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Middlesex county records. Calendar of the sessions books, 1689 to 1709 online

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3 1833 00729 0015

Middlesex County Records.




1689 TO 1709.


W. J. HARDY, F.S.A.,





Clerk to the Middlesex Standing Joint Committee.

[AH Rights Reserve d.'\



ST. martin's LANE, LONDON, W.C.




When the County of London was constituted by the Local Govern-

^ ment Act, 1888, it was arranged by the Authorities of the County

^ of Middlesex and the new County of London that the former

should retain the Guildhall, Westminster, as its headquarters,

^.^while the Sessions House, Clerkenwell, where the County Records

were then stored, was retained, for Quarter Sessional purposes, by the

^j County of London.

^ It was only natural, owing to the upheaval of Local Government
affairs brought about by the Act of 1888, that some time should elapse
before the County Records were transferred from the Sessions House,
Clerkenwell, to the new home of the Middlesex County Authority at
Westminster, and it was not until the early part of the year 1894
that the removal of those records to the Guildhall, Westminster, was
completed. Had it not been for the fact that extensive alterations
were being carried out at the last named place, including the
provision of specially-constructed muniment rooms for the reception
of the records in question, the removal would have been completed
at an earlier date.

About this time a dispute arose as to who was the lawful
custodian of the documents, with the result that, in 1899, the Court
of Queen's Bench decided that the Custos Rotulorum of Middlesex,
and not the Custos Rotulorum of London, was the legal custodian
■of the records.*

The County Council of Middlesex had, in 1898, obtained special
Parliamentary powers authorising the expenditure of the county funds

* In this action, which was tried before Mr. Justice Bingham, the Duke of Westminster
>(as Custos Kotulonun of the County of London), was plainlifif, and the Duke of Bedford (as
Custos RotuloTum of Middlesex), defendant.

a 2

iv Preface.

on the work of repairing, binding, calendaring, and publishing the
records ; and it is a gratifying fact that, the question of the custody
of the records having been determined, little time was lost in
exercising the powers obtained. A Sub-Committee of the Standing
Joint Committee of County Justices and members of the County
Council (of which Sir Richard Nicholson is the Clerk) was appointed
to deal with the whole question of the county records ; and their
repair and binding are being carried on under the able direction of
Mr. Douglas Cockerell. A detailed account of what is being done
by him appeared in the fifth volume of the " Home Counties'
Magazine " at pp. 37-39.

This Sub-Committee above mentioned now consists of: —

Sir Ralph Littler, C.B., K.C., Chairman.

Montagu Sharpe, Esq., D.L.

J. W. Ford, Esq.

Henry Gervis, Esq., M.D.

A. S. Montgomrey, Esq.

Herbert Nield, Esq., and

William Regester, Esq.

Under the same direction I have commenced the work of
calendaring the records on a system somewhat different to that
followed by the late Mr. J. Cordy Jeaffreson, whose work (in four
volumes) was issued a few years ago by the Middlesex County
Record Society, and which has thrown such a valuable side-light on
the history of London and the county generally.

My plan is to deal with one class of records at a time, instead of
making selections, as did Mr. Jeaffreson, from various classes, of the
most interesting items. None of his extracts come down so late as
1690, and so, in commencing my work, 1 decided to begin at that
year. The class of documents I selected to deal with is known as the
Sessions Books. I continued the calendar to these books — noting
every entry, with the exception of lists of names, and I have
indicated the positions of these lists in the different volumes — down
to 1709, and this is the calendar now printed. Since completing it,
and since it was determined to print it, I received directions from

Preface. v

the Committee to continue the calendar back from 1690 to the com-
mencement of the series in 1639, and forwards from 1709 to 1759.
I have done these things, and I have quite recently discovered a
record of the business at Sessions in a class known as Sessions
Registers, which extends from 1607 to 1667, and which fills many
gaps in the Sessions Books, between their commencement and the
latter of the dates just mentioned. I am now dealing with these
registers, and when I have done so we shall have in manuscript a
fairly complete record of the Sessions Orders from 1607 to 1759.

