Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 24 May 2022), August 1676 (16760823).

Old Bailey Proceedings, 23rd August 1676.

A true NARRATIVE Of the Proceedings at the Sessions-house IN THE OLD-BAYLY, At a Sessions of Peace there held; Which began on Wednesday the 23d. of this Instant August, and ended on Fryday the 25th, 1676.

Setting forth the several Facts, Tryals, and Condemnation Of seventeen persons sentenced to Die.

And several other notorious Malefactors for several Crimes.

With an Account how many are Burn'd in the Hand, to be Transported, and to be Whipt.

Licensed Aug. 26. 1676. Ro. L'Estrange.

LONDON: Printed for D. M. 1676.

A Narrative of the Proceedings at the Sessions, Aug. 24. 1676.

FOr the satisfaction of the world, and warning of Persons vitiously enclined with variety of Examples, wherein ill Courses justly are punisht with lamentable Ends, we have thought fit to continue this Narrative: The present Sessions being no less remarkable than any that have preceded it; but rather pregnant with more notorious Rogueries: And because from the Female Sex sprung all our Woes and bad Inclinations at first, we may begin with

The Trial of three very young Women , who were grown so couragious in Villany, as to break open a house at Islington : one of them had a Mother liv'd there, and carried two of her Gronies thither, and about 12 a Clock at Night, they attempted with a Picklock to open this Neighbours Door; but not being able to effect it, she that was acquainted run to her Mothers and got a Key, and with that wrinch'd out some Nails, and took down a Casement, and so got in, whilst one stood ready at the Window to receive the Booty, and the other was very advantageously posted in the Street, to give notice to the Attacquers, if any Alarm hapned. They stole a considerable quantity of Linnen and Cloaths, and had done more mischief, had theynot been frighted with a noise, as if somebody were stirring in the Chamber; however they got away safe, but with such unlucky haste, that they left the Key in the Room, which the Woman of the house next Morning finding, and knowing it to be her Neighbours, whose Daughter was noted to be of an ill repute, she seized them upon suspicion; and they in effect confessed the Fact before the Justice: but the Jury found only two Guilty , so that their Scout was acquitted .

The next was a Fellow for stealing a Bed, Rug, Blankets, Curtains, &c. Two of them came to a publique house in Barnet to lodge, in the night having made up the whole furniture of the Bed into Bundles, with the Cords tied to the Window, one of them got down into a Back-yard; the other flung out the things and followed ; after they had marched two or three Miles towards London, but out of the Road and a little before Sun rising, a Countrey-man going to work observed and suspected them, and with his Fellow Labourer having dogg'd them a pretty way, assoon as they perceived it, they flung down their Bundles, and prepared to fight, without any provocation, or one word said to them: whereupon the Countryman knockt one of them down with a Pease hook, who was now tryed and found Guilty ; the other fled, but left all the Baggage on the place.

Two young Fellows were arraigned for a Burglary at Enfield , that had got their Pillage in two Sacks upon their horses, and crossing the Country, were seen to ride through Holloway by one that knew them to be notorious Thieves; who suspecting by the time, being not yetSun-rising, and their Bundles, that they had made that sally to force Contribution from some of their Neighbours, or in plain English, had been breaking open some house, got a horse, and some company pursuing them, took them at Islington. They pretended they found the Goods in the street neer Coney; but the owner swearing himself robb'd that very night, and that these were his Goods taken out of his house, they were both found guilty of Burglary.

A poor Scotch-Seaman was tried for speaking some most wicked and detestable words of our Soveraign Lord the King ; and that he the said Prisoner Did not care if the whole Nation were damn'd and destroyed . The words were fully proved by a Gentlemen of Quality, to whom they were spoken, and by two others present; but it also appearing that at the time of speaking the Prisoner was extraordinary drunk, for he had just before been taken up like one dead in the streets neer Billinsgate by some that knew him, and laid in a Boat to carry him to Gravesend, he belonging to a ship outward bound for Guinny: and these Gentlemen coming into the same Boat, and, it seems, disturbing him before he was well awake, or had recovered his senses, by asking him whether his Majesty's Barge were gone by, he, in that insensible condition, uttered the words; wherefore because both the next day and now at the Bar, he declared his sorrow for, and abhorrence of such wicked Expressions, and shewed how he had for divers years, according to his capacity, faithfully served his Majesty, and with tears implored the favour of the Bench, though the Jury could not but bring him in guilty of speaking the words, yet the Court were pleased onely to Fine him.

