Petitions to the Westminster Quarter Sessions: 1733

Petitions to the Westminster Quarter Sessions, 1620-1799.

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'Petitions to the Westminster Quarter Sessions: 1733', in Petitions to the Westminster Quarter Sessions, 1620-1799, (, ) pp. . British History Online [accessed 12 April 2024]

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The prisoners for debt in the Gatehouse. WJ/SP/1733/01 (1733). LondonLives reference: LMWJPS653960002

To the worshipfull his majesties justices
of the peace for the liberty of Westminster
in their general quarter sessions assembled

The humble petition of the prisoners for
debt confined in his majesties prison of the
Gatehouse Westminster

that Francis Geary the keeper of the
prison and his agents have been guilty of the severall extor
tions and abuses following, that is to say they have taken
two pence in the shilling out of the sacrament money, and
proportionably out of all other eclesiastical charities for
writing down the names of the persons intituled thereto and
carrying the said names to the abbey. That they have inserted
the turnkey and his wife and severall others no ways intituled
to the said charities in such lists.

2d that the said Geary and his agents on or about July
last secreted a gift of the Lady Robinson's, of ten shillings and
applied it to their own use. And also that they extorted six
pence a man out of a late gift of 12 stone of beef and
sixty loaves of bread, or else they would have deprived
those who had refused to pay the same of their share of such
charity. And did actually take one stone of beef and five
loaves of bread from one prisoner, which was given by
another, and which bread and beef they eat in their own

3. That they neglect to put up any list of such charities
as belong to the said prison by which means the prisoners are
ignorant of their relief, and consequently great sufferers, and that
they also stopt out of a publick charity £4..10..0 being due to the
said Geary from a felon before they made a general distribution
by means of which the other prisoner's proportions were greatly
diminished and two debtors did not receive one farthing.

4. That the said Geary and his agent's neglect to furnish
the goal as it ought to be, and extort for the lodgings more than
is allowable by act of Parliament, though not a quarter furnished
and in those very rooms frequently lodge felons, and other
disorderly persons committed in the night time with the persons
who pay for the said rooms more than is allowed by Parliament
as aforesaid.

5. That the said Geary and his agents extort three
shillings and six pence of every prisoner who comes in contrary
to and in defiance of all law, which 3 shillings 6 they dispose of in the
following manner. One shilling to Mistress Geary, 3 pence to the
turnkey 's wife and 3 pence to Geary's maid, and the other two
shillings, is [spent?] in Bignold's bed chamber or lodge.

6. That the said Geary and his agents, particularly
the turnkey and his wife frequently threaten the to beat the
prisoners, and refuse to admit persons to come to them by which
they suffer great inconvencies and are hindered from providing
necessaries for themselves, according to the allowance of the act
of Parliament. And lastly that the said Geary suffers the said
goal to be so exceeding nasty for want of washing and cleaning
that it [illegible] will, if not soon [prevented?] be of very ill
consequence, and in danger of breeding a sickness.

Your petitioners therefore most humbly
implore your worships to take this [illegible]
their calamitous case into your tender
and humane consideration, and to [appoint?]
a committee of your worships to inspect
the said prison and examine into the
truth of the severall facts above stated
all which we doubt not to prove intirely
to your worship's satisfaction, and
we do humbly beg your worships to
assist us with such relief in the premisses
as your worships in your great
judgment and humanity shall think
lawfull necessary and proper

And your petitioners as in duty bound shall ever
pray etc.

  • J Innes
  • John Wilson
  • James Gerard
  • Ann Allen
  • Edward Gregory
  • Anthony Ivory
  • Mary Willton
  • John Johnson

John Elphick, Mary Roberts and [...] Paterson. WJ/SP/1733/01/002 (1733). LondonLives reference: LMWJPS653960006

To the worshipfull bench of justices at
Westminster in sessions assembled

The humble petition of the subscribers

that there is at present one Innys a
prisoner in the Gatehouse on a criminal prosecution
for stabbing a man, surrendered by his bail, who is of
soe turbulent a nature as gives great disturbance to
the whole goal

That your petitioners who are debtors are
[illegible] continually insulted by the said Innys because they
refuse to signe petitions to this honourable bench against
Master Geary the keeper though there is no manner of reason
for the same your petitioners being used with great
humanity and the said Innys even goes up and down
from room to room in the said prison offering money to
loan to such poor prisoners as he thinks he can prevail
with to signe such complaints, though he the said Innys
himself had been used with great indulgence which
is an encouragement to his insolence