I hope that the sale of the present volume will warrant the
Committee in printing the earlier and later portions of my calendar.
I ought, perhaps, here to explain that in the earlier part of it I
have only very briefly referred to those entries which Mr. Jeaffreson
has already noted at what appeared to me to be sufficient length,
and I have, of course, given in each case a reference to the volume
and page of his calendar.

With regard to the arrangement of the Sessions Books, the
reader, on consulting the calendar, will observe that it is similar in
the case of those which record the proceedings at the Sessions for
Middlesex and in those which record the proceedings at the Sessions
for Westminster. First come the writs, lists of Justices, and the jury
panels ; then memoranda as to recognizances and appearances, which,
in the case of the Middlesex books, usually occupy between 20 and
30 pages. In the Westminster books the list is not so long, but it is
more interesting, as it often gives the charge against the person
indicted and his place of residence and occupation. As might be
expected, some notable names occur in the lists, both for Middlesex
and Westminster, as, for instance, that of Titus Oates, who in
January, 1696, is described as of Westminster, and "clerk" (p. 143).
After the lists come the orders, all of which are calendared.
Following them are usually some notes of committals, sentences, and
fines. Then come lists of persons in the New Prison and House of
Correction, and then a list, arranged alphabetically, of persons indicted,
and referring to the Sessions Rolls, and a similar list of persons
entering into recognizances. In some of the later books the names
are given of those who took the oath of allegiance. Quite at the end

vi Preface.

are rough memoranda of a very miscellaneous description, but some-
times of much interest ; anything of an important nature has been
indicated in the calendar.

At the date at which the present calendar opens the country
as a whole was agitated by rumours of plots against the occupant
of the English throne. The Roman Catholics were regarded with
suspicion, and we find the Middlesex Magistrates enforcing, with
considerable vigour, the Acts against persons of that religion. The
search for fire-arms in the houses of prominent Romanists is referred
to as early as June, 1690 ; arms, supposed to belong to Captain
Pounds, a Roman Catholic, were seized at the house of Captain
Samuel Ely, but the Magistrates finding themselves in error as to
the owner, directed the return of the weapons (p. 14). Some years
later, in July, 1695, we find the Earl of Cardigan, a reputed papist,
allowed to keep certain fire-arms for the defence of his house (p. 136).
The Magistrates were careful^ by means of addresses and the like,
to assure William III and Queen Mary of their zeal in enforcing
every measure which tended to their security on the throne. In the
autumn of 1690 the Court ordered that — owing to the illegal resort
of papists to London and Westminster — all householders, innkeepers,
and keepers of livery stables should, within 24 hours, deliver to some
neighbouring Justice the name and ordinary place of abode of any
lodger or sojourner with them, and of the owner of any horse
remaining in their stables (p. 17). After this it was ordered that a
list should be made of all persons in the county suspected as dangerous
or disaffected to the Government, to the intent that they might be
summoned to take the oath of allegiance (p. 37). A long list of
suspected papists in Westminster, who refused so to do, appears
under the date June, 1692 (pp. 76-79).

Again, in 1696, after the discovery of the Assassination Plot, the
Justices, following the example of the House of Commons, entered into
and signed an " Association " (pp. 146, 147), professing their allegiance
to the King's throne and person ; and the leading inhabitants of
the county, on their recommendation, did the same (p. 148). The
Privy Council had directed a return to be made of all French
papists and suspected persons, with information as to whether they

Preface. vij

were naturalised or denizised. The Justices instructed the petty
constables and headboroughs to go from house to house and collect
information for this return (pp. 147 and 149). The oaths were to be
tendered to such persons, and on the 30th of April the Privy Council
wrote to the Lord Lieutenant requesting him to ascertain the names
of those who refused, and to distinguish between such as were
papists and such as were protestants (p. 152). In a subsequent letter
the Council gave him directions as to the discharge or detention of
persons in custody in connection with the same Plot, and, a year
later, demanded an account of what had been done in these matters
(p. 170).

