Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 10 August 2020), January 1767, trial of John Williamson (t17670115-24).

John Williamson, Killing > murder, 15th January 1767.

112. (L.) John Williamson was indicted for the wilful murder of Anne his wife , by confining and imprisoning her, from the 21st of November till the 16th of December, and denying her proper sustenance; he stood charged likewise on the coroner's inquest for the said murder , Dec 16 . *

The witnesses were examined apart.

Elizabeth Farrington . The prisoner lived in Tenter-alley, Little Moorfields, No 6 , up three pair of stairs; the house is left out into tenements; I had the two pair of stairs room underneath him; I went to lodge there in the month of June last; he and his wife were in their lodging before I came there.

Q. Do you know any thing of the prisoner using his wife ill?

E. Farrington. I have often heard her cry out with his beating her; I have heard her call out murder, and I have seen several of the neighbours go up, but I never did go up while the deceased was alive.

Q. What have you heard the prisoner say to her?

E. Farrington. I cannot tell the particular words; I have heard him talk to her; there used to be one Mrs. Cole there in the day time. One day I heard the deceased say, Pray, Mrs. Cole, for God's sake, don't let him use me so; this was at a time she was crying out, and I heard the prisoner's voice there, but's did not know what he said; Mrs. Cole in return said, ha! ha! ha! how can I help it, what would you have me to do; I know the prisoner was in the room, and using her ill, as I imagined. One day in September last she came down into my room with a pair of iron handcuffs on her hands, and they confined behind her, I think the backs of her hands were together; she turned herself to me, and asked me to untie a knot; I looked upon them and said, Lord have mercy upon me, they are iron; she said if I would take a nail or a fork I might undo them, for Mr. Williamson used to undo them with such a thing; my husband looked into a drawer, there was a piece of a file; we run the point in and broke a bit off, but could not undo them; then she said, I must go-up and stay in misery as I am till he comes home, and went up stairs again.

Q. How did he continue to behave to her after that?

E. Farrington. I often heard her cry out; I had used to call up stairs, and asked him what made him use her so, and he has abused me for so doing, and called me bad names; he has said, I did not know what a good for nothing creature she was, for if I was to be in the room one week. I should see she was a very good for nothing sort of a body. I have told him in answer, I believed he was a very bad man. I have often heard her have flls as if she was thrown down, which has shoel, the cieling, and I have heard her cry sadly when she has had such falls; I once heard the prisoner say, It is your d - d temper, why don't you go in: I have told him he had better put her into a workhouse than do as he did, he would then shew himself the honester man; he said, If the committee and he could agree he would; I asked him wo he did not take her to his bed as other men did their wives; he said, she was so swarming with vermin that he could not come near her. About seven or eight weeks before the deceased's death, I heard a child of the prisoner's cry out; the girl said, pray father, dear father, for God's sake, or Christ's sake, don't do it; and I heard him say, D - n her, a bitch, I will; I immediately opened my door and called up stairs, for God's sake, what are you at, are you murdering the woman; he came down part of the stairs with a pair of woman's stuff shoes in his hand, and said, It is my child crying out; I begged for God's sake he would take care what he was about, for he might repent when it was too late; he said, Your counsel is very good, but if I do any thing amiss I am to answer for it myself.

Q. Do you remember the time the woman died?

E. Farrington. I do; I thought it was the 15th of December, but they say it was the 16th. On the Monday night the 15th, there were strange moving-like about in his room; I thought sure the poor creature was dead, and they are going to do up their goods to go away. It was a moon light night; I watched Mr. Cole, that is Mrs. Cole's husband, the prisoner's daughter, and a little boy; they all went out together, and in a few minutes after the prisoner and his eldest son came down stairs; the prisoner turned up stairs, what to do I do not know, I thought he had forgot something; after he was gone, I thought I would see whether she was alive or not; I went up to his door and called, but nobody answered; I came down to my own room, and after that I went up again, and called again, and nobody answered. About nine o'clock, after the prisoner and his three children came back, I listened at the foot of his stairs to hear if any thing was said to the deceased, but I heard nothing.

Q. Could you understand what they said, had they been talking?

E. Farrington. When there was talking, I could know there was talking, but I could not understand what was said. There was a little passage at the foot of their stairs, I stood in that. but heard nothing said to the deceased. On the Tuesday morning, being the 16th, the prisoner sent his daughter down to me, to desire me to come up for her mother was dead: I said I would come up; some time in the day I sent a girl to Mrs. Ellison in the neighbourhood, to tell her now Mrs. Williamson was dead, because she had known her some years, and I was but a stranger; she did not come. Between eleven and twelve several neighbours came, and asked me if I would go up and look at the dead body; I believe there were eight or ten of us went up; we saw the dead body on the bedstead; I thought she looked more like a skeleton than any thing else; she had little more on her bones, set aside skin; there were marks round her ancles, and round her wrists and her middle, as if she had been tied with cords; she had received a blow on the left side her cheek, and another on the right side her forehead, as if she had had a fist drove into her cheek and forehead; she had a great many lice crawling upon her; after I had seen her, I said, Mr. Williamson, why would not you take my advice, that was to put her in the workhouse, and not to use her as he had done; he said, you may do your best and your worst, I will not fly.

Cross examination.

Q. Where had they used to diet?

E. Farrington. They always used to be up in the room, but used very often to go out on a night, and leave her in the room by herself.

Q. Was she used to be intoxicated?

E. Farrington. I never saw her eat or drink in my breath.

Q. Did you use to see her often?

E. Farrington. I have seen her go up and down stairs when I first came to that room.

Q. Did she appear as a healthy person?

E. Farrington. She looked but thin, but did not look like a sickly person.

Q. How old might she be?

E. Farrington. She appeared to be about 25 or 26 years of age.

Q. from prisoner. Whether I did not say to the women when they came up, I look upon you all to be my enemies, and bid you search and examine the body, to see if there were any marks of violence upon her?

E. Farrington. I cannot remember that; one was saying one thing, and another another; in general we all said we thought she died for want of common necessaries, after we saw the sheet turned down, to see what a thin creature she looked like.

