Tag Archives: whitefriars

Francis Winter’s Other Farewell

I have previously discussed the ballad Francis Winter’s Last Farewell, an account of the execution of Captain Winter, condemned to hang for his part in the death of a constable during a riot against the bricking up of a gate connecting the Temple to Whitefriars.

Here, I present a different ballad of the same title, one that I only recently found in the wonderful English Broadside Ballad Archive. Unlike the first Farewell, this song is decidedly uncontroversial and sparse of detail, giving no account of the crime for which he was hanged. The sentiment is overly religious, and gives the impression of being a boilerplate narrative of repentance that could be easily adapted for any execution. That said, having looked for similar versions turned to other victims of the gallows, I’ve found nothing recycling these lines.

What is of interest is that it is the only source on Winter I’ve found that refers to the Captain being married and having children. No other document I’ve found mentions his marital status or family.

There is, however, in the Whitefriars listings for the 4 Shilling tax of 1693/4, an entry for Winter (Widow), who has property worth £3.60, rental value £18, but no stock. The value of the house is average for the precinct. This could be his widow. Some support is given to this theory by the Examination of Francis Winter of March 1692, where he claimed to have been “at his owne house” at the time of the riot. (The transcription gives “at this owne house” but the manuscript clearly lacks the leading ‘t’.) This implies he was a property owner: it doesn’t say ‘in his own rooms’ as if he were renting. This house would presumably have been inherited by his wife. Against this, the Ordinary of Newgate’s Account has Winter “Contract[ing] some Debts in the World, which occasioned him to fly for Refuge into White Fryers”, giving him more of a desperate air.

As a footnote to this, another collection suggests that there is further ballad of Captain Winter, but it appears to confuse him with the highwayman Captain Whitney, executed around the same time: “A Letter to Satisfie all Persons that Whitney is not fled from Newgate.” So here is the Captain Winter’s final final farewell. I have modernised the spelling of the text and fixed a typo. Sing along: EBBA have provided a recording putting the words to the tune.

An Excellent New Song, Call’d,
Captain Winters last Farewell
To the WORLD;
Or His Mournful parting with His Wife and Children,
Who was Executed in Fleetstreet, May 17th 1693.
Tune of, All Happy Times:

Good People that do see my End,
Be cautious how your Time you spend
Without a watchful Care each day,
The best that is may go astray.

‘Tis true a shameful Death I die
For which some will me vilify,
But why should I ashamed be
Since my dear Savior died for me.

I beg all mercy from above,
The joyful peace of Heavenly Love,
As for this Life I freely give,
And beg God would my Soul receive,

Adieu my dear and loving Wife,
For now I must depart this Life;
The Fates does call, I can’t withstand,
Grim Death, who once will all Command.

But still my Prayers is for you Dear,
That you would this with Patience bear;
Be not cast down, but be content,
Altho Death is my Punishment.

My next advice to thee my Love,
Is that thou servest thy God above,
And then I doubt not but he will
Preserve thee from all danger still.

My little Lambs I bid adieu,
And leave the Charge of them to you;
Such tender Care I know you’ll take,
That shall be for the Childrens Sake.

I am concern’d the more my dear
Because a Child thee now dost bear,
Therefore thy sorrow is the more
But God I hope will thee Restore.

Farewell, for evermore adieu
This is the last farewell to you,
When thou a Widow once shall be
I hope the Lord will cherish thee.

I hope I shant forget the Prayer
Which God in Mercy did declare,
That all the World would me forgive
As I do them whilst here I live.

I dye with all the World in Peace,
And hope that when my Breath doth cease
My Soul may unto Heaven fly,
And there remain Eternally.

My Spirit Lord I recommend
Unto my Saviour, Man’s best friend
I come O Lord, I come to Thee,
O grant me blest Eternity.

Printed and Sold by T. Moore. 1693.

 

Ballad source; EBBAs usage policy; intro is CC-BY-SA.

The 1697 ‘Escape of Debtors’ act

I have previously – and only briefly – discussed the 1697 act against the sanctuaries, looking at those places named in it, and their geographical distribution. Below, I present the full text of the statute. The abolition of ‘pretended privileged places’ is just one clause, number 15, out of 22. The rest of the act concerns the management of the prisons, specifically the Fleet and the King’s Bench, the escape of imprisoned debtors, and extortionate practices against prisoners. Certain provisions tacked on the end are made for particular individuals.

Again, as with the other legislation I’ve transcribed, it’s nearly impossible to read. Every clause is a single sentence, every sentence a clause, terms are continually repeated, singulars reinforced with plurals. And that’s before considering the archaic and latin terms used. Add to this the need for context – the motivations driving the law, the parliamentary debate around it, the manner of its writing, the whole legal apparatus producing and enforcing it – and the modern reader is at a considerable distance from it. This distance is further increased given the way the laws inter-relate with each other, defining terms, clarifying clauses, repealing some sections, augmenting others. The whole of the law is more than the sum of its statutes.

So this body of texts requires different ways of reading, to bring out the structures, links and patterns embodied within. Laws can be data-mined, to pull out names and locations for example. The vocabulary can be counted, to show stock phrases and unusual occurrences. Texts can be visualized, with ‘graphs, maps and trees’, to use Franco Moretti’s taxonomy. The computer now allows us to do this, although not as easily as one might think. In this way one can read the whole of the law, going beyond the time-consuming, comprehension-limited and mind-melting strictures of turning every page.

My next few posts will look at ways of analyzing the tortured prose below. But as a quick taster, note that the section pertaining to the sanctuaries adds ‘she’ and ‘her’ to the list of subjects, as in “he, she or they.” Only in this one clause, and then only towards the end, in the parts relating to the aiding, abetting and concealing escapees, are women so specified. From the other legislation I’ve read, this is quite rare; a quick search has revealed a solitary ‘she’ in the Black Act §2. Gender in the law is an important question, and one eminently susceptible to the digital techniques as mentioned above.

Note: Spelling has not been modernised; italics and marginalia have been omitted.

 

8 & 9 William III c.27 An act for the more effectual relief of creditors in cases of escapes, and for preventing abuses in prisons and pretended privileged places.

Whereas by reason of the many grievous extortions and ill practices of such persons who have for several years past respectively executed the offices of marshal of the King’s Bench, warden of the Fleet, and keeper of the Marshalsea, Newgate, and other prisons, and by several pretended privileged places within this realm, both creditors and debtors have been notoriously abused, and the good intents on the law wholly eluded: for reformation thereof be it enacted by the King’s most excellent majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons, in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, That from and after the first day of May, one thousand six hundred ninety seven, all prisoners, either upon contempt or mesne process, or in execution, who are or shall be committed to the custody of the marshal of the King’s bench prison, or the warden of the Fleet, shall be actually detained within the said prisons of the King’s Bench and Fleet, or the respective rules of the same, until they shall be from thence discharged by due course of law; and if at any time from and after the said first day of May, the said marshal or warden, or any other keeper or keepers of any prison, shall permit and suffer any prisoner committed to their custody, either on mesne process or in execution, to go or be at large out of the rules of their respective prisons (except by virtue of some writ of Habeas Corpus, or rule of court, which rule of court shall not be granted but by motion made or petition read in open court) every such going or being out of the said rules shall be adjudged and deemed, and is hereby declared to be an escape.

II. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the said first day of May, every person or persons obtaining judgement in any action of escape against the said marshal or warden, or their respective lawful deputy or deputies, shall and may have, not only several remedies already by law allowed for obtaining satisfaction thereon, but the judges of the respective courts where such judgement shall be obtained (upon oath before them made by the persons or persons obtaining such judgement, that the same was obtained without fraud or covin, and that the debt of the prisoner making such an escape was a true and real debt and unsatisfied) shall, upon motion made to them in open court for that purpose, sequester the fees and profits of the office of marshall or warden, or so much, or such part or proportion thereof, as the said court wherein such motion shall be made shall think it fit and reasonable, with respect to the debt or debts due from such prisoner or prisoners so escaping, and in the first place apply the same towards satisfaction of the debt or debts due from the prisoner or prisoners who escaped, together with all costs and damages recovered in such action of escape.

