Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports compiled by Rictor Norton

The Rape-Master General

[ Colonel Francis Charteris was a notorious rake nicknamed "The Rape-Master General of Britain". Many pamphlets and satires about his life were published, but the following newspaper reports give a good chronological account of the events that made him infamous. ]

28 February 1730   On Thursday between twelve and one o'clock at noon, came on the tryal of Col. Francis Charters [sic], at the Sessions House in the Old Baily, before the Lord Chief Justice Raymond, and the Lord Chief Justice Eyre, upon an indictment for committing a rape on the body of one Anne Bond, his servant maid. The Prosecutor appeared in Court, and proved that on the 24th of October last she was hired by the Colonel to be his servant; and that she had lived with him several days before she knew who he was; and that on the 10th of November following, he sent for her up into his room to make his fire, when he threw her on a couch, and she crying out, he pull'd off his cap and stopp'd her mouth, and then did the crime for which he was indicted; and several other depositions concurring with Mrs. Bond's, and three several persons whom she had formerly liv'd with, appearing and giving her the character of a vertuous and religious young woman, the Jury after about three quarters of an hour's stay, returned, and brought in their verdict Guilty of the indictment. His chief defence was a sham letter sworn to by his footman to come from her, which was proved to be a forgery. Mr. Kettleby was of Counsel for the Plaintiff, and Mr. Strange for the Defendant. There were present at the trial two Knights of the Garter, besides other persons of distinction. After he was cast for his life, as aforesaid, he was carried up to Newgate, and seem'd greatly dispirited. His goods, chattels, lands and tenements are forfeited by the said verdict. (London Journal) [Most of this report was repeated verbatim in The Grub-street Journal on 5 March 1730, which added that as soon as the jury delivered their verdict, "he was secured by the Keeper of Newgate immediately".]

5 March 1730   Saturday, Feb. 28. Last Thursday night the officers of William Morrice, Esq; High Bailiff of the liberty of Westminster, went to sieze the goods and chattels of Francis Chartres, Esq; at his house in great George-street, Hanover-square, on his having been convicted of Felony at the Old Baily, but were dny’d admittance by the servants, who made a vigorous defence; one of them, a Woman, fired a Pistol from a window, and wounded a Beadle in the breast; yesterday the officers enter’d, and seiz’d vast quantities of rich plate and houshold [sic] furniture, which were carrying away all the day in Carts to an empty house of Mr. Morrice’s in Old Bond-street: Mr. Chartres’s Berlin [fashionable carriage], which he won at the Spaw, together with twenty Horse, and his Chariot, were also seiz’d and carry’d away to Ormond Meuse. [The Grub-street Journal]

5 March 1730   Monday, March 2. Last saturday night the Sessions ended at the Old Bailey, when the 10 following Malefactors received sentence of death, viz. Francis Chartres, Esq; for a Rape committed by him the 10th of last November, on the body of Anne Bond; Richard Hanson, for robbing a French Clergyman in the street, of his hat, &c. Robert Drummond (Brother of Drummond executed 2 Sessions ago) and Ferdinando Shrimpton, for the murder of Mr. Tyson’s Coachman, of Hackney, and for robbing on the Highway; Francis Hackabout, for robbing Aaron Durell and George Bailey on the Highway, of their money, watch, and other things; Peter Rivers and John Carter, for robbing Henry Howard on the Highway, of 3s. and 4d. Stephen Dowdel, for feloniously stealing a gold ring out of a Goldsmith’s Shop, near Charing-cross; Richard Newcomb, for Burglary, in breaking into a house in Fleet-street, with intent to rob Mr. Benjamin Hoare, the Banker; and Elizabeth Doyle for returning from Transportation.
     Elizabeth Doyle had no Tryal, she having pleaded guilty to the Indictment.
     Col. Chartres’s Counsel moved the Court before sentence was passed, for the Indictment to be read in Latin, which was indulged and complied with; but there not being any flaw in it, no motion was made in arrest of judgment, and the Colonel had sentence passed on him with the other Malefactors. . . .
     Five were burnt in the hand, 3 order’d to be whipt, and 30 for Transportation.
     One of the Convicts (a Woman) who was burnt in the hand, was order’d by the Court to be turned out immediately, without paying fees; but she was in so miserable a condition with poverty and sickness, that she was not able to walk, which the Court being inform’d of, directed the parish of St. Sepulchre’s to take care of her till she should be passed into her own parish. [The Grub-street Journal]

21 March 1730   On Saturday afternoon the Earl of Weems arrived here from Scotland and went to Newgate to visit Colonel Chartres his father in law. (London Journal)

26 March 1730   A suit, we hear, is going to be commenced by order of the Treasury, against the High-Bailiff of Westminster, touching his Seizure of Col. Chartres’s Goods and Chattels in the Liberty of Westminster: John Edwin, Esq; laying claim to them by vertue of a Grant of K. Charles II. to his Father and his Heirs, &c. of the Office of Proprietor of the Waste and Soil in the said Liberty of Westminster. [The Grub-street Journal] [Shortly afterwards, the rights of Mr. Morrice the Constable were upheld.]