Q. from prisoner. Do you remember I desired her cap to be pulled from her head?

E. Farrington. That I cannot remember.

Q. Do you know whether the woman was subject to fits?

E. Farrington. I saw her one night in the passage in a fit, and I remember the prisoner said, you may lie there, and be d - 'd; she was on a settle like.

Q. What is the prisoner?

E. Farrington. He is a shoemaker . After we all had looked at the deceased's body, I opened the closet door; there were some rags, and a staple drove in the wall; that staple looked brightish.

Q. from prisoner. Did not one say, there ought to be a coroner; and did not I say, with all my heart, then I should be cleared.

E. Farrington. I believe I heard Mr. Humble say, there ought to be a coroner.

Anne Hart . I knew the prisoner and his wife; as near as I can guess, they have been married better than eight months; I was at their wedding-supper, but never was but twice in the room since to the best of my knowledge; once was seven weeks before she died, on a Sunday; my husband and one William Barron were with me; the young man was a countryman of my husband's; he wanted a letter wrote, and asked my husband to get it wrote; we went a walking round Moorfields; coming up Tenter-alley, I said, I have just thought of Mr. Williamson; I said to my husband, perhaps he will write it, he writes a good hand. We went all up to his room; Mrs. Cole was in the room, but she put her hat and cloak on, and went out immediately; the prisoner's wife was sitting by the fire-side, by her husband; I said, Mr. Williamson, I am come to ask a favour, for you to write a letter for this young man; we sat down, and a pot of beer was sent for. He said, young man, if you will tell me the contents of the letter, I will write it, and bring it to your house Mrs. Hart. He said, he hoped we would go with him to the Magpye, in Bishopsgate-street, to spend the evening; my husband agreed to go; when his wife found we were all going out, she put her hands together, and said to me, for God's sake, Mrs. Hart, beg of him not to hand-cuff too, and lie me up, and I will be very good. I said, pray, Mr. Williamson, do not confine your wife to tie her up; he said, I know best what I have got to do, I shall do it; then she said, if I am to be tied up, Mrs. Hart, beg that I may have some tea in the morning; he made answer and said, According as she behaved; my husband and William Barron went down stairs directly; Mr. Williamson said, Go down stairs, and I'll follow you in ten minutes; I said, no, Mr. Williamson, I do insist upon seeing in what manner you confine your wife; then he went to the other side of the room and fetched a pair of iron hand-cuffs; he shewed them me and said, The b - h has broke the lock of them; I asked him what he did with them; he went close by the fire side and undid the closet door, which was fastened with a button; then I saw in the wall was a large staple drove much about her waist, rather too high; to that staple was a cord tied; he bid her turn, she made not the least resistance, but turned round and put her hands behind her back, quite orderly; he put on the hand-cuffs, and took her to the closet, and whether he put the rope round her body or through the hand-cuffs, I cannot tell; he drawed her tight up to the staple; she stood a tip-toe; the staple was rather too high, she could not stand upon her heels: when he was drawing her up, she called out, Oh Mr. Williamson! Oh Mr. Williamson! you draw me so tight, you'll cut my hands asunder; he said she always made that noise, and if she did not hold her tongue, he either would knock her head against the wall, or against the partition, I am not certain which; he then went down stairs, then there was nobody in the room but his daughter and I with her; then the deceased asked me if I would give her a pinch of snuff; I gave her a pinch, and wiped her nose myself, because she had got no hands to use; she then asked me to ask Mr. Williamson's daughter to let her have a little stool to put under her feet that stood by the fire; I said to the girl, Mercy, do put the stool under your mother's feet; Mercy made answer, she dare not, for her father would beat her; I then said, I shall put it under, and I put it under myself; she then stood upright and thanked me, and said she stood much easier then; then I left the daughter and wife, and went down stairs, and overtook Mr. Williamson, the young man, and my husband; I said, Mr. Williamson, don't be angry with your daughter for the stool being under your wife's feet, for I put it under myself; he then said, I will break every bone in my daughter's skin for letting you put it under, for the b - h will get out of the closet.

Cross examination.

Q. You say you was at the wedding supper, have you seen him often since?

A. Hart. I have seen him very often; I may have seen him five or six times when they were first married.

Q. Did he assign any reason why he tied her up?

A. Hart. I have often talked to him when I have met him, and said, why don't you get her into the workhouse, you may bring yourself into trouble; he said, When she died he would send for a doctor to search her, for he always used her well.

Q. Did he give you any reason why he thought it necessary to tie her up?

A. Hart. He gave me none at all at that time; I have heard him mention her destroying his things, but not at that time.

Q. Did the woman complain of wanting food?

A. Hart. No, she did not at that time.

Q. Have you heard her complain of that at any other times?

A. Hart. I have.

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

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 10 August 2020), January 1767 (t17670115-24).

Old Bailey Proceedings front matter, 15th January 1767.

THE WHOLE PROCEEDINGS ON THE KING's COMMISSIONS of the PEACE, OYER and TERMINER, and GOAL DELIVERY FOR THE CITY of LONDON; And also the GOAL DELIVERY FOR THE COUNTY of MIDDLESEX, HELD AT JUSTICE-HALL in the OLD-BAILEY, On Thursday the 15th, Friday the 16th, and Saturday the 17th, of JANUARY.

In the Seventh Year of His MAJESTY's Reign. Being the Second SESSIONS in the MAYORALTY of THE RIGHT HONOURABLE SIR ROBERT KITE , KNT. LORD-MAYOR of the CITY of LONDON.

NUMBER II. PART II.

LONDON,

Printed for J. WILKIE, at the Bible, in St. Paul's Church-Yard.

[Price Six-Pence.]

THE WHOLE PROCEEDINGS ON THE

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

Continuation of the Trial of John Williamson .

Mercy Williamson .

I AM daughter to the prisoner

Prisoner. Speak the truth, child; do not tell a lye to serve me.

Q. How old are you?

M. Williamson. I am about fifteen years of age.

Q. Did you ever see your father use your mother ill?

M. Williamson. I have seen him strike her.

Q. When? you are to be sure to say nothing but what is truth.

M. Williamson. I have not seen him strike her a good while, but I have seen him throw water over her.

Q. Do you remember any thing about the closet?

M. Williamson. He used to tie her up.

Q. How often has be tied her up?

M. Williamson. Pretty often, with her hands behind her, and hand cuffed her; then tied a rope to a staple, and drew it through the hand-cuffs, and then drew it up to a nail overher head.

