Pages vii-xxvi

County of Middlesex. Calendar To the Sessions Records: New Series, Volume 3, 1615-16. Originally published by Clerk of the Peace, London, 1937.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.



The "New Series" of the Calendars to the Sessions Records of the County of Middlesex preserved at the Guildhall, Westminister, of which this volume is the third, are produced in amplification of the calendars edited by Mr. Cordy Jeafferson in 1886–7. The earlier edition contained extracts only from documents selected by that learned editor as being of general interest. Since those days, however, not only has the field of scholarship been considerably extended, but the original documents have been more thoroughly sorted and repaired by the staff of the County Council so that many not known to Mr. Cordy Jeafferson are now available for public inspection. It was therefore considered that, if these Calendars were to be of any lasting value, they should include the name of every person and every place, while some reference, however brief, should be made to every subject.

Suggested alterations in the format of the volume were referred to in Volume II, p. vii, and certain suggestions which were made by Sir Montagu Sharpe, K.C., and accepted by the Standing Joint Committee, have been incorporated in the present volume in such a way that, while the general rules for mentioning all persons, places, and subjects have been maintained, considerably less space is taken by each entry, and thereby this volume covers a greater period than would otherwise have been the case. The suggested alterations which have been incorporated in the Calendar include:—

1. The date of each entry has been omitted except where a document has been filed later than its original date.

2. The date of the Sessions has been added as a heading to each alternate page.

3. The nature of the documents has been stated at the head of the first entry on each page.

4. The description and valuation of goods stolen has occasionally been omitted where these are considered not to be of special interest.

5. The names of all persons appearing as jurors, excepting certain special jurors, have been placed in an appendix in alphabetical order. This forms Appendix II and the names are not included in the general Index.

6. Where a person is described in the original document as "yeoman," this designation has been omitted.

Apart from these innovations, the volume is compiled on similar lines to the previous volumes.

It must again be emphasized that the object of these Calendars is not to free students from the burden of original research, but rather to encourage them to examine for themselves the documents which the county authorities are always ready to produce to approved persons.

All records which relate to the period covered by the first three volumes of the New Series of the Calendar which have come to light since the publication of the last volume have been included in Appendix III.

During the past year the attention of the Committee was drawn to certain collections of documents relating to the County which were being offered for sale at public auctions in London. It was unfortunate that, at the time when this matter was reported, one collection had already been sold to an American and had been sent out of the country. Negotiations are now taking place, and it is hoped that at least copies or photostats of each document in this collection may be obtained. The County were fortunate in obtaining the other two collections, and upon examination of these it was found that they had undoubtedly been severed from the Sessions Rolls, either of the County of Middlesex or of the Liberty of Westminster. It is not possible to say when this vandalism took place, but it was probably many years ago before their transference from Clerkenwell to the Guildhall at Westminster. (See Appendix IIIb).

Most of Roll 549 and numbers 1–3 of Roll 543 will be found in Appendix IIIa as they relate to Sessions included in Volume II. (See Volume II, p. vii, footnote).

The period covered by the present Calendar opens with the Sessions held in September, 13 James I [A.D. 1615], and closes with that held in September, 14 James I [A.D. 1616]. In this period nine Sessions of the Peace and of Gaol Delivery were held at Clerkenwell and at the Old Bailey respectively, and two General Sessions at Westminster and the Old Bailey on 5–6 October, 1615, and 11–12 April, 1616. A special Sessions was held on 5 April, 1616. Unfortunately the Rolls for the Sessions held on 15–16 May and 25–26 June, 1616, are missing, but as the registers are intact a fairly complete record of proceedings at those courts has been obtained.

Owing to these defects it is difficult to draw up any exact statistics of crime and punishment during the thirteen months covered by this Calendar, but a rough idea may be obtained from the entries which do appear. The classes of persons which are bound to destroy the accuracy of these statistics, are those who were never arrested, those who were discharged, and those whose punishments appear doubtful. Only the indictable crimes, and the punishments therefor, have been taken into account. The total number of cases taken into consideration in these statistics during the thirteen months is four hundred and eighty-one compared with four hundred and twenty-one over the period of fourteen months covered by the last volume.

Altogether ninety-four persons met their deaths, two by being hanged, drawn and quartered, and ninety-two by being hanged, of whom twenty-one had claimed benefit of clergy, but were found incapable of reading their neck-verse or were shown to have been branded previously, and were not therefore eligible to have the benefit. Several women on being condemned to death pleaded pregnancy, but only one was able to establish her claim. She presumably would have had to face the gallows when she had been safely delivered of her child, unless reprieved in the meanwhile. Eleven women were hanged, seven were whipped, one was cucked and one carted. Sixtyone persons successfully pleaded benefit of clergy and were branded, two of whom managed to read after a previous unsuccessful effort (pp. 131, 163); two were committed to the pillory (pp. 63, 261) and one to the stocks (p. 284); eleven persons died before judgment was pronounced, and three were too ill to face trial. Most of these, no doubt, suffered from the "pining sickness" or gaol fever, while they were awaiting trial, a common complaint at that time.

To show the humanity of the Justices it is well to note that one hundred and sixty-one persons were definitely discharged, while ninety-eight either escaped arrest and were outlawed or were allowed to go free. The judgments in forty-one cases were not recorded in the records. It will thus be seen that very few persons whose fate is known were allowed to suffer imprisonment for a longer period than that during which they awaited trial. Over half the total number of persons indicted were found innocent or escaped arrest, a fifth met their death by some penal means, and the remainder suffered minor punishments.

