Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 21 October 2020), May 1756, trial of George Venables (t17560528-42).

George Venables, Killing > murder, 28th May 1756.

225. (M.) George Venables was indicted for the wilful murder of John Bridges Buckle , gent. April 21 . +

Mr. Dowdesly. Before I came up to London in last December, Mr. Buckle desir'd me to obtain the purchase of a commission for his son, and to assist him in it. Accordingly I came to town, and proceeded in the purchase of a commission in my lord Albemarle's dragoons. The father return'd the money to me to purchase it, and to fit his son out. The commission was bought, and he was sent up to London. Accordingly to his father's desire, I took him a lodging in my neighbourhood at the prisoner Venables's house, as I always intended he should make my house his home. I live in Conduit street, and Venables lives in Pauling-street, near Madox-street.

Mary Main . I know the prisoner at the bar. I lodge near his house, on the same side of the way, and Mrs. Venables at the time this accident happened lay with me, on account of a terrible quarrel her husband and she had the Sunday was sennight before, which was owing to a frank that she had given away. She and her husband had half a dozen each, and she gave away one of his instead of her own. On Wednesday the 21st of April she got up in the morning, and said she was going into the city to Mr. Legalee's a cork merchant, with whom her husband traded, to get an execution in favour of her against her husband. She said he beat her so often she never could live with him, and this was to secure him, and put another man in possession of the goods. She left our house about 9 in the morning, and between 7 and 8 in the evening Mr. Buckle sent Mr. Venables's eldest son to our house, for me to go and make his bed. I ask'd the child whether his father or mother were at home. He said, no; I believe it might be then about a quarter before 8. I had been washing all day, and was starching my cloaths. I sent my duty to him, and said I would come as soon as I had wash'd my hands, and went in about 4 minutes after. Mr. Buckle let me in, and I went to making his bed directly. He had pull'd of his regimentals, had put on a plain suit of cloaths, and was putting his regimentals away. When he had done, he sat down in a chair. At the same time a young man brought a pot of beer from the Black Lion, which I found he had order'd before I went in. The little boy took it of the drawer and gave it to Mr. Buckle, and he return'd the money; to the drawer never came into the room. It was set upon a mahogany table that stood by the fire, and he sat down by it. Mr. Buckle used to sup there, and ask'd me if I knew where Mrs. Venables was. I told him she acquainted us at breakfast time, that she would go to Mr. Legalee's to get the execution put in force against her husband. He said Mr. Venables had inform'd him he had an arrest or write sent him in the morning, and he said rather than he should suffer he would pay the 15 l. for him. And he also said she ask'd him to lend her some money in the morning, and he said he wou'd not without asking her husband's leave; which he did, and he bid him lend her half a crown, but he pull'd out 4 s. and gave it her.

Q. Was that for lodging or was it lent ?

M. Main. That I can't say indeed; he said he never lent her any before. By this time I had made his bed, and he then desir'd me to drink. I refused, and said I did not chuse to drink between meals. He said he had sent for it on purpose, so I did drink two or three times. He desir'd me to sit down. I said, Mrs. Ward (where I liv'd) was very ill, and I must go home and put the children to bed, but if he wanted any thing for supper I'd come over again and do it. He ask'd me if I could come in ten minutes. I said I could not promise in just ten minutes time, but as soon as ever I had done I'd come again. He made a scruple whether I would come or not, and said, will you come again? I said, yes to be sure I will. Then he said he would consider what to have for supper. He desired me to come again two or three times, and said he would have new cheese and bread and butter and radishes. This he said in the passage, when he let me out. He had the candle in his hand at the time, and ask'd me again on the step of the door. I said, yes Sir, and went home; I believe it was about twenty minutes past eight. As soon as I went in, I saw Mrs. Venables was come back, sitting by the table with a handkerchief on her arm, with some flounders which she said she had brought from Billingsgate. She ask'd me where I had been. I said, to make Mr. Buckle's bed. She gave herself a turn, and said, she supposed I had been kissing and mousting with the captain. I gave her a look in an angry way, and ask'd her what she meant by that, and she ask'd me in a laughing way what he gave me. I told her he had sent for a pot of beer before I went in, and I had drank twice of it, and that I was to go again as soon as I could, to get him some supper. She said she would go and drink some of the beer, and do what he had to do herself. I said I believed it was drank. She said, giving herself a fling, she would go and crack a pot with him. I said, she might go if she thought proper. She pull'd her handkerchief from her arm, and shewed me fifteen flounders, saying they cost a groat. She laid them down, and said they were for her, Mrs. Ward's and my supper, and went directly; I don't think our talk lasted above ten minutes.