And certainly this one Example might warn and deter all reasonable persons from this odious sin of Drunkenness, which makes men act and say things they never imagined, & frequently brings their lives into such imminent danger, as in this Case, wherein nothing but extraordinary mercy could save the unhappy Criminal.

A Gentleman was indicted for a Highway-man , and the person who pretended himself robb'd, swore it very positively, That the Prisoner and three more such a day on a Common beyond Brandford , took from him twenty four shillings; but the Prosecutor having never leavied any Hue and Cry, nor declared such his being robb'd for above a twelvemonth, till the Prisoner afterwards being made a special Baliff , did arrest him for a just Debt due to the said Prisoner's Mother; at which time, as appeared by several credible persons, the Prosecutor declared he knew not, nor had ever seen the Prisoner in his life: And when he then made it appear by circumstances that there had been dealings between them about twelve years before, the Prosecutor then replied, If you are Mr. C. you are strangely altered; I have not seen you many years; and yet five weeks after he seizes the Prisoner, and charges him with robbing him, as aforesaid, in November was twelvemonths, but failed before the Justice in assigning the day, sometimes saying it was on a Saturday, and sometimes on a Tuesday: All which being extraordinary symptoms of Malice, and the Prisoner being a person of known Reputation, the Jury brought him in not guilty ; who thereupon prayed a Copy of his Indictment, which the Court readily granted; and no doubt of it, but he will teach the Prosecutor to be more wary of charging people with Felony, by a sweeping action brought against him.

A woman was indicted for a Burglary and stealing several Goods ; but to this Indictment she would in no wise plead: She was indicted for another Felony in stealing Clothes at an Ale-house , but for that she was found not guilty ; but another woman arraigned with her, convicted, and burnt in the hand for it. However the said woman standing obstinately mute to her first Indictment, notwithstanding all the perswasions of Master Sheriff, and the Ordinary representing to her that she drew her blood upon her own head, the Court was forced to that terrible Judgment, that she should be pressed to death; and accordingly she was carried forthwith to Newgate in order to such Execution.

A young man was tried for stealing a very considerable parcel of wearing Apparel : He and another came together to drink in an Ale-house with a Bundle containing the things now in question, which some persons there taking notice of, and that they look'd very suspiciously, going about to apprehend them, one of them got away, the other was now convicted and burnt in the hand .

But of all the Examples of improved youthful impudence, we must admire that of one John Evans , a Lad seeming not to be above Fifteen or Sixteen years of age at most: he has been three times in the Colledge of Newgate, once already burnt in the hand, and now charged with several Indictments, particularly for robbing a house in St. Martins-lane , and stealing a great quantity of very rich wearing Apparel : He was taken going to dispose of part of it, by the Beadle of Covent-garden, who knew him well enough to suspect him: he had several pieces of Gold about him, when apprehended; and amongst divers other things, a silver and gold Bowl, and a Crucifix of Gold. After he was convicted the Courtwas very importunate with him to declare to whom those things belonged, or where he had them, but could get no other answer, but he found them, &c.

A young Wench was likewise convicted for a Felony for stealing four pounds . She going to visit one of her associate Rogues, a Prisoner in Bridewel, made shift to steal a silver Cup, which was taken with her. She had been often concerned in such things, and burnt in the hand before, but would take no warning, and therefore was now condemned to die .

Two persons were accused for Robbing a Gentleman on the Road coming from Oxford ; but he being not very confident or positive in his testimony, and the parties making it appear where they were at the same time, they were brought in not guilty .

There were in all seventeen persons condemned to die, twelve men and four women to be hang'd, and one woman to be press'd to death; six burnt in the hand; four allow'd the favour of Transportation; for petty Larceny there were five women and three men ordered to be Whipt.