Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 26 May 2022), February 1679 (16790226).

Old Bailey Proceedings, 26th February 1679.


WITH A particular Account of the TRYAL of the Notorious COINERS, That received Sentence for TREASON:

AND All other Malefactors Condemned, Burnt in the Hand, or to be Whipt, and their respective Crimes.

LICENSED, February 27. 1678/9.

LONDON: Printed for L. C. 1678/9.

The Narrative of the Proceedings at the Sessions, February 26. 1678/9.

THis Sessions beginning in the Old Bailey, 26 February, the first person brought to Tryal, was an unhappy Wench , whom the Devil had seduced to endeavour, to cover the filthy sin of Fornication, with the Scarlet Mantle of Murder, having made away her own new-born Bastard-Child, and in a very barbarous manner cut the Throat of it so violently, that the Head was almost seperated from the body , which being found so exposed in an Alley near Bishops-gate-street, and not far from the Prisoners dwelling, search was made for all persons lyable to be suspected; and amongst the rest she charged, who at first denyed that she had had any Child, at last confessed that, but not the whole truth: however, on full evidence, nothing necessary here to be related, she was found guilty .

[Death. See summary.]

As were likewise a Man and a Woman for a Burglary, who broke into a poor Woman s House in the Evening , whilst she was gone to buy Candle, and upon her return, were taken in the manner, having removed several Goods, but carried none quite away, though narrowly prevented, for the Man-prisoner being by profession a Porter , was busily preparing for their removal. As for the Woman, her Husband but the last Sessions received the reward of his Merits at Tyburn.

[Death. See summary.]

Another Woman whipt but the last Sessions save one, was now Convicted for a Felony, stealing a parcel of Cloths out of an House , but discovered before she had quite secured the booty, and forc'd to drop them in the street, for which she was Condemned .

A Man coming to drink at an Ale-house in Birchin-lane , made such use of his Art to convey away a Silver Tankerd , but scarce knowing what to do with it when he had it, gets a band-box, and putting the Tankard therein, goes to another Ale-house inFinch-lane, where he was wholly a stranger, and gives the said Box to the Gentlewoman of the House, to lay up for him till he call'd for it; who perceiving something in it to rattle, and the Box having neither Lock nor Seal, out of an innocent curiosity took up the Lid, where seeing a Tankard Inscribed, with the Name and place of Dwelling of her Neighbour, she sent for him , and sometime after the Prisoner calling for his Box, was apprehended , and now burnt in the hand , which he well deserved, if we consider either his wickedness in stealing, or his folly in managing the Theft.

The same punishment was awarded another Man for the like offence of stealing a Tankard from an House in Woodstreet , with whom was Indicted a Woman , but she passing for his Wife , and so the Law favourably supposing what she was concern'd in the Fact, to be by Coertion of her Husband, was acquitted .

A young fellow coming to a Sempstress es shop, pretended to buy Cravats, who shewed him several, and some Money he had bidden for two, which she refusing to except, he resolved to have them cheaper, (though like to prove a dear bargain) for on a sudden he betakes him to his heels , but she crying out after him, he was quickly seized. In this case, because he had the Goods delivered into his hand by the Prosecutor to look upon, some scruple was raised, whether the running away with them afterwards, was Felony; so that the Jury found the matter specially, and 'tis left to be determined by the Judges .

A bold Woman , that had lately been Servant to a Gentleman of Quality , having purloined a considerable quantity of his Plate , and being thereof fairly Convicted , was sentenc'd to dye .