Q. Did she bid you call her when they were ready ?

M. Main. No; I put some water on the fire to boil the fish, and staid till a quarter before ten. I then went and knock'd at Mr. Venables's door, wondering at her staying so long, for she had never staid so long there before, since her husband and she had quarrel'd. I judged her husband was not at home, that she was sitting with the captain, and that he being at supper might ask her to eat and drink with him. I knock'd twice at the door, and nobody coming to answer me, I went home, took the water off the fire, and eat a bit of cold sparib for my supper. Just as the watch went eleven I went again, and knock'd at the door, when I saw a light in the dining-room, but could not tell who was there. Seeing the light move, I look'd through the key-hole, and saw Mr. Venables coming down stairs with a candle in his hand. Not expecting to see him, I had a little terror upon me, but did not go away; so he open'd the door, and spoke to me.

Q. What was the cause of that terror you mention'd?

M. Main. Because she had told me such a character of him, as a villain, blood thirsty man, and the like. He asked me what I wanted, and I told him I wanted Mrs. Venables to come to bed. He said she was not up stairs, nor in the house, by G - d; those were his words. He then asked me when I saw her. I told him she went from our house about nine in the morning, was at home again before eight, and went out about half an hour after. He then desired I would go to the Black-Lion, and ask for her. I went, and they told me she was not there, nor had been there all day. He staid at the door with a candle in his hand till I came back, which was I believe in about four minutes. He asked me if she was there. I said no, neither had she been there all that day. Then he made use of this expression, '' She is a vile good for nothing woman,'' or to that purpose; he d - 'd her, and said she had been contriving mischief against him some time, and he believed she had been that day to have the execution brought. I bid him good night, and he wish'd me the same. He then went in, and lock'd and bolted the door.

Q. Did you perceive any thing of his being in a passion?

M. Main. He was all of a tremble; his hands and head shew'd him to be in a great passion. I went home directly after I heard the flip lock and bolt go, and sat myself down by the fire-side to wait for her, for she knew Mrs. Ward's time to go to bed was at eleven o'clock; and as near as I can guess it might then be about a quarter of an hour after, when I heard a terrible noise in the street, which I knew to be Mr. Venables's tongue. I jump'd up, ran out at the door directly, and saw him stand at his door with his wife's stays in his hands. He held them up with both hands, having hold on the two strings that come over the shoulder, and swore he had catch'd the b - h in bed with the gentleman, in the fact. I saw Mr. Buckle come down the steps from the door, with his shirt all bloody, at the time; he was only in his shirt and night-cap, and his hands were like pressing one another on the place where he was cut cross the belly.

Q. Did the prisoner say where he found the stays?

M. Main. He said he found them in the captain's room, but did not say where abouts. I knowing it was the captain, call'd to Mr. Venables and said what have you done, the captain is all over blood. He said, let him go, let him go.

Q. Did the captain hear this?

M. Main. I believe he did; the captain came to our door, we had a lamp there, and he made a full stop. I said, pray captain Buckle step in here; he stood still, and said, No, no, I am undone, I am a dead man. Venables kept swearing all the while at his door. The captain went about a yard and a half from our door, and turn'd himself about. I thought he was giddy, and ask'd him to come in again. Then he went into Madox-street. The next of my seeing him was about twenty yards from the corner, down on the pav'd-stones. I ran to see him, and saw what a condition he was in. There were about half a dozen people with him then. Having left our door open, I return'd back, and saw the stays were laid by a stable door that joins to our house. Mr. Venables made off, and I went and pick'd up the stays.

The Second Part of these Proceedings will be published in a few Days.

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 21 October 2020), May 1756 (t17560528-42).

Old Bailey Proceedings front matter, 28th May 1756.

