimes drinking to Excess. He declar'd that he had never stoll'n any Thing, excepting that when young, sometimes he had taken an Apple or some such Fruit, till a few Days before he was apprehended, when Sherwood, alias Hobbs, persuaded him to leave his Mother's House, and take Lodgings with him and the rest of the Gang, in that infamous Woman's House: During the time he lodg'd there, he confess'd that he had committed some Robberies, but that he was not present when one of the Facts of which he was Convicted, was committed, but that that Night he was at Home in his Mother's House, and in this Respect Sarah Payn sworn falsely against him; the other two Robberies he did not deny. He appear'd to have some good Inclinations in him, and to have more Civility than the other two. He was always very devout and careful in Chappel, and after the Dead-Warrant came out, he appear'd more serious than ordinary, in time of Worship and Exhortations retiring to a Place by himself. Although some Interest was us'd for saving his Life, yet he never slacken'd his Preparations for Death. He declar'd himself a true Penitent for all the Sins of his Life, particularly that heinous One for which he suffer'd, that he believ'd to be saved only thro' the Merits of Jesus Christ, and that he Died in Peace with all the World.

John Hughs, as he said, 23 Years of Age, descended of honest Parents, who put him to School, instructed him in the Principles of Christianity, and taught him to Read and Write: When of Age, he learn'd his Fathers Trade of a Shoemaker ; but not inclining to settle at Business, after he had spent sometime that way, he went to Sea , and was at Gibraltar, and on the Coast of Spain last Year, and the Proceeding. When he left the Ship and came to London, betook himself to his old Shifts of Picking and Stealing. He confess'd, that from his Childhood, he had been a constant Pick Pocket of Handkerchiefs and such little Things, but Watches he could never get at, for he said there was a particular Dexterity in that Species of Theft, and it was to be perform'd only in a great Croud, or on some special Opportunity. He had been a diligent Thief in all small Things he could Pick up, but never had engag'd to undertake considerable Robberies, till in Company at an Ale-House with Sherwood and Weedon, and a fourth Person not yet taken; they all engag'd in a Gang to Rob or Knock down such Persons as they met in Morefields, or other Places in the Town, and at other Times to break open Houses, and to divide the Spoil equally, and Feast and Carouze together in their common Lodgings, at their infamous Landladies House, whether they all resorted, and where within ten or twelve Days all taken. He said indeed, that it was not by the persuasion of Sherwood, as George Weedon did, but that they all voluntarily, and with common Consent agreed to Adventure upon these desperate Enterprizes. He declaring, that he sincerely repented of his Mispent Life, resolving to become a new Creature, if he had been spar'd; dying in the Faith of being Sav'd, only thro' the Merits of Christ, and in Peace with all Mankind.

Joseph Barret, of St. Giles's in the Fields, was Indicted for the Murder of his Son James Barret, Aged 11 Years, by flinging him down, and giving him a mortal Bruise on the Left-side of the Head, of which he instantly Died.

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.

Richard Jones of St. Leonard Shoreditch, was Indicted for Breaking into the House of Thomas Melcher, on the 4th, of January last, in the Night Time.

Richard Jones, about 22 Years of Age, his Parents being Mean, had no Education at Schools, and was very Ignorant of Christian Principles. He apply'd himself to Country Work, and learn'd to make Bricks , which Business when he follow'd, he got his Bread very well, both for himself and his Family. But the last Year (as he said) proving bad for making Bricks, he was put to many Hardships; so that being out of Business and Idle, he betook himself to unlawful Shifts, and went in Company of Vagabonds and little Thieves, who made it their Business to go up and down the Town, and to steal Lead from Gentlemens Houses in the Night Time. Excepting this, which was his common Practice for a long time, and any small Thing he could with ease, and when Opportunity offer'd, pick up and carry away; but (as he said) never took upon him to Rob People in the Streets, or to Break Houses, except in the single Instance of which he was Convicted. He confess'd that he Broke into the House, that finding but little Money in the Drawers, he would not take it; and being surpriz'd, he was forc'd to drop or leave all the other Things he had taken. When I visited him in the Cell, he was very attentive to Prayers, and desir'd good Instructions. His Wife was careful in attending him every Day, and brought him what Things she could get.

He was a pitiful, ignorant Fellow, of a slow, dull Understanding. I endeavour'd to make him know something of Christianity: That the great God of Heaven and Earth made him; That Christ the Son of God died for us; that the Holy Ghost Sanctifies the elect People of God, I show'd to him the Evil of Covetousness, of his neglecting the Ordinances and Means of Salvation, which was the Cause of his gross Ignorance: And since he had thus despis'd God, he had been left to himself to fall into those capital Crimes, which had brought upon him all the Miseries and Calamities, together with a disgraceful Death. He acknowledg'd the Truth of all this, and an hearty Sorrow for an illspent Life; and having attain'd soe little knowledge, by having some of the first Principles of Religion frequently incultivated upon him, declar'd that he believ'd in Jesus Christ, to be sav'd thro' his Merits, that he sincerely Repented of all his Sins, particularly those heinous ones for which the Judgement of God had overtaken him; and he died in Peace with all the World.

The Behaviour at the Place of Execution.

JAMES SHERWOOD, appear'd with a deal of Devotion and Seriousness, shedding abundance of Tears. Richard Jones being Interrogate about the House of Mr. John Wright Distiller in Shoreditch, which was maliciously set on Fire, on the 23d, of November last, in the Night Time. By his Answers, gave ground to Suspect, that the same was done by a Number of designing Persons, at whom he particularly hinted, having before alledged, that the Reason was, because the said Mr. Wright was too Rigorous in the Execution of his Office as a Constable . Weedon being ask'd if he was the Man who knock'd down the Carrier in the Street, said, he never knock'd down any. They all went off Praying devoutly, crying out, Lord Jesus receive my Spirit.

This is all the Account given by me,

JAMES GUTHRIE, Minister at Newgate.

London: Printed by JOHN APPLEBEE, in Black-Fryers. Where Advertisements are taken in.

View as XML