Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 29 May 2022), December 1677 (16771212).

Old Bailey Proceedings, 12th December 1677.

A true NARRATIVE Of the Proceedings at the Sessions-house IN THE OLD-BAYLY, December 12, 13, 14, &; 15. 1677.

Containing The Tryal of the woman for Coyning, who is Condemn'd to be Burnt.

With an Account of the Highway-men.

ALSO The Tryals and Condemnation of several other notorious Malefactors.

And also the number of those that are Condemn'd, Burn'd in the hand, Transported, and to be Whipt.

With Permission. Ro. L'Estrange.

LONDON: Printed for D. M. 1677.

The Proceedings at the Sessions for London and Middlesex.

AMongst such a multitude of various Crimes, the story of every petty Felony with its trivial Circumstances here examined or punisht, cannot reasonably be expected to be published; such an undertaking would be no less tedious than unuseful, and in some cases unfit: but as to whatever was transacted considerable or remarkable, this Sheet dares promise you a brief, yet sufficient, Account both of the manner of Fact, and what became of the Prisoner charged therewith.

The first Relation we are to make, is of a very sad and unhappy accident. A Gentleman was indicted (according to form in such cases) for Murder ; but upon Evidence the business appeared onely thus: A Burglary about four or five a clock in the morning being made, or at least attempted, and discovered by the noise, and the people crying out Thieves, the person now tried, generously came forth of his Bed with his Sword in his hand to help hisFriends and seize the Robbers, but casually meets three or four Journymen-shoomaker s, who working hard by and taking the Alarm, came likewise running out with the like honest intentions: but in that hurry and passion, mutually mistaking each other for some of the Malefactors (who in truth were all escaped before) and the Gentleman demanding of the person deceased who they were? and he, under that misapprehension, roughly replying, You shall know by our Actions, or to that effect, and withal striking him; the now Prisoner concluding him one of the Thieves, unfortunately gave him a wound which occasion'd his death: So that it appearing to be done partly by Misadventure and partly se Defendendo, he was wholly acquitted .

Another person was arraigned for a Murder committed about three years ago neer Islington , and for which his own Brother, being above a twelvemonth since Convicted of Manslaughter, and not able to read when he had pray'd the benefit of Clergy, was executed: But though this man was in his company when the fact was done, and some Circumstances seemed to lie heavie upon him, yet for want of cleer Evidence he was discharged : As likewise were two more concerning killing of a man neer Holborn , it not appearing that he received any blow or wound from either of them that might occasion his Death.

But one for killing his Comrade by Tower hill , upon a Quarrel arising between them abouta Reckoning at an Ale-house, was found guilty of Manslaughter .

A poor Charewoman intrusted sometimes to sweep the Hall of one of the City-Companie s, and scour their Pewter when need required, made hold at several times to exchange a considerable quantity thereof for Silver . She very penitently confest the Fact, and had endeavour'd restitution as far as she could, begging mercy of the honourable Bench, which was afforded her .

Another coming with three or four other Confederates to an Ale-house, some of them got up stairs, and breaking open a Chest of Drawers took away twenty Guinnies, five Rings, and several other things of value . The Prisoner being proved to be one of the Company, and that she paid the Reckoning, was Convicted .

A notorious Criminal after many fair warnings and not a few Convictions, having some time since obtained the mercy of Transportation, finding, it seems, the place not to agree so well with her as that of Newgate, whereunto she had been so oft accustomed, or at least that the Customes of the Country were not fit for her Trade, Sugars and Tobacco not being so conveniently stolen, harbour'd, or put off there, as Watches, Rings, Plate, Silks, &c. are here; thought fit to come back and follow her old Profession of Shoplifting, being lately taken with a Scarf , which she alleadged stuck to her clothes when she went out of a shop at the Exchange, though the Jury were of opinion thatshe stole it : Which, together with her too early Return, 'tis verily believed, may cause her to take a surer Transportation by a turn at Tyburn; which, no doubt, will be much lamented as an untimely End, because it happen'd no sooner .