In regard to Popish schools in the county the Bench was
particularly watchful, and when, in 1698, it was informed "that a
school for the educating of young women in the Popish religion in
the nature of a nunnery " was kept in the house of Mrs. Beddingfield,
in Hammersmith, " and that divers Popish priests are sheltered in
and near Hammersmith," it was ordered that the high constable of
Kensington Division " do make search in Mrs. Beddingfield's house,
&c., and apprehend all such women as they find, and such persons
as they suspect are Popish priests, and bring them before one of
His Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State" (p. 192). At the same
time, upon information being given that "many Popish priests have
lately come into the kingdom and are very busy in exercising their
functions, which may tend to great inconvenience to the public
affairs," the Court directed that on the arrest of any such priest
he was to be sent in the custody of a constable to one of the Secre-
taries of State for examination {ibid.).

As to protestants who differed from the Established Church,
there is also a great deal in the calendar, and the strength of
nonconformity in and around London, at the close of the seventeenth
century and the beginning of the eighteenth, is illustrated in a
variety of ways — one of them, the frequent licenses granted for
holding conventicles. These were generally held in private houses,
but we have reference, in 1706, to " Charles Nicholetts, a protestant
dissenting minister of the Gospel, who designs to make use of the
market house in Shadwell Market for the public worship of God

viii Preface.

in a separate congregation, beginning the then next Lord's Day, he
being qualified thereto as the law directs " (p. 306). For preaching
in an unlicensed conventicle, in 1692, the preacher was convicted
(p. 100).

The erection of buildings especially constructed for the
religious worship of dissenters had apparently not progressed to
any extent, but we have reference to "the Aylesbury Chapel," in
the parish of St. James', Clerkenwell (p. 294), and, in 1707, to a
chapel then lately erected by Mr. William Baguley, in Great Queen's
Street, in the parish of St. Giles'-in-the-Fields. The rector and
churchwardens offered opposition to the erection of this building
(p. 310). There is also a reference to a Quakers' meeting-house at
Tottenham High Cross (p. 43); but, as a rule, the Quakers, like
other nonconformists, appear to have met for religious service in
private houses. Such meeting places are mentioned in Slaughter's
Yard, Wapping ; at Edgware, Mill Hill, and at Stoke Newington.
Other nonconformist bodies to which reference is made are. Baptists,
at Whitecross Alley, in St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, and at Edgware ;
Anabaptists, at " the Two Blue Balls,'' in Covent Garden, at
Glasshouse Yard, St. Giles', Cripplegate, and Goodman's Fields,
Whitechapel ; Independents, in Baldwin's Gardens ; and Presby-
terians, at Meeting-house Alley, Wapping, and at Fulham. Bodies
simply described as " Dissenting Protestants " met at " le New Way,"
in the parish of St. Margaret, Westminster, in Little Newport
Street, Westminster, and Crown Court, Shoreditch, and at Hamp-
stead, Enfield, Hackney, Uxbridge, Ealing. Edmonton, Stoke
Newington, Harmondsworth, and Bushey Heath.

A considerable amount of the time of the County Bench was
occupied in matters connected with provision for the poor. County
pensions, of sums varying from £2 to ^5 a year, were bestowed on
needy seamen and soldiers who had been wounded in action, and
were also granted to the ordinary poor, unable to relieve themselves
by their own industry. Quite a number of historical events are
brought to mind in the applications made for the former class of
pensions : one applicant had fought on the " Bonadventure," in the
*' river of Londonderry," during the memorable siege ; another had

Preface. ix

been wounded fighting against the French at Martinique ; whilst
others had been at the battle of Beachy Head, or in the expeditions
against Dieppe and Brest. One petitioner, who had fought in
many of the wars of Charles II, in the fervour of his claim gets
a little out in his genealogy, and refers to that monarch as
William Ill's "royal father." Though, as a rule, these pensions
were granted only to ordinary seamen and soldiers, we have two
instances of their being bestowed on naval lieutenants.

The ordinary poor in receipt of pensions seem to have been
entitled to augment their incomes by begging within the bounds of
their own parishes, but it is quite evident that they were not content
with these narrow limits. In 1694 the Court was informed that
great numbers of male and female county pensioners begged in
parishes other than their own ; it was therefore ordered by the
Ju.stices that the churchwardens and overseers of the different
parishes should provide for iheir " pension" poor a distinctive badge,
made of some durable metal, which was to be worn at the end of
the left sleeve of the pensioner's "outmost garment." The pensions
of those refusing to wear these badges were to be forthwith stopped,
and not to be renewed until compliance had been made with the
rule (p. 124). A curious case on this point arose in 1705 : the
overseers of St. Andrew's, Holborn, had stopped the pension of
Mary Edwardes, allowed to her for the relief of her impotent child,
because the said Mary did not wear the badge. The Court held that
as the child, for whom the pension was allowed, duly wore the badge,
the pension should be continued (p. 291).