III. And to the end that such satisfaction may not be deferred by any writ of error brought for delay only, be it enacted, That if the said marshal or warden, or their respective deputy or deputies, shall at any time after the said first day of May, sue forth any writ or writs of error to reverse any judgment given in any action of escape, such marshal or warden, or their respective deputy of deputies, shall be obliged to put in special bail, or in default thereof no execution shall be stayed, nor any sequestration of the profits delayed.

IV. And whereas it is notorious that divers great sums of money and other rewards have been given to, and actually received by, the several persons executing the respective offices of marshal and warden, and other keepers of the several prisons within this kingdom, to assist or permit prisoners in their custody to escape, in open defiance and contempt of the laws of this realm: for preventing the like evil practices for the time to come, be it further enacted, That if any marshal or warden, or their respective deputy or deputies, or any keeper of any other person within this kingdom, shall take any sum of money, reward or gratuity whatsoever, or security for the same, to procure, assist, connive at, or permit any such escape, and shall thereof be lawfully convicted, the said marshal or warden, or their respective deputy or deputies, or such other keeper of any prisons as aforesaid, shall for every such offence forfeit the sum of five hundred pounds, and his said office, and be for ever after incapable of executing any such office.

V. Provided always, That this act, nor any thing therein contained, shall extend, or be construed to extend to make void such securities, or any of them, as shall at any time or times hereafter be given by any prisoner or prisoners for his or their lodging or lodgings without the aforesaid prisones, or ether of them, within the rules of the said prisons of King’s Bench and Fleet, or either of them, so as such security or securities be not taken for the enlargement of any prisoner or prisoners out of or beyond the rules of the said prisons of King’s Bench and Fleet, or either of them respectively.

VI. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the said first day of May, no retaking on fresh pursuit shall be given in evidence on the trial of any issue in any action of escape against the said marshal or warden, or their respective deputy or deputies, or against any other keeper or keepers of any other prison or prisons as aforesaid, unless the same be specially pleaded, nor shall any special plea be taken, received, or allowed, unless oath can be first made in writing by the marshal or warden, or their respective deputy or deputies, or by such other keeper or keepers of any other prison or prisons as aforesaid, against whom such action shall be brought, and filed in the proper office of the respective courts, that the prisoner for whose escape such action is brought did without his consent, privity, or knowledge make such escape; and if such affidavit shall at any time afterwards appear to be false, and the marshal or warden or other keeper or keepers of any other prison or prisons, shall be convicted thereof by due course of law, such marshal or warden or other keeper or keepers of any other prison or prisons shall forfeit the sum of five hundred pounds.

VII. And be it further enacted and declared by the authority aforesaid, That if at any time after the said first day of May, any prisoner who is or shall be committed in execution to either or any of the said respective prisons, shall escape from thence by any ways or means howsoever, the creditor or creditors, at whose suit such prisoner was charged in execution at the time of his escape, shall or may retake such prisoner by any new Capias, or Capias ad satisfaciendum, or sure forth any other kind of execution on the judgment, as if the body of such prisoner had never been taken in execution.

VIII. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if the said marshal or warden for the time being, or their respective deputy or deputies, or other keeper or keepers of any other prison or prisons, shall, after one day’s notice in writing given for that purpose, refuse to shew any prisoner committed in execution to the creditor at whose suit such prisoner was committed or charged, or to his attorney, every such refusal shall be adjudged to be an escape in law.

IX. And be it further enacted and declared by the authority aforesaid, That if any person or persons whatsoever, desiring to charge any person with any action or execution, shall desire to be informed by the said marshal or warden, or their respective deputy or deputies, or by any other keeper or keepers of any other prison or prisons, whether such person be a prisoner in his custody, or not, the said marshal or warden, or such other keeper or keepers of any other prison or prisons, shall give a true note in writing thereof to the person so requesting the same, or to his lawful attorney, upon demand at his office for that purpose, or in default thereof shall forfeit the sum of fifty pounds; and if such marshal or warden, or their respective deputy or deputies exercising the said office, or other keeper or keepers of any other prison or prisons, shall give a note in writing that such person is an actual prisoner in her custody, every such note shall be accepted and taken as sufficient evidence that such person was at that time a prisoner in actual custody.

X. And be it further enacted and declared by the authority aforesaid, That on or before the four and twentieth day of June, one thousand six hundred ninety seven, all and every the conveyances, grants, and mortgages of the inheritance of the aforesaid prisons of King’s Bench and Fleet, or either of them, and of the prison-houses, lands, tenements, buildings, and other hereditaments to the said prisons of King’s Bench and Fleet or either of them respectively belonging, or in any wise appertaining, and all leases thereof, and the respective titles of the marshal of the King’s Bench and warden of the Fleet prisons thereunto, or of him or them in whom the inheritance or inheritances of, in, and to the said prisons, and prison-houses, and premises, or either of them, now are, and all trusts and declarations of trusts thereunto, or unto either of them relating, shall be inrolled (viz.) that of the marshal of the King’s Bench in the King’s Bench court, and that of the warden of the Fleet in the court of Common Pleas at Westminster; and that all future conveyances, grants, and mortgages, of the inheritance of the said prisons of King’s Bench and Fleet, or of either of them, or of any part of either of them, and all leases thereof, and all trusts and declarations of trust thereunto or unto either of them relating, shall be so inrolled in the respective courts, as aforesaid, within six months next after the executing of every or any such conveyances, grants, mortgages, or leases, or such trusts or declarations of trusts thereunto or unto either of them relating, or of any of them; and if any such conveyances, grants, or mortgages, of the inheritance of the said prisons of King’s Bench or Fleet, or either of them, or of any part of either of them, of any such trusts or declarations of trust thereunto or unto either of them relating, or any leases of the said premisses, be not so inrolled within the times limited as aforesaid, in the said courts respectively, as aforesaid, that then and in such case, as well the present as all future conveyances, grants, and mortgages of every of them, and the inheritance of the said prisons of King’s Bench and Fleet, or either of them, or of any part of either of them, and all leases thereof, and all trusts and declarations of trust thereunto, or unto any of them relating, shall be and are hereby declared to be utterly void and of none effect, as if the same had never been executed; any law, statute, or custom, to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.

XI. And be it further enacted and declared by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the said first day of May, the said offices of marshal of the King’s bench prison, and warden of the Fleet, and each of them, shall be executed by the several persons to whom the inheritance of the prisons, prison-houses, lands, tenements, and other hereditaments, of the said prisons of King’s Bench and Fleet, or either of them, shall then belong or appertain respectively, in his or their respective proper person or persons, or by his or their sufficient deputy or deputies; for which deputy or deputies, and for all forfeitures, escapes, and other misdemeanors, in their respective offices by such deputy or deputies permitted, suffered, or committed, the said person or persons, in whom the aforesaid inheritances respectively are or shall then be, shall be answerable, and the profits and aforesaid inheritances of the said several offices shall be sequestred, seized, or extended to make satisfaction for such forfeitures, escapes, and misdeameanors respectively, as if permitted, suffered, or committed by the person or persons themselves, or either of them, in whom the respective inheritances of the said prisons shall then be.

XII. And whereas the way of proceeding against the warden of the Fleet prison by bill in the courts of Common Pleas and Exchequer at Westminster is found to be very dilatory; be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the said first day of May, it shall and may be lawful to and for any person or persons, having cause of action against the warden of the Fleet prison, upon bill filed in the said courts of Common Please or Exchequer against the said warden, and a rule being given to plead thereto, to be out eight days at most after filing such bill, to sign judgment against the said warden of the Fleet, unless he plead to the said bill within three days after such rule is out.