Q. How long had he had these hand-cuffs?

M. Williamson. I cannot Justly say how long.

Q. How long had she used to be tied up at a time?

M. Williamson. The last time my father tied her up, she was tied up a great while.

Q. How many weeks?

M. Williamson. A month I believe.

Q. Was she not let down in that time?

M. Williamson. No; she remained without being let down at all, or going to bed.

Q. How did she do the offices of nature during that time?

M. Williamson. I do not know that she wanted much; as far as I could I helped her, and so did Mrs. Cole.

Q. At the time you helped her, did she continue tied up?

M. Williamson. Yes, she did.

Q. How came you and Mrs. Cole not to take her down?

M. Williamson. She would not let Mrs. Cole and I tie her up again, that my father should not know of it, for then I should get licked; if my father knew it, he would have licked me.

Q Whether you ever did let her down, you or Mrs Cole?

M. Williamson. Yes; when he has known it, he has threatened to lick me, and said, if he ever knew it, he would lick me well.

Q. Was this before or after the last month?

M. Williamson. This was before the last month.

Q. Did Mrs. Cole ever let her down?

M. Williamson Yes , I was present.

Q. During the last month had the the use of her hands?

M. Williamson. She had not.

Q. How did she do to eat?

M. Williamson My father used to give her a bit of bread and butter, and put it on a shelf for her to eat it.

Q. How could she reach it?

M. Williamson. She could reach very well to it with her mouth.

Q. How large were those pieces of bread and butter?

M. Williamson. A slice from a threepenny loaf, round it.

Q. How often was bread and butter put there?

M. Williamson. It was put there every day.

Q. Did you find part of it the next day?

M. Williamson. She eat it all.

Q. Was it a thin slice or thick?

M. Williamson. Pretty thick.

Q. How did she get it forward?

M Williamson. Sometimes me, sometimes Mrs. Cole, and sometimes my brother, have put it close.

Q. What had she to drink?

M. Williamson. She drank water; she never drank beer in her life; her mother never could make her drink either strong or small.

Q. How did she come at water?

M. Williamson. They used to hold it to her mouth while she drank.

Q. Did she set her feet on the ground?

M. Williamson. Yes, just upon her feet.

Q. Did she stand flat footed?

M. Williamson. I believe she might, and sometimes on her toes.

Q. Has she applied to you to put something under her feet?

M. Williamson. She has; she used to say, in case we could put the stool under her feet, she should be easier.

Q. And did you not do it?

M. Williamson. I must not do it before my father.

Q. Why so?

M. Williamson. My father would have licked me, or any of us, if we did; I have done it, and he has threatened to lick me; when we have put it under her, he has said, I tell you what, if ever I know you put it under again, I'll lick you as long as I can stand over you; for the stool she shall not have.

Q. Where was you when she died?

M. Williamson. I was in bed and asleep when she died.

Q. You mentioned something about throwing water at her, how was that?

M. Williamson. One day my father said, throw a pint of water over her; throw a whole heap; throw it in her face; I took half a pint, and threw it at her; he said, throw more; I said I would not.

Q. Where was she then?

M. Williamson. She was then tied up in the closet; I did not like to throw it, only my father made me.

Q. Was she fainting, or was it done by way of punishment?

M. Williamson. By way of punishment.

Q. Has that been done by any body else?

M. Williamson. My father has done it many a time; before my father used to tie her up, she used to go down and scandalize my father about, and so my father used to throw water over her.

Q. How scandalize him?

M. Williamson. She reported it about, that my father starved her; when she has had victuals plentiful along with my father, she has gone down stairs, and begged victuals, so he flung water in her face.

Q. Was this done more than once?

M. Williamson. Yes, he did it more than any body else.

Q. Whether, when the bread and butter was given her, did she ask for more?

M. Williamson. Yes, sometimes she did, and sometimes she did not; my father has said, if that was not enough, she should have no more, for she works for none.

Q. Had she any thing more than bread and butter the last month?

M. Williamson. No, without there was any thing left that my father could not eat, he would order us to give it her.

Q. Where did you dine?

M. Williamson. We used to dine at the table with my father; there was but one room and the closet; sometimes my father would not let me give her victuals that he could not eat.

Q. When you dined in the same room, whether at that time of dining did you give her bread and butter, or at any other times?

M. Williamson. It used to be in the morning, and sometimes at dinner-time, when my father would not let her have it before. She has asked for victuals, and my father has said, stay a bit.

Q. Had she victuals any more than once a day?

M. Williamson. Sometimes at night my father would give her a bit of bread and butter.

Q. What had you for dinner?

M. Williamson. We sometimes had a bit of meat for dinner, sometimes a bit of bread and cheese, and bread and butter. When my father was at dinner, he would have the closet door shut during the time of dinner.

Q. Was it always shut when your father was at dinner?

M. Williamson. It was, most an end.

Q. Did she not ask for victuals that you dined upon?

M. Williamson. I do not remember that she did.

Q. Do you remember her having a morsel of flesh for the last month?

M. Williamson. Yes, she might have it two or three times.

Q. When did you first hear of her being dead?

M. Williamson. My father let her down on the Sunday before she died, to have some dinner; she was very weak and low, you could hardly hear her speak; we had that day a mouse buttock baked and onions, and he gave her some upon a plate.

Q. Did she eat any?

M Williamson. She did not eat a great deal; she said she could not eat it; she gave my father it in his hand, and said, Mr. Williamson, take the plate, I can't eat no more; my father said, cannot you eat no more, Nanny; no, said she, I cannot.

Q. Could she walk when she was let down?

M. Williamson. She staggered vastly, and was very weak; she did stand a little bit, but was forced to lay hold of things.

Q. Whether she eat one morsel of that meat?

M. Williamson. She eat two or three mouthfuls.

Q. Where did she eat that victuals?

M. Williamson. She eat it in the closet; there were some rags in the closet, and she sat upon them; her hands were so numbed and swelled, that she could not use the knife and fork hardly; the hand-cuffs were taken off then, and they were never put on afterwards.