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray
that your worships would please to
interpose your authority for their ease and
quiet by ordering the said Master Geary the
keeper to restrain the said Innys from
coming among your petitioners or otherwise
to releive your petitioners as to your
wisdome seems meet

And your petitioners shall ever pray

  • John Elphick
  • Mary Roberts
  • [illegible] Paterson

Francis Geary, keeper of the Gatehouse. WJ/SP/1733/06/003 (1733). LondonLives reference: LMWJPS653980003

To the worshipfull his majesty's justices of the
peace for the city and liberty of Westminster in sessions

The humble petition of Francis Geary
keeper of the Gatehouse.

that your petitioners being justly charged
with a breach of trust with respect to the
escape of James Taylor his prisoner, whereby
he incurred the censure and displeasure of
this court, and the consequence thereof a fine
of five pounds, and having nothing to offer in
his defence or excuse that may render him
the favour and indulgence of the court but
his humble and hearty concern for the offence
and firm resolution of being more watchfull
and carefull to keep up to the due execution
of his office for the future.

Your petitioner in most humble manner
prays that his submission and promise
may obtain his pardon and remission
of the said fine.

And your petitioner as in duty
bound shall ever pray etc.

  • Francis Geary

Francis Geary. WJ/SP/1733/06/004 (1733). LondonLives reference: LMWJPS653980004

To the worshipful bench of justices for the city and liberty of Westminster

The humble petition of Francis Geary

that your petitioner humbly thanks this worshipfull bench and honourable gentlemen of the committee (that
inspected into the abuses of the Gatehouse prison) for their favorable report; which they were so
pleased to make to this honourable court, in favour of your petitioner: and according to the order given him,
on Friday the 15th: of this instant; the petitioner, with all submission will obey the said order, only excepting
against one article (which is under written) in the said order in case your worships thinks proper, which is to the great prejudice of your petitioner

That your petitioner, will in person attend, the second day in every quarter sessions, whilst he
continues in his office; and deliver to the honourable court, an account in writing, of all charities, that
comes into the said goal (between the time of holding every such quarter sessions) and how the same
was distributed, so far, as the same shall come to his hand, power, or knowledge and your petitioner
will take care, that all such charities brought to the said goal, shall be duely distributed amongst
the prisoners; and that he will give a receipt to the person, or persons, that brings the same;
and also that he will procure a note, signed by the prisoners, to testify the giving of such receipt
and distribucion of such charities.

That your petitioner, will cause to be put up, in some publick part of the said goal, a list of
his fees, to be taken, from debtors, trespassers, felons, as settled by act of Parliament and
this honourable court; and replace the same, as often as defaced: and likewise he will put up, a
coppy of the cause, in the statute, of the 22d. and 23d. of Charles 2d, and not suffer debtors and fellons
to lodge together in one room; neither will he presume, to put any prisoner, in that room
called the debtors common side, untill it be, to the satisfaction of this honourable court. And it's to be
observed, that only one person, and but for two night, has lain in the said room for three years past.

That your petitioner; appeals, to this honourable court; against that part of the order videlicet that the keeper
of the Gatehouse prison, at any time after notice of this order, shall not take any fees, sumes of money, or other
things whatsoever, in lieu, of, or under pretence of fees, from any prisoner whatsoever, brought thither in
the night time, and not committed by some justice, or justices of the peace, of the said city and liberty of Westminster
which said clause, in the said order, is so prejudicial to your petitioner, considering the small number of
prisoners that have been committed to the said goal of late, that your petitioner lies under an apprehension,
that he must inevitably lose all his substance, as he has laid out in purchasing the said goal, and
never be able to pay his rent, or keep the prison in repair, as the following reasons will make appear

That your petitioner, or his deputy, are obliged to rise out of their beds, at all hours in the night
to take in prisoners; which most commonly comes in drunk, and makes great disturbances in the said goal,
which causes many times the whole family to sit up all night, burning fire and candle; especially in the
winter season. But in case the said prisoners are sober, then the maid of the house, also, is obliged to rise for
to put them to bed; for which bed, or beds; your petitioner takes no more than one shilling for a week, [so?]
lodging from [other?] people and very often times not one farthing; which usage to prisoners, is not to be met with, in any
goal, in or about London; which can be proved by persons, that have been committed to the very worst of [prison?]
and for the very worst of beds, were demanded to pay half a crown down, before they were admitted to go
therein; and often times to the better sort, three shillings and sixpence per week, if they lay but one night

That your petitioner or his deputy (and many times other persons which they hire) are obliged to attend
night prisoners, to the justices; some times three or four days together, and to all part of the city and liberty
of Westminster and many times stays in an ale house, four or five hours, waiting for the justices to [there?]
great loss of money and time, which is very considerable.

