British Executions

John Parkes

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Crime: forgery

Date Of Execution: 14 Mar 1748

Crime Location:

Execution Place: unknown

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown


Executed at Tyburn, March 14, 1748, for forging an order on a silversmith, for unwrought silver.

(A singular Case.)

   THIS malefactor was a native of Wrexham, in Denbighshire, and having been liberally educated, was apprenticed to a silversmith, with whom he served his time with a fair character, and then came to settle in London.

   After a residence of more than twenty years, during which he worked as a journeyman, he became distressed in circumstances, which induced him to think of having recourse to the following method of supplying his necessities.

   Having drawn a bill on Mr. Scott, a refiner in Love-lane, in the name of Mr. Brown, of Lombard-street, for one hundred ounces of silver, he carried it to the house of the former, who not being at home, an apprentice read the draft, and asked if Parkes was a silversmith, and for whom he worked. He told him for Mr. Robinson in Bond-street. The apprentice said, he was well acquainted with Mr. Robinson; but not knowing that his master dealt with Mr. Brown, begged that the bearer would call for an answer in the morning.

   Parkes now went home to bed, but reflecting that he could imitate Robinson's hand-writing, with which he was perfectly acquainted, he wrote a letter in his name to Mr. Scott, informing him that he would be answerable for Brown's credit, if any doubt was entertained of it; and begging that no disappointment might happen.

   Parkes had some idea of carrying this letter himself; but reflecting on the danger that might attend such a proceeding, he went into a public-house, near Cripplegate, and calling for a pint of beer, sent a porter with the letter, telling him to inform Mr. Scott, that he came from Mr. Robinson, of Bond-street; and to add, that the person who had been there the preceding day was taken ill. The porter was no sooner gone, than Parkes paid, for his beer and told the woman of the house, that if the porter brought any thing, he was to leave it at the bar.

   This being done he followed the porter, and observing him go into Mr. Scott's, he stopped in a dark passage till he saw him come out, and when he, was at a small distance from the house he followed him, and receiving the bag of silver, paid him for the porterage, and decamped with all expedition. He carried his ill-gotten booty to the house of an acquaintance near the Seven Dials, where he melted part of the silver, and spent the produce in the most extravagant manner.

   Being reduced to poverty, he melted the remainder of the silver, and mixing it with some copper; he offered it for sale to a refiner; who threatened to apprehend him for presenting adulterated silver; but the offender pretending that he had no intention of fraud, the refiner paid him the amount of the silver.

   Having thus escaped punishment for the first offence, he committed several other crimes of a similar nature, and at length that which cost him his life. Having forged a note in the name of Mr. Lamery, he carried it to a refiner in Oat-lane, named Froxhall, desiring that 200 ounces of silver might be delivered to the bearer. This note he delivered to Froxhall's apprentice, who carried it up stairs to his master, but first fastened the door, that Parkes might not escape. The, boy coming down soon, desired Parkes to sit down, and his master would wait on him.. He did so; and Mr. Froxhall coming down, asked, who wanted the silver. Parkes said, he did; on which he was desired to wait, and he should have it; but in the mean time the apprentice was sent for a constable, who conducted Parkes before the Lord Mayor, who committed him to Newgate.

   Being indicted at the next sessions at the Old Bailey, he was capitally convicted, and sentenced to die. After conviction, he exhibited signs of the utmost penitence, and sincerely lamented the past irregularities of his life. He behaved devoutly at the place of execution, and warned others to avoid those practices which brought him to a fatal end.