Q. Did she stay in the closet?

M. Williamson. She did all that night, and the closet door was shut. She desired, after she had eaten the victuals, to come to the fire. I said, father, let her come to the fire; he said, come out. She said, Mr. Williamson, let me buss you; she kissed the side of his cheek; he did not kiss her again; she said, shall I read a book called Moll Flanders; she spoke very low you could hardly hear her. My father said, he thought that was not a book sit to be read on a Sunday.

Q. How long did she stay by the fire?

M. Williamson. About a quarter of an hour, or half an hour; she was swarming with vermin; she begun to kill them; my father said, do not sit throwing them about here, but get into your kennel.

Q. Did he throw any water on her that day?

M. Williamson. No; then she went back to the closet.

Q. How did she come out and go in again?

M. Williamson. She laid hold of the door as she came out, and helped herself along as well as she could; the fire side is very near the closet.

Q. What time was it when she went back to the closet?

M. Williamson. That was about two o'clock.

Q. Did you go out that afternoon?

M. Williamson. No, but the closet door was shut.

Q. Did you hear her make any complaint?

M. Williamson. She said she was very cold, and that; and she said she had got a pain in her stomach.

Q. Did she come out of the closet after that?

M. Williamson. She came out once more that day, and Mrs. Cole gave her an apple.

Q. Was your father in the room then?

M. Williamson He was.

Q. How long did she stay out that time?

M. Williamson. She did not stay out above ten minutes I believe; she went to the fire, and sat by my father; my father said, go in again, you have sat long enough; now you are warm, go in again, you shall not sit here.

Q. What time might it be when she went in the second time?

M. Williamson. It must be about four or five o'clock.

Q. Did you see her any more that night?

M. Williamson. No; she said, Mr. Williamson, shall I go to bed to night; he said, she might make her bed up in the closet if she would.

Q. What had she to make her bed up with?

M. Williamson. Only rags and a sheet.

Q. Who gave her that sheet?

M Williamson. That was one of her own sheets that she brought when my father had her.

Q. What sort of a bed does your father lie on?

M. Williamson. He lies on a stock bed.

Q. Any Curtains?

M. Williamson. No.

Q. Where had you used to lie?

M. Williamson. I lay on a little bed, and my father and my two brothers used to lie together on the other.

Q. What time was it when she asked to go to bed?

M. Williamson. That was about the time we go to bed, which may be about eight or nine o'clock; my father awaked me about five the next morning, and said, Nanny is in one of them terrible sits; her sits were so terrible, that made the house shake.

Q. Where was you then?

M. Williamson. I was in bed; my father bid me lie still, and said, I'll go and see how she is; I saw him go to the closet.

Q. Was the door shut or open?

M. Williamson. The door was shut; he opened it; I went to her; she had got her face up against the wall, and was in a violent working; the foam and blood came out of her mouth; I saw it, and saw her mouth work, and the foam; I did not see the blood.

Q. How do you know there was blond?

M. Williamson. My father said there was blood; she shook very much.

Q. Was she subject to fits?

M. Williamson. She used to have sits before my father had her.

Q. Did your father call any body up?

M. Williamson. No, he did not.

Q. How long was she in that sit?

M. Williamson. An hour and a half, I believe; after that she slept till after we had done breakfast, about 9; she waked about 10, and had got her apron up, and wiped her month, and was like a mad woman; she called my father Daddy; my father was at home; Mrs. Dennis came in to have her shoe mended; she heard her in the closet, saying, Daddy, let me come out: my father said no; dress yourself, and then you shall come out.

Q. What clothes had she on?

M. Williamson. She had nothing on but her gown, petticoat, and apron, but no stays; I went to her, and said, Dress yourself, and my father will let you come out; at that time she was like a mad thing, till between four and five in the afternoon; my father then went and held up her head, but she was speechless: she died about five o'clock on the Tuesday morning.

Q. Where was she all the night?

M. Williamson. She was in the closet.

Q. Was the closet-door open or shut?

M. Williamson. It was shut.

Q. Did you look at her before you went to bed?

M. Williamson. I did, and so did my father; she was lying in the closet, and her eyes were fixed; we looked at her two or three times; I said, Father, I am afraid she will die; she will not live the night over: betwixt seven and eight o'clock Mrs. Cole asked my father to sup with her; he said to me, Do you go first, and I'll come after; so he and my brothers, and I, went there to supper.

Q. What time did you go to bed?

M. Williamson. We went to bed between nine and ten; I looked at her at nine; she was all the same as before; she did not move, but my father said she was not dead; I went to bed, but my father went out to Mrs. Cole's.

Q. You was saying something about your father holding up her head; what was done?

M. Williamson. I went to give her some tea; she could not take a drop; her teeth were clinched.

Q. Who did your father leave with her, when you all went to Mrs. Cole's to supper?

M. Williamson. My father wou ld not leave one soul with her; Mrs. Cole offered to stay with her; I said, Father, some body ought to be with her; my father said. No, no, never mind.

Q. Did any body else see her that day?

M. Williamson. Mr. Cole was there that afternoon, with his wife.

Q. Where does Mr. Cole live?

M. Williamson. He lives in Whitecross-street, a little way off.

Q. What time did you come home?

M. Williamson. We all, my father, two brothers, and I, came home together, about nine o'clock; then my father went and looked in the closet, and bid me come and hold the candle; my father said he did not believe she would live till morning: I said I thought it was proper to have a candle all night, because I did not think she would live till morning.

Q. Was she alive or dead?

M. Williamson. I took hold of one of her arms, it was warm, but I did not see her more; she was not dead.

Q. Was there a candle all night?

M. Williamson. There was.

Q. What happened afterwards?

M. Williamson. My father awaked me about five o'clock on the Tuesday morning, and told me he got up about three; he said, Nanny is just gone off.

Q. Had she any sits from the time they were married till this time?

M. Williamson. She was subject to sits all her life-time; she has had three or four in a day.

Q. Did you know her before she was married?

M. Williamson. I did; and my father knew her from a child.

Q. During the last month, how many sits had she?

M. Williamson. She had four or five in a day.

Q. What, while she was tied up?

M. Williamson. Yes; they were different sorts of sits, that did not hold her above a minute or two; they had not that working upon her.

