Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 24 May 2022), April 1676 (16760405).

Old Bailey Proceedings, 5th April 1676.


Being a full and true Relation of the Tryal and Condemnation of John Smith , John Darkin , and Geo. Marshal , For stealing the Plate out of the Parish church of St. Giles's in the Fields.

As also the Tryals of three Shoe-makers for Murthering a Milk-woman neer Kentishtown: With the Condemnation of a Woman that murthered her Childe. And several other notorious Malefactors for several Crimes: At a Sessions of Peace there held; which began on Wednesday the 5th of this Instant April, and ended on Fryday the 7th 1676.

With an Account of how many are condemn'd to Die, how many Burn'd in the hand, to be Transported, and to be Whipt.

Licensed April 7. 1676. Oldenburg.

LONDON: Printed for D. M. 1676.

AN ACCOUNT Of the most remarkable TRYALS At the Sessions house in the Old bayly.

THe Tryals and Condemnations or Acquittals of the several Malefactors at Justice-Hall in the Old-bayly London, having proved very acceptable, we have thought good to continue their publications; this Sessions being as remarkable as others: and is as followeth.

There was a Victualler tried for killing a Man ; they fought very fiercely together, and the Man went home: The Evidence swore that the Victualler was the cause of his Death, who had bruised him sore in several parts, and had caused him to spit Blood; but in regard he died a Moneth after, and was indifferently well: The Jewry acquitted the Prisoner of the Murther.

There was a Young man tried for stealing of a Saw , the Prosecutor made Affidavit, That that Saw which was found in the Young mans custody was his: The Young man brought a Joyner, that swore he made him the frame of the Saw, half a year ago; whereas the Prosecutor swore, that his was stolen a year ago: So that the Youngman was discharged of the Crime .

There was a lusty young Fellow, John Smith by Name, tried for the sacriligious stealing of above Two Hundred Pounds worth of Plate, out of the Vestry of St. Giles's Church . The Beadle of the Parish suspected this man, because he was a loose Liver, and came to his Lodging, but found him not within: He asked his Neighbour for him, and he said, That at Nine of the Clock at Night he was within, but since he had not seen him. The Beadle promised him Ten Shillings, to b ing him word, when he was within; but the other when he saw him, told the Prisoner what the Beadle said; then he came not to his Lodging in a Months time: But at his return, he had notice given him by others, and he took a Constable with him, and came to his Chamber-door, and rushed against it, designing to break it open, but he could not. The Prisoner hearing it, got up, and asked, Who was there? The Beadle told him, That he was suspected for stealing away the Church-plate, and they had a Warrant to apprehend him. The Prisoner then told him, He was a Son of a Bitch, and he had nothing to say to him: And whilst they were breaking open the Door, he run up into a Garret, and got up upon the House, and ran along several houses in his Shirt only, when they found he was fled, they made it their business to catch him: And in order thereto a Youth was sent up, and at the end of the House he spied him: when he approached near, he said, You Son of a Bitch, get you gone, or I will split your Brains with a Tile; this nothing daunted him, for he returned the same expression to him, but presently he came running by the Youngman, and then there was the Beadle, that lay in ambush for him, so that he leaped out of the Frying-pan into the Fire.

He that Scylia seeks to shun,

Doth often on Charibdis run.

When he was thus backset and foreset, he could not hope for a release, but by the danger of breaking his Neck, so that he unwillingly became their Captive. At his Indictment he would not-plead, because a man was to give Evidence against him, that was a Party concerned; so that when nothing would prevail to make him plead, he was sentenced to be prest to Death: But through the Sheriffs Intercession, he was perswaded to plead; and then the Court would hardly be perswaded to revoke the Sentence but upon his Knees he entreated them very importunately: at last they condisecinded to grant him more favour than he did deserve, viz. A legal Trial; and then it was proved, that he was one of the three that broke in. There was an Iron-betty shewed, and some small pieces of the Plate, that were found in a house where the Plate was sold by his and their orders: It was proved that he was one of the three, that hid the plate in a Ditch, and received an equal share of the Money. And the Woman that had it of them, sold it to another for Three Shil. Eight Pen. an Ounce: so that the Jury could do no less than find him guilty of the Fact.

There was a Youngman and his supposed Wife that were Arraigned for stealing of Thirty pair of Cloath-coloured Stockins : He (understanding there were many other Indictments against him) pleaded guilty to all Felonies within the benefit of Clergy: But she refused to plead, saying, That she was his Wife, and therefore bound to keep his secrets but at last she pleaded, she was acquitted , and he found guilty .