Therefore your petitioner most humbly prays; that the worshipful bench, would be so pleased
to repeal the order of night prisoners, for no goaler before your petitioner, was ever
denyed taking half fees for there trouble, for such prisoners, brought to prison
in the night time; or any releif, as to your worships goodness, and clemency thinks most meet.

And your petitioner shall for ever pray etc.

  • Francis Geary

The churchwardens and surveyors of the highways of St George Hanover Square. WJ/SP/1733/06/006 (1733). LondonLives reference: LMWJPS653980006

To the right worshipfull his majestys
justices of the peace for the city and
liberty of Westminster att their general
quarter sessions assembled

The humble petition of the church wardens and
surveyors of the highways of the parish of Saint
George Hanover Square in the liberty of
Westminster and county of Middlesex

that the highways causeways
and pavements to be repaired by the said parish are now so
broken and out of repair that they cannot be sufficiently amended
and repaired for this present year commencing from Christmas
last at less charge than three hundred and fifty pounds and
upwards which may be raised by a rate of two pence half penny
in the pound upon the inhabitants owners and occupiers of
lands houses tenements and hereditaments within the
said parish.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray your
worships to grant your petitioners an order of this
court to enable your petitioners to make an assessment
of two pence halfpenny in the pound upon all and every
the inhabitants of the said parish for repairing the said
highways causeways and pavements as by the statute in
that behalf is made and provided

And your petitioners will ever pray etc

  • Philip Blanchard}
  • William [Cler?]}
  • surveyors of
    the highways

William Betts, a prisoner in Tothill Fields bridewell. WJ/SP/1733/06/007 (1733). LondonLives reference: LMWJPS653980008

To the worshipfull Sir John Gonson
knight and the rest of his majesties worshipfull
justices of the peace for the liberty and city of

The humble petition of William Betts now a prisoner in
Tothill Fields bridewell.

Most humbly sheweth.
That your petitioner at the last general quarter sessions held by your
worshipps at Westminster your petitioner was convicted of keeping a disorderly house.

That your petitioner humbly beggs leave to offer that the prosecution against him
was more out of [illegible] principal of revenge, than justice or conscience.

That your petitioner has a large family and by the sentence past upon him he
and they must be inevitably ruined

That your petitioner is heartily sorry that he has done any thing that
deserves your worshipps censure and heartily and sincerely promises that for the
future he will so regulate his way of living that it shall not be offensive to
your worships or any other persons whatsoever

Your petitioner therefore most humbly beggs your worshipps
out of your great mercy and goodness to pardon his offence
and to order his discharge at your next adjournment and your
petitioner as in duty bound shall ever pray

  • William Betts

Wee several of the inhabitants being housekeepers and near neighbours
to the abovesaid William Betts do humbly certify that the said William
Betts is an object of mercy and compassion and having a large
family, [illegible] wee humbly recommend him to your worshipps
as such as witness our hands.

  • Lancelot Hullam
  • William Lamb
  • Michael Garnon
  • Robert Anderson
  • George Stringer
  • Thomas Perrey
  • Tolly Turner
  • George Banke
  • Andrew Meale
  • John McKoon

  • John Illingworth
  • William Edwards John Hawksley
  • W Foxall
  • Adam Pope.
  • Thomas [Bere?]
  • William Cox
  • Isaac wright
  • Anthony Dillingham
  • William Loaden:

Robert Paterson, prisoner for debt in the Gatehouse. WJ/SP/1733/06/008 (1733). LondonLives reference: LMWJPS653980010

To the honorable Sir John Gonson chairman
and the rest of his majesties justices of peace etca. etca.

Robert Paterson prisoner for debt
in the Gatehouse Westminster

With due respect most humbly sheweth.

