Crime and Punishment, 1718-1719

Saturday 26 July 1718   On Monday last began the Assizes at Hertford; Mr. Juastice Powys sat upon the Crown Bar, where nineteen criminals were try’d, some of whom for the highway and horse-stealing; two of whom were brought from Bedford Prison, and two from Newgate, by reason their crimes were committed in that county. Upon their tryal it appeared that they had robb’d several in that county, and two of them were of very honest substantial parents, and all four received sentence of death. Before sentence was passed they begg’d hard for transportation, but the Judges would not grant it, because they had been such notorious offenders, but exhorted them to prepare for death, and neither rely on transportation, or reprieve to be transported. Two were burnt in the hand, four sent to the work-house, and the rest acquitted. Nothing on the other Bar of note, but a man cast for lying with another man’s wife, and the Jury gave 30l. damage against him. The tryal lasted a long time, and was very diverting to all the Court. This is the greatest Assizes that hath been at Hertford for many years. Last Wednesday morning, about eleven, the Judges sate out to hold the Assizes at Chelmsford. (Weekly Journal, or, Saturday’s-Post)

20 September 1718   On Saturday last the Sessions ended at Hick’s-Hall where Bills were found against the following persons, viz. Tho. Bettys and Tho. Street for conspiring to charge Hugh Hopley (Dr. Sacheveral’s clerk) with begetting one Hill with child, and Street died in prison, and is supposed to have poison’d himself. Robert Shales, John Wood and Mary Wood, for conspiring to charge the Baron de Bothmar with ravishing Margaret Medull. William Picket for ravishing Mary Elliot, a child of about eight years of age. James Shepard alias Asperly alias Cros, for saying when he did see the King crown’d, he did see an usurper mount the throne. [Weekly Journal, or The British Gazetteer]

20 September 1718   When the Sessions ended last week at the Old-Baily, the following persons receiv’d sentence of death, viz. John Brown, and William Greenwood, of Istleworth, for horse-stealing. John Wood, for feloniously stealing 4 watch-movements, value 4l. 17s. Robert Foot for counterfeiting the current coyn of this Kingdom. John Hill, for stealing wet linnen. Francis Lloyd, for stealing 4 pounds-weight of human hair, value 30l. Charles Campbell, was convicted upon two indictments one for stealing a cloth coat, pair of pistols, and pair of silver spurs, out of the coach-house of John Mendez de Costa, at Highgate; and the other for stealing a cloth coat and seat-cloth, the property of the Bishop of London. William Shaw, for stealing several pieces of diaper, value 30l. from his master Sir John Lock. Joseph Dod, Henry May, John Brown, and Samuel Cole for house-breaking. And John Filewood, alias Violet, convicted upon two indictments of snatching pockets from womens sides. Note, this last mentioned malefactor has deserv’d hanging ever since he was breech’d. Ordered for transportation 41 persons. Burnt in the hand, John Horton, for marrying two wives; namely, Katherine Newcomb, and Mary Angel, Spinster. Order’d to be whipt, Joseph Clement, for stealing a silver spoon.

Esau Vincent fined a mark, and six months imprisonment, for stealing 1000 pound weight of lead, the property of the Lady Catherine Jones. This Sessions one Elianor Gallimore, the most barbarous Parish Nurse of St. Andrews Holbourn, was try’d for the murder of Thomas Shaw, of which she had also the good luck to be acquitted, as she had not long since for the like crime, as having been arraign’d before the same Bar, for starving one of her nurse children. [Weekly Journal, or The British Gazetteer]

12 September 1719   An account of the malefacters [sic] convicted last Sessions at the Old Bailey, ending on Saturday last Sept. 8th. The five which receiv’d sentence of death are: Sarah Blackwell, alias Ridgewell, alias Scott for privately stealing 18 yards of printed calicoe value 40s. out of the shop of Robert Ingram on the 22d of August last. 2. Willilam Boxel, for stealing a mare from Robert Potter, the 24th of August last. 3. Tho. Jones for breaking open the house of Thomas Chadwell on the 2d of September, in the night, with intent to rob it, but was discover’d and siez’d. 4. Charlotte Brudenel for robbing her lodging which she had taken under the notion of being a Person of Quality. The goods of Richard Branlin, viz. a silver salt, two silver spoons, two silver tea spoons, a silk gown and petticoat and other goods. 5. Mary Clarke for feloniously stealing 30 dozen of calve-skins and other goods to the value of 230l. from George Langthorne, the 15 of August last to which she pleaded Guilty.

Burnt in the gand, 2. William Ursly for the manslaughter of Robert Howard by driving his coach over him, and John Judge for stealing 12 pair of shooes, and a pair of clogs from Edward Humphries.

To be transported, 25. John Green for picking of pockets, Robert Broomfield for stealing a night gown, Mary Wood for stealing half a guinea, Henry Davis, for stealing four brass candlesticks, B.I. for stealing 57 yards of Persian silk, John Miller for stealing two cloath cushions, Kennet Lamb, for stealing a Holland shirt, and a Common Prayer Book, Richard Hull, for stealing a perriwig, Thomas Smith, for stealing three stuff gowns, two petticoats, and other goods, Mary Rachel, and Francis Taylor, upon two indictments for stealing a pair of gold buttons, a silver fork, a gold locket, gold rings, &c. Samuel Yeo, for stealing a long saw, Mary Dowlas, for stealing a quarter guinea, a silver bodkin, and other things, Henry Bourn, for breaking into a house, and stealing a pair of shag breeches, and a pair of shooes, Margaret Williams, for stealing two silver salts, and five silver spoons. Rose Knight, for picking three guineas, and six half guineas out of a persons pocket, William Evan’s for stealing a gown and petticoat and other goods, Sarah Ward, and Ann Robbins, for stealing 4l. in money, Elizabeth Jakes, for stealing three silk gowns and petticoats and other goods, John Green, for stealing 10 pair of gloves, three pair of shoes and other goods, Margaret Dennis, for stealing five gold Rings.

Henry Cole, for defrauding John Cooper of about 20l. Fined 20 marks, and to stand in the pillory at Cheapside Conduit. [Weekly Journal, or The British Gazetteer]

(Texts have been modernized with regard to capitalization, italicization, and punctuation, but original spelling has been retained. This edition copyright Rictor Norton. All rights reserved. Reproduction for sale or profit prohibited. These extracts may not be archived, republished or redistributed without the permission of the compiler.)

CITATION: Rictor Norton, Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports: A Sourcebook, "Crime and Punishment, 1718-1719", 22 November 2001, updated 25 February 2007 <>

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