Petitions to the Westminster Quarter Sessions: 1737

Petitions to the Westminster Quarter Sessions, 1620-1799.

This free content was born digital and sponsored by the Economic History Society and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the cost of transcribing eighteenth-century items was funded by a later Economic History Society Carnevali Small Research Grant: ‘Poverty, Taxation and Regulation: Petitions to Local magistrates in Eighteenth-Century England’ and the other costs, including photography and transcription of seventeenth-century items and editorial work, were funded by an Arts and Humanities Research Council Research Grant: ‘The Power of Petitioning in Seventeenth-Century England’ (AH/S001654/1). CC-NC-BY.


In this section

Jacob Astley. WJ/SP/1737/01/005 (1737). LondonLives reference: LMWJPS654080002

To Sir John Gonson knight and the rest of his majestys [illegible] justices of the peace at Westminster

The humble petition of Jacob Astley.

Sheweth that your petitioner is, and has been a housekeeper in Harp Alley where he followed the trade of broker and upholder for the four years past.

That your petitioner (by the indiscretion of a near relation) being carryed before the worshipfull Colonel Deviel for a misdemeanour committed, by a casual absence of reason, being intoxicated with liquor and passion did behave impudently and rudely to the said colonel in the execution of his office

That your petitioner being indicted for the same at the late sessions at Westminster threw himselfe upon the mercy of the court and pleaded guilty for which he stands sentanced to pay a fine of one mark, suffer three months imprisonment, and give security for his good behaviour for one year.

And forasmuch as your petitioner hereby declares his sincere contrition, and hearty remorse, and repentance for his said fault, and that his shop and house has been shut up for these six weeks past (since he has been in prison for said misdemeanor) and has a wife and family who cannot carry on his business, without his own personal attendance.

He therefore most humbly prays that your worships will be pleased (to prevent his and his familys utter ruin and destruction) to commiserate his condition and remit that part of his punishment which relates to the imprisoment of his person; by which he may be enabled to follow his business, and so preserve himselfe, his wife and family from absolute want and misery which otherwise must inevitably attend them.

And your petitioner (as in duty bound) will ever pray etc. paratext

I submitt this with great respect to the gentlemen in the commission of the peace and if they thinke proper to remitt the punishment inflicted on Master Astley I doe withall my heart forgive the offence

  • Thomas de Veil

22 February 1736

Charles Cort. WJ/SP/1737/01/006 (1737). LondonLives reference: LMWJPS654080009

To the worshipfull Sir John Gonson knight chairman of the sessions of the peace held for the city and liberty of Westminster and to the rest of his majesties justices of the peace in their generall quarter sessions assembled

The humble petition of Charles Cort

Sheweth that your petitioner was by indenture of apprenticeship bearing date the 28th. day of May 1729 bound apprentice to William Blackburn a cordwainer for 7 years by which said indenture your petitioners said master in the art mistery or occupation of a cordwainer was to teach and instruct or cause to be taught and instructed in the best way and manner that he could, and was also to find and allow your petitioner good and sufficient meat drink washing and lodging during the said term.

That your petitioner soon after he was bound began to feel the effects of his master's moross ill temper who compelled your petitioner to find peggs tacks and all manner of working tools out of his own money in doing his said masters business and has been beat by his said master for refusing so to do of which your petitioner complained to his friends who applyed to his said master concerning the same who insisted that it was the custom of the trade and that he should doe [the same?] it although your petitioner is otherwise informed and your petitioners friends to prevent any dispute and for the ease and quiet of your petitioner allowed money to him for that purpose.

That your petitioners master never took care to instruct him in Christian principalls nor ever took care to see how he spent the sabbathe till about 5 years of his time was expired and then your petitioners father applyed to his master to learn him to cut out who replyed that it was not in his indentures and that he never would learn him and thereupon began to debarr your petitioner of the liberty of the Sunday of which before he had taken no notice of and beat your petitioner in a very barbarous manner for taking the liberty of going abroad that day

That your petitioner has been taken up severall times by his said master severall times for one and the same [illegible] and carryed before justices of the peace and has been at the instigation of the his said master committed to goal in order to ruin your petitioner without ever giving him an opportunity to send for his friends and while he was in prison neither provided victualls or lodging for him and your petitioners master [illegible] his journeymen to have the key of the street door who hath [brought?] and bring in lewd women at [illegible] in the night

Your petitioner apprehending that his [said master?] intended to distress him by using him with the utmost [severity?] [illegible] his said master declaring that he would not learn him his business did about 2 years agoe inadvertantly and without consulting his friends (not being able to bear his cruelty any longer) abscond his said masters service.