Q. Had she used to cry out?

M. Williamson. Yes, she did.

Q. Was she never taken down when she had these slight sits?

M. Williamson. No.

Q. How did your father and she live together at first; had they used to lie together?

M. Williamson. She used to lie in the same bed with him a little while.

Q. Was he kind to her at that time?

M. Williamson. Yes.

Q. How long did they continue to live together in that kind manner, she eating at his table, and having as much as she pleased?

M Williamson. That might continue about three weeks, I believe, not longer.

Q. How did that conduct happen to alter?

M. Williamson. Because she used to go to Mrs. Neves's room, and say, what a rogue I have, he will not give me a bit of dinner, and his children and he sit there; and other people have seen her have as much as she could eat.

Q. Have you ever heard her say so?

M. Williamson. No; but other people have told my father of it, how she has scandalized him.

Q. Have you ever heard people tell your father so, in your mother's presence?

M. Williamson. I have; and my father has said, Nanny, how can you accuse me; have you not had victuals to and so: she has said, Lord, Mr. Williamson, I did not think any harm in saying so: she used to go out frequently at first, and used to scandalize him every time she went out.

Q. How long had she been married before she came to be tied up?

M. Williamson. I believe they had been married about three months before he tied her up, and used her so.

Q. How did it begin?

M. Williamson. One night, Mrs. Cole and I were in the room, my mother was sitting upon a trunk by us; my mother was very apt to turn up the whites of her eyes; Mrs. Cole said, Come down stairs, your mother has frighted me so, I don't know what to do; my mother said, Don't go down; and doubled her sits: we ran down to the bottom of the alley, and met my father; I said, Lord, father, your wife has frighted me so, by turning up the whites of her eyes, and doubling her sist; and she has frighted Mrs. Cole and your little child: my father went home, and took her by the arm, and shook her.

Q. How long were they married before they parted beds?

M. Williamson. She did not lie with him above two or three times; they lived quiet, and that.

Q. Then they were sociable together, only with regard to parting beds?

M. Williamson. Yes.

Q. Where did she lie?

M. Williamson. She lay upon an old mattress, under some shelves, and upon some rags, in the room where we lay; they were sociable about three weeks.

Q. Upon this complaint made by you, when he took her by the arm and shook her, what passed after that?

M. Williamson. She said she would never do so no more; he said, I do not want to hurt a hair of your head, but do not frighten my children.

Q. Why was you frighted?

M. Williamson. I was afraid she was going to do something to me; she threw a knife at me once.

Q. What for?

M. Williamson. My father had saved some tea for my little brother, and she drank the tea, and put water in it; and, when the child came home, the child complained it was not sweet; my mother owned she had drank it: when my father came home, the little boy told him; then he took and shook her by the arm, but did not strike her. Once, when my father's back was turned, she said to me if I did not give her a penny for a dram, she would throw the knife at me; she threw it, and it stuck in the ground.

Q. Did she drink drams?

M. Williamson. If she could get a dram any way, she would.

Q. How long after this was it, she was put into the closet?

M. Williamson. I believe about two or three months.

Q. How came they to part beds?

M. Williamson. Because she said my father would not let her alone; and used to complain and say, she had rather lie any where else than with him.

Q. Who did she complain thus to?

M. Williamson. She complained to Mrs. Cole, and to the folks in the house, that he used to push her about.

Q. Do you mean that he was over fond, or cruel to her?

M. Williamson. I cannot say rightly for that; she said he used to push her about, and she lay upon nothing but the bed-posts; it was at her desire she lay upon the mattress.

Q. Who lay in the bed with your father?

M. Williamson. My little brother lay with him.

Q. Whether she was fastened or chained to any thing before she was put into the closet?

M. Williamson. A rope was tied round her body, and a staple fastened to a post by the bedstead.

Q. How long was this after they were married?

M. Williamson. This might be about two months after they were married; he tied a rope round her waist, and so to the staple, when he used to go out.

Q. When were the hand-cuffs first brought home?

M. Williamson. I remember the morning my father went and bought them.

Q. Where did he buy them?

M. Williamson. I have heard the people say he bought them at Wood-street Compter.

Q. How long after he used to tie her to the post?

M. Williamson. It was not a great while after that.

Q. Had he used to hand-cuff her before he put her in the closet, or after?

M. Williamson. He hand-cuffed her before he used to put her in the closet, but never while she was tied to the staple to the post.

Q. Where had she used to be before she was put in the closet?

M. Williamson. She used to set upon a trunk by the window, and in the day-time he would put the hand-cuffs on her; she was never tied up continually till in the closet.

Q. Did she always apply to you when she wanted assistance, when she eased nature in the closet?

M. Williamson. Yes, she used to call to me and Mrs. Cole.

Cross examination.

Q. What sort of a woman was this mother-in-law as to sobriety?

M. Williamson. She would drink drams.

Q. Did she use to get drunk?

M. Williamson. Yes, she did.

Q. Did she ever appear as if she had been rolled in the dirt?

M. Williamson. No, she never did.

Q. How did she carry it towards your little brother?

M. Williamson. She used to hate to see him in the room.

Q. Did she ever offer any act of violence to him?

M. Williamson. Only she has slapped his face.

Q. Did she never attempt to put him in the fire?

M. Williamson. I don't know of any such thing.

Q. At what times had she used to slap him?

M. Williamson. When he had done a fault.

Q. Do you remember her damaging any of your father's things?

M. Williamson. Once she made away with a pair of soles.

Q. How do you know she did?

M. Williamson. My father said he missed them; and sometimes, when she went to strike a light, she would do it on the edge of one of his sharp knives.

Q. Was this usage to her by way of punishment or prevention?

M. Williamson. It was to stop her from doing us any harm.

Q. Had people used to come up into your room often?

M. Williamson. People used to come up, my father's acquaintance, but not often.

Q. Did any body besides you see her tied up?

M. Williamson. Mrs. Hart did once.

Q. Did he tie her up when he beat her?

M. Williamson. He did.

Q. What had she done when he beat her?

M. Williamson. She had done nothing in particular, as I know of, only a begging victuals, and so.

Q. Did you go to see your father in the Compter?

M. Williamson. I did.

Q. Did you say there, it was hard he should be confined there for starving your mother, when she eat more than you all did?