XIII. And for the more easy and quick obtaining of judgment against any person or persons who now is or hereafter shall be a prisoner or prisoners in the aforesaid prison of the Fleet; be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the said first day of May, it shall and may be lawful to and for any person or persons, who hath or shall have any cause of action against any prisoner or prisoners, who now is, or are, or hereafter shall be committed to the said prison of the Fleet, after filing or entring of a declaration in such action with the proper officer, to deliver a copy of such declaration or declarations to any such defendant or defendants in any personal action or actions, or to the turnkey or porter of the said Fleet prison, and, after rule given thereupon to plead, to be out at eight days at most after delivery of such copy of declaration or declarations, and affidavit made of such delivery before the lord chief justice, or one other of the justices of the Common Pleas, or before the lord chief baron, or some other of the barons of the coif of the Exchequer at Westminster, of the delivery of such declaration or declarations to the defendant or defendants, in such action or actions, or to the turnkey or porter of the said Fleet prison, as aforesaid, to sign judgment in such action or actions against such defendant or defendants, as if such defendant or defendants had been actually charged at the bar of the Common Pleas or Exchequer with such action or actions; any law, statute, usage, or custom, to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.

XIV. And whereas great sums of money have been and are still taken of the prisoners of the aforesaid prisons of King’s Bench and Fleet, and other prisons, under pretence of chamber rent, although the said prisoners have not had the actual possession of any chamber within the said prisons, or any of them; for the avoiding of that inconvenience for the future be it enacted, That from and after the said first day of May, no prisoner or prisoners shall pay, or be compellable to pay any chamber rent for any chamber within either or any of the said prisons, for an longer time than he or they is or are actually in possession of the said chamber or chambers, and that during such time as he or they is or are actually in possession of any such chamber or chambers within either or any of the said prisons as aforesaid, such prisoner or prisoners shall not pay above the sum of two shillings and six pence per week for any such chamber; and if the marshal of the King’s Bench prison, warden of the Fleet, or keeper or keepers of any other prison or prisons, as aforesaid, shall take or demand any greater sum or sums of money for the use of such chamber, than the sum of two shillings and six pence per week, he or they so taking or demanding shall in such case, for every such offence, forfeit the sum of twenty pounds.

XV. And for the preventing for the future the many notorious and scandalous practices used in many pretended privileged places in and about the cities of London and Westminster, and borough of Southwark in the county of Surrey, by obstructing the execution of legal process there, and thereby defrauding and cheating great numbers of people of their honest and just debts; be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the said first day of May, it shall and may be lawful for any person or persons, who have or hath any debt or debts, sum or sums of money due or owing to him from any person or persons who now is, or hereafter shall be and reside within the White Friers, Savoy, Salisbury Court, Ram Alley, Mitre Court, Fuller’s Rents, Baldwin’s Gardens, Montague Close, or the Minories, Mint, Clink, or Deadman’s Place, upon legal process taken out against such person or persons, to demand and require the sheriffs of London and Middlesex, head bailiff of the liberty of the duchy of Lancaster, or high sheriff of the county of Surrey, or bailiff of the liberty of the borough of Southwark for the time being (as the case shall require, if the plaintiff think it requisite) or their respective deputy or deputies, officer or officers, to take, and they are hereby enabled respectively to take the Posse Comitatus, or such other power as to him or them or any of them shall seem requisite, and enter the said pretended privileged place, and any or either of them (as the case shall require) and to arrest, and in the case of resistance or refusal to open the doors, to break open any door or doors to arrest such person or persons upon any mesne or other process, extent or execution, or to seize the goods of any such person or persons upon any execution or extent; and if the said sheriff or sheriffs, head bailiff, or their deputy or deputies, officer or officers, or either or any of them shall neglect or refuse (upon such request) with such force to do their best endeavours for the executing of such process, execution or extent, he or they so neglecting or refusing to execute such process, execution or extent, shall forfeit to the plaintiff or plaintiffs in such action the sum of one hundred pounds, to be recovered by action of debt, bill, plaint or information, in which no essoin, protection, or wager of law, or more than one imparlance shall be allowed; and if in the executing of such process, execution or extent, any person or persons shall oppose or resist any such officer or officers, or any of them, or any who shall be aiding or assisting to him, them, or any of them, in the executing of such process, execution or extent, he or they so offending shall, for every time he or they shall so offend, forfeit the sum of fifty pounds, and moreover shall be by some justice of the peace committed to the common gaol of such county, city or place where such offence shall be committed, there to remain without bail or mainprize until the next assizes, sessions of oyer and terminer, and general gaol delivery, to be held for such county, city or place; and such offender or offenders being of such offence or offences duly convicted, every such offender shall suffer and undergo such imprisonment, and be set in the pillory, as the court where such conviction shall be shall think fit; and if any rescous shall be made of any prisoner taken by any such officer or officers as aforesaid, upon any such process, execution or extent, within the limits of any the before mentioned pretended privileged places, by any person or persons whatsoever, such person or persons so making such rescous, or aiding, assisting or abetting the same, and being thereof lawfully convicted, shall respectively forfeit to the plaintiff in any such action the sum of five hundred pounds, to be recovered by action of debt, bill, plaint or information, in any of his Majesty’s courts at Westminster, in which action, bill, plaint or information, no essoin, privilege, protection, wager of law, or more than one imparlance shall be allowed; and if after such recovery had against any person or persons for such rescous, or for aiding, assisting or abetting the same, the person or persons against whom such recovery shall be had, shall refuse or neglect to pay to the plaintiff in such action, or to his, her or their executors, administrators or assigns, the sum or sums of money recovered, with full costs of suit, within one month after judgment signed upon such recovery, and demand made, that then the person or persons so refusing or neglecting as aforesaid, upon producing a copy of the judgment upon which such recovery shall be had, and oath made that the money recovered is not paid, shall, by order of such court wherein the said person or persons was or were so convicted, of or for any suit rescous, or for aiding, assisting or abetting the same, be transported by the sheriff or sheriffs of the county, city or place where such conviction shall happen to be, to one of his Majesty’s plantations beyond the seas, there to remain for the space of seven years; and if the person or persons so transported, shall return again to this kingdom within the space of seven years, he, she or they so returning, shall be and is hereby adjudged guilty of felony, and shall not be allowed the benefit of clergy, but shall suffer and forfeit as in cases of felony where clergy is not allowed; and if any person or persons, inhabiting within either or any of the aforesaid pretended privileged places, shall receive, conceal or harbour any person or persons, who shall have made any rescous as aforesaid, he, she or they so receiving, concealing or harbouring any such person or persons, knowing or having had notice that such person or persons had been guilty of such offence, being thereof convicted by due course of law, shall be, by order of that court where such conviction shall happen to be, by the sheriff or sheriffs of the county, city of place where the offence was committed, transported to some or one of his Majesty’s plantations beyond the seas, there to remain for the space of seven years, unless such person or persons shall, within the space of one month next after such conviction, pay to the plaintiff or plaintiffs in such action or suit, the full debt or duty for which such action or suit was brought, with full costs; and if he, she or they shall return into this kingdom within the said space of seven years, he, she or they so returning, shall be and is hereby adjudged guilty of felony, and shall not be allowed the benefit of clergy, but shall suffer and forfeit as in cases of felony, where clergy is not allowed.

XVI. And be it further enacted, That the several penalties before in and by this act inflicted, and not particularly disposed of, shall go one half to his Majesty, his heirs and successors, and the other half to him or them that will sue for the same, to be recovered as aforesaid.

XVII. And for the prevention of disputes touching this act, be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the same, and every clause and thing therein contained, shall be deemed, adjudged, and taken to be a general law, and that it shall not be needful to shew or set forth the same or any clause thereof in pleading, and that the same, and all clauses therein, shall be construed most largely and beneficially for the preventing of all the mischiefs, abuses, escapes, and other inconveniences herein provided against; and further, that if any person or persons shall at any time be sued for putting in execution any power or authority given by this act, such person and persons shall and may plead the general issue, and give in evidence this act, and the special matter; and if the plaintiff or plaintiffs in such action shall be nonsuit, or a verdict given for a defendant or defendants, or if the plaintiff or plaintiffs discontinue their action, or if upon demurrer judgment shall be given for the defendant or defendants, every such defendant or defendants shall have his or their double costs.