Your petitioner therefore most humbly prays that you worships will take the premisses into consideration and discharge your petitioner from serving the residue of his said time to his said master or give him such other releif in the premisses as to your worships shall seem meet

And your petitioner as in duty bound will ever pray etc

  • Charles Cort

John Gastrill, apprentice to John Franklyne, engraver. WJ/SP/1737/04 (1737). LondonLives reference: LMWJPS654090004

To the worshipfull bench of justices

The humble petition of John Gastrill apprentice to Master John Franklyne engraver

Most humbly sheweth that your petitioner was bound for 7 years to learn the art of engraving, and has already served near four years, but his master refusing to instruct him or cause him to be instructed, and denying him, the liberty of seeing him work, or the method of working and giving him no employment in the art of engraving whereby he may learn to gett his bread, and having no freind in town to assist him, he humbly beggs that your worships, out of your great goodness would be pleased to order that your petitioner may be employed at his trade, or be turned over to some other master of the same trade, whereby he may gett an honest livlyhood or to make such order in the premisses as the court shall think fitt and your petitioner as in duty shall be ever bound to pray

  • John Gattrill

George Hind. WJ/SP/1737/04/006 (1737). LondonLives reference: LMWJPS654090007

To the right worshipfull Sir John Gonson knight chairman of the generall quarter sessions of the peace held for the city and liberty of Westminster and the rest of his majestys justices there

The humble petition of George Hind

Sheweth that on the third day of December 1735 your petitioner was bound an apprentice by indenture unto William Meadow citizen and joyner of London for the space of seven years, and on the same day your petitioner was by writing under the hand and seal of the said William Meadow turned over to John Lowrey of the parish of Saint James Westminster joyner to whom your petitioner paid the summe of twenty pounds

That some short time after your petitioner was so turned over to the said John Lowrey as aforesaid, he began to abridge your petitioner of comon sustenance both as to eating and drinking and tho your petitioner hath often complained of the same to the said Lowrey, yet he could never obtain any redress

That during your petitioners servitude the said Lowry hath severall times ordered your petitioner to deny him to his creditors and through the badness of his circumstances was obligd about a month since to abscond and leave of [trade?] by shutting up his shop and disposing of his household goods so that your petitioner is now entirely destitute of a master and must have lain in the streets being an orphan) unless releived by an acquaintance of your petitioners late father

Your petitioner therefore most humbly prays your worships that you will be pleased to take his case into consideration and order that he may for the reasons aforesaid be discharged from his said apprentiship from the said John Lowrey and that the said Lowrey may return to your petitioner the said twenty pounds or such part thereof so given to him as aforesaid as the said court shall seem meet

And your petitioner shall ever pray etc

  • George Hind

The churchwardens and surveyors of the highways of St George Hanover Square. WJ/SP/1737/04/007 (1737). LondonLives reference: LMWJPS654090009

To the right worshipfull his majesty's justices of the peace at their general quarter sessions assembled at Westminster

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

Sheweth 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 four hundred pounds and upwards which may be raised by a rate of two pence in the pound upon the inhabitants owners and occupiers of lands tenements and hereditaments within the said parish

Your petitioners therefore humbly prays your worships to grant your petitioners an order of this court to enable your petitioners to make a rate or assessment of two pence 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 made and provided etc

And your petitioners will ever pray etc.

  • Benjamin Bothomley
  • John Nealle
  • Denis Bond
  • James Spilman}

church wardens

  • Robert Gray
  • Benjamin [Berwick?]}

surveyors of the highways

The churchwardens and surveyors of the highways of St George Hanover Square. WJ/SP/1737/06/001 (1737). LondonLives reference: LMWJPS654100001

To the worshipful his majesty's justices of the peace, in their general quarter sessions assembled at Westminster

The humble petition of the churchwardens and surveyors of the highways of the parish of Saint George Hanover Square

Sheweth that the surveyors of the highways of the said parish of Saint George Hanover Square for the year last past have not made up and passed their accounts relating to their said office as the law directs in such cases.

Your petitioners therefore humbly prays your worships will be pleased to make such order for the said surveyors to pass their accounts as to your worship's shall seem meet

  • Henry Talbot
  • Blundell}


  • Benjamin Berwick
  • David Willams}

surveyors of the highways

John Richardson, an apprentice. WJ/SP/1737/06/002 (1737). LondonLives reference: LMWJPS654100002

To the worshipfull the bench of justices at the sessions held at Westminster Hall

The humble petition of John Richardson an apprentice

Humbly sheweth that your petitioner was bound an apprentice unto Anthony Powell of Charles Street Soho in the county of Middlesex cordwainer for the term of seven years as your worships may be pleased to see by the annexed indentures and your petitioners mother was to find your petitioner in cloaths lining etc for halfe the said term and your petitioners master was to find your petitioner for the remainder of your petitioners time and your petitioner served four years and eight months of said time of your petitioners time of apprenticeship and although your petitioner hath beheaved as a true and faithfull apprentiss your petitioners master doth refuse although often required to find your petitioner according to the covenant of said indenture although often requested and gave for his reasons that unless your petitioners mother would pay three pounds and upwards which he pretends to be due for working task work [illegible] and that he would not give or find your petitioner unless said sume be paid and your petitioner being deprived of apparell humbly begs your worships will oblige your petitioners master to find him according to said indenture so that your petitioner may be discharged according to law your petitioner being fatherless and destitute of cloaths to cover your petitioner and humbly implores you will order your petitioner to be provided according to the covenent in said indenture or that [I may be?] discharged for although he has been often requested to do according to [agreement?] he says that he will not find your petitioner unless he be paid for task work [illegible] all which being hard on your petitioner and humbly implores your taking the premises into your favourable consideration being naked and not able to perform the remainder of my apprentise [illegible] =ship unless redressed by your worships by his finding me cloaths and lining etc according to agreement

and your petitioner will as in duty bound pray etc

  • John Richardson