M. Williamson. I do not remember I said so.

Q. Is all you have given in evidence a truth?

M. Williamson. It is, as far as I know; I don't like to say any thing against my father, but I must.

Q. At the first of your mother's being married, had the vermin?

M. Williamson. I don't know that she had.

Q. from prisoner. Whether my wife used to play at cards, at my lady's-hole and all-fours?

M. Williamson. What the time she was confined?

Council. Yes.

M. Williamson. No, Sir, not as I know of.

Q. from prisoner. Did not she desire Aesop's Fables and Moil Flanders should be read to her?

M. Williamson. Not lately.

Anne Cole . I used to be pretty often at the prisoner's house in his wife's life-time.

Q. Have you seen her out of the closet?

A. Cole. I have.

Q. When was the last time?

A. Cole. The day before she died.

Q. Have you seen her often the last five weeks?

A. Cole. I have seen her at times the last five weeks.

Q. How often was you there in that time?

A. Cole. I was there two or three days in a week.

Q. Was you not there six days in a week?

A. Cole. No.

Q. Did you ever see her out of the closet during the last month before she died?

A. Cole. I did; on the Sunday before she died, and on the Friday before she died.

Q. Have you seen her often in the closet?

A. Cole. I have pretty often; when the prisoner went out, he used to fasten her up.

Q. How was it when he was at home?

A. Cole. Sometimes, in the room and sometimes in the closes, but not fastened.

Q. How many times in the last month might you see her in the room unconfined?

A. Cole. A good many times.

Q. How often?

A. Cole. I can't tell.

Q. Which did you see her oftenest in, in the room or in the closet?

A. Cole I saw her oftenest in the room.

Q. Did you ever see the prisoner do any thing to her when confined in the closet?

A. Cole. I have seen him strike her.

Q. Did you ever see her at liberty six times in the last month?

A. Cole. I have seen her more than six times; she was not continually fastened up every day.

Q. How can you speak to that, when you said you was there only about two or three days in a week?

A. Cole. I mean every time I was there.

Q. How many times have you seen him strike her while tied up in the closet, and for what?

A. Cole. As near as I can guess, I saw him strike her twice; he used to say she had burnt his tools, and destroyed the things.

Q. Did you ever hear her complain of pain while tied up?

A. Cole. I can't say I ever did; I have often undone her when he has been out of the way, and let her run away.

Q. Do you mean in the last month?

A. Cole. I do.

Q. Did you never susten her up again?

A. Cole. No.

Q. What do you mean by running away?

A. Cole. She went down stairs.

Q. Did the come back while you was there?

A. Cole. Yes.

Q. How long has she been absent?

A. Cole. I can't tell; sometimes she staid longer than other some.

Q. By undoing her, what do you mean by that?

A. Cole. I only loosened her from the cord.

Q. Did you ever see her loose in the room at any time but when you untied her?

A. Cole. Sometimes her husband untied her, and sometimes the girl.

Q. Did you see her husband untie her the last ?

A. Cole. I did.

Q. More than once?

A. Cole. Yes.

Q. Was you there when she was untied on the Sunday?

A. Cole. I was, and she was not tied from that time till she died; she has continued untied at times when I have been there, as long as I staid, which used to be till about half an hour after seven o'clock at night.

Q. Have you never said before any body what was the cause of her death?

A. Cole. I have said her sits and ill usage might be the occasion of her death?

Q. Now tell the court and the jury what you think was the cause of her death?

A Cole. In hand cuffing her and striking her, and throwing water upon her, I did not mean with regard to victuals and drink.

Q. What do you mean by throwing water upon her?

A. Cole. I have seen him throw water at her.

Q. How many times?

A. Coles. I can't say.

Q. Twenty?

A. Cole. No.

Q. Ten?

A. Cole. No.

Q. Four or five?

A. Cole. Yes.

Q. Why did he throw water upon her?

A. Cole. Because she used to go about and sell his master's stuff, and the children have found fault with her. On the Monday morning before she died, he sent the boy for me; I went; he said, Mrs. Cole, my wife has had a terrible sit this morning, it took her about four o'clock; I looked at her; she was like a mad woman in balham; when I went to speak to her, all she said was, Daddy! daddy! I am coming *! I staid about two hours, and come home and went again; she continued the same; she laid herself down at half an hour after five; he put the pillow under her head and covered her up; her head lay in the closet, and her feet out, upon a little stock bed, with a sheet and rug over it; I went away, and in about half an hour after I had been at home, he came up with his children; I asked him how his wife did; he said she was in a charming sleep, and on the Tuesday morning he came and said she was dead.

* The divers persons that died for want of sustenance in the Wager's long boat after she was cast away in the South Seas, were taken in this wild manner in their beads just before they died. See Mr. Bulkley the Carpenter's Narrative.

Cross examination.

Q. Have you been there when he and his family used to eat?

A. Cole. I have, and when she was not tied up she used to eat the same as they.

Q. When she has been tied up, how has she been fed?

A. Cole. I don't know she was ever tied up at meal times when I was there. On the Sunday I was there, there was a mouse buttock stuffed with sage and onions; she eat of that, and left a piece about the bigness of the top of my thumb, and put it down to the cat; he said, Nanny, you will be glad of what you give the cat; she said she could not eat any more.

Q. Within the last five weeks, have you seen her eat with him at the table besides that Sunday?

A. Cole. I have, with him, and the children and me.

Q. Had she always as much as she pleased to eat?

A. Cole. She always had enough, as much as she cared for; I remember the daughter coming to see him in Wood-street Compter; as we were coming away, she hugged her father round the neck, and said, Oh! my dear father! that you should be imprisoned for starving such a creature to death, when she eat more than we did.

Q. Do you remember him in his former wife's time?

A. Cole. I do; I never heard but that he was a good husband; he had a great family of children to bring up.

Q. from prisoner. Have you not heard her read these books, Moll Flanders, and seen her play at cards with my daughter, within a month of her death?

