Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 24 May 2022), December 1676 (16761213).

Old Bailey Proceedings, 13th December 1676.

A true NARRATIVE Of the Proceedings at the Sessions-house IN THE OLD-BAYLY, At a Sessions there held; Which began on Wednesday the 13th of this Instant Decemb. and ended on Saturday the 16th, 1676.

Setting forth the several Facts and Tryals of Several Malefactors.

With the Tryal of the Maid that set her Master's Barns on fire at Harrow on the Hill, at Michaelmas last.

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

With Allowance. Roger L'Estrange.

LONDON: Printed for D. M. 1676.

A Narrative of the Proceedings at the Sessions begun the 13th of December 1676, at the Oly Bayly.

THe first person tried, was for making away her Bastard-childe ; but upon hearing the Evidence, and examination both of the Midwife and Coroner, it appeared tobe onely a Miscarriage; and by several circumstances there was reason to judge that she had not gone above sixteen weeks, and had never been quick, the abortive Infant being not above eight inches long, and no symptoms of Wounds or Bruises being to be seen, on the body to argue any violence used to it, he Jury thereupon thought fit to bring her in not guilty .

A young man was arraigned for Murther, killing an old man in St. James's Park : Two fellows being running together in the evening the poor ancient man unlukily happen'd to be in their way, and one of them tumbled him down and bruised him, of which bruise the next day he died; but the Evidence testifying that it was done meerly by accident, without any grudge or quarrel precedent, and that the Prisoner as soon as he perceived he had done an injury, went immediately and call'd a Chair to carry him home, &c. There was no reason for finding the Indictment, so that he was discharged .

A Servant-maid was found guilty of stealing a silver Tankard of the value of Five pounds : She living at a publick house in the Old Jury, took an opportunity to take it away; and having knock'd off the Lid, brought it to a Goldmith to sell, who perceiving the Cover lately broken off, would not buy it, unless she would shew it him; which after much importunity she did, and upon that was engraven the name of the Owner , whose wife she then pretended to be, and had the Goldsmith to a Confederates house, who seemed to say as much: but at last being trapp'd in their words by him, she confess'd the Felony to him, and afterwards on her examination before the Justice, and acknowledg'd in effect as much now at the bar, onely said that the Tankard was delivered her to sell by a fellow-servant; but there being neither proof nor probability of any such things, she was convicted .

A woman was indicted for burning her Master's Barns at Harrow on the Hill , in which a considerable parcel of Wheat and other Corn was consumed on Michaelmas day last. Her Master and his wife gave evidence, but nothing of their own knowledge, onely that she had confess'd the Fact, that in their absence in the evening she took a Fire-brand, and carrying it out of the house put it in at a hole in the Barn amongst a Mow of unthrash'd Oats, whereby that Barn, and another adjoining were burn'd down, and the Dwelling house with much difficulty preserved. And this likewise appeared on reading her Examination; for which mischievous act she could alleadge no other provocation but that her Master would not lend her money to go to a Wedding. However the Justice that committed her, assuring the Court from his personal knowledge, that the Prisoners Father was a very melancholy and distemper'd man, and that she her self had a defect in her understanding, and many times at least not the use of common Reason or Sense, and the Evidence against her in effect acknowledging as much, which was confirmed by her present stupid carriage at the Bar. The Jury looking upon her as Non Compos Mentis at the time of the Fact committed, could not finde her guilty in the eye of the Law , of the Crime for which she stood indicted.

Two Legerdemain Ladies of profound experience in the mysteries of Shoplifting; one of them having been whipt at the Carts tail but the very last Sessions, were convicted for stealing two pieces of Callicoe, under pretence of buying o kerum . The Goods were taken before they got out of sight in one of their aprons, who alleadged a very civil excuse, assuring the Court that she was drunk with Brandy, and knew not what she did; but that Plea was overrul'd, and both of them found guilty .