There were Three Shoe-makers arraigned for Murthering a Young Woman ; they went towards Kentish-Town , and there they spied her with Milk: One of them asked for some to drink; But she would not give them any: They gave and received some provoking words, which stird them up to blowes; several of her Acquaintance took her part, and routed the Shoe-makers. But before her Assistants came in, she hadgotten some bruises. This was on Friday, and she died on the Mundy following. They were acquitted both of the Murder and Manslaughter; and they owe great thanks to a merciful Middlesex Jury.

There was a Souldier tryed for stealing away a Marble-stone of the value of eighteen shillings from Scotland-yard : It was proved that he laid it on the Porters back and proffered to sell it; so that the Jury could do no less than finde him guilty of petty Larceny , and that was a favour too, for they might have brought him in guilty of Felony, and then he would have been one step more nearer related to Tyburn.

There was likewise two men more tried for the stealing of St. Giles's Plate : one was the Smith that made the Betty, to whose house they carried the Plate, who pleaded innocency at the bar, but there was one of the Thieves that gave Evidence against all the rest, that swore he had made above twenty Betties: He then said, he never had any knowledge of any Betty but his Wife, they were both found guilty .

A Woman was tried for murthering her Child : Two or three made Oath, that she said the Child was still-born, and afterwards she threw it into a Pond, in regard the Ground was so hard that she could not digg a hole to bury it in; but in regard she did not discover her being with Childe to any, nor call any in at the birth of the Childe. She was found guilty by the Jury according to an Act of Parliament in King Edward's time.

There was a Youth , who appeared to be about seventeen years of Age, indicted for a Robbery : for that he and two more robbed a young man a little beyond Islington of about eight pounds in Money. It was about eight of the clock in the evening in March last. The Prosecutor knew this youth but durst take no notice of him for fear they should have killed him; for the Moon did shine bright, insomuch that he could discern him as well by that as a clear light; and therefore he was very positive and confident in his affirmation. Notwithstanding several came in to testifie that at that hour when he was accused of the Robbery, he was at the Musick in Whitechappel, but he was found guilty .

There was a young man tryed for a Burglary commited at Thistlemorth , he took out of a house two Flitches of bacon several pounds of beef, a leg of pork, and some wearing clothes , but he that was accused was acquitted , because they only made Oath that he was there in the morning, and this was done in the night following; he drank a pot of beere in the house, and looked up into the Chimney where the bacon hung, and commended it for good bacon, he had formerly suffered for such like misdemeanours; and that was one reason why he was suspected, his commending the bacon might be another; but the greatest was, because they found the wyth which he that owned the bacon, made near the house where the prisoner lodged, which was at least two miles from the place where the fact was committed.

There were two women indicted for stealing a piece of Silk from a Mercer in the City, but they were not both arraigned, for one of them was brought a bed of a Newgate bird; and the other refused her tryal, because her sister Shop lift could not come to take her tryal, but at last she took a tryal, and the other too: she was acquitted , the other found guilty of this, and was burn'd in the hand last Sessions.

There was an honest Country man tryed for stealing a Calf ; but it was another that stole it, and sold it to him; who confest it at the Barr, so that the other was acquitted , and the Prosecutor blamed for indicting him that bought it; but he excused himself, by saying that the other was not taken when he was indicted. Thus you see, the righteous oft suffer for the sinners sake

There was two young men tryed for breaking open a Merchant s house , and both brought in guilty of the fact.

Another young man was arraigned for Murther , he and two more were throwing stones at one another in Clerkenwell-Green , and it was his hard misfortune to be too good a marks man, for he hit one of them under the ear, and he dyed within three days, so that he was found guilty of Manslaughter .

There was a young man tryed and found guilty for the felonious taking away of several goods and some mony out of some Trunks, which he broke, which were locked in his Landladie s Chamber .

There was a woman found guilty of stealing away a silver Tankard from her Master .

Sixteen condemn'd, five burned in the hand;

And five Transplanted to some other Land:

Seven ordered to be whipt, and one was fin'd,

The Fine was small, because the Court was kind.

Each of their Crimes were great, therefore I doubt;

There will be mighty work for Ketch this bout:

Good Lord deliver all as well as me,

From Ketches mercy, and the Tripple Tree.