XVIII. Saving unto Martha Johnson widow, Thomas Johnson, and John Johnson, sons of the said Martha, and Frances her daughter, their heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, all such right, title, estate, equity, interest and demand, as she or they now have, or shall or may have, challenge or claim, of, in or unto all or any of the houses and shops belonging to the office of the warden of the Fleet, or to the prison of the Fleet, herein before contained, as fully and effectually, to all intents and purposes, as she or they had before the making of this act, as if this act had never been had or made.

XIX. Provided nevertheless, That nothing in this act contained shall extend to prejudice, impeach, or lessen any security or securities for any sum or sums of money made or given, by or out of the said office of marshal of the Marshalsea of the couret of King’s bench, or the profits thereof, by William Lenthall esquire, to Sir John Cutler baronet deceased, or to Edmund Boulter esquire, executor of the said Sir John Cutler, or to any other person or persons in trust for them or either of them, or to subject the said office, or the profits thereof, or the person or persons in whom the same are or shall be vested, to any of the forfeitures or penalties in this act contained, other than such as they are or may be liable unto before the making of this act, until such sum or sums of money, secured thereby, shall be fully satisfied and paid; any thing in this act contained to the contrary thereof notwithstanding.

XX. Saving unto Anthony Smith mariner, his heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, all such right, title, estate, equity, interest and demand, as he or they now have, or shall or may have, challenge or claim, of, in or unto the office of the warden of the Fleet, or the prison of the Fleet, or all or any of the houses and shops belonging to the office of warden of the Fleet, or to the prison of the Fleet, or herein before contained (by virtue of two decrees in Chancery, the one of them made the two and twentieth day of June, one thousand six hundred eighty three, and the other of them the six and twentieth day of January, one thousand six hundred eighty five, whereby four hundred twenty five pounds, and the interest thereof, was and is decreed to be paid to the said Anthony Smith out of the said office, houses, shops and appurtenances, after a mortgage made thereof by Thomas Bromhall unto Henry Norwood esquire was satisfied) as fully and effectually to all intents and purposes, as he or they had before the making of this act, and as if this act had never been had or made.

XXI. Provided nevertheless, That nothing in this act contained shall be deemed, construed or adjudged to take away, lessen, charge or prejudice the right, title or interest of Thomas Norwood, surviving executor of Henry Norwood, as for, touching or concerning a debt of two thousand one hundred fifty and three pounds, and interest, secured to the said Henry Norwood, by virtue of a mortgage of the office of warden of the Fleet prison, bearing date the twenty third day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred seventy and six, or so much thereof as is justly due thereupon; nor to take away, lessen or prejudice the right, title or interest of John Clements of the Middle Temple, London, gentleman, as for, touching or concerning a debt of two thousand two hundred ninety nine pounds, and interest, secured to the said John Clement, in trust for himself and others, by virtue of a mortgage of the said office of warden, bearing date the third of May, one thousand six hundred seventy and eight, or so much thereof as is justly due thereupon.

XXII. And be it further enacted and declared by the authority aforesaid, That all and every deputation or deputations, grant or grants, at any time heretofore made or executed by William Lenthall esquire, of the said office of marshal of the Marshalsea of the said court of King’s Bench, is and are hereby declared void and of none effect; and that all and every succeeding marshal shall from time to time, and at all times hereafter, be constituted and appointed by the said William Lenthall, his heirs and assigns, by and with the consent in writing under the hand and seal of Edmund Boulter esquire, his executors, administrators and assigns, until the debt owing by the said William Lenthall to the said Edmund Boulter, executor of Sir John Cutler baronet deceased, be satisfied.

Source: Pickering, Danby, ed., The Statutes at Large, vol. 10.

Two Rescues

If there is a particular practice that epitomises the sanctuaries, it is the rescue. This was the forcible release of a prisoner from the custody of an authority, be it the law, the military or bailiffs. Whilst it was common enough during the eighteenth century – especially when the press gang was on the prowl – the sanctuaries provided two enhancements: a ready crew for mounting them and a place of safety from recapture.

The following document from 1697 shows a rescue more or less carried out ‘to order.’ Two men were being taken under habeas corpus from Somerset to the London courts; a letter requesting their rescue was sent to one Thomas Gurney in Whitefriars, who raised a troop and intercepted them. Gurney seems to have been an important figure in Alsatia: not only was he the organizer of this escape, but he had also been involved in the riot against the Templars that led to the execution of Francis Winter. I will be writing more about him in the future. But otherwise, with part of the document illegible and no other information on this trial or the original case, many questions are left hanging. Why were the men being taken to London? Were they criminals or witnesses? Who required their rescue?

Thomas Gurney, was Indicted for a Riot and Rescous committed at the Cross-Keys in Arundel-street, and Rescuing one Robert Webb, and Samuel Moore Prisoners, who were brought out of Somersetshire, by virtue of their Habeas Corpus’s, by one Richard Fox. It appeared that there was a Letter sent to this Gurney to the Clubb, at the Rising-Sun in Water-Lane; in which was, That a Friend of his desired the Assistance of 8 men for a Friend that was in trouble. Some of White-Friars men accordingly went to Rescue him from the Rose at Knights-bridge; but missed of their design, and heard that they were in Arundel-street; …. [a section of the text is unreadable] …. and carried them to the Temple-stairs, and got them in Boats, and carried them to Dorset-stairs, and from thence to Gurneys House in White-Fryers, they pursuing them there, the Fryers-men beat them, and knockt them down. The Trial lasted long; and the Jury having considered the matter, found him Guilty.

Source: Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 31 August 2011), February 1697, trial of Thomas Gurney (t16970224-49).

There was another sort of rescue, where debtors were aided in escaping into the sanctuaries. This may have had a criminal aspect, of setting up a front business, obtaining goods on credit and then absconding. But there is no mention of this in the following account from 1690, where one of the ‘White Fryers men’ was charged with a murder committed in the course of the escape.

John Goodson as principal, and Abraham Hartslop as Accessary, were both tryed for the Murther of one Bartholomew Long on the 8th day of May last, giving him a mortal Bruise with a Quarter-Staff upon the head, of which he instantly died. The Evidence declared, that some rude Fellows viz White Fryers Men, were striving to get away some Goods out of the Prosecutor’s house in Cow-lane , the Tenant, viz. a Broker, designing to make his Escape deceitfully into the Mint: But the Landlord interposing, they made a great Mutiny, and Riotous Tumult, threatning to be the death of any who should oppose them, and had several Quarter-staves, and short wooden pocket pistols, (as they term them) which are to be used in Chambers, or narrow places, with other Instruments of Cruelty.

Goodson, was seen to strike the deceased with an Ashen Quarter-staff about five Foot long, of which he immediately died. But it did not appear that Hartslope struck any Blow. The Surgeon said that the deceased died of the Bruise. Goodson offer’d but little for himself, only that he was hired as a Porter to get away the Goods and called some Evidence, who gave a fair account of his former Conversation. But there being but one Evidence that swore positively Goodson struck the Blow, a Debate arose between the Court and the Jury; afterwards they came to this Result, That the matter should at present be found Special , &c.

Source: Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 31 August 2011), June 1690, trial of John Goodson Abraham Hartslop (t16900605-5).

A curiosity of this account is that the Alsatians were to take a fellow from nearby Cow Street, just north of Whitefriars, across the Thames to Southwark Mint. This suggests, perhaps, co-operation between the sanctuaries.

The London Spy visits Whitefriars

What happened to the sanctuaries after the passing of the 1697 act against “pretended privileged places” is a difficult question. In at least one case, a sanctuary survived it:  Southwark Mint continued to harbour debtors until 1722. Perhaps this was because there were a number of places in London known as ‘The Mint’; the legislation didn’t specify which was to be stripped of its rights. Also, the 1697 act was specifically aimed at the rights of debtors, the most important and immediate cause of consternation, but possibly not the only freedom offered by these areas. Clandestine marriages, for example, appear to have been carried out in many of the sanctuaries named in the act long after its passing.