A French Gentleman , came in voluntarily to take a tryal for killing a Marshal's man's follower , in April last was two years, at the end of St. Martins-lane . The Marshals man himself was gone another way, and the party kill'd, and three or four more seiz'd the Prisoner (as they suppose it was; but without having any Warrant at that Instant with them; and besides, the Warrant their Master had was wrong in the Christian name. Upon their taking the party, divers of his Companions drew their Swords, and one of the Bayliff 's lost his life in the fray; but the Evidence could not say who kill'd him, nor positively that the Prisoner at Bar was the person they had arrested: so that he was acquitted both of Murther and Manslaughter.

The next was a tedious tryal of a young fellow for breaking open the house of a worthy Gentleman his late Master , and stealing thence a Spanish Gun, and other Goods, to the value of Fourty pound . There appeared several violent presumption of Guilt, and a person where the Gun was found had sworn directly before the Justice, that the Prisoner was the man that sold it; and another, that he verily believ'd him to be the man; but now neither of them would say further, than that he was somewhat like him. The Prisoner had a great number to speak in his behalf, but few could say any thing to the purpose; and the Court declared themselves sensible of much practice us'd on the Prisoner's behalf, to conceal the truth, yet on a full hearing, for want of direct Evidence, the Jury brought him in not guilty .

A Flemming born in the City of Antwerp, was indicted on the Statute for exercising the Trade of a Gold beater here, not having served seven years as Apprentice ; but it being prov'd by several witnessesthat he serv'd the said term to his Father of the same Trade in the said City of Antwerp, and that he was an excellent Artist. The Court considering the intent of the said Statute, which is onely to prevent unskilful and insufficient Workmen; and that the Art it self prohibits onely those that have been Apprentices, or not serv'd as Apprentices: And though he were not Apprentice in England, yet he had serv'd as an Apprentice abroad; which they concluded to be within the intent of the Statute: For otherwise it would be too great a discouragement to Foreigners to instruct us in the usual Inventions; and therefore the Jury found him not guilty .

An old Offender was convicted for stealing a bay Gelding of Six pound price, a quarter of grownd Mault and two Sacks : the Horse was taken out of the stable on the 28th of Nov. and the two sacks of Mault with it. The very next day the Owner coming to London met the Prisoner driving his Horse along St. Gileses's, with one of the Sacks empty on his arm, and there seiz'd him, who now pretended that the Sack was given him by two strangers, he knew not who, for his pains to drive the Horse along Tyburn road, but he knew not whether; and therefore seeming onely a forged excuse, without any proof to confirm it, he was found guilty , it being averr'd in Court that he had three times already been burnt in the hand and convicted.

Two persons, one by his own Confession, and the other by Verdidict, were Convicted for stealing a silver Tankard in the Woolstaple Westminster , from a publique house , whence at once they stole away themselves, the Plate and the Reckoning, but were discovered by a Female Crony, upon a disgust, that she was not allowed Snips in the prise, &c.

A Woman as principal, and a Man as accessary, were Convicted for stealing Plate, and other rich goods, to the value of 200 pound from a Frenchman at Westminster ; whose servant the woman being, took the opportunity of his absence, and ransackt several of his Rooms, and stole the said goods, After which the said other prisoner took her a Lodging, disposed of a Watch, and some of the Plate; for which both were found Guilty .

A Lighterman and his wife were Arraigned, for stealing of about 40 pieces of Serge, out of a Lighter on the Thames ; The Prosecutor produced several witnesses, and one very roundly swore, that she saw two of the pieces of Serge in the Prisoners house in the Cradle, and that his wife seemed much afraid of a search; and threatned to fling them into the house of office, &c. But upon a full examination, it appearing that there had been several suits and brangles between the parties, that the Prisoner was sick at the time of the Robbery, that it was two years ago, and no prosecution all this while, that the husband prisoner was a person of good Fame, &c. They were both acquitted by the Jury.

There was great expectation of the Tryal of one Lodowick Muggleton , for spreading detestable opinions, and publishing several impious Books; But the same was put off, till witnesses might be ready for a full discovery of his Villanies, and therefore the reader is to take notice, that any Pamphlets published concerning his Tryal, are faigned stories.

There were tenn burnt in the hand, seven allowed Transportation, ten to be whipt, and one to stand in the Pillory.