In the Afternoon, on Wednesday, a Lad belonging to a Ship, called the Laurence and Mary, lying below Wapping-dock , was Tryed for Killing one Tho. Young on board another Ship, called the Advance , lying hard by the former. The Prisoner was trying his skill in shooting at the Cat-head of his own ship as a Mark; but the Bullet glancing thereon, flew to the other ship, and through the boards of the great Cabbin, and there unhappily killed the said Young, who was casually come on board to see the Ship,hitting him in the Forehead, that he presently died; whereupon they that were with him running out on the Deck, and enquiring who fired that Piece, the Prisoner own'd it, and presently came on board of his own accord; declaring both then, and now at the Bar, his hearty sorrow for the Mischance: for as he had no malice, so could he not ever see the person dead, or those that were with him, because they were in the Cabbin as aforesaid. However, it being adjudged an unlawful Act in him to shoot so negligently on the River, where so many Vessels and People are continually passing, he was found Guilty of Manslaughter , and carries a Memorandum in his Hand , to make him and others more wary for the future.

The next was a base and horrid Cause, horrid in the pretensions, and a sin not to be named amongst Christians; and base in the management, since nothing of that kind could be made appear. The person accused was a Man of good repute and competent fortune, which 'tis feared was the first motive to the Prosecution, hoping to get a summ of Money out of him, rather than endure the disgrace even of being charged or suspected of such an odious Crime. The Girl that pretended the wrong done her, being between 13 and 14 years of Age, told her Story very confidently; but by her own shewing it appeared, that for 12 Weeks or upwards she never spoke a word of it, and two Surgeons and a Midwife that had search'd her, utterly confuted what she alleadged ; besides 'twas made out, that her Father would have compounded the business, but demanded 100 l. &c. Upon all which Circumstances, and many persons of Repute justifying the Prisoners credit and conversation for many years without blemish, he was thereupon acquitted by the Jury, and with particular notice of his Innocence from the Court discharged, and the Girls Father ordered to give Security for his good Behaviour.

A Fellow at Stepney having one Night made an invasion on an Hen-roost, and carried away captive about 18 of them , of which some were found at one of his Neighbours house, where he left,them, was for the same found Guilty of petty Larceny , and ordered to be Whipt . As also was another for stealing a laced Wastcoat out of a Ship , which was found upon his Back.

A Woman was Convicted of Felony, for robbing one in Hatton-garden on the 2d of February . Having lately been Servant there, she had observed where they used to lay the Key of their outward Door, when they went forth, and so comes with two of her Companions, goes into the house breaks open a Closet door and a Desk, and takes away 11 l. odde Money and a Sword , and so lockt the Street-door and go their way; but left behinde them a Chezil, which was proved to have been borrowed the same Afternoon by her in Fetter-lane: and that she and two men did go forth together, assoon as she had got that Tool, and were also seen at the House where the Robbery was done.

Two Rag-women were Indicted for stealing two Gowns and several other Wearing-cloaths , in the Strand . A Gentlewoman s door being accidentally left open, there were several strong presumptions against them, but no positive proof, so they were acquitted on Thursday in the forenoon.

A person was Convicted for stealing two Livery Cloaks, and the seats out of two Coaches at Piccadilly , and being pursued, the Goods were taken in the same Room with him at Maribone. So was another for breaking open a Shop in Fetter-lane the 14th of February , and stealing one Beaver, and several other Hats, to the value of Ten pound ; some of which were taken upon him in Middlesex, and therefore he was tryed by that Jury.

A Wench , formerly a servant to a Washerwoman in St. Margarets Westminster ,, had four Indictments brought against her for stealing of Linnen , some of which was the Washerwoman s own, but most of the parcels other people s: The Prisoner acknowledged she did pawn the things, but pretended it was done by the Dames order; and it did appear, she had sent her sometimes with things to the Pawn-brokers, so that she was cleared of three Indictments; but a Gentlewomans shift that her Mistriss washt to, being found on her back, she was on the fourth found guilty , tothe value of ten pence, and so to be well whipt . As likewise were two Men for stealing a couple of Pigs at Wapping , they appearing very sorrowful for their Crime; which as they affirmed it to be the first, so they protested it should be the last that ever they would be guilty of, in that or the like kind.

A Woman Arraigned for breaking an House in the day time, and stealing Goods , and that she had confessed one put them out to her at an hole; denying now very confidently, that she knew of, or was any way concern'd in the business; the Court of a sudden asking her, what the Womans Name was, that so flung the things out? to which, before she was aware, she replyed, Mary, and so in effect own'd her own share in the Fact; but the things being of no great value , 'tis like only to cost her a whipping Pilgrimage .