That your honor's petitioner having been so often and vilely
[abused?], assaulted, and in danger of my life by Francis Geary [keeper?]
am advised before I go further to lay before this honorable court
what followeth videlicet

On Sunday 10 June last said Francis Geary did in a most rude and
impudent manner, assault my wife by taking her by the
shoulders violently pushing her backwards out of his door and
tearing her cloaths calling her bitch and whore, and all this
without any provocation, she only going to visit a gentleman
debtor who lodged in the house of said Geary. And;

On Wednsday 27 June aforesaid, he the said Geary did
in a most unbecoming way, come and pull by the arm my wife out
of his yard, a place which every prisoner that has the free=
dom of, is oblidged to pay 3 shillings 6 pence under the name of garnish
and pushed her out of said door, dragging her along, at same
time grievously pinching her side, calling her bitch and
whore, and many other opprobious names insulting, as=
saulting, and grossely abusing me, threatning me much
holding his fist to the side of my head, who durst not do
any thing in her or my behalf, for he would have sworn
mutiny etca. against me. And;

on Thursday 2d. August instant said Francis Geary did most
vilely use your honours petitioner by assaulting him holding his
fist to my head, which if his turnkey had not prevented
would inevitably have knocked me down; calling one rogue
and scunderell, crying out that he would make me repent it
before he had done with me. All this without any provocation
only I had paid him over and above what I owed him, allthough he
owes me upwards of £20. for putting his books in a regular
form, etca. writting out his kalendar's for a year past
and had he taken my advice the accidents had not happened
his jail, that to his shame lately has. What can this
his saying his saying he will make me repent, but that
he has some bad design against me, my wife or some
of my friends who come near me, which your honor's
petitioner begs you will be pleased to consider.

Many more of his villanies might be added, such as
his having, and still keeping a loose and disorderly house etca.
Which for fear of encroaching any further on your honours
time shall not now mention, although delay in punishment
is no cause of forgiveness, all which can be as easily proved
as that he has a nose on his face, and as sure as he has said
nose, so surely shall he be prosecuted as far as the law of
Great Brittain will permitt.

Said Francis Geary has no manner of way fullfilled any
of his promises he made in his petition of 22d. June last past
to this honourable court, which is in great derision and contempt
to his sacred majesty, and said honourable court, and which shall
be prosecuted as such, before I have done with him, having
a coppy of said petition of Geary's by me.

Wherefore your honours petitioner most humbly begs
your honours would be pleased to take into consideration these
irregularitys of Geary's, and so order it, that your honor's
petitioner may live and enjoy the privileges that are allowed to all
debtors, and that I, my wife, and friends may not be any more
in danger of our lives, etca.

and your honours petitioner
will as in duty bound etca.

Gatehouse 8 August 1733

  • Robert Paterson

Edward Gregory, debtor in the Gatehouse common side. WJ/SP/1733/06/009 (1733). LondonLives reference: LMWJPS653980012

To the honorable Sir John Gonson chairman, and the rest
of the honorable bench of justices of his majesties peace etca.

Edward Gregory aged 83 years, prisoner
for debt in the Gatehouse Westminster

Most humbly sheweth
that your honor's petitioner has been here in confinement since 17
August last past in which space of time all my friends have left me
I am now in the most deplorable condition imaginable for since 25 May
Francis Geary keeper has turned me on the common side, a place worse than
the Spanish Inquisition it wanting several material repairs such as
the plaistering over head to be helped scarsely one can go in to it without pound
weights falling on their heads, a continual dust falling down when any
one passes over head, one of the windows said Francis Geary has lessened by a half
allthough, he will barefacedly endeavor to affirm that he has made a new window in it
whereas said window was made when the goal was built, as may be easily
seen when compared with the windows adjacent thereto, at said window
there is a chimney of a shade, allmost in a levell with said window, which fills
said common side with a continued smoak, very insufferable that eclipses
that very little light that is therein. Said shade is a meer imposition and in
fringement on the privileges of the jail as well as on the common passage

Likewise said Francis Geary, openly and avowedly, keeps me from the privilege
of the begging box; which in all goals is allowed to the debtors of the common
side, and he allows people to be partakers of said box, who by all appearance
have no need of it and who ly on the masters side etca this he persists in
allthough I have demanded my dues several times of said Geary, or his deputy

