Date Of Execution: 17 May 1716
Execution Place: unknown
William White , Thomas Thurland , and John Chapman , of the Parish of St. Andrew Holborn , were arraigned for assaulting John Knapp , Gent . on the Highway, and robbing him of a Hat, value 1 s. and a Peruke, value 3 s. on the 31st of March last.
They were arraigned a second time, William White for the Murder of Mary Knapp , Widow, by giving her a Mortal Wound with a Bullet in the left Cheek near the Eye, of which she instantly died; and the other two for aiding and assisting in the said Murder . Also on the Coroner's Inquest for the same.
William White , Thomas Thurland and John Chapman , were a third time arraign'd for an Assault on the King's Highway, on the Person of John Gough , and robbing him of a Brown Gelding, value 5 l. one Fustian Frock,5 s.2 Pair of Silver Buttons,1 pair of Silver Buckles, and other Goods .
James Russell and William White ; were arraign'd for breaking (with Timothy Dunn not taken) the Dwelling-house of George Barkley , and stealing, thence 4 Gold Rings,2 Stuff Coats,6 Handkerchiefs,1 Sattin Gown, 1 Pair of Stays, 4 Guineas, and Several sorts of other rich Goods , on the 1st of April last; and Deborah Stent as Accessory to the Fact, in receiving the same, knowing them to be stole .
To all which Arraignments, White and Thurland refus'd to plead, but stood obstinately without speaking or holding up their Hands; upon Which the Court read the Law to them, by virtue of which their two Thumbs were tied together with Whipcord, and drawn by the whole Force of two Men, each above a Quarter of an Hour, which having no Effect upon their, contumacious Humour, Sentence was pass'd upon on them to be press'd to Death according to Law but when they saw Death so near and terrible they relax'd, and pleaded Not Guilty to each Indictment. Then they challeng'd all the old Jury, and a new one being sworn, the Jurors Names were, as followeth
John Mills , Gent.
Benjamin Chapman .
Then they were all indicted as above; and the Witnesses being called to the first and second indictments, Mr. Knapp swore, That a Gentleman who had made his Mother a Visit a few Days before, among other things in Conversation, was pleas'd to express himself very well satisfied with the Diversion he met with at Sadler's Wells; upon which she, was very desirous to see it, and on the Evening which prov'd so fatal they both went there together and perceiving his Mother inclin'd to stay, he went to the Bar and ask'd them if they could provide him a Link, which they did, and he and his Mother staid till 10 a Clock and then he lighted it, and went away with her without meeting any Accident till they came within 40 Yards of the Houses, where they first met a Soldier, who prov'd 2 very honest Fellow, but they did not like him; and in an Instant of Time his Link was blown out, his Hat and Wigg taken off, and he himself beat down to the Ground; which made his Mother scream out, upon which one of them fir'd a Pistol close by him, and immediately he heard his Mother say, Lord, help me, help me; and then the Rogues fled. Then he went immediately to the Houses for Help, and the Soldier came to his Assistance, and having a Light, he found his Mother upon the Ground dead. This Evidence as far as it concern'd the Action was confirm'd by Isaac Ragg (one of the Gang) and the Soldier, but Ragg swore, That when they (himself and the Prisoners) came back to drink together, they all pull'd out their Pistols, having each a Brace to examine, who had discharg'd and they found that the Prisoner White had discharg'd one of his; and being ask'd the Reason of it, he said he did it to frighten the Woman and make her hold, her Tongue, which she did immediately, Who confess'd he shot the Woman to another; but said he did not intend it, but only sir'd to frighten her. This was done by Grass-Inn Garden-Wall . There were several others who saw Mrs. Knapp lie dead. The other Prisoners Thurland and Chapman were sworn by Ragg to be concern'd in the Murder and Robbery, which neither of them could deny upon Trial. The Jury found them all Guilty of both Indictments .
Then the Witnesses were sworn to the Indictment of the Assault and Robbery of Mr. Gough, committed by the aforesaid Prisoners; and Mr. Gough depos'd they robb'd him; between Holloway and the Half Way-House , took away his Horse and all his Cloths. That Thurland took his Breeches off; That he was bound and thrown into a Field, without any thing to comfort him but Promises of more Company; Which was also confirm'd by Isaac Ragg, who swore, That White and Chapman, and two more (Timothy Dunn and William Parker ) not taken, were concern'd with him in the Fact. The Jury found them all Guilty of this Indictment .
Then came on the Trial of Russel, White and Stent, for the Burglary in breaking the House of Mr. Barkley and receiving the stol'n Goods. Mr. Barkley depos'd, his House was broke and the Goods, stole; and Ragg swore he was concern'd in it with the Prisoners and Timothy Dunn , That they watch'd Mrs. Burkley's going out with some Linnen.(as she used to do about that Time) to a Member of Parliament, and forc'd open the Door; That two said (at the Door, while the other two went in and took away the Goods, which) they sold to Stent, as they had done others several times before, using the Expression which they had stole for Her. There was a Chissel and a Bayonet left in the Room; which Bayonet Mrs. Barkley was inform'd by some Mark belong'd to the First Regiment of Foot Guards, by which means and the help of a Serjeant, she discover'd Russel, who discover'd Stent, and her, House being Search'd, some of the Prosecutor's Goods were found there. Stent denied she knew them to be stole, the rest said nothing. The Jury found them all Guilty of the Indictment.
Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 10 October 2011), May 1716, trial of William White Thomas Thurland John Chapman James Russell Deborah Stent (t17160517-41).