Crime in Twickenham 1717-1880
The Proceedings at the Old Bailey 1674-1919
The Old Bailey during this period was not the building seen today, which dates from 1902 and built on the site of Newgate Prison. The Court originated as the sessions house of the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs of the City of London and Middlesex. Middlesex, of course, included Twickenham. Its earliest mention is in 1585. Built, first, as a small adjunct to Old Newgate Prison, it burnt down in 1666 and was rebuilt in 1674 when the records which are summarised here commence. It was refronted in 1734, rebuilt in 1774 and, in 1824 a second courtroom was added. In 1834 its jurisdiction was extended to cover the whole kingdom.
The earliest reference at the Old Bailey to crime in Twickenham is for 1720. Many of the cases recorded could actually have been settled locally by the magistrates at Brentford.
The chronological abstracts listed below are, in most cases, only summaries of the full texts which may be consulted at www.oldbaileyonline.org
A number of Beer Shops and Public Houses were associated directly, or indirectly, with crimes. These are listed below, for interest:
The Three Tuns
The Queen’s Arms
The King’s Head
The Red Lion
The Horse and Groom
The Rising Sun (now the Marble Hill)
The Eight Bells
The Sign of the Hit or Miss on the Common
The White Horse beer shop, Richmond Road
The Black Dog
The Swan Inn
The Pack Horse at the entrance to Twickenham Green
The Mulberry Public House
The Railway Hotel
The Five Oaks on Twickenham Common
The Alma Tavern
Summaries of the cases
7 December 1720. John Meakins indicted for stealing 7 trusses of hay “while it lay in the Marshes at Twickenham”, the property of the Countess of Westmorland. Guilty: Transportation.
The Countess lived at Copt Hall, to the north of Heath Road. She was Dorothy Brudenell, widow of Robert Constable, 3rd Viscount Dunbar, and previously widow of Charles Fane, 3rd Earl of Westmorland, reassuming that title on his death. The Marshes, then so-called, consisted of land lying between Twickenham and Whitton through which ran the Crane River.
7 September 1722. “William Chunn indicted for the murder of Silas Ping, by giving him, with a Staff, a mortal wound near the left Ear, of which he instantly died . He was a 2d time indicted on the Coroner's Inquisition for Manslaughter. Thomas Brown depos'd that about 2 in the Morning (the Moon shining) as himself with a Flail, the Deceased with a Hedge Stake, and John Screen , since absented, were walking 160 Yards from Twittenham Warren , the prisoner came up with a Quarter Staff, and knock'd the Deceased down, whereupon the other two run away, and left the Deceased; That they had three Dogs with them. Mr. Perkins, the Surgeon, depos'd, that about One in the Morning the prisoner call'd him up to take care of the Deceas'd; but when he came be found him dead. That he opened the Head, and saw the Skull broke, which was the cause of his death. Not far from the prisoner, he found a Cony newly kill'd. Mary Steward , the prisoner's Witness, depos'd, that she saw 3 Men advance toward the prisoner, who askt then what they were at. That she ran back to call assistance, and before she got in, heard the prisoner cry. Mr. Turner, come help me. She heard the Dogs bark, and Sticks rattle. Mr. Turner deposed, on Mary's crying out, he hastended to the prisoner; that the Deceased was lying by him. They asked him why he came there, he said in was the first time, and begged their pardon. Mrs. Cunningham confirmed the same. John Chun deposed, that following his Father with a Gun, he saw the Dogs fall on his Father, and the Men Strike at him, before he struck at either of them. He askt his Father if he should shoot the Dogs, who said, No. run away; that the Deceased struck at his Father, and his Father knock'd him down.
It appearing Se defendendo, the Jury acquitted him, and the Court ordered Brown into Custody.”
12 August 1724. John and Mary Armstrong indicted for passing off copper forgeries as sixpence pieces on the “People of the Town of Twickenham”.
Each fined 3 Marks.
17 October 1727. Stephen Eades indicted for stealing a man-trap out of the gardens of Mr James Johnston, set to catch thieves, and throwing it in the river, clamped to a boat (he being a waterman). Also for stealing “36 peaches and some apricocks” from the garden.
Guilty: fined 20 nobles.
James Johnston owned this property, later known as Orleans House. His gardens were noted for their fruit trees.
14 May 1741. Timothy Hall the Younger (with Timothy Hall the elder, not taken) indicted for assaulting James Hedger (a gardener, and said to have been in liquor) and taking from him a watch….mention of the Red Lion and The Sign of the Hit or Miss on Twickenham Common, kept by Solomon Wiseman.
December 1752. Edward Davis indicted for violent theft. An incident at the end of Whitton Lane where it joins London road involving staff employed in the nursery of John Spires, nearby. Mary Eager and Rebecca Page, in a one-horse chaise claimed they were threatened with a pistol and robbed. Drury Brown, James Higgins, Henry Rummel and Watt Cheshire were called from Spires’ house and apprehended the accused.