Wherefore your honor's petitioner most humbly implore's your
honor's protection in this imposition, that you would be pleased to take
into consideration this my wretched state, and as far as is consistant with
justice and equity you would order and command said Geary to give me my
just dues which he has so long kept from me. That said common side may
be repaired, that I or any who come [there?] may not be in danger of
being knocked in the head, or smoothered in the ruins of an old
plaistering etca. And that the clause of an act of Parliament Carolus 2
may be put up in a publick place in the jail, which said honourable
court ordered said Geary to put up sometime ago, and which he promised
to do, in his petition of 22d. June last (2d day of quarter sessions) which is
contempt of said honourable court he has left undone, nor has he acted
according to any promise he made in said petition etca. That felons
may not be allowed to come near, nor drink, and nor riot before my door
[illegible] [place?] in all ages, that has belonged to said doctors common side, till [foresaid?]
Francis Geary has made new customs, which before a lord chief justice he
he would, shake like the quaking asptree, to hear rehearsed, (the fox
run's as long as he has feet) your honors petitioner humbly declares
that tis not out of malice, hatred, or envy that I address my self to
to this honorable court; (in which the Kings real person is allways to
be supposed to be present) he the said Geary rather ought to be pityd
than envied, he being conducted and led on by a parcell of old woemen
like Judith Geary his wife etca. who would be much better employed
in preparing themselves to appear before that impartial tribunal
where they and I, on account of our great age, must inevitably be soon
arraigned. Your honor's condescension and commiseration in this
my pityfull case, will [bay?]an eternal obligation on him who
will as in duty bound, for ever pray etca.
8 August 1733.

  • Edward Gregory

It may be fully observed that above said Judith wife of Francis Geary
very maliciously meddles and concerns herself with the charities that
good Christian people sends here, I say she endeavours to conceal
from one part, that the other part, her creatures and tools may have
the more, whereas she has no bussiness with such affairs, nor
indeed of any use in the jail, she not having stood [straight?] on her
feet these several years, consequently could be of no use were all the prisoner
making their escape.

  • Edward Gregory

To the honorable
Sir John Gonson etca
and the rest of the honourable
bench of justices etca.

The humble petition
of Edward Gregory debtor
in the Gatehouse common

Referred to Master Faine Master
Farwell Master Ludby Captain Burden and Master
Harper or any two to view and
report at the adjournment

Thomas Bones. WJ/SP/1733/06/005 (1733). LondonLives reference: LMWJPS653980020

To the right worshipfull his majesties justices of the peace in
general quarter sessions assembled.

The humble petition of Thomas [Bones?]

that your petitioner was about Michaelmas last bound an apprentice to Charles Stanton
of the parish of Saint James in the liberty of Westminster butcher, and that your petitioner has been
frequently beat and bruised by his said master in a barbarous manner, so that he cannot follow his employment
with safety, and your petitioner particularly sheweth that on 7th. instant his said master broke
open your petitioners box, and being asked by the worshipfull Justice Lambart (when
afterwards summoned) why he did so, answered, that he did not know but your petitioner
might have more in his box than belonged to him, however, upon searching your
petitioners cloaths which were in said box, found a shilling, the property of your petitioner
which he took away, and afterwards between the hours of ten and eleven at night,
without any provocacion, beat and wounded your petitioner with a horse whip in a
most inhumane manner, and kicked and dragged him about the room, and swore
if he did not go to bed he woud murder him; upon which ill usuage of your petitioners
said master, your petitioner made his case known to justice Lambart who granted a
summons for his said master to appear, which he did, accordingly and your petitioner being then
striped before said justice, there were upon your petitioners back and arms several
violent marks and bruises, and particularly in the small of his back a wound
of a fingers length, whereupon your petitioners said master was bound over; and
your petitioner further sheweth that on 11th. instant he was by his said master ordered
to carry a joint of meat to one Arnolls in Charles Street Westminster which he
accordingly did, and a person or two (unknown to your petitioner) followed him into
said Arnolls house (who being a constable) they shewed a warrant and desired said
Arnoll to serve it on your petitioner but Arnoll begged to be excused, having some
business of greater importance to be dispatched, whereupon, one Master Bunt said
Arnoll's partner was sent for, who served said warrant on your petitioner which done,
said Bunt with the aforesaid two others, carried your petitioner before justice Cotton, and after
a slight examinacion, a mittimus was pretended to be made, and your petitioner
was threatned to be sent to Bridewell if he did not come to some agreement
with his said master, so that your petitioner being very much terrified at such
threatnings as aforesaid, did sign a general release, (which your petitioner
believes was ready filled up) and then he was discharged out of custody and
returned home, when your petitioners said master had some little conference with
him about the matter, and particularly, amongst other things, charged your
petitioner (that if any questions shoud be asked him about it) to say, that he
signed such release freely and without compulsion, but your petitioner being
terrified as aforesaid, chose rather to sign such release as aforesaid, then
to go to jail

  • Thomas Bones

Your petitioner therefore humbly prays this
worshipfull court will grant an order for his
said master to appear and shew cause why your petitioner
should not be discharged from his said indenture of apprenticehood

And your petitioner shall ever pray