Most of the punishments inflicted have been described in the prefaces to previous volumes, but a few words might be useful in regard to the cases of persons sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered, to be cucked, and to be branded as vagrants.

What is most interesting about the sentence to be "hanged, drawn and quartered" is that the word "drawn" is used in two senses:— (1) the drawing of the criminal on a hurdle to the place of execution, and (2) the drawing of the bowels from the body of the criminal while he was still alive. Authorities have kept a discreet silence as to which meaning is really intended, but there seems to be little doubt that the procedure meted out to a person condemned to suffer this punishment was that he was "drawn" (i.e. drawn on a hurdle to the place of execution), hanged by the neck, but was taken down while still living, stripped naked, laid on the ground and marked or pricked as a guide for the hangman's knife and, having been deprived of his manhood, his stomach was slashed open and his bowels taken out and burned before his eyes, which signifies the second meaning of the word "drawn." His head was then cut off and his body divided into four, each quarter being sent to such place as the King should command.

The two cases mentioned in the present Calendar are those of Thomas Sampson of St. Margaret's, Westminster, gentleman, for forging the King's name on a licence for Francis Baildon to beg for alms in recompense of the losses he had incurred at sea, and for counterfeiting the Great Seal of England and affixing it to the said licence (pp. 224–5); and of Thomas Harper, a barber-surgeon of High Holborn, for clipping and filing four pieces of gold coin called "Units" each worth 22s., "for wicked lucre or gaine sake" (p. 224).

Counterfeiting the Great Seal and the Privy Seal or coins of the realm was made a treasonable offence under the Act of 25 Edward III, statute 5, cap. 2. This remained in force until repealed by the Coinage Offences Act of 1832 (2 and 3 William IV, cap. 34), when counterfeiting coins was made a felony. Counterfeiting the Great and Privy Seal remained High Treason until 1913 (3 and 4 George V, cap. 27).

Clipping and filing coins were made treasonable offences under the Act of 3 Henry V, statute 2, cap. 6, which was repealed by Edward VI, but was revived under Queen Elizabeth (5 Elizabeth, cap. 11).

John Clapham, who was accused of making a print of a seal having the Rose and Crown and the letters J. R. engraven on it, and a counterfeit print of the Lord Admiral's seal of office, was merely remanded, and we hear no more of him in this Calendar (p. 77). The seal in question appears to have been the seal "pro debitis recuperandis" which was attached to letters patent issued by the King for the recovery of debts due to him. Under the Act of 33 Henry VIII, cap. 39, the King had a prior claim on a debtor's estate, and it was probably as a result of that act that the seal was instituted. The earliest specimen of a seal of this nature now preserved at the British Museum is of the reign of Henry VIII.

Cucking was usually inflicted upon persons convicted of being scolds or common disturbers of the peace. The prisoner, more often than not a woman, was tied into a chair which was attached to the end of a plank. The plank was placed like a see-saw on a post over a village pond or other piece of water, and the end of the plank with the chair on it and the culprit tied into the chair was then bumped into the water so that the prisoner was almost totally submerged. A cucking place is mentioned in Domesday Book as having been in use in Saxon times. Only one case is mentioned in the present Calendar, that of Agnes Miller of Finchley. She was accused of being a common scold and disturber of the neighbours and honest inhabitants of Finchley and Friern Barnet, and was ordered to be taken by the officers of Friern Barnet "to be duckt in some pond of water in or neere adioyning to the sayd parishe in such sorte as common scoulds are wont to be" (p. 126). We do not learn the fate of Joan Willyams who was described as of "a rayling, scoulding troublesome nature" (p. 269).

The laws regarding vagrancy were being constantly altered; a series of them had been enacted from the 22nd year of Henry VIII down to the 9th year of James I, but I have failed to find any act under which a rogue was to be branded with the letter R. Under the act of 39 Elizabeth a vagrant was branded with the letter V, and I can only presume that the Justices took it upon themselves to vary the letter, as it may have been difficult to differentiate between a rogue and a vagabond. If a rogue or vagabond was had up on a second charge and was above the age of eighteen, he was considered as a felon, and unless some person was willing to guarantee him employment for two years he was hanged. In the present Calendar Thomas Gunn of St. Martin's, labourer, was found guilty of being an incorrigible rogue and vagabond, wandering about begging to the danger of the inferior sort of the people, and he was ordered to be branded with the letter R on the left shoulder (p. 280).

The question has often been asked as to why the value of the weapon which inflicted death should be mentioned in the indictment. The answer is, I believe, that, whether death was intentional or not, the weapon which caused the extinction of life was considered as a "deodand". The origin of this notion lies in the fact that the victim who met a sudden death was denied the benefit of extreme unction. The weapon which killed him went to the King, who sold it for its value and then gave the money for prayers for the soul of the victim. This idea certainly pertained in regard to accidental deaths and manslaughter cases from the beginning of the reign of Henry I right down to the middle of the nineteenth century. After the severance from Rome in the reign of Henry VIII the money was given in alms to the poor, as prayers for the souls of those departed were no longer allowed. When mechanization was introduced into this country the system showed obvious signs of placing heavy burdens on railway companies and similar concerns, and already jurors had been instructed to put a farcically low value on the instrument which caused death. After one or two deaths attributable to railway trains, the deodand was finally abolished in 1842.

Authorities differ as to whether the instrument used in an intentional slaying was to be regarded as a deodand or not, but owing to the fact that all the goods of a murderer went to the Crown, it would seem to have been unnecessary to differentiate the lethal weapon from the rest of his possessions, unless the value of the weapon was allotted to a specific purpose, and in my opinion the only reason for this procedure was in order that this might be sold for the benefit of the poor.