The extracts below, by Ned Ward, contrast two sanctuaries named in the 1697 act. Despite their proximity, Salisbury Court has a nocturnal crew of villains of all types, whilst Whitefriars is sparsely populated, a “neglected asylum, so very thin of people, the windows broke, and the houses untenanted.” The debtors have abandoned it, only publishers (of pornography) remain.

Ned Ward was a prolific writer, one of the first ‘grub street hacks’, and enjoyable to read even if, frankly, he’s not very good. His prose is purple, the similies over-abundant and strained, and the moral indignation – that every one is debauched – repeated ad nauseum. There doesn’t seem to be a woman in London who is not a prostitute. Yet there’s a scabarous wit, scatalogical humour (then as now a crowd pleaser), and some entertaining turns of language. The texts below is taken from his ‘London Spy’ series, published in the later years of William III, via the edition published – somewhat bowdlerized – by the Folio Society edition of 1955. The first extract is from page 120-1, the second pp. 123-4.

Ward on Salisbury Court:

Being now landed upon terra firma, we steer’d our course to Salisbury Court, where every two or three steps we met some old figure or another that look’d as if the devil had rob’d ’em of all their natural beauty, and infus’d his own infernal spirit into their corrupt carcases, for nothing could be read but devilism in every feature. Theft, whoredom, homicide, and blasphemy, peep’d out at the very windows of their sous. Lying, perjury, fraud, impudence and misery, were the only graces of their countenance.

One with slip shoes, without stockings, and a dirty smock (visible thro’ a crepe petticoat) was stepping from the alehouse to her lodgings with a parcel of pipes in one hand, and a gallon pot of guzzle in the other, yet her head was dres’d up as to much advantage as if the members of her body were sacrific’d to all wickedness to keep her ill-look’d face in a little finery. Another, I suppose taken from the oyster tub and put into whore’s allurements, made a more cleanly appearance but became her ornaments as a sow a hunting saddle. Every now and then a fellow would bolt out and whip nimbly cross the way, beaing equally fearful, as I imagine, of both constable and serjeant, and look’d as if the dread of the gallows had drawn its picture in his countenance.

Said I to my friend, ‘What can these people be, who are so stigmatis’d in their looks that they may be known as well from the rest of mankind as Jews from Christians? They seem to be so unlike God’s creatures, that I cannot but fancy them a colony of hell-cats planted here by the Devil as a mischief to mankind.’ ‘Why truly,’ says my friend, ‘they are such an abominable race of degenerate reprobates that they admit of no comparison on this side [of] Hell’s dominions. All this part, quite up to the square, is a corporation of whores, coiners, highwaymen, pickpockets, and house-breakers. Like bats and owls they skulk in obscure holes by daylight, but wander in the night in search of opportunities wherein to exercise their villainy.’

Ward on Whitefriars:

We soon departed hence, my friend conducting me to a place called White Friars, which he told me was formerly of great service to the honest traders of the City, who, if they could by cant, flattery and dissimulation, procure large credit amongst their zealous fraternity, would slip in here with their effects, take sanctuary against the laws, compound their debts for a small matter, and oftentimes get a better estate by breaking than they could propose to do by trading. But now a late Act of Parliament has taken away its privilege, and since knaves can neither go broken with safety nor advantage, it is observ’d there are not a quarter so many shopkeepers play at bo-peep with their creditors as when they were encourag’d to be rogues by such cheating conveniences.

We thus enter’d the debtors’ garrison, where till of late, says my friend, Old Nick broach’d all his wicked inventions, making this place the very theatre of sin, where his most choice villainies were daily represented. As we pass’d thro’ the gateway, I observ’d a stall of books, and the first that I glanced my eye upon happen’d to be dignified and distinguish’d by this venerable title: The Comforts of Whoring and the Vanity of Chastity, together with a Poem in Praise of the Pox. Bless me! thought I, sure this book was printed in Hell and writ by the Devil, for what diabolical scribbler on earth could be the author of such unparalleled impudence? I was so supris’d with the title that I was quite thoughtless of inspecting into the matter, but march’d on until we came into the main street of this neglected asylum, so very thin of people, the windows broke, and the houses untenanted, as if the plague (or some like judgement from Heaven) as well as executions on earth had made a great slaughter amongst the poor inhabitants.

We met but very few persons within these melancholy precincts, and those by the airiness of their dresses, the forwardness of their looks, and the affectedness of their carriage, seem’d to be some neighbouring lemans, who lay conveniently to be squeez’d by the young fumblers of the law; who are apt to spend more time upon Phyllis and Chloris than upon Coke and Littleton.

Luttrell on Winter

Continuing the search for documents about Captain Francis Winter, leader of the Alsatians in the riot against the Templars, here are extracts from Narcissus Luttrell’s A Brief Historical Relation of State Affairs from September 1678 to April 1714. This  is an important chronicle of parliamentary affairs over 36 years, covering a great range of  ‘high governance’, including military reports, diplomatic negotiations and parliamentary debates.

There’s also frequent tallying of criminal trials and executions, amongst which we find that of Winter. The first extract gives a rather different account of the riot, giving details of two deaths but not that of the deputy John Chandler for which Winter was tried. It notes that ‘divers of the Alsatians’ were taken prisoner at the time, but no one else appears to have been prosecuted. Winter himself absconded, and was only captured two years later. There is also mention of Winter proclaiming the usurped King James II, a serious charge, but not one that I have found in any other record.

The question of why the Queen briefly reprieved Winter is left hanging, but other entries explain why the Queen had responsibility: William III was away fighting on the continent. “The King is at Breda” says the entry for 13th April 1693. Luttrell notes that the Mayor and Aldermen of the City pressed for the death sentence to be carried out; the riot was a terrible affront to them, and their rank and weight surely damned any possibility of clemency.

Text in the public domain, taken from volumes 2 and 3 of Luttrell’s A Brief Historical Relation at archive.org. Spelling as was, in all its irregular glory.

1st July 1691: The benchers of the Inner Temple, having given orders for bricking up their little gate leading into Whitefryars, and their workmen being at work thereon, the Alsatians came and pull’d it down as they built it up: whereupon the sherifs were desired to keep the peace, and accordingly came, the 4th, with their officers; but the Alsatians fell upon them, and knockt several of them down, and shott many guns amongst them, wounded several, two of which are since dead; a Dutch soldier passing by was shott thro’ the neck, and a woman into the mouth; sir Francis Child himself, one of the sherifs, was knockt down, and part of his gold chain taken away. The fray lasted several hours, but at last the Alsatians were reduced by the help of a body of the kings guards; divers of the Alsatians were seized and sent to prison. (Vol. 2, pp.259-260.)

27th April 1693: The sessions is now, where capt. Winter who headed the mob about 2 years since in White Fryars against the sheriffs of London, where 2 or 3 persons were killed, was found guilty of murder, and 2 persons swore at that time he proclaimed king James. (Vol. 3, p.86.)

6th May 1693: The dead warrant is come downe for executing 10 of the criminalls on Monday and capt. Winter on Tuesday. (Vol. 3, p.94.)

9th May 1693: 8 malefactors were yesterday executed at Tyburn; but Middleton, Martin, and Winter were reprieved; on which the lord mayor and aldermen this day agreed on an addresse to the queen to have them executed. (Vol. 3, p.95.)

13th May 1693: The councill have ordered capt. Winter, Middleton, and Martin to be executed as soon as the date of their reprieves are out. (Vol. 3, .p97.)

18 May 1693: Capt. Winter was yesterday executed in Fleetstreet, opposite to White Fryars: he died very penitently; and after he was cut downe from the gibbet, he was put into a coffin, and interr’d this evening. (Vol. 3, pp.99-100.)

