The Sole Society, a Family History Society researching Sole, Saul, Sewell, Solley and similar names




His account of the Behaviour, Confessions and Last Speeches of the Malefactors that were Executed at Tyburn on Wednesday the 26th of June 1717


from Angela Moorefield


 This article was originally published in the December 2008 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society



At the General Sessions held at Justice-Hall in the Old Baily, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the 6th, 7th and 8th of June, 1717; Eight persons viz Seven Men and one Woman, who were convicted of several Capital Crimes, did accordingly receive sentence of Death. But one of the men having obtain’d a gracious reprieve (which I wish he may have Grace to improve) and the woman being found Pregnant, and therefore respited from Death at this time, six of them are now appointed for execution.


While they lay under this Condemnation, I frequently visited them, and had them brought up, twice every Day, to the Chapel at Newgate, where I pray’d with them, and read and expounded the Word of GOD to them; endeavouring (by the Divine Grace) to inform their judgements, correct the evil Dispositions of their wicked Hearts, and bring them into a State of Repentance towards GOD, and Faith in our Lord JESUS CHRIST, that by his alone Merits they might attain the Pardon of their Sins, and the Salvation of their Souls.


And in my private examinations of them they gave me the respective accounts, which follow.


John Jones, condemn’d for two facts, viz first for Breaking the House of Sir Arthur Key on the 21st of April last. And secondly for assaulting Mr James Lowe on the King’s Highway and taking from him a Perriwig, value 15s on the 21st of May last. He said he was about 24 years of age, born in the Parish of St Clement Danes. That when young he was carried down to Pembridge in Herefordshire, where most of his friends and Relations liv’d, and there was bound Apprentice to one of them, a Leather-Dresser. That after he had served with him about two years he left him, and came up to London. That some time after this, he got into Service with a Captain of a Man of War, and then became a Sailor, and in that Capacity serv’d the Crown about five years. He would not plainly own his guilt.


Roger Moor, condemn’d for Breaking the House of John Barton Esq., and stealing thence two coppers and an Alembick, on the 19th of October last. He said he was about 20 years of age, born – he could not tell where, for he knew nothing of his parents, nor how he was first brought up; but only that an Old Woman living in Temple-Street at Bristol took care of him, as her own, when he was but a child; That after he had receiv’d some Education, and was become capable of Business, he apply’d himself to the Pedlars Trade, selling stockings &c up and down the Country, by which he could get an honest Livelihood; and so did, till the Evidence against him induced him to do ill things.


George Mortice, alias Fashion, alias Savil, alias Saven (which last, he said, was his right name) condemn’d for breaking the house of Mrs Ann and Margaret Moise at Chelsea, and stealing thence 34 pair of Men’s Gloves, and other Millinery-ware, amounting to a considerable value, on the 7th of May last. He said, he was 30 years of age, born at Silvisho in Bedfordshire; that when but young, his Friends brought him up to London, and put him to a Shoomaker; but soon left him and went to sea, where he served several years off and on, in divers Men of War. He at first deny’d the fact he was condemn’d for. But upon my telling him, That I believ’d him not, for I knew him to be an Old Offender; he own’d it was true, and wish’d now he had been wiser.


Gregory King, condemn’d for a Burglary committed by him and Samuel Freeman, in the House of Mr William Chapman (as hereafter mention’d) on the 5th of May last. He said he was about 37 years of age, born in the Parish of Saint Andrew Holbourn; That his father, who was a Butcher, employ’d him in his occupation, but he did not follow it so close as not to carry on another Trade, which was more private, and altogether unlawful, and that was Thieving and Robbing. But as for particulars, and a plainer Account of himself and his wicked Facts, he desir’d to be excus’d from satisfying the World therein.


Samuel Freeman, alias John Deane, alias Scull Deane, alias Ralph Harwood, who said (but I believe he told a lie) that his right name was Samuel Freeman, condemn’d for a Burglary by him committed, with the above-mentioned Gregory King, in the House of Mr William Chapman, stealing thence a Cabinet with a Silver Lock, and other goods on the 5th day of May last. He said, he was 21 years old, born in the Parish of St Dunstan Stepney; That from the age of seven he had serv’d at sea, being sometimes a Cabin Boy, sometimes a Captain’s Servant, and at other times a Sailor; That his service for the most part was aboard Men of War. He at first obstinately denied the Fact he was condemn’d for, but when I told him I knew him to be an Old Offender, who had received Sentence of Death before, then he found it to no purpose for him to deny it any longer.


Henry Sewell, alias Sweet, alias Old Harry (who said Henry Suet was his right name) condemn’d for two burglaries, viz first for Breaking the House of Mr William Towers, and stealing thence four dozen Pair of Yarn-Stockings, and twelve Pair of Socks, on the 29th of October 1714: and secondly, for a like Fact by him committed in the House of Mrs Morgan Shaw, out of which he took some Linnen, to the value of 3l on the 20th of August 1715. He said, he was 23 years of age, born at Farham in Hampshire. That, when young, his Friends brought him up to London and bound him Apprentice to a Sawyer there; That after he had serv'd about 6 years of his time, his Master dying, he chose rather to go to sea, than to be turn'd over to another of his late Master's Occupation. That he had for these 5 years past been (mostly) employ'd in the Merchants Service at Sea, and gone several small voyages, during which time he liv'd an honest life, but when he wanted Business, he took the liberty of committing those Facts which are not allowable, and therefore was often brought to Justice, and (for want of sufficient evidence) always acquitted, except once, when he was convicted of a small felony, and upon that order'd to be whipt. Yet this did not work on him the Reformation intended, for he still went on his wicked way. He deny'd the two facts he was condemn'd for, but own'd, he had been a great Sinner and that (besides his being whipt, as he confess'd before) he once was, viz in October 1711, burnt in the Hand at the Old-baily for a felony, and order'd to the Workhouse at Clerkenwell, out of which he made his escape.


When these unhappy wretches were come within sight of Death, then they seem'd to be a little sensible of their past follies, and of the irrecoverable Loss of their precious time, which (for the most part) they had spent in Worldly Mirth, in Rioting and Drunkenness, and would by no means, even when under these their sad circumstances, be perswaded to Seriousness and Sobriety, and to a due Preparation for that Great Change which was now so near, but instead of that, did all along most miserably flatter themselves with the vain and unreasonable Hopes of being Repriev'd, till (almost) the Day of their Execution was come.


At the place of it, whither they were carry'd from Newgate in 2 Carts this day, I attended them for the last time; and there they confess'd with apparent Grief, That they had greatly offended GOD, and done much injury to their Neighbour, for which they craved Pardon.


I earnestly exhorted them all to clear their consciences: I pray'd by them and for them: I sung some Penitential Psalms with them, and made them rehearse the Apostles Creed. This done, I pray'd again, and having recommended their departing Souls to God, I withdrew, and left them to their private Devotions, for which they had some time allotted them; which, when expired, the Cart drew away, and they were turn'd off, all the while praying for that Mercy which some of them especially had so little regarded before; and GOD only knows whether it was not now too late to find it.


This is all the account here to be given of these Dying Malefactors, by me



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