THE PROCEEDINGS ON THE King's Commissions of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery FOR THE CITY of LONDON, And also the Gaol Delivery for the County of MIDDLESEX, HELD AT JUSTICE-HALL in the OLD-BAILEY, On Wednesday the 28th, Thursday the 29th, and Friday the 30th of APRIL, Saturday the 1st, Monday the 3d, and Tuesday the 4th of MAY,

In the Twenty-ninth Year of His MAJESTY'S Reign. NUMBER IV. PART II. for the YEAR 1756. Being the Fourth SESSIONS in the MAYORALTY of The Right Honble SLINGSBY BETHELL, Esq; LORD-MAYOR of the CITY of LONDON.


Printed, and sold by J. ROBINSON, at the Golden-Lion, in Ludgate-Street, 1756.

[Price Four-pence.]


King's Commissions of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery held for the City of LONDON, &c.

Q. DID you hear Mr. Buck'e say any thing after he was on the ground ?

M. Main. No, I did not, but he groan'd terribly; I only staid with him about three minutes.

Q. Was it usual with Venables to have two keys to his door?

M. Main. They had each of them one.

Q. Did you tell him she was come to the captain ?

M. Main. I did; to do what he had got to do.

Cross Examination.

Q. Are you sure they were Mrs. Venables's stays?

M. Main. I knew them, I laced them on her that morning.

Q. Had she the stays on when she went over to to the captain?

M. Main. She had. [ She said afterwards she had unlaced them in the garret, because they had hurt her in walking.]

Joyce Dower . I rem ember the time this unhappy accident happen'd; first of all I heard a groaning, about twenty minutes after eleven o'clock; I live in Madox-Street. I went down stairs, and had no light; there were two gentlemen on the farther side the deceased, who was sitting in his shirt very bloody, with his two hands cross each other; a gentlemen stoop'd down, and ask'd him if he had been a be; with Mr. Venables's wife, and he said no; who that gentleman was, I do not know. Then the gentleman said, who did this? he answered, Venables, Venables.

Q. At the time he said this, did he appear to be in his senses?

Dower. He did I think.

Cross examination.

Q. What do you imagine was the reason for asking him if he had been a bad with Venables's wife?

J. Dower. I can't say; there were other people by. I don't know what his motives were; I can't say whether the gentleman might have any conversation with him before I came.

John Quinee . I saw Mr. Buckle in the street, when this unhappy accident happen'd. I asked him who wounded him; he said, Venables; another gentleman said, was you in bed with his wife? he said, no, and seem'd to be sensible; this was about half an hour after eleven.

Thomas Hall. I saw Mr. Buckle after this accident happen'd; a gentleman stoop'd down, and ask'd who did it; he said, Venables; I can't say I heard any other questions put to him. I came to the end of Pauling Street, and heard a middle age person say with a great oath. G - d d - m him, I have done for him, for I catch'd him in the very fact.

Thomas Davis . As I was going home with a candle and lanthorn, I heard a watchman say a man was laying in the street, whether he came out of a window or no he could not tell. I ran up with my light, and saw a gentleman laying down. I staid I believe two or three minute; there were a great many people about him. I ask'd him who stab'd him; he said Venables. Somebody directly said, what was you in bed with his wife? he made no answer at all, but turn'd upon his left arm, with his face toward the sky; I thought he was dying that instant. I never heard him speak a word more. I was terrified at the sight of him, and went away directly.

Timothy Booth . I live and lodge in a stable in the same street. I was just got into bed, and put my candle out, when I heard a man call out murder. I look'd out at the window, and saw a man in his shirt and night-cap, a little way from Mr. Venables's house. He came a little nearer, and call'd out again he was murder'd. He came up to our stable-door, and said he could not tell what to do, he was murder'd. After that Venables's came out of his house, and said he had catch'd the man in the very fact, he catch'd him in bed with his wife, bring me a candle, and insisted upon having it: his wife came in the mean time and bolted the door upon him.

He said he had cut him with his knife (I apprehended he said his cork knife) but he wou'd not run away; he stoop'd down at my stable-door; there is a little drain comes under the door, he put something up it, went a little way, and came back again; he then stoop'd down and left the stays, and went away.