9 April 1730   Monday, April 6. Col. Chartres is so ill in Newgate of a Fever, that he hath four Blisters on, and is attended cby 3 eminent Physicians. [The Grub-street Journal]

18 April 1730   We hear that Anne Bond, on whose oath Col. Charteris was convicted of a rape, has received 800l. in consideration of her having joined in the petition for his pardon. ’Tis said she was soon to be married to a drawer in Westminster, and that they design to open a tavern with the sign of Col. Charteris's Head.
     Yesterday the five following malefactors were executed at Tyburn, viz. Peter Rivers, Ferdinando Shrimpton, Robert Drummond, and Francis Hackabout, for robbing on the highway, and William Newcombe, for burglary. (London Journal)

23 April 1730   On April 10. . . . his Majesty having heard severally the Opinions of the said Judges upon the said Case [of Col. Charteris], who all agreed in their Report, was pleased, by the unanimous advice of his Privy-Council, to order the said Francis Charteris should be pardoned, and forthwith admitted to bail. [Shortly afterwards, Charteris gave a substantial gift to Sir Robert Walpole the Prime Minister.]
     We heard that yesterday morning the famous Anne Bond, who prosecuted Col. Chartres for a Rape, was married at Grays-Inn Chapel to Charles Heather, a Drawer at a Tavern in Westminster; and that they have since taken a Tavern in Bloomsbury, and design to set up a well painted Head of Col. Chartres for their sign. [The Grub-street Journal]

21 May 1730   Col. Charteris appeared in court; and pleaded his Majesty’s most gracious pardon, for the rape he committed on the body of Anne Bond. [The Grub-street Journal] [ The issue for 4 June reports that Col. Charteris "petitioned his Majesty for leave to bring a Writ of Error to reverse the Judgment lately given against him". ]

25 June 1730   Col. Charteris hath commenced a suit against the H. Bailiff of Westminster, on account of the gods and chattels seized by the said Gentleman. [The Grub-street Journal]

6 August 1730   Colonel Chartres and his Lady being perfectly reconciled to each other, and having made proper dispositions for cohabiting together, he having cashired his man trusty Jack and others of his evil agents; they are to be presented to their Majesties one day this week on that occasion. [Grub-street Journal, citing the St James’s Evening Post]

29 August 1730   Col. Charteris hath presented an humble petition to his Majesty, praying to be restored to his estates forfeited by his late attainder. (London Journal)

3 September 1730   Col. Charteris, having agred with the Sheriffs of London and Middlesex, as also with the High Bailiff of Westminster, for the effects by them seized on his being convicted of felony, went a few days since with them to the South-Sea house, and sold his stock in the said Company, and then paid them the composition-money, viz.
   To William Morrice, Esq; — 5000l.
   To Mr. Sheriff Barber — 1650l.
   To Sir John Williams — 1650l. [Grub-street Journal, citing the Daily Journal] [This report also appeared in the London Journal for 5 September 1730, which differed only in saying that Morrice received 4800l.]

24 September 1730   Some days ago Mr. Major Smith, who marry’d Mrs. Anne Bond, who cast [caused the conviction of] Col. Charteris, was arrested in some sort of actions by persons employed in that affair, viz. one action for 18l. another for 160l. but the young man says, he owes them nothing, and hath given bail to the actions, being resolved to see them out. We are well assured that the Col. hath no hand in this affair. — I wonder at the assurance of my brethren [i.e. fellow journalists] in vindicating the Colonel’s reputation by such an innuendo. [Grub-street Journal]

[ On 22 October 1730 a legal instrument was being prepared whereby Charteris could regain possession of estates that had been forfeited upon his conviction of felony, in Middlesex, Lancashire, and Westmoreland. He impudently sued the legal officials, but finally agreed to pay substantial compensation to get his property back. He died on 24 February 1732, and the London crowds threw dead cats into his grave. ]

(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, "The Rape Master General", 14 May 2002, amended and expanded 25 July 2002 <http://grubstreet.rictornorton.co.uk/charteri.htm>

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