The Ordinary of Newgate’s account of Captain Francis Winter

The Ordinary of Newgate was the curious title of that prison’s chaplain. One of the perks of the post was the right to the publication of the biographies and last words of the condemned, and it is the account of Captain Francis Winter, leader of the Alsatians in the riot against the Templars, we present here.

From this account we find that Winter was a sailor born in Truro, Cornwall; charges that he was a ‘copper’, i.e. pretended, captain, as made by  Thornbury in Old and New London, are unfounded, for he was made a captain of a merchant vessel in the West Indies, then fought “with a great deal of Candor and Courage” in the third Anglo-Dutch war (1672-4). Presuming he was in his twenties then, he would be in his forties by the time he fought against the Sheriff of London. At some unspecified time after the war, he fell into debt – how so isn’t said – and he fled to Whitefriars.

“At the Head of about Fourscore” [80] “mutineers”, a sizable contingent, Winter led the resistance to the Sheriffs. Barrels were put out to obstruct the authorities and provide cover for the Alsatians. The cry was ‘One and all, they would kill them, rather than any Man should be taken out from them, by way of an Arrest.’ This is a determined and organized force. How it ended isn’t clear; Winter was arrested some time later, having ‘absconded’, although we don’t know where he went.

As noted in the previous post, several thousand attended his execution; afterwards his corpse was taken for burial “in the Sepulchre with his Brethren.” Does this mean that the cemetery of the old monastery was still used? One wonders how the funeral was conducted, with what ceremony and who presided over it. There’s reference to a reprieve made by the Queen, then “a Fresh Warrant from her Majesty”, which raises questions of what was going on behind closed doors, and why the Queen, rather than William III, issued the documents. There is still more of this case to investigate.

The text is taken from the transcription at the Old Bailey Online. I have checked it against the page images (1, 2) and made some corrections. Capitalization and spelling remain as in the original. The OBO terms of use read: “All material is made available free of charge for individual, non-commercial use only.”

For a pithy introduction to the Ordinary and his publications, see Old Bailey Online.

Citation: Old Bailey Proceedings (www.oldbaileyonline.org, 24 June 2010), Ordinary of Newgate’s Account, 19 May 1693 (OA16930517).

AN ACCOUNT OF THE Condemnation, Behaviour, Execution, and Last dying Words OF Captain Francis Winter,

Who was Condemned at the Sessions-House in the  Old-Baily, on Saturday the 29 April, For the Murther of one John Chandler, in  White Fryers in London, Etc. and Executed for the same at White-Fryars-Gate in Fleet street, on Wednesday the 17 May 1693.

19 May 1693.

SEveral Reports, of this Nature, have been oftentimes Manifested in Print; many, of which, have seemed to look somewhat obscure, till it hath been more particularly dissected, and laid open, in all its Agravating Circumstances. And indeed; till that be done, there are a sort of Men in the World, who are apt to asperse the Superior Powers, as if they were too Severe in the Execution of Justice; but, when their Eyes are enlightned by the due Weight of Reason, then perhaps they will be of another mind, unless they are Prejudiced beyond the bounds of Natural Reason, and Common Sence, therefore, it will not be inconvenient to give the Reader a Brief Account (by the way) of the Matter of Fact, in Relation to this Unfortunate Gentleman, Etc.

Some Persons (it is very likely) have not forgotten, that about the 4th of July last, was Twelve Month, there was a Mutinous, or Riotous Assembly Raised, and got together in White Fryars, in London, in opposition to the Gentlemen of the  Inner Temple, who stopt up a Passage that led out of the said Fryars into the  Temple walks, the Gentlemen finding the said Passage to be very incommodious to them, upon the hot Resistance of the White Fryars men, there was likely to be great Mischief done, to prevent, appease, and qualifie which, the then present Sheriffs of London, (being sent for) came with their Officers and Attendants, entered in at the Fryars Gate, endeavouring to make open Proclamation, that all Persons should Cease, and go Home in Peace to their Respective Abodes: But this was not Regarded by the Mutineers, for they were the more Incensed, and came with great Fury against the High Sheriffs, this Gentleman being at the Head of about Fourscore of them, as their Captain and Leader, with a Blunderbuss in his hand, which he was seen to Fire off several times, bidding defiance to the Sheriffs; and all those who were their Assistance, crying One and all, they would kill them, rather than any Man should be taken out from them, by way of an Arrest, but that was lookt upon to be but a false Suggestion, and a Cunning Plea of their own Forging they having no Regard to Authority, for they had placed several Casks on both sides of the Street, on purpose to Impede the Passage of the Sheriffs, and some of them lay secretly behind them, as it were on purpose, to lye in Wait to take an Advantage, Etc. Firing several times against the Sheriffs and their Men, the Captain being at the Head of them, as aforesaid. And Chandler, the poor Man, who was killed, being on the Sheriffs side, had the misfortune to be shot in the Calf of his Leg, with a Leaden Bullet, which wound killed him in two or three Days, he solemnly protesting upon his Death-Bed, that he knew Captain Winter very well, and that he was the Man that shot him for which Fact the Captain, for some considerable time, Absconded, but was lately Apprehended, and Committed to  Newgate for the same, and was this last Sessions tryed for it, and found Guilty of Murther, and on the 29 April he was Condemned, in Order to be Executed with the other Criminals, who suffer’d at  Tyburn, the 8th. Instant. But, by Vertue of Her Majestys Gracious Reprieve, he was Respited until this day, Etc. As for his Birth, he was Born at Truro in Cornwall, then sent Apprentice to a Captain of Ship, after this he was made a Captain of a Merchant Man to the West Indias himself, after that he Commanded a Ship in the last Dutch Wars, where (to say the Truth) he behaved himself with a great deal of Candor and Courage, afterwards he fell into decay, and had Contracted some Debts in the World, which occasioned him to fly for Refuge into White Fryers, where he had the Unhappiness to be Engaged in such an unworthy Design, and Violent Attempt, as aforesaid.

He had not much to offer in his Defence at his Tryal, only in the General, that altho’ he was there amongst the Multitude, yet there were others that Shot, and therefore the Man might fall by another hand as well as his, or to that Effect, Etc. After Condemnation he Behav’d himself in a Christian like manner, being much Concerned for his Souls Everlasting Welfare, desiring the Advice, Good Counsel, and Prayers, of all those Worthy Divines that came near him, acknowledging the Justice of God, in bringing him to Undergo so Severe a Punishment, for that he had been guilty of several Irregularities in the Course of his Life, and had not walked up to the strict Rules of the Christian Religion as he ought to have done, which he now Lamented, and was exceedingly troubled for, therefore he hoped that God would forgive him, being willing to submit to the Righteous Judgement of God Almighty. He gave himself to Reading, Prayer, Hearing God’s Word, and to all other Exercises of Religion, being willing to adhear to all Seasonable Advice, that might any ways advance his mind, and set his thoughts on Heavenly Things, Relying only upon the Merits of Christ, for his future Happiness; he carryed himself humbly, during his Imprisonment, both before and after Conviction, though Naturally of a stout, hardy and undaunted spirit, was no ways affrighted at the near approaches of Death, giving God the Praise for such a Respite of Time, in Order to prepare his soul for another World.

On Wednesday morning, the 17th. Instant as abovesaid, (by Vertue of a Fresh Warrant from her Majesty) he was put into a Coach at Newgate Stairs, and from thence Conveyed down  Old Baily, and over  Fleet-Bridge, to the Fryars Gate, in the way to which place, there were several Thousands of Spectators, who thronged to see him, when the Cart was settled under the Gibbet, and he put into it, (which was Erected there on purpose) he stood up, and spake as follows: I have no Publick Declaration to make here, my Thoughts being wholly taken up in the Concerns of my Eternal Welfare, for that is the Work that I am come here to do: Therefore I desire that I may not be interrupted. Then the Minister Prayed with him, and for him, and Recommended him to the Mercy of God, Etc.

After this, he Pray’d in these Words.