A. Cole. I have, when she has sat by the fire, and the girl has taken delight to hear her; I have been sitting by the fire at the same time; we have played at cards, sometimes she and I played, and sometimes she and the girl.

Q. Did you give the same evidence before the coroner as you have done here?

A. Cole. I was quite in a flurry before the coroner, I don't know what account I gave.

Q. Whether you was not asked the question by some of the jury before the coroner, if you ever saw the woman untied once in the course of five weeks before she died?

A. Cole. I do not know that that question was put to me.

Q. from prisoner. After we had been married four months, when we had been out, whether my wife was not dead drunk upon the bed when we came home?

A. Cole. Yes. She had got her liberty, and got down into the alley; and when we came to his room about nine o'clock, he went up first, we followed; the door was open; he said, Nanny; he called two or three times; then he got a light; there she was on the bed; he went to lift her up; she was just like a child, she had no strength; he said to the girl, make up another bed, for the shall never lie in my bed any more.

Prisoner. We had some tea, and I left some for my little boy, and ordered her not to partake of it; she drank it up, and filled the pot up with piss; do you remember that?

A. Cole. The child puked at it, and I went to taste it, and it tasted like piss; she said if she did it, she did not know that she did do it.

Q. Was she sober at that time?

A. Cole. She was, but this was the way she used to answer.

Charles Barton . I am a surgeon, and live in Redcross-street; I did not know the deceased in her life time; Mr. Howard, a calender and hot-presser, that lives opposite where the prisoner did, desired I would go and see the body after she was dead, I think it was on the 18th of December; the first time. I saw her was about one o'clock in the afternoon, I then only took a general survey of the body; the only appearance of any violence that I took notice of, was a kind of a livid coloured mark upon her left cheek; there was the like appearance of a blow on the right side the upper lip; I turned up the lip, and discovered a cut against her teeth; it appeared to be quite through the red part of it. In the evening the coroner and jury sent for me while they were sitting; about half an hour after eight, I went and opened the body; first of all I took a view of the lungs and the liver, and cut through the heart; they did not seem at all diseased; the small got appeared distended with wind; I cut through the gut long ways, there I found nothing but a bit of hardened excrement; I observed the caul which is a fat membrane, and the membrane which connects the bowels together in their windings, that was wasted to quite a thin skin, not fat as usual: it was reduced to a transparent membrane: in the last place I diffected out the stomach, and had a bason, into which I pressed the contents of it, which was something less than a quarter of a pint; I mentioned three ounces, which is three quarters of a quarter of a pint; it was an uniform kind of a brown glutinous liquor, with some little froth in it; in the small gut which I cut into, was scarcely the common mucus of the bowels, but seemed dry.

Q. What do you say to that brown liquor you observed in the stomach?

Barton. That I apprehend was so small a quantity, that the action of the stomach could not possibly throw it over into the bowels.

Q. What in your opinion was the occasion of her death?

Barton. As there was no appearance at all of any food being received lately, she might, for what I know, be starved; my opinion is, she died for want of food; there was not the least appearance of her having received any food for a considerable time; I have often reflected upon it since, and I cannot find any reason to alter my opinion.

Q. What do you mean by the word lately received food, that she had not received food for a day or two, or five or six days, could you have perceived a difference?

Barton. Undoubtedly.

Q. Do you think she had not received food for two days?

Barton. I think she had not received food for a longer time than two days.

Q. Do you apprehend she had not received food on the Sunday?

Barton. I certainly believe she could have received none on the Sunday; there was an appearance sufficient to make me believe she had received none some time before the Sunday.

Cross examination.

Q. Did you ever see a person opened that had been starved?

Barton. No.

Q. Supposing she had taken sustenance on the Sunday, whether the violent sit she had been in might not have evacuated that in discharging the stomach?

Barton. If she had a vomiting doubtless it might.

Q. Was there not a quantity of excrement in all the bowels?

Barton. There was a quantity of hardened excrement in all the bowels, but none in the small gut.

Q. Was there nothing solid in the stomach?

Barton. No, there was not.

Q. Was there any urine in the bladder?

Barton. I did not examine the bladder.

There were evidences in court to prove the prisoner's buying the band-cuffs, and also his receiving 60 l. and upwards on the 2d of September, the property of his wife, of her guardian, but it was thought needless to call them.

Prisoner's defence.

My Lord, and Gentlemen of the Jury, I had been married to my wife about three weeks; I went into the country to pay some money that I owed; when I came back, I heard there was a great confusion at home; my girl told me my wife had been in one of her phrenzy fits, she said she would not lie with her; she had searched the bed, and under the pillow she found one of my working knives; at another time she threw a knife at the girl, and it sell to the ground and broke in two; at another time, in my absence, she got drunk, which was the cause of our separating beds. I can't help making mention of a simple story; I went out once, and left three kittens at home; on our return, I did not expect any cruelty acted to those little animals; I found one of them had been trampled upon and pressed to death, and the other two she had trampled upon them, that their bones were broke; I asked her how she came to do it; she said she meant no harm; I confined her for what my girl said; she said, father, you don't know how I have been frighted at her when you are out, she turns up her eyes, I can't bear to be in the room without you tie her up. About five weeks before she died, I said she should not go out, as she used to scandalize me; and when I went out, I have ordered my girl to give her tea, bread and butter, and sometimes a dram; I always took care to undo her when I came home; she never was tied up one night during the five weeks; sometimes she would make her bed close by mine, and sometimes she would make her bed with her head in the closet and her feet out; as to sustenance she always had her meals with me, except when she was guilty of any particular crime, such as cutting things to pieces; in darning her stockings, she would cut off more than she would darn up, and throw my tools into the fire and burn them. I always gave her meals regular, sometimes tea in an afternoon, sometimes not. On the Sunday before she died she eat a piece of meat; I said to her, Nanny, can't you eat this; she said, I can't eat it: I never denied her the necessaries of life; I always took care to fill her belly; I kept her confined, because she used to frighten my children in my absence, by turning up the whites of her eyes, and they were fearful of her doing them some mischief.

For the prisoner.

