Court Records and Documents can be an amazing source of information. Some of it may be a tad scandalizing but still fun to find!
The Old Bailey Proceedings Online makes available a fully searchable, digitised collection of all surviving editions of the proceedings from 1674 to 1913. It allows access to over 197,000 trials and biographical details of approximately 2,500 men and women executed at Tyburn, free of charge for non-commercial use. http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/index.jsp
I did a quick search for one of my family names – Chancellor – just to see how the free search engine worked. Although I have no idea if these ‘Chancellors’ are my ‘Chancellors’ – here are two that come up…lol
65. John Tucker , was indicted for marrying Dorothy Chancellor , on the twenty fourth of November last, his former Wife Ann Beatrice Biatard being then living . Guilty . – April 16, 1735
From the 15th of May 1771- please note the ‘sentence’ at the end…
340. (M.) Robert Connor was indicted for stealing a silk purse, value 6 d. and three guineas in money, numbered, the property of Elizabeth Chancellor , in the dwelling house of the said Elizabeth , April 8 . *
Mrs. Chancellor. I live in Duke-street, St. James’s . I am a lace merchant : my warehouse is up one pair of stairs backwards. On the eighth of April I was sitting in my back parlour, with my little grand-daughter, who is about four years old, and Elizabeth Hampton , my journeywoman. I heard a single knock at the door about eight o’clock: I sentElizabeth Hampton down; she opened the door, and was running to give me the message. Before she came in, the prisoner at the bar rushed in; he moved his hat, and a black crape fell from under it over his face; he took a sword and pistol in his hand, and said, This is the suit of lace; you bitch, your money; I said, My money! he said, Give me your purse, or else you are a dead woman. I put my hand in my pocket for my purse: he held the pistol near my face: he said, D – n your blood, don’t trifle; I am a gentleman in disress; I want two hundred pounds. I told him I had no more money in the house: then he bid me pull off my coat, and turn my pockets out; and he put in his hands to rifle them: he found no more money.
Q. Now look upon the prisoner; recollect yourself well, and tell me if you can be sure as to his person?
Chancellor. Yes; I am sure that is the man that took my purse from me.
Q. This was eight at night, on the eighth of April: it was dark, I suppose?
Chancellor. I can’t tell; I had a candle in my parlour.
Q. You was frighten’d, I suppose?
Chancellor. Not. till he took out the pistol and sword, and dropped the crape; but he walked some way into the room before he let down the crape.
Q. You saw him as he came from the door?
Q. You say he rushed forwards?
Chancellor. Yes; he must be sometime a coming.
Q. Had you half a minute’s time to look at him?
Chancellor. Yes; more than that, to be sure.
Q. Had you ever seen him before?
Chancellor. I cannot tell.
Q. How soon did you see him after the robbery?
Chancellor. Upon Wednesday, at Sir John Fieldings .
Q. Did you know him at first?
Chancellor. Yes; as soon as ever I saw his face.
Q. How was he dressed when he came to your house?
Chancellor. In a sort of surtout coat, like that Moran had at Sir John Fielding ‘s.
Q. Had he a laced hat on?
Chancellor. I can’t tell; I was terrified when the child cried.
Q. You say you was frightened?
Chancellor. Not till I saw the black come over his face; and that must frighten a woman; very likely it would frighten a man.
Q. from the prisoner. Whether before Sir John Fielding you did not say you could swear to my eyes through the crape, and the stoop in my shoulders?
Chancellor. I swore to his face; that I knew it before he let fall the crape.
Q. Did you or not say before Sir John Fielding , you could swear to his eyes through the crape?
Chancellor. I do not remember them little things; I said I could swear to the man?
Q. Perhaps you said before Sir John Fielding you could swear to his eyes through the crape?
Chancellor. I might say I could see his eyes through the crape.
Q. Could you from seeing him with the crape on in your room, swear to his eyes?
Chancellor. No; I swear to nothing with the crape on; I swear to him before.
Court. You never pretended to say before Sir John Fielding that your knowledge of him was through the crape?
Barnard Faulke , Esq; I am consul for the King of Denmark. I reside at Falmouth; I have known him about twenty months; he has done business for me. I always found him very honest.
Nicholas Clark . I am a victualler. I have known him five or six months; he used my house, he always behaved very civil and well.
John Rashley . I keep a house and let lodgings, the prisoner lodged with me this last five or six months; he has bore a good character.
John Randal . I am a taylor. I have known him twenty one months, he has a good character.
Robert Morrison . I am a victualler. I have known him four years; I never heard any thing of him but a good character.
I was drawn in to commit the robbery by the accomplice.
Guilty , Death .
I love helping.