The description of a married woman as "spinster" has caused the careful proof reader some anxiety, but it is of course not at all unusual at this period and at earlier dates. The exclusive use of the word for an unmarried woman does not appear to have become general until the middle of the seventeenth century; before that it was constantly used to describe the woman's profession, i.e. one who spins (c.f. p. 242).

The decision to build a House of Correction for the County was referred to in the preface to Volume II (pp. xvi to xvii). It will be remembered that the erection of this House was ordered at the October Sessions, 1614, in lieu of Bridewell Hospital which was shared by the City of London and about which constant disputes arose. In the October Sessions, 1615, orders were given that John Stoyte of Newington, gentleman, should be appointed as Master and Governor of the House of Correction to receive and keep all persons committed for "their lewd behaviour or idle life". The inmates were to be kept at work and maintained with reasonable diet without charge to the County. The Governor was to appoint a Matron or Governess for the women, "who in respect of their sex are not to be intermingled with the men", but should be "so disposed of by the said Matron as may best stand with decency and conveniency both for their labour and lodgings".

A reader of Divine Service and prayers was to be appointed by the Governor and prayers were to be read once a day on weekdays and twice on Sundays. The inmates were to be carefully instructed and catechized in the articles of their faith. A porter was to be appointed who was to keep a register of all persons admitted and of the reasons for their discharge. The Governor was to receive a salary of £ 240 a year, to be collected for the purpose from the inhabitants by the constables of each parish (pp. 66–8).

At the January Sessions following, further orders were made, reciting that whereas "no course has yet been taken for apprehending and punishing vagrants and rogues who are still suffered to wander up and down the streets, lanes and highways to the great prejudice of his Majesty's subjects" owing to the negligence of the petty constables and headboroughs, two persons should be appointed to inquire into the conduct of these officers. These orders also set out that the Governor of the House of Correction was not to be allowed to lodge or have his meals anywhere else but in his own house. He was to receive all persons sent by warrant and not to discharge any except by command of the Justices who committed them, or of the Court. All persons committeed were to be set to labour and "shall have no other nurture than that he or she shall get with their labour except they be sick". "No victuals, bread or beer, than of the coarsest and smallest" were to be given to any person, and the maximum cost per day was to be 4d. Visitors were not allowed to bring in any manner of drink or victuals and "if any shall happen to give any money to a person committed, it shall be taken from them and kept till their delivery". Money subscribed generally was to be reserved and expended "on some holiday to amend their diet". All goods and money, except necessary clothing, was to be taken away, kept in a room, and returned to each individual on his discharge. No fee was to be received by the Governor "for the ease of labour or punishment" of any person committed, or for their discharge. The inmates were to have fresh straw every month and warm pottage thrice a week, on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Their linen ("if any they have") was to be washed. The Governor was not to be absent for more than the space of twenty-four hours without licence of the Justices and then not more than three times a quarter. The Matron was to receive £13 6s. 8d. a year, and the porter a like sum. If any locks, keys, or instruments of punishment were broken, lost or worn, the Governor was to see that they were made good (pp. 138–40).

A few months after his appointment as porter, Richard Davyes was discharged on a complaint that he had hurt and wounded John Beane (p. 310).

The behaviour of the various County officials was not always what it should have been. We find, for instance, that the bailiff for the hundred of Elthorne was removed from his office for "divers misdemeanours" (p. 68), and that the constable of Harlington was discharged for neglecting "to set a watch that night in which Richard Ogburne's barn was burnt". The person he did appoint apparently spent his time in alehouses instead (p. 234).

On the other hand, several entries show that the lot of some of the officials was not a happy one. James Quinten was charged with breaking the head of Mr. Robinson, the chief constable (p. 1); Grace Bull, the wife of a servant to the Bishop of Ely, who was reported for keeping a bawdy-house, beat and abused the officers of the watch and was fined a pound (p. 9); John Thomas, a drayman, was charged with abusing and reviling George Etheridge and Thomas Johnson, two of the constables of the Duchy of Lancaster (p. 87); Miles Bourne of Caius College, Cambridge, was bound over for abusing Henry Lidgold, a constable (p. 110); William Pettitt, described as a gentleman, said of Caius College, Cambridge, was bound over for abusing Henry Lidgold, a constrable (p. 110); William Pettitt, described as a gentleman, said of Mr. Valentine Sanders, one of the Justices of the County, that he "was a man of weak understanding" and he also "made a floute of his warrant sayinge he would not care a lowse for Sanders warrant" (p. 7); and Mr. Hawtrey, another Justice, was similarly insulted (p. 65); Thomas Woodhouse of Ratcliffe and Helen Barnett of Shoreditch were charged with making an outcry of murder and tumult in the night, and when the officers of the watch came up to see what was happening they fell upon them and beat them (p. 9); and Christopher Wright, who was charged with robbing Lord Arundel, assaulted the headborough of Kentish Town (p. 65).

We do not learn the exact nature of the offence or the punishment of Richard Gunne, who was charged with being "a conspirator in a very dangerous practice against the State" (p. 63), neither do we know how the Justices dealt with Christopher Blunt and George Hopkins, both described as gentlemen, who were bound over to answer "touchinge the bespeakinge of an engine to be made for counterfeytinge of coyne" (p. 199), but Henry Cotterell of High Holborn, and Prudence his wife, were found not guilty of counterfeiting a licence for keeping an alehouse and attaching to it a false Privy Seal (p. 217).