O Most Great and Glorious Lord God, do thou look down in Mercy upon me, a Poor Miserable Sinner, and shew thy blessed Face to me, now in this Hour of my Extremity, for what am I without thee, therefore O Lord! I beseech thee to Pardon my Sins, and Wash my Soul clean in the Blood of CHRIST JESUS, and deliver me O Lord from the guilt and defilement of Sin; Holy Father do thou Receive me into Mercy, for into thy Hands I Commend my Sprit: O Lord let it be Precious in thy Sight, and let it live with thee in Everlasting Glory: Now I come, sweet JESUS now I am coming to thee; Dear JESUS do thou plead my Cause with the Great GOD of Heaven and Earth, and send down thy Blessed Spirit to Assist and Help me in this Great Work I am now about; I am a Poor Worthless Creature, full of Sin and Misery; yet do thou Lord JESUS take pitty upon my Precious Soul: O Lord JESUS come quickly, for I am now coming to thee, therefore I Humbly beg thee O GOD to Receive my poor Soul into the Arms of thy Everlasting loving Kindness, Lord! Into thy Hands I Commend my Sprit, for thou hast Redeemed it O LORD GOD of Truth Amen.

Then the Cart drew away, and afterwards he was Carryed into White-Fryars, to be Inter’d in the Sepulchre with his Brethren, Etc.

Francis Winter’s Last Farewell

In 1691, the lawyers of The Temple, itself a liberty, sought to block up a gate connecting it to Whitefriars. The Alsatians, seeing this as an impediment to their movements in and out of their sanctuary, raised a mob, attacked the builders and demolished the newly-built wall. The Sheriffs of London arrived to restore order, and in the ensuing battle one of their officers, a John Chandlor, was shot in the leg with a blunderbuss. Two days later, having identified his assailant, he died of his injuries, and the leader of the Whitefriars men, Captain Francis Winter, was arrested for murder.

This riot, and Winter’s subsequent execution for his part in it, seems to have become quite renowned. It was an exceptional event for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was not the more common hue and cry against bailiffs seeking to seize a debtor, but a defence of rights of way and freedom of movement – the Alsatians had no wish for their sanctuary to be walled in. Secondly, it escalated from a dispute between two groups of citizens into armed resistance against the legal authorities of London, and so to the law outright. Given the political context of James II’s dethroning and William III’s settlement with parliament, this was not to be taken lightly. Thirdly, at Winter’s trial, the Judge had directed the jury to find him guilty, regardless of whether or not he had fired the fatal shot, on the grounds

“That where any Lawful Authority shall be opposed by any Riot, or Riotous Assembly, this implied Malice in Law, in the Persons so offending, and they were all equally guilty; and consequently, if the Prisoner did not shoot Chandlor, yet he was guilty of Murther, because he did abet, promote, stir up, and maintain such a Rebellious and Unlawful Assembly.” (Source: Old Bailey Online)

Thus it was more for insurrection than murder that Winter was found guilty, and he was hanged on the 17th May 1693, at Fryars Gate, the main entrance to the sanctuary.

There are a number of documents relating to this story, and the first I present is the ballad “Francis Winter’s last Farewel.” It is typical of the execution songs of the seventeenth century: a single sheet cheaply produced (the woodcut looks to be recycled), claiming to be the last words of the condemned, confessing to terrible deeds, solemnly making repentance and warning others not to follow in such evil ways. Verses 5 to 7 give the substance of the case: the narrator admits to heading an armed crew against the sheriff, and by extension “against the wholesome laws of this my native land.” But if he concedes to rebellion, he does not admit to murder: “whether I kill’d the man or no, I cannot justly say.”

The last verse mentions “the thousands that are standing by”, witnessing his death. The Ordinary of Newgate wrote “there were several Thousands of Spectators, who thronged to see him.” (Source: Old Bailey Online) Given that Winter was executed at the very entrance to Whitefriars, we can presume that all Alsatia turned out to pay their last respects.

Illustration from the handbill 'Francis Winter's Last Farewell'

Francis Winter's Last Farewell

Francis Winter’s last Farewel:
OR, THE
White-Fryers Captain’s Confession and Lamentation,
Just before his Execution at the Gate of White-Fryers, on the 17th
of this instant May, 1693. Tune of, Russel’s Farewel.

Behold these sorrows now this day,
you that are standers by,
All former joys are fled away,
now I am brought to die:
My heart is fill’d with fear and dread,
for here is no relief,
Since I a sinful life have led,
I nothing see but Grief.

I spent my days with roaring boys,
and little thought of death,
But where are all those fading joys,
now I must loose my breath:
Now they are clearly fleed from me,
and there is no relief,
Alas! alas! I nothing see,
but bitter clouds of Grief.

Alas! the follies of my youth
comes fresh into my mind;
Had I been guided by the truth,
then had I left behind
A better name then now I shall,
alas!  here’s no relief;
I by the hand of justice fall,
and nothing see but Grief.

Bold Francis Winter is my name,
who seem’d to bear the sway,
But now, alas! in open shame
I do appear this day:
My former joys have taken flight,
for here is no relief;
Grim Death appears this day in sight,
which fills my soul with Grief.

I must acknowledge this is true,
that when in arms we rose,
I was the captain of that crew
which did the sheriff oppose:
‘Tis said a man was slain by me,
therefore here’s no relief,
For I must executed be,
and nothing see but Grief.

Whether I kill’d the man or no,
I cannot justly say
But since in arms we acted so
we seem’d to disobey
The city’s lawful magistrate;
therefore here’s no relief.
And I must here submit to fate,
I nothing see but Grief.

It was against the wholesome laws
of this my native land,
To rise in arms, and be the cause
of that rebellious band,
Who broke through law and justice too,
of which I was the chief,
For which I bid the world adieu;
I nothing see but Grief.

Let my misfortunes teach the rest
obedience to the laws;
Let them not magistrates molest,
for that has been the cause
Of shedding blood, for which I die,
I being there the chief;
The very minute’s drawing night,
I nothing see but Grief.

I oftentimes have wish’d, in vain,
that I had not been there;
Nay, were it to be done again,
I shou’d that deed forbear,
And not myself with such inthral,
tho’ then I was the chief;
But what is past, I can’t recal,
I nothing see but Grief.

The thousands that are standing by,
alas! you little know
My inward grief and misery,
and what I undergo:
O let me have your prayers this day,
my sorrows here condole:
I now have nothing more to say,
but, Lord receive my soul.

Printed for J. Deacon, at the Sign of the Angel in Guiltspur-street.

Plain text in the public domain, taken from English Broadside Ballad Archive, University of California at Santa Barbara, and corrected against that in the Bagford Ballads (p.340) at archive.org. Image in the public domain, again taken from the Bagford Ballads at archive.org. The intro is CC-BY-SA.

The Commons debates Whitefriars, 1697

The following account of the Commons debate on the 1697 act abolishing the sanctuaries is taken from William Cobbett’s Parliamentary History of England, vol 5., London 1809, column 1161. From where he got his source material I don’t know. This piece is certainly written after the passing of the act, as it ends with the Alsatians fleeing the sanctuary (quite possible, but that is for another post).

Despite the brevity, there’s several notable points. It specifically makes a link to ‘Romish superstition’, implying a Catholic element to the mores and morals of the sanctuary dwellers. This may be an example of protestant paranoia of those heady times, but religious dissent is part of the history of Montague Close.

It also makes it clear that Whitefriars was the most notorious of the sanctuaries; that its inhabitants were debtors, under civil, rather than criminal, law; and that they were organized and actively resisting the law – truly, they were outlaws.

After Sir J. Fenwick’s business was over, the parliament, to the great satisfaction of the people, took care to remedy a Public Grievance of long standing. Several places in and about the city of London, which in the times of the Romish superstition, were allowed as sanctuaries to criminals and debtors, had ever since the Reformation, pretended a privilege to protect the latter; and one of these, called White Fryers, was become a notorious receptacle of broken and desperate men, in the very heart of the metropolis, whither they resorted in great numbers, and, to the dishonour of the government, and great prejudice of the people, defended themselves with force and violence against the law and public authority. This intolerable mischief the parliament redressed by an ‘Act for the more effectual relief of creditors in cases of escapes, and for preventing abuses in prisons and pretended privileged places’; wherein such effectual provision was made to reduce those outlaws, that, immediately after the act was published, they abandoned their posts to better inhabitants.