Thomas Mason . I knew the prisoner's wife; she was troubled with fits, I have seen her in fits; I have been there when they have been at meals, to the best of my remembrance it is about eight weeks ago when I was there.

Q. Was you there within the last month before she died?

Mason. I believe I was there about three weeks before she died.

Q. Can you say you was there when they were eating within three weeks of her death?

Mason. I cannot say that; I cannot say the particular time.

Q. Did she sit at table when you saw her, or was she in any other place?

Mason. She was at the table, and he sat along side of her.

Q. How long is that ago?

Mason. That may be about ten weeks ago; I never knew him refuse her eating when he was eating; she has eat very plentifully, and he has asked her to eat more; he, his wife, and I, had a dram together, that was within these 8 weeks.

Cross examination.

Q. Do you know nothing of a pair of hand-cuffs which the daughter brought to you?

Mason. Yes, the prisoner's daughter brought a pair of hand-cuffs to me when my wife was out of the way.

Q. What did you do with them?

Mason. My wife was frighted at them, and I took and flung them into Fleet-ditch.

Q. Was this before or after the death of the woman?

Mason. This was after the death of the woman.

Martha Mason . I am wife to the last evidence; I never was at the prisoner's house but twice in my life, that I believe is about eight weeks ago; my husband and I were together; the deceased was blowing the fire then; the first time she was unravelling a pink stocking by the fire.

Henry Cole . I am a shoemaker, husband to the woman that gave her evidence; I was at the prisoner's lodging within a month of the death of the woman.

Q. How often was you there?

Cole. I was there three or four times in a week.

Q. Confine yourself to speak within a month of the death of the woman.

Cole. I will; I was there at meal times, sometimes at meal times twice in a day, breakfast and dinner; he cut a plate of meat for her every time I was there.

Q. Had they meat every time you was there?

Cole. They had.

Q. Where had she used to eat it?

Cole. Sometimes in the closet, and sometimes in the room, but not confined in her meals.

Q. Was you there three or four times in the last month constantly?

Cole. I was, and I never knew him refuse her food when I was there; when she would not help herself he cut for her, and asked her if she would have any more.

Q. What is the prisoner's character?

Cole. He bore a very good character ever since I knew him; he had five or six children, and worked very hard for them day and night.

Cross examination.

Q. You say they had meat every time you was there the last month?

Cole. Yes.

Q. Did she eat her victuals at the same table with the prisoner in the last month?

Cole. No, she did not in the last month.

Q. What was the reason of that?

Cole. I don't know.

Q. Have you seen her out of the closet eating her dinner?

Cole. She would sit at a table by herself in the room.

Q. Was this within a month before she died?

Cole. Yes; I would have had her come to the other table, and they said it was not proper.

Q. What reason did they give?

Cole. Because she was a woman not like to another.

Q. In what respect? (he being at a loss for an answer, the question was repeated.)

Cole. - She had nasty rags in her hand, and a handkerchief, and what not.

Q. Will you take upon you to say there were two tables in the room?

Cole. There were, a great one and a little one, and she might come to the table if she would.

Q. Why did she not come to the table where you was?

Cole. He used to cut her meat and she would take it to the other table.

Q. Do you say that now? you said they would not let her come when you have asked for her to come to the table, which of these two stories do you stick by?

Cole. Sometimes she helped herself, and when she would not he cut for her.

Q. Upon your oath whether she ever helped herself once in the last month?

Cole. My memory is very bad.

Q. Was this woman ever asked to come to the table by her husband within the last month?

Cole. I can't justly say.

Q. You can say whether you believe it or not?

Cole. No, I do not believe he did.

Q. Will you take upon you to say you saw her out of the closet once in the last month?

Cole. My memory is so bad I cannot say.

John Carpenter . I know the prisoner exceeding well, I have known him about seven years.

Q. What is his character particularly as to his humanity?

Carpenter. He has an exceeding good character as to that; I have known him to be an exceeding good man to his first wife and his family.

John Crotchet . I have known him six or seven years.

Q. What is his character with regard to his humanity?

Crotchet. I never heard but that he was a pains taking man, I believe a tender man to his former wife; I have called at different times; I believe he is a very human man, according to his family.

Sarah Berry . The prisoner lodged with me two years and a half in his former wife's time; he was always a very tender husband and father in my house; he bears a good character as far as ever I heard. I have known him to have but a pennyworth of bread, and has gone out to walk in the fields, and left it to his wife and children.

Elizabeth Collins . I have known him ten years; he was always an honest just man; I never looked upon him as a cruel man; he was always a good man to his wife and family.

Hannah Cook . I have known him 15 years; he is a very sober, honest, well behaved man, all the time I have known him.

Q. from prisoner to daughter. Whether you have not desired me to confine her, fearing you should be frighted?

Daughter. I have said, father, I am afraid of your wife's striking me.

Q. from prisoner. Whether when I confined her and went out, I did not always undo her?

Daughter. Not latterly.

Guilty . Death .

He received sentence immediately to be executed on the Monday following, and afterwards to be dissected and anatomized ; after which he turned to the court and said, my death is owing to that wicked d - l my daughter, notwithstanding she gave her evidence with trembling and tears.

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 10 August 2020), January 1767 (t17670115-24).

Old Bailey Proceedings front matter, 15th January 1767.

THE WHOLE PROCEEDINGS ON THE KING's COMMISSIONS of the PEACE, OYER and TERMINER, and GOAL DELIVERY FOR THE CITY of LONDON; And also the GOAL DELIVERY FOR THE COUNTY of MIDDLESEX, HELD AT JUSTICE-HALL in the OLD-BAILEY, On Thursday the 15th, Friday the 16th, and Saturday the 17th, of JANUARY.

In the Seventh Year of His MAJESTY's Reign. Being the Second SESSIONS in the MAYORALTY of THE RIGHT HONOURABLE SIR ROBERT KITE , KNT. LORD-MAYOR of the CITY of LONDON.

NUMBER II. PART II.

LONDON,

Printed for J. WILKIE, at the Bible, in St. Paul's Church-Yard.

[Price Six-Pence.]

THE WHOLE PROCEEDINGS ON THE

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

Continuation of the Trial of John Williamson .