Spires (usually Spyers) lived at this time in or next door to Grosvenor House, in Grosvenor Road. His nursery extended north to the Heatham House estate which straddled the Crane River
16 January 1755. Thomas Ash indicted for violent robbery. “Mary Whitchurch: On the 23d of November I had been from Twickenham to Bushy-park in a chariot, my lady Ferrers was with me; we returned from thence about one o'clock, and met two men on horseback in Teddington parish, immediately the chariot stopped as they came up to us, one of the men came on my side, and said, Make haste…..William Parprit . I am footman to Mr. Whitchurch, and was behind the chariot on the 23d of November, there was my lady Ferrers with my lady at that time in it. I believe it was about twelve o'clock when we set out; we went to Bushey-park for an airing, in our return in the parish of Teddington, the prisoner and another person, each on horseback, came up and bid us stop, the prisoner came on my lady Ferrer's side, he put a pistol into the chariot and demanded her money, I saw my lady Ferrers put her hand out and give him something; the person on the other side desired my lady not to be affrighted, saying he would not hurt them; that person had a short pistol; as soon as they had got the money they rode off.” Acquitted
Mary Whitchurch was the wife of James, at that time the owner of York House. Lady Ferrers, widow of Sir Robert Shirley,1st Earl Ferrers, lived at Heath Lane Lodge.
14 July 1756. John Edgerton Saint indicted for assaulting the Earl of Radnor with a pistol. “John Haines . I live at Twickenham with the earl of Radnor. On the fourth of June, a little before eleven o'clock in the forenoon, the prisoner at the bar came to the house, and asked if my lord Radnor was at home. I told him he was, but that he had been very ill all night, and was not stirring saying, Sir, if you are going further, and will please to call again in an hour time, he will perhaps be stirring then. Sir, said he, I am going as far as Teddington, and will call again. I gave orders to the other servant, if such a person called, to shew him the way into the parlour, and go up and let my lord know (I having told him of the person's calling after he was up which when he called the footman accordingly did. My lord said to him, Go down and tell him I will wait on him immediately. My lord went down, and I follow'd him. The first word that passed when my lord got into the parlour was. Your servant. Your servant, said my lord. Said the prisoner, you have a very pretty place here…..My lord next said, a very small place; pray. Sir, sit down on this side me, because I am a little thick of hearing. The prisoner said, are you deaf, my lord? My lord said, a little. Then he said, I will not detain you any more. I must have your money immediately; this is my business with your lordship, and if you don't give me your money immediately, I'll shoot you thro' the body, or head (I am not certain which) my pistol is loaded with white powder, it will make no report.”
“John Martin . I am gardener to my lord Radnor. My son came to me in the garden, and told me there was a great disturbance in the house, for a Man was robbing his lordship. I ran to the house as fast as I could, and to his lordship's room, when his lordship ordered, me to go back and call Mr. Wyne, a neighbouring, gentlemen that lived just at the back, of the garden, who is a great acquaintance of his lordship's. When I came back the prisoner was tied with his hands behind
Guilty, transported for 7 years.
John Haines was Radnor’s butler. The Earl was then in the last year of his life. John Wynde lived in a property in Back Lane (now Radnor Road), of which the stables survive as Radnor Lodge.
13 July 1757. John Graham indicted for stealing fish from ponds on Twickenham Common and other places including the Earl of Bath & Lord Vere’s ponds at Hanworth.
9 September 1767. John Cooper indicted for highway robbery.
Sarah Holland: “I am wife to George Holland; on the 12th of August we had been out an airing, going back to Twickenham we were stopt about thirty yards on this side Mr. Whitefield's chapel, near Strawberry hill ; there were two ladies in the coach with me, I sat backwards, I heard somebody call, Stop, stop; the coachman did not stop; then a man rode up to him, and bid him stop, or he would blow his brains out; he did; then the man rode up to us, and desired us to deliver our purses, which we did; he had a pistol in his hand; I desired him not to put it to the coach; he said he would not hurt a hair of our heads, and behaved very civil to us John Gilbert . I am coachman to Mr. Nobbs of Twickenham; I was out with the coach; coming home by Strawberry hill.” Samuel Prosser : “I am footman to Mr. Nobbs; I was on horseback; just as we came into the common field near Strawberry hill, a man on a bay horse came riding up; then he turned back, and met a man on a gray horse; they came up almost a broad side me, and followed us about 200 yards “
Thomas Nobbs lived at Cross Deep Lodge between 1757 and 1771 when he moved to the Old Court House at Hampton Court.
11 September 1771. Daniel Wells was indicted for stealing one feather-bed, value 5s. the property of the Duchess of Newcastle at Twickenham Park.
29 April 1772. Edward Bransgrove indicted for the theft of sheep owned by James Clitherow of Brentford. He sold them to Samuel Davis of Twickenham: “I am a butcher at Twickenham; about the 26th or 27th of April, 1771, I bought four lambs and four ewes of the prisoner.” Guilty: Death.
