British Executions

Moll Raby

Age: unknown

Sex: female

Crime: murder

Date Of Execution: 3 Nov 1703

Crime Location:

Execution Place: unknown

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown



Who robbed many Houses, and was hanged at Tyburn on 3rd of November, 1703

 THIS offender had almost as many names as the fabulous hydra had heads. She was born in the parish of St Martin's-in-the-Fields, and took betimes to ill courses, in which she continued till her death. Madam Ogle was not more dexterous at bilking hackney coaches than Moll Raby at bilking her lodging, in which species of fraud her talent originally lay, and at which she had more success than at anything else she undertook.

 One of her adventures was at a house in Great Russell Street, by Bloomsbury Square, where, passing for a great heiress, who was obliged to leave the country by reason of the importunate troublesomeness of a great many suitors, she was entertained with all the civility imaginable. This seemingly honest creature, who was a saint without but a devil within, continued there about a fortnight to increase her character, making a very good appearance as to her habit, for she had a tallyman in every quarter of the town. One day, when all the family were absent except the maid, she desired her to call a porter, and gave him a sham bill, drawn on a banker in Lombard Street, for one hundred and fifty pounds, which she desired might be all in gold; but fearing such a quantity of money might be a temptation to make the porter dishonest, she privately requested the maid to go along with him, and she, in the meantime, would take care of the house. The poor maid, thinking no harm, went with the porter to Lombard Street, where they were stopped for a couple of cheats; but they alleging their innocence, and proving from whence they came, a messenger was sent home with them, who found it to be a trick put upon the servant to rob the house; for before she came back, Moll Raby had gone off with above eighty pounds in money, one hundred and sixty pounds worth of plate, and several other things of a considerable value. For offences of this nature she was thrice burned in the hand, after which she married one Humphry Jackson, a butcher, who was taught by her to leave off his trade and go upon the pad in the daytime, while she went upon the "buttock and twang" by night; which is picking up a cull or spark, whom, pretending she would not expose her face in a public-house, she takes into some dark alley, where she picks his fob or pocket of his watch or money, and giving a sort of "Ahem!" as a signal she has succeeded in her design, the fellow with whom she keeps company, blundering up in the dark, knocks down the gallant and carries of the prize.

 But after the death of this husband Moll turned arrant thief, and in the first exploit she then went upon she was like to come scurvily off. The adventure was this. Going upon the night sneak (as the phrase of these people is), she found a door half open in Downing Street, at Westminster, where, stealing softly upstairs into a great bedchamber, she hid herself under the bed. She had not been there above an hour before a couple of footmen brought candles into the room, whilst the maid , with great diligence, was laying the cloth for supper. The table being furnished with two or three dishes of meat, five or six persons sat down, besides the children that were in the house; which so affrighted Moll that she verily thought that if their voices and the noise of the children had not hindered them they might have heard her very joints smite one against another and the teeth chatter in her head. At length supper was ended, and not long after they all withdrew themselves; when Moll, coming from under the bed, wrapped the sheets up in a quilt, and sneaking downstairs made off the ground as fast as she could.

 Mary or Moll Raby, alias Rogers, alias Jackson, alias Brown, was at last condemned for a burglary committed in the house of Lady Cavendish, in Soho Square, the 3rd of March, 1703, upon the information of two villains —- namely, Arthur Chambers and Joseph Hatfield —- who made themselves evidences against her. At the place of execution at Tyburn, on Wednesday, the 3rd of November, 1703, she said she was thirty years of age, that she was well brought up at first, and knew good things, but did not practise them, having given herself up to all manner of wickedness and vice.