Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 25 May 2022), April 1679 (16790430).

Old Bailey Proceedings, 30th April 1679.

The true NARRATIVE Of the Proceedings at the SESSIONS For London and Middlesex, Begun April the 30th, 1679.

GIVING An exact Account of the Tryal OF A Popish Priest, Condemn'd for HIGH-TREASON;

A Maid tryed for FIRING her Masters House, And divers for Murder, Robbery on the Highway, Burglary, and other notorious Crimes.

WITH The number of all that are Condemn'd to die, were Burnt in the Hand, or to be Whipt; and each Person's particular Crime, and Circumstances of Discovery, Apprehension, &c.


LONDON: Printed in the year 1679.

The Proceedings at the Sessions for London and Middlesex.

THe Sessions beginning on Wednesday, a young woman was tried for Murthering her (supposed) Bastard-childe . Being Servant in a Victualing-house , a Fellow living in the same house, accidentally found something under the stairs wrapt up in a Cloth; which upon opening proved to be a young naked Childe; which had lain so long there, (six or eight weeks, as it was supposed) that 'twas putrified. Hereupon the Prisoner was suspected that it might be hers, and search'd by a Midwife and some Matrons, who were of opinion that she had a Childe, but not so lately: And indeed she confess'd, she had a year or two ago, a little one, but affirmed, that she was then married, and absolutely denied that she knew any thing of this Childe. Wherefore there being no proof that it was hers, and for that, being a publick house, it was possible it might be laid there by another, she was acquitted .

An Irish man walking by a Watchmaker s shop, and observing no body in it, takes up a Watch fairly in his hand first, as if he were going to cheapen it; but seeing no body come out of the house to speak to him, loath to lose so convenient an opportunity, goes his way with it : but a Gentlewoman over the way took notice of him, and the people pursuing him, he was overtaken, and the Watch found upon him in his hand. He now pretended he meant not to steal it but onely stept out to speak with one; but the Case was plain enough, and he found guilty of Felony, and burnt in the hand .

A young Gentleman , and a Servant to a Poulterer , were arraigned for breaking into a Gentleman s Chambers (which was next to his) in Clements Inne in the night-time, and taking thence 500 and 15 pounds . There was another concern'd, who 'tis thought was the principal Contriver of the Robbery,but he is escaped. This last was admitted by the Gentleman now at the Bar, to lie with him in his Chamber, and understanding that the Owner of the next Chamber had a considerable sum of money there, they resolv'd to possess themselves thereof: in order to which, knowing that his Beds-head stood just opposite to theirs, they first remove their own Bed, then take down a large piece of Wainscot, after that, at convenient times, when they knew their Neighbour was abroad, fell to work on the Brick-wall, which they dug through, and pluckt up the Hanging on his side, and forc'd away the Bed, till they got room enough to enter. Then they break open his Closet and Trunk, take away the Money, very neatly carry off all the Rubbish that had faln in on that side, return into their own Chamber, pluck his Beds-head up close to the wall, and set their own in its former posture; so all seem'd cleverly performed: Then they share the Money, 200 l. being left, and since found in a drawer in the young mans Chamber; the rest the other two take, and ride down into Kent. The Owner of the Chamber, at his return, perceives himself robb'd, but could not imagine which way, finding his door double lockt, and all the Chamber to appearance sound; at last removing the Bed and Hanging, discovers the Breach. That night the Gentleman now a Prisoner, coming home-late, was seized, and the 200 l. found. Some time after the other Prisoner coming to London, was apprehended; but the third Criminal, with the far greater part of the Booty, got clear off. They were both found guilty of Felony and Burglary, but the young Geneleman seemed very penitent and sorrowful for the Offence which thus unhappily he was drawn into.

Something like this was charged upon four Scotch Tailor s in Bedfordbury , who lodging next door to a person s house that lost one night above 60 l. out of an upper Chamber , he imagined they must come in at the Gutter to do it, and immediately got a Constable and took them all fast asleep in their Beds's and upon search could not, amongst them all four, find any greater Estate than the sum of six Farthings: Wherefore therebeing only suspition, and that on very small grounds, for that it was proved there were divers other ways to come into the Gutter besides from that house where the Prisoners lodged; therefore they were discharged .

A Maid was arraigned for Firing her Master s house in Hatton garden . There were two of them committed, but onely one indicted, and the other gave Evidence. One a Sunday-night a Fire happen'd in this Gentlemans house in the Garret, where there had been no Fire all that day, nor occasion for any Candle; so that it was reasonable to suspect it came by designe: which seem'd more to reflect on the Prisoner, because she used to sit up often, and particularly that night after the rest of the Family. But it appearing by several Testimonies, that the Maid was of very good Reputation, well educated in the Protestant Religion, so far from a Papist, that she had been that day with her Master and Mistriss at Church, and no direct proof against her, she was acquitted . The Fire was soon espi'd abroad, and through Gods mercy extinguisht without any great damage.

Another Servant was found Guilty of Murthering her Bastard-Child ; She pretended to be delivered at the House-of-office, and that it was Still-born: but it was proved that she had privately wrapt it up in her Apron, and was carrying it in an Hand-basket to bury it; but being met by one that would needs see what she got there, was discovered; and all this within an hour after she was Delivered. So lusty she was to do so Villanous a Deed, venturing abroad, and going a considerable way from where she dwelt, enough in that respect to have occasioned her own Death, (considering her condition) as she had been the means of the Death of her innocent Infant. But though she escaped catching Cold, she did not escape Justice, but is Condemned to Die .