With regard to the education of the poor, there was, of course,
no organised effort on the part of the county. Whatever was done
was the outcome of private charity ; yet a curious light on the
question is thrown by some of the entries now calendared. Students
of Mr. Jeaffreson's Calendar will remember that under the Act
13 and 14 Charles II, a body, known as "the Governors of the
Corporation of the Poor," had, in 1663 (Jeaffreson, vol. iii, pp. 331
and 357), erected a workhouse at Clerkenwell for ceitain London
parishes, the theory being that the inmates (all save 100 impotent folk,
who were to be therein housed and fed) should support themselves

X Preface.

by their own labour. The thing proved a failure, and the building
fell into decay before 1675. A portion of it was afterwards let, at a
rental of ^30 a year, to Sir Thomas Rowe, to be converted into a
" College " for the education of poor infants (to be sent to it by the
overseers of the different parishes) in the protestant religion (pp. 1 3
and 296, 297).

Sir Thomas Rowe died in 1696, and the following year we find
that his scholars — or " inventory," as the order terms them — 60 in
number, had moved, under the care of one Isaac Adams, into what
was doubtless considered the more salubrious air of the parish of
Hornsey. But the compliment to their parish was not altogether
appreciated by the careful overseers of Hornsey, who appealed to the
Magistrates for some security that the children brought with Adams
should not, in the future, become chargeable to them. The Court
directed that Adams should furnish a list of all the children he had
brought with him, and state the parish from which each child had
come ; and that he should, in the future, furnish to the overseers
similar particulars in regard to any fresh arrivals. Adams was
also to give a security to indemnify the parish of Hornsey for the
charge of maintenance or provision. An interesting feature in this
order is that it empowers the parish officers, from time to time, to
inspect Adams' house and its inmates (p, 165).

The insane poor were supported in private houses by a specially
raised rate, or they were confined in " Bedlam," or, in the case of
Westminster, in the House of Correction, in Tothill Fields (pp. 21, 22),

The provision for the impotent poor in parochial almshouses
seems to have been in the mind of the authorities of Ealing, for^
in 1701, they petitioned the Magistrates for liberty to repair and
use a building, situated " on a waste piece of ground belonging
to the parish," that would accommodate eight poor people. They
urged that by so doing they would save the parish £\2 a year.
Leave was thereupon given to raise, by rate, the £^0 required for
the repair of the building, the original use of which is not stated
(p. 229). Two years later the churchwardens of Twickenham were
authorised to build, on the Lower Common, at the cost of the parish^
a fit and convenient dwelling-house for the use of its " impotent

Preface. xi

poor" (p. 265). Almshouses are mentioned in 1696, in the parish of
St. Anne, Westminster, and in 1704 in that of St. Martin's-in-the-
Fields, for widows dependent on parish relief

A very large proportion of the entries in the calendar deals with
the relieving and " passing " of pauper vagrants, and the question of
actual legal settlement was a matter constantly before the Court in
actions brought by one parish against another. The cost of " passing "
vagrants was, of course, considerable. The vagrancy laws, which
inflicted grie\ ous whippings on the wandering poor of both sexes,
and which, as we have seen by the earlier volumes of the Calendar of
Middlesex Records were so vigorously enforced in the county, seem,
during the period now dealt with, hardly to have been put in execution ;
though, as we shall presently notice, the lash was considered a salutary
corrective for men or women who had been convicted of various
offences. Indeed, it can have been no uncommon sight of the
London streets to meet a cart, led solemnly along, behind which
was tied a man or woman " stripped naked from the middle up,"
whose bare back the parish officer belaboured till, in the words of
the sentence, it was " bloody."

The calendar is very full of references to apprentices. Indentures
of apprenticehood were enrolled with the Clerk of the Peace, and a
good many are entered in the Sessions Books. These documents
often provide useful genealogical information, and also furnish quaint
evidence as to what our ancestors considered needful for their children
to learn at the school of apprenticeship. For instance, girls were
apprenticed to learn the art or mystery of " keeping a linen-shop," of
becoming "a child's coat maker," of "washing point and gauze," and
of " housewifery " ; and boys " the art of fencing."