It is disappointing that we do not learn more of the nature of the crime committed by Edward Garrett and Richard Smithe, who were hanged "for sacrilege in the Cathedral Church of St. Peter at Westminster" (p. 262).

Eight persons were accused of committing perjury, of whom Edward Etheridge was sent to prison for six months and ordered to pay £20 to the King or stand in the pillory (p. 63); Stephen Wren, a comfitmaker, obtained a writ of supersedeas (p. 124); Leonard Lambert of Lothbury, and three others were bound over (pp. 30–1), and Francis Johnson and Jane his wife were sent to the King's Bench on a writ of certiorari (p. 171).

Of the sixteen cases of murder, or suspicion of murder, recorded in the Calendar, the following were hanged:—Thomas Hutchins (p. 162); Mary Cooke, the servant of John Conquest, a grocer in High Holborn, for throwing the female child, of which she was delivered in the garret at her master's house, down a privy, where it died (pp. 168–9); Margaret Vincent for killing her two sons (p. 247); Alice Hinde for cutting the throat of her six-months-old baby (p. 282), and Agnes Berry for witchcraft (p. 16). The following were found guilty of manslaughter and branded:—William Starkey, a gentleman, who killed Henry Browne in a duel that took place in a field called Woods Close in Clerkenwell (pp. 53 and 105–6), and William Tybolds, who killed Humphrey Graye (p. 297).

Among those accused of manslaughter, those who were able to read and so were branded included Robert Jackson, who caused the death of George Gale by striking him with a tobacco-pipe over his left eye (p. 183); Peter Baggott, who killed Edward Acroyd with a javelin after Acroyd had wounded another man and caused a clamour in High Holborn (pp. 188–9), and Thomas Lewes, who caused the death of James Milles in an affray in the parish of St. Giles', Cripplegate (pp. 226–7). While Hugh Browne, who assaulted Alan Griffen with a sword, was unable to read his verse and was therefore hanged (p. 305); Benjamin Bannister and Richard Gregory of Islington, who assaulted John Shipley with a long cart-whip, were found not guilty and were "at large" (p. 303), and Hugh Hargest proved that he only killed Jenkin Lewes in self-defence (p. 97).

Dorothy Mowbrow, when about to be confined, was moved in a chair out of the parish of St. Andrew's, Holborn, into the parish of St. Giles'-in-the-Fields, "whereby it is supposed that her child miscarried and received a hurt in the head whereof it died" (p. 175), but at the inquest held on the child's death a verdict was brought in of death "by Divine visitation" (p. 189).

Elizabeth Fynch of Harrow was brought up for giving cakebread "which had poison in it to her Master's children", who "were very sick with the eatinge thereof", and was committed to gaol until she confessed how she obtained the poison (p. 28).

Three cases of alleged witchcraft are found in the present Calendar. Agnes Berry alias Whyttingberry, a widow of Enfield, was hanged for exercising witchcrafts, enchantments, charms and sorceries upon Grace Halsey, who became lame and wasted in her whole body (p. 16); Margaret Wellam was set free after she had been charged "to be a witch and to give sucke or feede evill spirrits" (p. 265), and Emma, wife of Thomas Branch of Tottenham, was found not guilty when accused of practising witchcrafts on Edward Wheeler, a boy of nine months old, so that he became ill and lame, and finally died, and upon Ann Howell and Joan Aldridge so that they languished and wasted away, "but still live" (p. 306).

The card-sharper and professional cheat must have found easy victims among the simple-minded country visitors to London, and it is therefore perhaps surprising that more cases are not found in the Calendar.

Bartholomew Hopkins and John Partridge of Ratcliffe, with other malefactors unknown, lay in wait in highways and common places "to defraud honest travellers of their goods and money by false arts and games", and on one occasion they led three travellers to the house of Ralph Heyborne at Ratcliffe and induced them to play at cards whereby they lost £6 15s. 2d. Partridge escaped, but Hopkins was sent to the House of Correction and kept at hard labour (p. 182).

John Robinson, described as a "costermonger" (fn. 1) stood surety for Hugh Browne of St. Margaret's, Westminister, when he was accused of being "a common decoyer" and of having "cozened" an unknown man of £6 "at play with cards" (p. 148).

Charles Lee of St. Clement Danes defrauded his master, Gilbert Stevens, "by deceipte and privy tokens", of a jewel belonging to Sir Richard Hawkins, and of a gold cup worth £45 belonging to Stevens himself, and was fined £5 (p. 20). It seems likely that this Sir Richard Hawkins was the famous naval commander who took a prominent part against the Spanish Armada (See Vol. II, p. 41).

Pawnbrokers were kept under supervision, and we find that Richard Pike, who is described as a tailor, was had up for unlawfully detaining certain parcels of goods which Mistress Helen Morton had pawned with him (p. 202); while another broker was charged with unjustly detaining the goods of a Mr. Groome, servant to the Earl of Exeter, formerly Lord Burghley (p. 86).

Supervision of trade conditions was one of the many duties of the Justices. The markets had to be supplied with wholesome meat, but even this could not be sold during Lent, on fast days, or on Sundays. It seems doubtful whether the laws on this subject were entirely due to religious influences, or whether they had been introduced by persuasion of fishmongers, who were an extremely powerful body and supported the seafaring trade. By encouraging the consumption of fish the inhabitants of coastal towns would be induced to become sailors, and thus increase the number of potential recruits for the rapidly growing Navy.