3 June 1789. John Bridgewater indicted for the theft of lead from a cistern in the garden of the Right Honourable Mr Welbore Ellis. The lead was missed by Thomas Carroll, gardener to Mr Ellis and part found in Mr Tolley’s shop the following day.
Guilty: Transported 7 years.
William Tolley was a grocer. He lived in a house later known as Briar House in Colne Road, Twickenham. Welbore Ellis was the owner then of the Pope’s Villa estate.
13 January 1796. Philip Parry & Thomas Thompson indicted for violent theft and highway robbery. This was in the land later Crown Road, near The Crown Public House. Edward Chapman, bricklayer, builder and magistrate came on the scene. He followed the two men through Twickenham, past Strawberry Hill. One of them was struck off his horse as the woman keeping the parish gate (of Teddington?) closed it; the other continued and was apprehended in Teddington. A dramatic story related by Chapman.
17 February 1796. William Mobbs and William Bateman indicted for the theft of 600lb of saltpetre over a period of 8 months from the Powder Mills of Mr Edmund Hill as attested by William Godan, the property of the king.
Guilty: transported for 14 years
2 April 1800. John Hanson indicted for stealing six hens and a cock from Mrs Elizabeth Vaughan of Montpelier Row.
Guilty: transported for 7 years.
28 October 1801. William Rolls and Abraham-Joseph Hammerton indicted for theft of a hempen sack and 4 bushels of barley from John Cook, brewer and malster.
Guilty: transported for 7 years (the sentence was subsequently rescinded on appeal).
3 April 1811. John Kent indicted for stealing four deal boards and two pieces of mahogany the property of George Robert Holmes.
Guilty: 2 years in the house of correction & fined 1s.
18 September 1816, William Slade indicted for stealing a carpet, value 10/- from Charles Augustus Tulk, at Marble Hall (sic).
Guilty: confined 2 months and fined 1/-.
13 January 1819. Thomas Webb indicted for stealing two cows, the property of the Earl of Waldegrave.
Guilty: Death, aged 22.
26 May 1819. Daniel Godliman indicted for the theft of shirts, pledged to Daniel Scurr, pawnbroker of Twickeham.
Guilty: 3 months and whipped, aged 18.
7 April 1824. Stephen Beeks indicted for theft of, inter alia, a pair of breeches which he tried to pawn at Mrs Scurr’s.
9 April 1823. John Smith indicted for the theft of 5 lambs, the property of Thomas Canham. Canham owned a farm, probably somewhere to the west of Twickenham, together with a flock of sheep. Smith was his shepherd. Canham (d1825) lived at Heath Lane Lodge with his wife Margaret (d1837) who had inherited the lease of the property from Isaac Swainson.
7 April 1824. John Philpott indicted for stealing 8cwt and 100lbs of lead valued at £5-10s from the premises of Thomas Dickanson Esq.
Guilty: transported for 7 years.
15 July 1824. George Grimshaw indicted for stealing 400lbs of lead the property of Thomas Dickanson.
Guilty: transported 7 years
Thomas Dickason was the tenant or owner of Fulwell Lodge at this time.
6 April 1826. Charles Hutton, James Hancock and John Taylor indicted for the theft of lead from the roof of the lodge at Heath Lane Lodge, the property of Mrs Margaret Canhem, widow.
5 January 1832. Benjamin Seth indicted for housebreaking. See next.
5 April 1832. John Davis indicted for housebreaking. This was the house in Sion Row owned by Charlotte Cole, a friend of Zachary Allnutt, where she had lived for 22 years.
3 January 1833. Robert Howard indicted for the theft of three fowls, the property of Sir Wathen Waller.
Guilty: 3 months detention.
Sir Wathen Waller was the husband of Baroness Howe, owner of the Pope’s Villa estate.
4 April 1836. William Sanderson indicted for the theft of a coach horse, the property of Mrs Mary Ann Davies of Little Strawberry Hill. “It was a bit of a roarer” said her son-in-law, Joseph Frank Thomson.
Guilty: transported for life.
20 August 1849. Martin Hansill indicted for assisting Sarah Mills in writing letters to Henry Bevan demanding money. Henry Bevan lived at Cambridge Park from about 1835 until his death in 1860. Sarah Mills claimed to have lived at The Lawn, in Cross Deep.
Guilty: confined 6 months.
13 Jamuary 1854. Louisa West, Eliza Cranstone & William West indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling of Dame Amelia Shaw. The house was known as Willow Cottage, on the Hampton Road, behind the Congregational Church in First Cross Road. William West was a pupil at the school she had founded there.
West guilty, aged 17. Cranstone not guilty
12 June 1854. Daniel Bunce was indicted for killing and slaying Susan Ginman.
An event near The Rising Sun Inn:
18 September 1854. 1026. Frederick Bittle (a soldier), stealing 1 quart of beer, the goods of William Muff, the owner of a beer shop in Twickenham.
(to be continued)