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1739 - Proceedings of the Old Bailey

Date 1739
Topic Man murders wife in Robin Hood Lane, Poplar
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Robin Hood Lane, Poplar.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-02-21. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-02-21.


[6 Dec. 1739:]
The following Account Edward Joines, (who murder'd his Wife) gave of himself, a few Days before he suffered.

I Was born of Parents, who, when they first came together, were worth 500 l. and lived in a very creditable Manner, in Cannon-street, in Ratcliffe-Highway, where I was born and brought up. At a proper Age I was put to School to Mr. John Turner, in Chamber-street, Goodman's-Fields, where I continued 5 Years, and then my Parents thought it Time for me to think of Business. They proposed putting me Apprentice to some substantial Trade, but I liked no Occupation but that of a Gardiner. Accordingly I was placed with one Joseph Cadman, of Tom-Turd's-Hole, near Ratcliffe-Highway, and with him I serv'd out my 7 Years Apprenticeship; after which I work'd Journey work, and soon got me a Wife, who was a Milk Woman, and the Widow of one who had been Foreman in our Gardens. She was my first Wife, with her I liv'd 23 Years very happily, and had 7 Children by her, all of whom are now dead.

After her Death I went to work at Bromley, and being likely to continue in Business there, I unfortunately went to the lower End of Poplar, to see for a Lodging nearer my Business, and happened to fix in the House of the Deceased, who was a Widow and had one Daughter. I had not liv'd above a Week in the House, before we grew so well acquainted, that we agreed not to make two Beds, and I was to pay half Charges. In this Manner we liv'd about a Year, and then she began to take too much upon her, and threatened to turn me out of the House. To prevent this, and to appease her, I proposed to marry her, thinking she then could not turn me out of Doors. She consented, and we were married about Twelvemonths ago at the Fleet; but after this she grew more and more uneasy, and whenever People ask'd her for Money she ow'd them, She bid them go to her Husband. I never had any great Inclination to marry her, but I thought the House would then be mine, and she would be more quiet and easy; and after I had once mention'd it, she worried me without Intermission till the Thing was done. Her Daughter was then out at Service ; but since the Death of her Mother she has liv'd in the House, and is now in Possession of all our Goods in Robin-Hood Lane, at the lower End of Poplar.

Whatever People may insinuate concerning my deceased Wife, I must own, that she was not addicted to Drinking, nor did she use to drink any Thing more than a Pint of good Beer twice a Day. She was a very industrious Pains-taking Woman, but had a most provoking Tongue, which she frequently made Use of in an outragious Manner, tho' I did all I could to please her, for her Daughter telling me she did not like her Service, I told her she might come Home and live with us, and I set her up with Five Shillings to buy Spirituous Liquors, which she sold in our House, and had the Profit to herself; but when she was once got in, I could not get her out again, and both she and my Wife thriv'd much upon it, for they after this could buy themselves fine Stockings and Shoes, while I was content with a Pair of Hole that which cost a Groat. But this I must say for them, that they would be content with a Bit of Bread and Cheese all Day together, that they might have a Bit of something hot against I come Home at Night from Work.

The Witnesses upon my Trial gave an Account of my Wife's having had me before her Death to a Justice of Peace, it was never but once, and it was upon this Occasion. She was standing before the Fire, and was saucy; I put my Foot behind her, and push'd her down in the Fire, and so she burnt her Arm; for this she had me before Mr. Justice Jones, and he asked her if she was willing to make up the Matter with me? She said, Yes; upon which the Justice advised me to go Home, and live well with her; so he discharged me, and we came Home together, and I drank two or three Pots of Beer with her and the Neighbours who went with her, by Way of Reconciliation, and we agreed to be good Friends together. This was but two or three Months before her Death.

And when this Accident happened to her, I was drinking at Mrs. Poor's,—the Sign of the White-Hart, over-against our House; and Mrs. Poor observing My Wife's Daughter to go Home with Beer, she said to me,—There's your Moll has been with one Pint of Beer already from another House, and now she's gone in with a full Pot.—I guess'd where the Girl fetch'd her Beer, and the Landlady of that House and I never could agree; so I told Mrs. Poor I would go over and throw the Beer down. Accordingly I ran over, and caught my Dame with the Beer in her Hand, just going to clap it to her Mouth; I struck at her to throw it down, and happened to catch hold of her Arm, which she had broke the Tuesday before (no longer ago) by a Fall at the Waterside as she was picking up Chips for Firing. She cry'd out, but I threw down the Beer notwithstanding her Out-cry, and then I went over to the Alehouse again, and my Dame went to the Doctor's to have her Arm set again. After this she grew pretty well again, and came up to our Garden for Half a Sieve of Cherries. One of our Men asked her how her Arm did? She told him it was better, and that she could stir her Fingers now. But on the Day after, she said, she was not well, and took her Bed, and the Day following she was very bad indeed, and sent for me from the Garden, and I asked her, if she had any Thing to lay to my Charge? She shook her Head, and said,—She would forgive me if the World would. The next Night she died, and in the Morning. I went to bespeak a Coffin for her; my Brother was with me, and would had me have ordered a Deal Coffin, but I bespoke an Elm one, and went away to my Work.

At Night, when I came Home, I found there was no Sand in the Shop, if Customers had come for any, so I went out to get some, and when I returned, I was taken by two or three Men, with a Warrant from Justice Jones, who carried me to the Sign of the Old Hog. I was afterwards examined by the Justice, and there the Witnesses against me gave an Account that I had frequently abused her, and turned her out into the Street. Indeed I have often told her of her Pedigree in the Street, and that she was an old Whore, and had been my Whore before I married her; for when I was in a Passion, I car'd not who heard he.

I never (I am sure) spent a Penny a Week, but what I brought Home and spent in the Neighbourhood. She was an old Slave,—that she was, and she used to get up betimes in the Morning, to go to Market, and always left me out a Dram to drink before I went out to Work. I don't know that ever I struck her with my Hands in my Life, but I have often thrown Things at her, because when I wanted to go out, she would hold the Door, and tell me,—If I killed her, I should not go out.

After my Wife was dead, the Parish would not suffer her to be put into the Coffin. I had bought, but buried her at their own Charge, and put my Wife's Daughter into the Possession of the House, but they sent me to Newgate, and she has never been once to see me since I have been in Goal.


Cells of Newgate, Dec. 6, 1739.[1]

Source notes

IRHB has silently regularized the use of spaces before punctuation marks in the quotation and corrected the HTML text at Proceedings of the Old Bailey from the PDF of the original printed edition.



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