The next considerable, was an Indictment against a man and a woman , pretended to be intermarried, for Coyning . The woman had been an old Offender, and now no less than nine or ten Indictments found against her for Felonies; being so frugal and industrious, as first to steal Plate, and afterwards make Money of it, to save the trouble of Exchange and the charge of Coynage. Yet as cunning as she was, she became accessary to her own Discovery: For upon promise of Secrecy, she tells an acquaintance that she knew some persons that had store of Cash, and were resolved to set up a private Mint; and she would order it so, that he should surprize them at work, and then get a good sum for concealment, wherein she was to go snips. He seemingly consents, but honestly imparts it to a Gentleman to whose care and office it belongs to inspect such offences. Several times she came to him, and sometimes brought him new-coyn'd Counterfeit-money to put off; but still on pretences the business was not ripe, and perhaps then somewhat distrusting him, delay'd the Discovery; so that at last having learnt that she had taken a house about Hounslow for carrying on the Intrigue, he with a Warrant and Officers went down, and found her blowing the fire in a Roomwhere there were several sorts of Metals, divers pieces of stolen Plate, a Coyning-Press, and some other Tools, now produced in Court; but her Husband was in another Room in bed. She did not much deny the Fact, but wholly clear'd him (to whom not above a fortnight before she had been married) protesting that he was not privie to any of her actions of that kinde. The Court asking the man upon his Tryal whether he were content to part with his Wife, he, like a kind Husband, replied, I am very willing the Law should have its course: Better one than both. So that, he was acquitted , and she convicted of High Treason, and by Law to be Burnt .

The Court had much trouble given them by a fellow and his wife , the man being indicted for two Facts, stealing of a Mare, and of Linnen ; the woman for a Smock : both refused to plead, insomuch that the terrible Sentence of Pein fort & dure (or pressing) past, but not being recorded, and they on view of the Press, and Mr. Ordinary's pressing and pious Exhortations not at once to cast away their lives and their souls, submitting themselves, were admitted to Tryal, and for want of exact proof acquitted on both Indictments.

Another remarkable thing was of a lusty young wench , who coming to an Office of Intelligence to inquire for a Service, was by them directed to one at Westminster , and entertain'd, pretending her self to be a Quaker, on which account her Master and Mistriss the more freelytrusted her; but the second day in the evening she robb'd them of several pieces of Plate, Clothes, &c. above the value of Fifty pound , and putting her self in mans apparel went off with the Prize, but was soon pursued and (notwithstanding her disguise) discovered, and in her masculine habit carried to Newgate; but now appeared in a female dress. Before the Justice she accused one for taking the Goods by her Invitation or consent, and afterwards denied that he knew any thing of it, and charged another; but still acknowledging 'twas done by her privity, was found guilty of the Felony.

Several persons were found guilty of Felony and burnt in the hand for stealing of Silver Tankards, &c. out of Victualing-houses : wherein there was little observable besides this, That people after so many Examples should be so far infatuated as to run the hazzard of forfeiting their Licenses, and losing their Plate, by exposing it in common use, meerly to gratifie their Pride, or a worse humour of Covetousness, which abateth the quantity of the Liquor, proportionably to the tempting quality of the Cups they vend it in.

A woman in the Strand coming to buy one pair of Silk Stockings which she paid for, fearing (it seems) she might have a hard bargain, had been so kind to her self as to take about Seven and twenty pair more privately into her Apron without the useless Ceremony of asking the price ; but being discovered by a By-stander, was forc'd to make legal satisfaction , and take an Acquittance for the same in her hand ; to which Squire Ketch vouchsafed to be a Witness, and subscribe his Mark.

A lusty fellow arraign'd for stealing a Horse , absolutely denied any knowledge of the business; but being suddenly ask'd what boot he had when he swapt him away, affirm'd, But five and thirty shillings, which amounting to a plain Confession, he was brought in Guilty .

Another for stealing of Goods pleaded the general Pardon he had lately obtained for another Robbery; but the words thereof being read, and not extending to this Case, he was likewise Convicted , it serving rather to aggravate than extenuate his Fact.

After this a woman was tried for the most unnatural Crime of Murdering her Bastard-child , and a man for the prodigious Trick of killing almost Threescore Sheep onely to steal Fourscore pounds of Tallow; a piece of Villany never till within these few years practised : He pleaded guilty , and was Burnt in the hand .

There were three Bargemen arraigned for Murder, drowning a boy in a Fisher-boat on the Thames . It was endeavoured to be proved that they did it wilfully; but they alleadged, that by the violent current of the Tide they could not help it. The Jury found the matter of Fact specially, and left it to Judges to determine the Crime in point of Law .

Several persons in custody for Robberies on the High-ways were not tried, there being no Prosecution in Middlesex against them; but are to be sent to the respective Counties where they did the Facts, to take their Tryals at the Assizes.

There were in all Five persons Condemned to die: Two men and two women (old notorious and incorrigible Thieves) to be Hang'd, and one woman to be Burnt: Four set by, before Judgement, for Transportation; Fourteen Burnt in the hand; and Six for Petty Larceny to be Whipt.