Five Smithfield butchers were charged with selling meat on the Sabbath and with killing unwholesome meat (p. 3), and twelve butchers of Osulstone hundred were outlawed for killing and selling flesh meat during Lent (p. 179). Thomas Gibbes of Marylebone was bound over for selling "mesell (fn. 2) pork" in the market "being unwholesome meat" (p. 84). An inhabitant of Fulwood's Rents was ordered to remove his slaughterhouse, as it caused a nuisance (p. 144).

The Justices tried to convict William Redman, described as a gentleman of Ratcliffe, of selling divers gallons of milk by a certain false quart measure "to the deceipt of his Matie subjects and contrarye to his bargaynes", but they failed, because the indictment was found to be insufficient in law (p. 302).

George Heath, a baker of Westminster, and Dorothy Tymon of Kensington, were fined for selling seven loaves of white bread each 2 oz. short in weight, ten loaves of wheaten bread also 2 oz. short, and three loaves of household bread each 1 oz. short (p. 93).

Many victuallers and brewers were brought up for selling "strong drink and ale of extraordinary strength" at prices above those which were declared by the Justices (e.g., p. 113). William Huddle of Willesden, who had twice had his licence as a victualler removed, "by undirect means procured a licence from Sir Francis Bacon and Sir Edward Moseley"; however, with their consent the licence was cancelled (p. 170). Sir Francis Bacon was, of course, the well-known essayist, subsequently created Viscount St. Albans.

Henry Medcalfe of Old Street lost his licence for victualling by playing and allowing others to play at bowls on the Sabbath (p. 30).

The modern sportsman may not consider the County of Middlesex as a happy hunting-ground, but in the days with which this Calendar deals, it must have supplied opportunities for sport within a few minutes of the City. At any rate, poachers were able to exercise their art, as we may judge from the few cases which appear in this volume. Ansell Syms of Stanwell was put in prison until he could find sureties "for hunting and taking partridges" (p. 24). Three inhabitants of Littleton were indicted for entering Hanworth Park "the free warren of Sir William Killigrewe" (the famous supporter of the drama), and killing seven rabbits with ferrets and hay-nets. One of the culprits was sent to prison for three months, one was found not guilty, and the other escaped and was outlawed (p. 185). William Fanner, a butcher obviously out to obtain stock-in-trade, was charged with stealing deer out of Hyde Park belonging to the King, and when the headborough came to arrest him, two of his friends abused the officer and effected the escape of the prisoner. The culprits were ordered to "attend the Lord Admiral", though it is difficult to appreciate what jurisdiction he could have had in such a case (p. 254). At this date the Lord High Admiral was Charles, Lord Howard of Effingham, afterwards Earl of Nottingham, and I can only imagine that his jurisdiction over Hyde Park must have been by virtue of some other office which he held at the time (e.g., Lord High Constable).

Ann, the wife of Edward Dell, a butcher of Shoreditch, was accused "by practising of surgery to doe much wrong to divers of His Majesties subiects" (p. 7). Thomas Hinckley, a surgeon, was prosecuted by Mary Butler of Shadwell "for letting her husband's blood whereof he died", but owing to the death of the widow, it appears that the prosecution was never completed (p. 200).

Musicians were looked upon with suspicion, except when in the permanent employment of the King or of some nobleman. Others were liable to be had up as vagrants or rogues. Presumably Thomas Abbes, "a Practitioner of Musicke", who was allowed as a surety in a case of bastardy, must have been of the former class (p. 296). Mildred Wilkinson of Bethnal Green was charged with keeping ill rule by "having had in an eveninge musicions at her hous" (p. 294). Helen, the wife of Thomas Jeronimo, a "mariner and Moor" (also described as an "alien" and "stranger"), was suspected of theft and had as her surety one John Anthony, a "musician and Moor" (pp. 297–8).

Charges of common theft, housebreaking and highway robbery were common, and well-known people constantly fell victims to the attentions of the robbers and burglars, while in some cases the assailants themselves are described as gentlemen. Sir George Sandys of Knightsbridge, Isaac Hawkins of the same, a gentleman, and Anthony Soday assaulted Anthony Culverwell, John Foxe, John Marston and Robert Wright in the highway at Kensington and stole their horses, saddles, coats, and much money, including "two pieces of gold called King James' Units". Sir George was found not guilty, and the charge was withdrawn against Anthony Soday, but Isaac Hawkins was hanged (pp. 306–7). It would appear probable that Sir George Sandys was the son of Sir Edwin Sandys. He was a poet and traveller, and published "Relation of a Journey" in 1615. He was treasurer of the Virginia Company in 1621 and accompanied Sir Francis Wyatt to Virginia. It is possible that John Marston was the dramatist who wrote a series of comedies with Ben Jonson.

Several inhabitants of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields stole 4 oz. of gold and silver fringe worth £10 and four blue damask curtains worth £5" belonging to the most excellent Prince Charles", and other articles belonging to Sir Thomas Howard, out of the coaches of the Prince and Sir Thomas "in the Mewes". Three of the culprits were able to read their verse and got off with a branding. It was suggested that a servant of Sir Thomas and the man "that keepes Mr. Gilbyes horses" bribed one of the said culprits to commit the robbery (p. 283).

The King's Palace at Whitehall was broken into by John Willenhall and Thomas Jennings, described as gentlemen, who stole twelve silver dishes valued at £82, and other valuable plate and linen, the property of Sir Fulke Greville. Sir Fulke, who was afterwards created Baron Brooke of Beauchamp Court, was at this time Chancellor of the Exchequer, and his residence in the King's Palace may have been a convenient arrangement. John Willenhall escaped, and Thomas Jennings was sentenced to be hanged, without claiming benefit of clergy, but was respited after judgment (p. 56).