An Account of the Southwark Mint

The text below is taken from the first volume of John Timbs’ The Romance of London, published in 1865. Timbs was an antiquarian, with a prodigious output of anecdotal compilations – over 150, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica of 1911. These anthologies are still an entertaining read, full of remarkable events and persons, but are dated in tone and suspect in accuracy.

This extract on the Southwark Mint is notable for many things: for the description of the order with which the Minters left their sanctuary, betokening community and discipline, necessary for fending off the threats of bailiffs; the landmarks and geography; the literary links; and irregular marriages.

The Minters of Southwark.

A large portion of the parish of St George the Martyr is called the Mint, from a “mint of coinage” having been kept there by Henry VIII., upon the site of Suffolk Place, the magnificent seat of Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, nearly opposite the parish church. Part of the mansion was pulled down in 1557, and on the site were built many small cottages, to the increasing of the beggars in the Borough. Long before the close of the seventeenth century, the district called the Mint had become a harbour for lawless persons, who claimed there the privilege of exemption from all legal process, civil or criminal. It consisted of several streets and alleys; the chief entrance being from opposite St George’s Church by Mint Street, which had, to our time, a lofty wooden gate: there were other entrances, each with a gate; like Whitefriars, it had its Lombard Street. It thus became early an asylum for debtors, coiners, and vagabonds; and of “the traitors, felons, fugitives, outlaws, condemned persons, convict persons, felons, defamed, those put in exigent of outlawry, felons of themselves, and such as refused the law of the land,” who had, from the time of Edward VI., herded in St George’s parish. The Mint at length became such a pest that its privileges were abolished by law; but it was not effectually suppressed until the reign of George I., one of whose statutes relieved all those debtors under £50, who had taken sanctuary in the Mint from their creditors. The Act of 1695-6 had proved inefficient for the suppression of the nuisance, though it inflicted a penalty of £500 on anyone who should rescue a prisoner, and made the concealment of the rescuer a transportable offence. In 1705, a fraudulent bankrupt fled here from his creditors, when the Mint-men resisted a large body of constables, and a desperate conflict ensued at the gate before the rogue was taken. A child had been murdered within these precincts, when the coroner’s officer was seized by the Mint-men, thrown into “the Black Ditch” of liquid mud; and, though rescued by constables, he was not suffered to depart until he had taken an oath on a brick, in their cant terms, never to come into that place again.

At the clearance of the place, in 1723, the exodus was a strange scene: “Some thousands of the Minters went out of the land of bondage, alias the Mint, to be cleared at the quarter-sessions of Guildford, according to the late Act of Parliament. The road was covered with them, insomuch that they looked like one of the Jewish tribes going out of Egypt; the cavalcade consisting of caravans, carts, and waggons, besides numbers on horses, asses, and on foot. The drawer of the two fighting cocks was seen to lead an ass loaded with geneva, to support the spirits of the ladies upon the journey. ‘Tis said that several heathen bailiffs lay in ambuscade in ditches on the road to surprise some of them, if possible, on their march, if they should straggle from the main body; but they proceeded with so much order and discipline that they did not lose a man upon this expedition.”

The Mint was noted as the retreat of poor poets. When it was a privileged place, “poor Nahum Tate” was forced to seek shelter here from extreme poverty, where he died in 1716: he had been ejected from the laureateship, at the accession of George I., to make way for Rowe. Pope does not spare the needy poets:

No place is sacred, not the church is free,
E’en Sunday shines no Sabbath-day to me:
Then from the Mint walks forth the man of rhyme,
Happy to catch me just at dinner-time.

Johnson has truly said: “The great topic of his (Pope’s) ridicule is poverty; the crimes with which he reproaches his antagonists are their debts, their habitation in the Mint, and their want of a dinner.”

In Gay’s Beggars’ Opera, one of the characters (Trapes) says: “The Act for destroying the Mint was a severe cut upon our business. Till then, if a customer stept out of the way, we knew where to have her.” Mat o’ the Mint is one of Macheath’s gang. This was also one of the haunts of Jack Sheppard ; and Jonathan Wild kept his horses at the Duke’s Head, in Redcross Street, within the precincts of the Mint. Marriages were performed here, as in the Fleet, the Savoy, and in May Fair. In 1715, an Irishman, named Briand, was fined £2000 for marrying an orphan, about thirteen years of age, whom he decoyed into the Mint. The following curious certificate was produced at his trial: “Feb. 16, 1715. These are therefore to whom it may concern, that Isaac Briand and Watson Anne Astone were joined together in the holy state of matrimony (Nemine contradicente) the day and year above written, according to the rites and ceremonies of the Church of Great Britain. — Witness my hand, Jos. Smith, Cler.”

The Mint of the present century was mostly noted for its brokers’ shops, and its “lodgings for travellers;” and in one of the wretched tenements of its indigent and profligate population occurred the first case of Asiatic cholera in 1832. Few of the old houses remain.

From Timbs, Romances of London, volume 1, pp.349-352, available from Archive.org.

The 1697 act against ‘pretended privileged places’

Or, to give it its full name, An Act for the more effectual relief of creditors in cases of escapes, and for preventing abuses in prisons, and pretended privileged places. (Anno 8 & 9 William III cap 27)

This very important law requires lengthy analysis, covering as it does prisons, sanctuaries, escapes, and the debtors involved in all three. Suffice for the moment to point out that the act signaled the reconquering of the lawless areas by the newly-minted Williamite state, reform of the houses of detention and enforcement of commercial and financial contracts. Here, I shall take a preliminary look at just one part, not even a whole sentence, but the list of ‘pretended privileged places’ in §15:

…. the White Friers, Savoy, Salisbury Court, Ram Alley, Mitre Court, Fuller’s Rents, Baldwin’s Gardens, Montague Close, or the Minories, Mint, Clink, or Deadman’s Place, ….

Firstly, to clear up some confusion: there are ten places listed, two of which have nicknames (Montague Close is also known as the Minories, Clink as Deadman’s Place), and Fuller’s Rents is a different place to Fulwoods Rents. These errors may stem from the 1911 Encyclopaedia, available online and used for a base by wikipedia by virtue of being out of copyright.

This does not list all the anomalous areas in London, but only those that had gone ‘wild’, that is, were being actively used to escape the law. (This does not preclude other areas being refuges of some sort.) Of the ten places ennumerated, three are transpontine, being in close proximity in Southwark: Montague Close, the Mint and the Clink. One, The Savoy, is nominally in the City of Westminster, but under the jurisdiction of the Palatinate of Lancaster. Baldwin’s Gardens was in the Parish of St Andrew, Holborn, outside the City of London.

The remaining five are all to be found in Farringdon Ward Without, outside the walls of the City of London, but part of it administratively. Whitefriars is, of course, Alsatia proper; Fuller’s Rents are to the west, in the Temple, between Fleet Street and Kings Bench Walk; Mitre Court and Ram Alley also in the Temple, Salisbury Court just a little way along to the east, before one reaches the Bridewell. The precise locations of these areas have still to be determined – modern street names are a very poor guide, and there have been numerous Mitre Places in London.

The wild sanctuaries then are all outside the City walls, even though there were a number of sanctuaries within them prior to the reformation (Saint Martin Le Grand for example). Around Whitefriars and the South Bank are where they are concentrated, and the Savoy is also close to the river. Baldwin’s Gardens looks quite anomalous geographically.

In following posts, I will discuss each of these places individually, and hopefully produce a map showing as clearly as possible their locations and extent.

I will put the full text of this law online eventually; until then, it can be read at British History Online, alas, without punctuation. This may also explain the taking of nicknames as separate places. Such statutes aren’t easy to read at the best of times, but really!