Apprentices could not be released from their indentures without
an order of the Court, and we constantly find the Magistrates
occupied in dealing with applications from apprentices to be released
from their masters or mistresses, and, occasionally, masters and
mistresses praying to be freed from their apprentices. In both
instances the complaints were sometimes trivial, but more often real
ground for complaint evidently existed, and in these cases the
Magistrates were not slow to execute judgment and to cancel

xii P7'eface.

the indentures. The charges brought by apprentices against their
masters were chiefly neglect of teaching, neglect of creature comforts,
immoderate correction, or other forms of cruelty, and overwork. We
have the complaint of a boy apprenticed to learn the art of a surgeon
who was compelled by his master to be a "tumbler, rope-dancer,
and jack-pudding" (p. 140). Another, apprenticed to learn the
art of a surgeon, was carried away to sea and made a cabin-boy.
In one instance, indentures were cancelled because the master was a
Jacobite ; in another, because it was shown that the master's wife had
several times induced the apprentice to attend mass in the chapel
of the Portuguese Ambassador (p. 300) ; in another, in 1709, because
the apprentice, who had been brought up as a papist, and was
apprenticed to a master holding the same faith, conformed to the
Anglican Church ; he was thenceforward ill-used by his master, who
had been very kind to him previously (p. 347). Some appealed for
release of their indentures on the ground that their masters or
mistresses were dead, or were prisoners for debt, and thus unable to
perform their part of the contract. It was a common occurrence in
the neighbourhood ot Shadwell for the master of a lad, apprenticed to
the sea, to abscond. The liberties of Whitefriars and the Temple
occasionally afforded sanctuary to defaulting masters (pp. 115, 141,
and 230).

The charges brought by masters or mistresses against their
apprentices were mainly of idleness or trivial dishonesty, though there
were occasionally complaints of a more serious nature.

Other grounds on which apprenticeships were declared void were
non-enrolment of the deed, or the fact that the apprentice's indentures
had been entered into without the consent of his father or legal
guardian, or that they were for a period of less than seven years.

The system of apprenticing pauper children, by the parishes to
which they belonged, led to a good many disputes which came before
the Magistrates for decision, and there are several instances of masters
and mistresses refusing to accept such apprentices ; sometimes the
objections were allowed, but, oftener, they were dismissed as frivolous,
and the unwilling master or mistress was provided with a parochial
apprentice for seven years.

Preface. xiii

With regard to the punishments inflicted by the Court for the
various offences which came before it there is not much to be said.
We do not get any instances of the terrible penalty for standing
mute which Mr. Jeaffreson's Calendars show had been inflicted by
the Middlesex Bench so late as the reign of Charles II, but the
pillory and whippings were chastisements inflicted on men and
women with considerable frequency. The time for which persons
were sentenced to stand upon the pillory was generally one hour, and
this hour between lo in the morning and noon. A paper, stating the
culprit's offence, would be placed over his or her head, or affixed to
his or her breast. Pillories stood at or near the following places : —
The Maypole, in the Strand ; Catherine Street, near Eagle Court, in
St. Mary-le-Savoy ; the New Exchange, in the Strand ; the Fountain
Tavern, in the same thoroughfare ; Covent Garden ; " Bow Street
end " ; Charing Cross ; St. James's Street ; New Palace Yard ;
Stanhope Street, Clare Market ; Bloomsbury Market ; Fuller's Rents
or Gray's Inn gateway in Holborn ; at " the great gates " of Hick's
Hall ; and at Ratcliffe Cross, or the Sun Tavern in RatclifFe High-
way. In the rural parts of the county we have mention of pillories
in New Brentford Market Place and at Twickenham.

Whipping-posts are mentioned in Holborn, where there were also
stocks, and at Kensington, and Cow Cross. But whippings were, as
already mentioned, more often inflicted at the cart's tail from some

Online LibraryGreat Britain. Court of Quarter Sessions of the PeMiddlesex county records. Calendar of the sessions books, 1689 to 1709 → online text (page 1 of 49)