Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 29 May 2022), January 1678 (16780116).

Old Bailey Proceedings, 16th January 1678.

A true NARRATIVE Of the Proceedings at the Sessions-house IN THE OLD-BAYLY, January 16, 17, & 18. 1677/8.

Wherein is contained

The most remarkable Tryals of several notorious Malefactors: As the Tryals and Condemnation of the two grand Highway-men that were taken at WHETSTONE in Middlesex.

Also of three several persons indicted for Murther.

And likewise a person for Clipping, who is sentenc'd to be Drawn and Hang'd: With several other remarkable Tryals.

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

With Allowance. Ro. L'Estrange.

LONDON: Printed for D. M. 1677.

The Proceedings at the Sessions for London and Middlesex.

THe first remarkable Tryal at this Sessions was of a woman for murthering her Bastard child . The Evidence proved that she confess'd her self to be with Childe; that afterwards a Childe was found dead in the street: That she acknowledg'd she had been deliver'd of a Childe, but that certain woman had taken it from her. But she was not able to produce any of those women, and so was found guilty , and must expect the punishment of Death awarded by Law to such Unnatural offenders.

After this, followed the Tryal of two notorious Highway-men , taken on Christmas day last at Whetstone neer Barnet in Middlesex. There was very plain Evidence of their robbing a Coach, and of a Country-man , &c. and several Goods, as silver Boxes, a Laydies Tower, &c. were taken with them, and produced in Court; which made it a Felony in this County: And the same appearing to be a Robbery on the Highway in Bark-shire, by the Statute the Prisoners wereexempted from the benefit of Clergy, and being found guilty by the Jury, received sentence of Death ; upon which the Court declared, That there were at least seventeen or eighteen Robberies lay upon their heads, and some Murders, particularly the Grasier at Watford gap, kill'd by one in their company, and as 'tis fear'd, by one of their hands.

A woman , of very ill fame, having a Quarrel with one of her Companions who struck her, after an hour and a halfs respit, returned, and with a pair of Tongs striking at her over another woman shoulder, happen'd to beat out the brains of a Childe her female-antagonist held in her arms. For this she was indicted for Murder ; but upon a long debate, was onely convicted of Manslaughter ; for which Clergy being not grantable to her Sex, she was condemned .

A person was arraigned for Murder , but it appeared upon the whole matter to be upon a Challenge betwixt two Gentlemen and their Seconds who met in the Fields, and there unhappily the friend of the Prisoner was kill'd by one of the other two, who are neither of them to be found. The Quarrel being such, and a Duel premeditated, the Case appeared somewhat difficult whether Murder or Manslaughter, and so it was left upon a Special Verdict .

An old Offender being indicted for stealing of several Clothes and Linnen in St. Andrews Holborn , confessed the Fact , and was burnt in hand .

The two before mentioned Highway-men were next day indicted again for stealing of a Mare ; which was taken amongst the rest of their horses at Whetstone, and was now owned by a Gentleman's Servant in Sommerset-shire, from whom she had been formerly stolen; but they obstinately denying the Fact, and alleadging that she belonged to, and was brought in thither by a little black man, whom they were strangers to, though supposed to be one of their Companions that then escaped, and no positive proof appearing against them, they were upon this Indictment acquitted .

A Shoomaker was Convicted for Clipping the Kings Coin ; the manner of his being discovered and apprehended, was thus: The Landlord coming to take Possession of the house wherein the Prisoner and a woman that has often been suspected to be concern'd in such Practices lodged, she being abroad and her Chamber-door lock'd, seeing them resolv'd to go in, told them he would try to open it; and so pulling out a Key, did open the said door, and went directly and hastily to a Closet, where he was observ'd with both his hands to sweep down certain Instruments and fling them into a private corner, and then cast a Cushion over them to conceal them: Whereupon the said Landlord seeming to take no notice thereof, went down and acquainted the Tenant, who knew nothing thereof; but together they sent for a Constable, seized the Prisoner, and in his Trunk found aFile, but in the other Chamber under the said Cushion, several Clippings and Filings of Silver, a Sixpence newly clipp'd, a pair of Shears, two or three Crucibles for melting down, and a quantity of Silver ready melted, &c. which were now produced in Court. He peremptorily denied any concernment in the Fact; but his having a Key to her Room; his running to the Closet and endeavouring to conceal the things, &c. caused him to be brought in guilty of the Treason; and was condemn'd to be Drawn and Hang'd .

A French man lodging in a womans house, and having been seen once or twice in his Landladie s Chamber, where he had nothing to do, and she afterwards missing three Gold Rings and several other things , charged him therewith, and caused him to be committed; though he denied it, yet at last they were found hid in the Chamber where he lay, about his bed. The Prisoner being not able to speak English, was allow'd an Interpreter, and brought a witness that the Prosecutress confest she went to a Cunning man somewhere behinde St. Clements, who described another person, and promised that she should finde her things again in her house, &c. However, he was convicted , and treated by Squire Ketch with an Ardent mark of his Affection .

A person formerly transported, was indicted for breaking open a shop in Cheapside , and stealing Ribbons and other Commodities to the value or Fifty pounds . He had partly confess'dthe matter heretofore, saying, he fear'd nothing so much as the ugly business of Cheapside; and told one, that he open'd the door with a Betty, which he had thrown over such a wall; where search being made, it was found, and now produced in Court. Upon the whole matter he was found guilty , but another indicted with him acquitted . Being question'd about his return after transportation, he alleadged several frivolous excuses, and that he was now just ready to have gone a Voyage to Barbadoes. He had in effect very little to say for himself, but with the rest received sentence of Death .

A woman taking a Lodging by a wrong name, in the absence of her Landlady broke open the door and stole several Clothes , which were taken upon her: She was found guilty , and condemned .

A Maid-servant arraigned for stealing a Hood and a Bible from one of her Master's neighbours . As to the Hood she proved that she found it in her Master's Chamber, and wore it a great while publickly, being never question'd till she came to demand her Wages; which made it suspected that there was more passion than matter in the Prosecution, and so she was discharged .

So likewise was a person charged with stealing about Fourteen pounds worth of Leather ; there being no exact proof against him, but several Circumstances, as former Prosecution, &c. that made in favour of his acquittal .

A person arraigned for a Robbery on theHigh-way, in the quality usually call'd, The Foot-pad, and stealing of Goods to the value of eleven shillings , of which part were found in his Lodging; and the Party robb'd swore, That he verily believed him to be the man, that took them away from him. Last Sessions he was Indicted for the like Crime, but favourably brought in not guilty; now being Convicted , he received Sentence of Death .

There were in all Thirteen Persons that received Sentence of Death, viz. Three for robbing on the High-way, one for Treason, one Woman for Murder, and another for Manslaughter, three Men for Burglaries, and four Women for House-breaking and notorious Felonies: of which two were old Offenders, that had often been Convicted heretofore.

Besides these, there were Nine Men burnt in the Hand, and Three sentenced to be Whipt: The Woman attainted last Sessions for Treason, who pleaded her Belly, is not yet delivered; but hath (as was declared in Court) since endeavoured to break Prison.

The other Highway men, in custody, are to be carried the Circuit: The rest of the Proceedings, as less remarkable, we purposely omit.