British Executions

Thomas Winchurst

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 11 Jan 1717

Crime Location:

Execution Place: unknown

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown


Johnson Burdet , and Thomas Winchurst , of the Parish of St. Giles in the Fields , Gentlemen , were indicted, the former for an Assault and Murder committed on the Body of Robert Faulkner , Esq ; on the 30th of December last, by giving him a Mortal Wound with a Sword value 5 s. on the Right side of his Body, near the Right Pap, of the Breadth of half an Inch and the Depth of 12 Inches, of which he instantly died: And the latter for an Assault and Aiding and Abetting in that Murder .

They were a Second time indicted on the Coroner's Inquest for the same.

They were likewise indicted a Third time upon the Statue of Stabbing for the same.

Kelson, Shaw, and Calson, three Watchmen, depos'd, That on the 30th of December last, at about 11 a Clock at Night, they going to enquire for their Master, the Constable, met the Prisoners in Drury-Lane in Company with one Mr. Moor, not yet taken, who seem'd to be in a very quarrelsom Humour; and that Mr. Moor said to them, What are you the Walking Watch? They reply'd, We are the Watch. He answer'd G - d d - mn you, You'll dance all Day long after a Gentleman to get a Pint of Drink of him. One of them replying, We ask nothing of you, Sir; he return'd, G - d d - mn you, if you did, I would sooner give you the Point of my Sword in your Guts shan Three Halfpence, and I would kill a Dozen of you for that Many, or Words to that Effect; upon which Mr. Winchurst reply'd, so would be too if he had a Sword. They thinking them bent upon Mischief,

(having taken Notice of some of them before for such Enterprizes) to avoid a Fray turned away from them, going down Colson's Court to seek for the Constable at the Horseshoe-Tavern; where they did not find him, but found a Chair standing at the Door, and the Deceas'd coming out of the Tavern and a Woman with him Arm in Arm. That the Woman persuaded the Deceas'd to let the Watchman light him, to which he consented, saying he would give him something when he came to the Place where they were to go; whereupon the Watchman lighted him along. They met the Prisoners in Holford's Alley leaning their Heads against the Wall as if they had been Vomiting, and that presently Mr. Winchurst turned to the Deceas'd and the Woman, as did also Mr.Bardet, and both of them jostled the Deceas'd and Woman very rudely, Winchurst making use of very bawdy obscene Language: To which the Deceas'd made no other Return, but Fie! Gentlemen, what do you mean? Why are you so uncivil? Why do you affront me and my Wife? and such like Language. And that without any other Prevocation, Mr. Winchurst cry'd out, Draw, Burder, draw, G - d d - n you, Burdet, draw, urging him so to do. And Mr. Burdet not drawing so soon as he would have had him, he made two Offers to draw Mr.Burdet's Sword; but Burdet having his Hand upon the Hilt of his Sword, did not permit him, but immediately drew it himself, presenting the Point two or three times toward the Deceas'd; who feeing Burdet's Sword drawn, also drew his Sword, and endeavour'd to put himself in a Posture of Defence as well as his present unhappy Condition would permit: Whereupon Burdet retreated 2 or 3 Yards back, flourishing his Sword, and then advanced with great Fury, running upon the Deceas'd, thrust him quite through the Body, bore him down backwards, and fell upon him, receiving at the same time a Wound on the Right side of his Chin by the Point of the Deceased's Sword.

John Wilson , Drawer at the Horseshoe-Tavern, depos'd, that the Deceased came some time before thither with one Mary Lewis, being very much in Drink when he came in, and having had Three Pints of Wine, they were for going away, and that a Coach was call'd, but none coming, they had provided a Chair, which stood ready at the Door: That the Deceas'd and Mrs. Lewis going away while he had the Candle and Reckoning in his Hand, his Mistress perceiving that the Captain going out did not take the Chair that waited for him, but went with the Woman, she sent him immediately after him, least (as she said) he should come to some loss by her. He with the Candle and Money in his Hands stept immediately to the Door, askt the Chairmen how it came about they did not carry the Captain home: who reply'd, they did ply him, but he refus'd them; whereupon he did them follow immediately, for he should be carried by them. He went as fast as he could, they following him, and when they were come near them they perceiv'd Mr.Burdet run violently upon the Captain, bearing him down backwards and falling upon him, and that they took him from off the Deceased, taking up the Deceased also, and setting him up against the Wall, who stood about the space of a Minute, and then fell down; That they open'd his Breast but could not see the Wound; but carrying him into the Tavern soon found where 'twas, and sent immediately for a Surgeon, but before he could come he was dead; the Prisoners first being apprehended by the Watchmen, Chairmen and himself. There were other Evidences, as Mary Lewis, the Woman who was with the Deceased, and several others who looked out at their Windows, and saw the Action, who corroborated the aforesaid Depositions in many of the material Circumstances relating to the Fact. Johnson Burdet pleaded in his Defence, That he thought the Deceased's Sword was drawn when he drew his; and that he had no Malice against the Deceased, having never seen him in his Life, Winchurst pleaded that they had been drinking, and very much in Drink as well as the Deceased; and that the Alley was narrow, and that so they might jostle one another by chance, and that they did not do so designedly: He likewise insulted upon it that he had neither Sword nor Stick, nor had any Malice against the Deceas'd, he being a Stranger to him. He pleaded likewise, that he would have prevented the Mischief, crying out, Sieze their Swords, Sieze their Swords, which the Watch acknowledged; but at the same time depos'd, that he did not do so till he saw the Deceas'd kill'd. And was the principal Cause of his being kill'd, in being the first Beginner in the Fray, and the most violent Promoter of this Disaster. And as to that Plea of not having any Malice against the Deceased, they were answer'd by the Lord Chief Baron Bury, and Mr. Justice Pratt, That those Persons who went upon such Adventures, first to pick Quarrels with peaceable Persons they met, and unknown to them too, and afterwards kill them, had Malice against all Mankind. They called some Persons to their Reputation, who indeed had so little to say for them, that the Jury considering the Barbarity and Inhumanity of the Crime, found them both Guilty of all three Indictments.

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 6.0, 10 October 2011), January 1717, trial of Johnson Burdet Thomas Winchurst (t17170111-21).