One Gentleman took a Tryal for Killing another at an Ordinary in Holborn ; it appeared that the Prisoner began the Quarrel, and upon a very scurvy occasion on a Discourse concerning Magna Charta, whereupon some personal reflectionswere raised on either side, so long, that being too passionate to confine his Resentments, he offered to reach his Sword: To prevent that, the other caught up a Chair, but by Friends seemed pacified. Immediately after, having both their Swords on, the Prisoner drew, and the other as soon, or near as soon as he; and some Passes and Parryings happened between them, but were parted. And then the Gentleman deceased stept up to the Prisoner, caught him by the Arm, threw him down, fell upon him, and disarmed him; but being taken up, returned his Sword, and so the Fray ended, none present thinking any harm done: But then the other Gentleman began to complain he was Wounded, as indeed he was Mortally, for the second day after he died. It was concluded by the Gentlemen present, that the Wound was received when the Deceased ran up and closed with the Prisoner; so it was found Manslaughter , and the Gentleman took his Clergy : as to further Penalty having obtained the Grant of a Pardon.

As likewise had another Gentleman Convicted of the like Crime committed by Charing-Cross ; it appearing that the Gentleman dead, was a particular Friend of the Prisoners, and that it was unhappily done in a sudden heat.

The same Proceedings were in the Case of a third Gentleman , abused grossly in the Street by a Footman , whom after much patience, and retreating several times, and desiring him to go about his business, it was his misfortune to Kill .

A Souldier Quartered at Kensington, with several others unknown, in the Night set upon a person on the High-way, returning thither from London, led him into a Gravel-pit, took away 6 or 7 shil. (all the Money he had about him) and several Cloaths which he was carrying home. The man knew the Prisoner, he having formerly quartered at his house; so getting home, searches, findes he was out of his Quarters; seizes him next Morning when he came home: and now he was Condemned to die for Felony and Robbery.

One John Morgan was Indicted on the Statute, for that being born a Subject of England, and having received Orders fromthe See of Rome, yet he came into and remained in England . There was very good Evidence that proved he was a Priest , and had said Mass; but as formerly, so now at Bar he freely Confest that he was a Priest. Some say he was heretofore a little crazed in his Understanding, which was probable enough by his Behaviour: However, the Offence being evident, according to Law he was found Guilty of Felony and High-Treason, and received Sentence to be Drawn, Hanged and Quartered .

A Country-fellow pretending to give a Visit to an honest man whom he had formerly lived with, being by him kindly entertained, made such ill use thereof, as at last to steal an Horse from him, which he sold to another: And being now found out, was found Guilty and Condemned . Having of late made a Trade of Horse-stealing, and taken away several in Buckingham-shire, Kent, and Essex, as was alleadged against him.

A wench was Condemn'd for murthering her Bastard-child . Being suspected by her Mistriss, and examined, she freely confess'd that she had put it into the House of Office, and that it crying, she pusht it down with a stick.

A Gentleman and two others concerned with him in attempting, above a year ago, to steal and force away a young Lady of eminent Quality, on the Highway, for which some of their Accomplices formerly taken, were condemned to die, but obtained a Pardon, came now to take a Tryal for the same , being charged with two Indictments, one for Felony, on which they were acquitted ; another for a Riot , to which they pleaded guilty , and were fined, the Gentleman 1000 l. and the other two 500 l. apiece .

Two Persons were severally Tryed for Coyning and Counterfeiting , and the Melting-Pot and Stamp brought into Court; One was ingenious at forging French-Pistols so neatly, that you could not distinguish them from the true ones: and the better to carry on the work, he and his Associates bought a Boat, and pretended to carry Brick up and down the Thames , and there did the jobb; however he got off . But another for Counterfeiting was found Guilty , and to be Hanged, Drawn, and Quartered .

An ingenious Villain had stoln a Mare doubly; first in Yorkshire, and sold her to one at Totnam-High-cross ; afterwards he went thither and stole her again; but that was twice too oft in truth, and once too much for him: for now he was caught and Condemned to be hang'd .

Whereas a Doctor of Divinity was two or three Sessions ago question'd about a silver Salt, lost out of a Room where he and another were drinking in a publick house without Temple bar , the other person , who then absconded, was now Convicted and Burnt in the hand .

A whole Leash of Harlot s were Tryed for Stealing a Watch from a young Gamester , that was so courteous as to invite them to a Bottle; and they, because they saw he spent his Time so ill, thought an instrument to measure it by no wise proper for him. Now upon the whole matter, it was thought fit they should be sent to the Nunnery of Bridewel , rather than to Tyburn; and so they were Ordered to the Hemp-Office: Where possibly if they amend not their Lives, they may help provide their own Destiny.

Several less remarkable Occurrences, being Confined to a Sheet, we are forced to omit. But in all there were Fifteen Condemned to Dye, Ten Men, and Five Women: Whereof Two, viz. the Popish Priest, and he for Counterfeiting money to be Hanged, Drawn, and Quartered: Two for Murther: One for Robbery on the High-way; the rest old incorrigible Offenders, for several Burglaries and Felonies: but One Woman by a Jury of Matrons found quick with Child. There were Nineteen Burnt in the Hand for several Offences within Benefit of Clergy; that is to say, Fourteen Men and Five Women. One begg'd the Favour of Transportation, and obtain it; and Two are to be Whipt.