Thomas Woodhouse went very near to causing an international incident when he went to the French Ambassador's house in the Charterhouse and drew his sword. A servant to the Countess of Huntingdon, who was present, stated that Woodhouse quarrelled with Anthony Fusher, servant to the Ambassador and, following him into the house, drew his sword and struck him. He then called them "French dogges". In Court he confessed his fault and was told to go and make his apologies to the Ambassador, but we do not learn the rest of the story (p. 257).

As the Ambassador of Venice was passing through the streets from attending the Masque at Whitehall, several inhabitants of Clerkenwell, including one described as a musician, offered a "very greate abuse" to him and beat one of his servants (p. 117).

Cuthbert Lockwood of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields broke into the house of Thomas Price and stole velvet and gold lace belonging to Queen Anne (fn. 3) (p. 308).

William Woodfen stole a dapple-grey gelding worth £10 from the Archbishop of Canterbury, for which he went to the gallows (p. 188). The Archbishop was George Abbot, who was elected in 1611 and held the see until his death in 1633.

The house at Mile End of Ann, Countess of Dorset, widow of Thomas Sackville, the second Earl, was broken into (pp. 2, 128), while other houses to be burgled included those of Sir George Hall at Ratcliffe (p. 54) and of Sir John Butler at Old Street (p. 54).

The Earl of Lincoln made the serious complaint against William James, a locksmith, that he made a key which opened a chest in the Earl's house in Cannon Row, for it was due to the making of this key that £1,000 was taken out of the chest. Sir Henry Fiennes, also of Cannon Row, stood surety for Francis Needham, his servant, and for Richard Browne of Ketton, co. Rutland, gentleman, who were also accused of being connected with the opening of the chest and the taking of the £1,000 (p. 85). It appears probable that Sir Henry was. related both to William Fiennes, afterwards Lord Saye and Sele, and to the Earl of Lincoln, for Theophilus Clinton, afterwards sixteenth Earl of Lincoln, married Bridget, daughter of the same William Fiennes.

Alexander Cortopp of Fleet Street was suspected to have been concerned with robbing the Hall of the Company of Barber-Surgeons (p. 81); Christiana Pickeringe was found not guilty of stealing several coins from the pocket of a gentleman from Merioneth, in the Strand (p. 221); Stephen Blackwell of Westminster, gentleman, was branded for stealing some velvet and lace from Thomas, Lord Knyvett, who headed the search of the vaults of the House of Lords for conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot (p. 226); and William Wade, an upholsterer, was charged with stealing broadcloth belonging to Sir William Craven, an ex-Lord Mayor who was the founder of a Library still bearing his name in St. John's College, Oxford (p. 208).

One of the items stolen from the house of John Manwood in Chancery Lane by his servant was a "coronacon skarfe". This does not, I think, indicate a form of coronation souvenir, but a scarf of carnation colour. The normal way of spelling "carnation" before the middle of the seventeenth century was "coronation" (p. 223).

Edward Trappes of Finchley and George White of Edmonton were hanged for assaulting Edward Curtis and William Evans in the highway at Finchley, and stealing a horse, saddle and bridle and other goods (p. 304).

Mark Noble, a cutler in the Strand, conveyed away a sword which was taken from Nicholas Hawes in the highway by thieves, but on bringing in the sword to the Court and delivering it to Mr. Hawes without demanding any recompense, he was discharged (p. 241).

William Housego was reported for assaulting James Hewetson and for being a common barrator. He was ordered to pay a fine of £100 and to make public submission for his offence in the open pillory in Cheapside (p. 261). The cruel assault made by Anthony Turner, a Whitechapel chandler, on Alice, wife of Thomas Porter, caused her to lose "the child which was then in her body" (p. 51). Ann Cricke was committed to prison for abusing Lady Browne "in a very base manner" when she ran at one of her servants with a naked knife, and raised "great slanders on Mistress Foster and her daughter" (p. 208). For pulling out the beard of John Decroe, Henry Tapper of Enfield, tailor, was fined 2s. (p. 94).

A case of threatened arson is found when the wife of Robert Browne deposed that she stood in fear that Katherine Gallant would fire her house. Katherine is described as a "turbulent and unquiet person" (p. 147).

The powers of search allowed to the parish constable, which have been described in the prefaces to previous volumes, were of so wide a nature that cases of unseemly conduct even in private houses were brought to the notice of the Court. Thomas Welcher was found by the watch "in a room alone in the night-time with a common whore, after a very lewd manner" (p. 4); while Richard Wattes, a tailor, and Frances Phips, a spinster, were ordered to desist from frequenting one another's company until they should be "lawfully married according to the laws of the Church of England" (pp. 75–6).

Two cases of unnatural offences are recorded, the first when Edward Bawde of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields was charged with attempting "to bugger one Henry Burnell" (p. 33); and the second when John Hurlocke of Harrow was found not guilty of an indictment that he, "contrary to human nature, committed buggery with a black mare and had and perpetrated the act of procreation with the same mare" (p. 104).