But the most considerable Transactions of this day, were the Tryals of two most notorious Coiners and Clippers of Money; who upon full and plain Evidence, and their own Confession at Bar, were found guilty of two Indictments of High-Treason apiece; and indeed, 'tis believed, they have not equals in that wicked Mistery in England. They stampt Groats, Nine-pences, Six-pences, Shillings, Half-Crowns, and Five-shilling pieces; no sort came amiss to them; and they had an Art to make a Nine-pence or Groat just new made, look as if it had been Coined these hundred years. Two Witnesses swore directly against each of them, that they had severally seen them at work, both Coining and Clipping , and produced great variety of the individual pieces, which they had seen pass through their skill and handling. Their Instruments likewise, mixt Mettals, and other Utensils taken in their respective Lodgings were publickly shown. They were both of a Gang, and confessed they had for some years been concerned in such practises. The Witnesses had been acquainted with them, and designing a discovery, seemed to comply with them, and furnish them with large Money, which first they would Clip, and with those Clippings and baser Mettals, Coin new Money, and then Clip that too to make it pass with less suspition. Four Five-shilling pieces they will afford for twenty shillings good Money,and twenty shillings in Groats of their own Manufacture, for fifteen shillings Sterling; and one of them offered to teach one of the Witnesses such his Trade for six pound, and to make and sell rare stamps for Coining, at Ten pound a pair. The matter was so evident, that they had nothing to say for themselves, and so could not but be both found guilty by the Jury, of the several Crimes of Treason, wherewith they stood charged, and were accordingly condemn'd to be Drawn and Hang'd .

Two honest ' men of Fulham were charged for stealing a Mare , but upon a long disquisition of the matter, it not appeared that the Mare in question, was the same the Prosecutor lost, but rather on the contrary, that one of the Men at the Bar, had this Mare given him by a Worthy Gentleman in Sussex, whereupon, they were acquitted . So likewise was a Woman of St. Martins in the fields Indicted for Murther , but by the Witnesses it onely appeared, That as long ago as last Easter Holy-days, a fray happened between her and the party deceased , and that they were down together, but the Prisoner uppermost; that the said party liv'd till since Christmass, and then dyed, having been infirm, and as was asserted, troubled with a Dropsie.

Three persons were Convicted of Felony, for Robbing a Scotch-Merchant (or Pedlar ) of above five pounds worth of Holland Callime, flaxen Stockings, &c. in the night Feb. 1. at his Lodging in Rochester , three Men forced into his Chamber with drawn Swords, &c. who took away the Goods, but understanding afterwards, some Pedlers were seen carry a bundle, he on enquiry got their Names, whom he followed, and at the House of one of them, found part of his things, and hard by the Persons, and on one of their legs, a pair of his Stockings, in anothers pocket his Tobacco-box, and a third confessed the Robbery; whereupon, being Indicted only in Middlesex, it was but a simple Felony , for which they escaped with a Brand ; whereas in Kent it would have proved a Burghlary, which mercy the Court minded them of, as a grand Argument to warn them from running into any future Crimes of that kind, since they are like no more to be indulged by any favour.

A complaint having been made, that a considerable sum of Money had been extorted by some under Officers, from the Relations of a person lately Executed, before they could obtain his Body to burie it, the Court was pleased to inquire thereinto, and nobly expressing their detestation of the inhumane practices of such Vulters, as would make a prey even of Mens Carcasses, compelled one that had received some of the Money, to refund it in their presence, with farther marks of displeasure threatned to be inflicted.

There were in all fourteen burnt in the Hand, and nine Condemned to Die, viz. two Men for Treason, one Woman for Murther, a Man and a Woman for Burghlary, and four Women for notorious House-breakings and Felonies, most of them having formerly been Whipt, burnt in the Hand, or received other chastisements, and yet would take no warning.