Ann Timms . I wash for my living; being late at work between eleven and twelve o'clock that night, I heard murder call'd in the inside of Venables's house; the door was shut then. I made a stop for some trifle of time, and heard Mr. Venables say, bring me a light, bring me a light. I said you shall have no light of mine, call the watch. I saw something white, and presently the gentleman ran out in only his shirt and cap; he ran to the stable door, and turn'd about, and said he was murder'd. Soon after Venables ran over to me with his wife's stay: in his hand, and wanted the candle, I call'd out watch, murder. He insisted upon a light from another woman, she said it's not my light; a woman said, will nobody take in that gentleman, that calls, out murder with such dismal cries and groans. I went to him, seeing some gentlemen come about him; they ask'd where he came from. I said, I frequently saw him go in at Mr. Venables's with his regimentals on. I return'd, fearing my room should be strip'd, as I had left my door open.

Q. Did you hear Mr. Venables say any thing about his wife and Mr. Buckle?

A. Timms. I heard Mr. Venables say he was in bed with his wife.

Mr. Ford. I am a surgeon, and attended Mr. Buckle. I came to him that night he died, betwixt eleven and twelve. He died of the wound he had receiv'd, about an hour after I came to him.

Prisoners's defence. I had been over at the Angel. I went about seven in the evening after I had made Mr. Buckle's fire. When I went out I left my three children at home, and told them where I was going to I staid till between ten and eleven. I came home, and having a key to the door, I open'd it very gently; there is a large mat lying in the passage. I shut the door, and as I went along I thought I heard my wife's voice in the back-parlour. I was almost sure it was she. I went down stairs into the kitchen, and struck a light. I was so fluster'd when I gave my evidence before the coroner, that I said I did not go up stairs; but I did go up, I went into the dining room, shut the window shutters, and then came down stairs again. Mary Main knock'd at the door. I open'd it, and she ask'd for Mrs. Venables. I said I knew nothing of her, she was not there. She said, I'll go and see for her. I believe I said, see at the Black-Lion. She came back and said she was not there. Then I shut the door, and stood in the passage; I then went towards the back parlour door, and thought I heard her again. I walk'd towards the street door, and open'd it, and went again to the back parlour door; I was quite convinc'd at last that I heard her, I attempted to turn the knob of the door, and found it wou'd not open. I knock'd at the door with my finger, and said, Mr. Buckle, Mr. Buckle, I want to speak with you. No, answer. I had the candlestick in my hand. I put my shoulder against the door with all the force I cou'd, and burst it open, and went immediately up to the bed, where I saw Mr. Buckle upon my wife in the bed naked (as I am to appear before God, it is truth) I pull'd out my knife and gave a blow, but I was so confused I did not know whether it was her or him that I hit, till he cried out, oh, oh. He was a worthy gentleman. I wou'd have gone through the world to have serv'd him; I always spoke well of him to every body. Somebody had wrote a scandalous letter against him to his relations; and Mr. Dowdesly's servant can tell, if he pleases, I always justified him, and said the accusations were false.

Joseph How . Some body had wrote a scandalous letter to Mr. Buckle's friends, acquainting them that he kept very bad hours, and drank and lived a very bad life in town, I believe they had mention'd whoring. Mr. Venables meeting me near St. George's church, said, he was very sorry they should accuse him of those things, and said all they accused him of was false; that he could justify him himself, for that he lived soberly, and had been very regular ever since he came into his house.

Guilty Manslaughter .

[Branding. See summary.]

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 21 October 2020), May 1756 (t17560528-42).

Old Bailey Proceedings front matter, 28th May 1756.

THE PROCEEDINGS ON THE King's Commissions of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery FOR THE CITY of LONDON, And also the Gaol Delivery for the County of MIDDLESEX, HELD AT JUSTICE-HALL in the OLD-BAILEY, On Wednesday the 28th, Thursday the 29th, and Friday the 30th of APRIL, Saturday the 1st, Monday the 3d, and Tuesday the 4th of MAY,

In the Twenty-ninth Year of His MAJESTY'S Reign. NUMBER IV. PART II. for the YEAR 1756. Being the Fourth SESSIONS in the MAYORALTY of The Right Honble SLINGSBY BETHELL, Esq; LORD-MAYOR of the CITY of LONDON.


Printed, and sold by J. ROBINSON, at the Golden-Lion, in Ludgate-Street, 1756.

[Price Four-pence.]


King's Commissions of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery held for the City of LONDON, &c.