Bastardy cases were of frequent occurrence, and in some of them we get an insight into the workings of the law on the subject. John Hurleston of Kensington was known to have lived with Agnes Westwood and to have begotten her with a child which had been left in the parish of Tottenham. Immediately after the child was born the father went to Edward Edwardes and his wife and "did secretly compound with them for the nursing of the child, and paid them 6s. 8d. a month". When the father was two months in arrears with his payment he submitted himself to the order of the Court, but on hearing the decree of the Justices that he should pay the 13s. 4d. and put in sureties to discharge the parish of Kensington where the child had been born, he refused and was committed to Newgate Gaol until he performed the order (p. 8). When Jane Cox had a bastard child she secretly conveyed it to Whitecross Street and laid it on a doorstep (p. 89).

Quite an unusual number of bigamy cases are mentioned in this Calendar. Among such, mention may be made of John Jolles, who was charged with marrying Ann Parsons, a Battersea girl, having previously married Susan Androwes, she "being alive and not absent in foreign parts for the space of seven years, nor his first marriage having been declared null and void"(p. 182); of John Asheforde, who was found not guilty of marrying a second wife, his first being still alive (p. 261); of Richard Denham alias Roger Preestman of Purleigh in Essex, who was accused "to have two wives now alive, contrary to the laws of this realm" (p. 265); and of Margaret, who claimed to be the wife of William Robinson of Teddington, but was suspected to be the wife of Thomas Ruddy of the same place (pp. 292–3).

The lot of the ex-service man was a matter for consideration by the authorities even in those days, and William White of Mile End was placed in the House of Correction for wandereing about begging as a vagrant soldier, and also for assaulting a man in the highway (p. 18).

Thomas Drury, although he was born at Spalding in Lincolnshire, appears to have received more sympathetic treatment. It was stated that he left the parish of St. Margaret's, Westminster, for the wars, where he received "mehaimes of his body", but as he now wanted to return to Lincolnshire he was given 10s. for the journey (p. 235). Ralph Tillyer of Harlington and Walter Manning of Brentford, "who have bene hurte and mehaymed in the warres", were granted pensions by the Justices (p. 235).

When it was found at the Sessions held in April, 1616, that there was a surplus of £25 in the maimed soldiers" account, the Court decided that it should be retained to pay out to any deserving case. Orders were at once given that the under-crier of the Court should have £1 during his sickness and the attendant on the Justices another £1 "towards his apparelling" (pp. 236–7).

Much of the time of the Court was taken up by matters concerning apprentices, their placing, their behaviour and their well-being. Several indentures of apprenticeship which were arranged by the Court are enrolled (e.g., p. 236), and some miscreants were brought before the Justices. Nicholas Christmas, an apprentice to a clothworker, was accused of spending and embezzling a great part of his master's money and goods (p. 32), and Richard Lighterfoot,a gentleman of High Holborn, was accused of enticing William Smyth and other apprentices out of the service of their masters and conveying them secretly into Ireland (pp. 175–6). Possibly this was in connexion with the recent measures adopted by James I for the colonization of Ulster.

Robert Skingle, a silkweaver of Hackney, who had been admitted "at his own entreaty" into the Company of Silkweavers and had voluntarily taken his oath to obey and perform the ordinances of that society, denied "his obedience and reprocheth and revileth them" (p. 295).

Although the King should some bias in favour of the Roman Catholics, the Justices of Middlesex do not appear to have shared his tolerance, and we find the greatest energies exercised in keeping before them the names of persons known to support the Roman Church and of others who refused to attend the English Church. Lists of recusants, some containing as many as sixty names, are found in the Calendar, of which some are members of the nobility or distinguished persons (pp. 50, 51, 143, 215–16).

When Isabel, Lady Stafford, wife of Edward Lord Stafford of High Holborn, and her son Edward were charged, the indictment accused Lady Stafford and her son of not attending the church of St. Andrew's, Holborn. It was, however, proved that they had not lived in Holborn for over six years, as they now dwelt at Stafford Castle "neere a hundred myles from the County of Middlesex" and no further action was taken (p. 249). The brother of Petronella Davyes was brought before the Court for allowing her to live in his house and teach children "bookes called manuells papistical" (p. 233).

Information was laid against Abraham Reynolds and his wife that they had assisted certain seminary priests to escape out of Newgate and had harboured them in their house (p. 148).

It may be seen from the records contained in this volume that road accidents were not confined to modern times, nor due, it would appear, entirely to the introduction of the motor car. Robert Smythe, a gentleman of St. Clement Danes, was charged with running over a child with his horse and was fined what to motorists must seem the very moderate amount of 10d. (p. 21); John Thomas of St. Giles', a drayman, wounded a child aged five "by suffering his horse and cart to go over him in the street" (p. 24); William Buckle of St. John Street wounded a boy aged three "by riding over him with a horse" (p. 241); Thomas Williams hurt a child "with his carre" in Charterhouse Lane (p. 252); Philip Evans hurt Ellen Powell by riding over her (p. 254); and Nicholas Miller, a "coster" of Old Street, stood surety for Anthony Foord, his servant, charged to have grievously bruised and hurt Katherine Buttler "by ryding on his carte and dryving ye same over her" (p. 295).

The upkeep of the roads was based on a system which must appear to us as being exceedingly arbitrary. Every householder was responsible for providing a given number of men, carts, or horses on a given number of days according to the valuation of the property. It may be seen from the records now before us that many well-known inhabitants failed in their obligations (pp. 69, 70, 71, 239). Among these were "Richard Parkins and the players at the redd bull" (p. 239). The Red Bull was built by Aaron Holland in St. John Street, Clerkenwell, about the year 1605. In the authorities which I have consulted it is not recorded that Richard Parkins, who was a member of the Queen's company of players, had any concern with the Red Bull, which is stated to have been under Christopher Beeston as manager and Thomas Heywood as playwright. The name of Thomas Heywood, described as a "yeoman", appears immediately above that of Richard Parkins, and that of Christopher Beeston, described as a "gentleman", on the next folio. The latter's wife Jane, was reported as a recusant on two occasions (pp. 50, 216).

