Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports compiled by Rictor Norton


7-10 January 1699   We hear, that a gang of no less than 18 house-breakers are now in Salisbury Goal, who have robbed several houses, and attempted others.
          Last week some Watch-men belonging to Aldgate-Ward were comitted to Newgate, for attempting to rob a house there; and we hear that some of them incline to discover the whole gang. (The Flying Post)

Monday 5 October 1724   Last Friday night died in the Goal of Newage Joseph Hatfield. He was the oldest house-breaker in England, was an evidence against the famous Moll Raby, executed at Tyburn on the 24th of November 1703, had been himself twice condemn’d for burglary, and, about the latter end of last August, was committed to Newgate for breaking and entering the house of Mr Appleby in Charter-House-Square, in the night-time, with intent to commit felony. (The Daily Journal)

2 July 1725   Tuesday night the house of one Mrs. Fell, a tripe woman in Field-Lane was broke open by a rogue that formerly lived in her service; the noise he made awaken’d her then servant that lay below stairs, whom he thought presently to have dispatch’d; but the fellow prov’d a Bite upon the house-breaker, for he, in attempting to cut his throat, clapp’d the knife up too high; so that after he had given him a wound, it came between his teeth, where the poor fellow held it so fast, that the rogue, with all the strength he had, could not get it from thence; and after some struggling, was obliged to yield himself a prisoner: He was, the next day, committed to New-Prison. [Mist’s Weekly Journal]

1 August 1748   Early on Tuesday morning last some rogues broke open the house of Mr Berry in Bolt Court in Fleet-street, and stole from thence a large quantity of plate, money, and wearing apparel. They got in by wrenching the bars off the cellar window. This makes the sixth or seventh robbery committed in the Courts in that neighbourhood, within a short time. – It is surprizing that the inhabitants do not prevent such mischief, which might be done, by keeping, at a joint expence, two stout supernumerous Watchmen, to patrole through the Courts all night. (The General Advertiser)

(Texts have been modernized with regard to capitalization, italicization, and punctuation, but original spelling has been retained. This edition copyright Rictor Norton. All rights reserved. Reproduction for sale or profit prohibited. These extracts may not be archived, republished or redistributed without the permission of the compiler.)

CITATION: Rictor Norton, Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports: A Sourcebook, "Housebreakers", 1 January 2006 <http://grubstreet.rictornorton.co.uk/burglary.htm>

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