No new building was allowed to be erected without the consent of the Commissioners of Annoyances, and their activities in this direction may be exemplified by the order that a new building in Drury Lane "nere Lincolnes Inne Feilds att and adioyninge to the Cockpitt" was to be "stayed", and that the workmen were to be committed to prison if they attempted to go forward with the work (pp. 310-11).

The names of many other famous persons, in addition to those already mentioned, appear in the Calendar. For example, George Jerret of Clerkenwell was accused of annoying the Lady North by piling up a great pile of faggots against her house in "St. Jones to the damming up of her lights" (p. 22). Lady North was presumably Frances, wife of Dudley, third Baron North, a courtier at the court of King James. Several women were charged with creating a riot upon land belonging to the Countess of Derby, who was Elizabeth, sister by the half-blood to Henry, eighteenth Earl of Oxford, and wife of William Stanley, fifteenth Earl of Derby (p. 29). William Jones, "cutter and raser of sattens" to the Queen, stood surety for his son when he was charged with suspicion of felony (p. 80). William, Lord Paget, was indicted as Lord of the Manor of West Drayton for allowing a bridge, in a place called "le Drayton Moore" over "le coney streame", to fall into ruin. He was, however, discharged, and the inhabitants of the place were ordered to be indicted instead (p. 214). Lord Paget's father had been concerned with plots in favour of the restoration of Mary, Queen of Scots, and had been attainted in 1587; the son was pardoned and his possessions restored in 1604.

One would much like to have further details of the man who was detained in gaol, having been "taken near the Lord Mayor's Banqueting house" on suspicion of robbery, but as the case was probably brought before the City Justices, we can learn no more from these records (p. 136).

It would also be entertaining to know of what the "scandalous rhymes" consisted which Richard Longe and John Bubb were charged with making against David Dunne of Drury Lane, cook, and Helen his wife. When they appeared at the Court each of them had to "aske Helen Dunn forgivenes upon his knees in open Courte", and they were then bound over (pp. 155–6).

Richard Langley of the City of London gave out "that the King of Spain had a print of the key of the Tower of London", but as he could make no proof thereof, he was bound over (p. III).

John Thraske was detained by warrants of the Archbishop of Canterbury and of the Bishops of London, Ely, and Rochester, "for goinge upp and downe as a wanderinge minister" (p. 107).

When Francis Bradshawe, a gentleman of St. Clement Danes, was brought up for abusing and scoffing at the constables of the Duchy of Lancaster as they came to arrest a certain Captain Stokes on suspicion of murder, he was bound over on condition that he would use his best endeavours to apprehend Stokes, whom he had helped to escape "out of the Barmoodoes in Milforde Lane", which adjoins the Strand (p. 286). The Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, in his "Dictionary of Phrase and Fable", definitely identifies the Bermudas as one of the many places which existed at this time as a refuge in which debtors and other malefactors were acustomed to take sanctuary. The Act of 8 and 9 William III, cap. 27, in abolishing them refers to many by name e.g. the White Friars, Savoy, etc., but neither the Bermudas nor Milford Lane is specifically mentioned. The best known of all these places was the White Friars, the area of which must have closely adjoined Milford Lane. This was commonly called Alsatia, from the fact that it was disputed territory, and the name "Bermudas" may have been derived from a similar reason. Sir Walter Scott in his "Fortunes of Nigel" mentioned Alsatia, but it is believed that he borrowed his information from Shadwell's "The Squire of Alsatia". In any case, it is clear that in the case which is now under discussion, Captain Stokes had no claim to sanctuary for murder, but had apparently taken refuge there while the hue and cry was raised, where he would live in comparative safety if the report is correct that these sanctuaries were held at the point of the sword against all officers of the law.

In conclusion I must record my deep thanks to Sir Montagu Sharpe, K.C., who has been kind enough to read through the proofs of this volume and the draft preface, and all members of the Standing Joint Committee for the interest they have shown in the work. Mr. C. W. Radcliffe, the Clerk of the Peace, has to deal with my immediate problems, and in spite of his many counter-occupations, I have always found him only too ready to give me his sympathetic attention. The staff of the Guildhall by their kindness and courtesy have added greatly to the pleasure which this work gives me, especially Miss Cameron, who is in charge of the records. Miss Cicely Baker has continued to take the burden of the work from my shoulders in regard to the compilation of the Calendar and index, and my deep thanks are due to her for the conscientious interest which she takes in the work.

The original records with which this volume deals, together with some others, have had two opportunities during the past twelve months of seeing the light of day. At the Conference of Schoolmasters held at the Guildhall in April a special exhibition of documents was arranged, illustrative of the points made by Mr. Micklethwait, K.C., in his opening address, and on Coronation Day a somewhat more extensive show was made for the entertainment of members of the County Council and their guests. A catalogue giving the full translation of the documents exhibited was compiled, and copies of this may still be obtained at the cost of one shilling. These translations will be found of considerable help in understanding the form of the documents extracted in this and other volumes of the Calendar.
October, 1937.


  • 1. Costermonger=an apple seller, or one who sells fruit in the street.
  • 2. Mesell=measles, N.E.D.
  • 3. Anne of Denmark, married James VI. of Scotland in 1589 (after wards James I. of England).