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1762 - Proceedings of the Old Bailey (2)

Record
Date 1762
Topic The Robin Hood, Charles II Street, near St James's Place, figures in case concerning deception and forgery
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Site of the Robin Hood, Charles II Street.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-06-22. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-06-21.

Record

[20 Oct. 1762:]
Heusch. This was on the 10th of December, the first time that I saw him after his father-in-law's death. Immediately after that, citations were served. It rested for some time, to, I believe, the 22d of last June. Mr. Bellas's clerk sent a person to our house to let us know, two witnesses had been in the commons and examined on the execution of this will. I I went to Mr. Bellas's to know who they were, which I found to be the prisoner Biddle and Hannah Frankland, and that the attorney concerned was Sparry. I found Frankland had been a servant to Sparry, but then resided with one Thomas Morvil in Blackfriars. Then I went to Mr. Bellas's to get his clerk to see Frankland, to know whether she was the same woman, that had been in the commons; he said, she was the very same person. After that, I and Mr. Hamlen went to Greenwich, and took Sparry in an alehouse, and brought him to town; it was very cold weather; we came up by water, and went to a tavern and dined. I do not now recollect whether it was in the boat or in the tavern, but he declared to us that very day, that Farr was taken by Oliver, who was going to carry him to the Marshalsea-prison, at the suit of Mountstephens, that then he should have given us notice that we might have taken him up, and he believed it to be a'bad affair, and if I would admit him a witness, he would give me all the assistance in his power; he said, Farr brought him a draught of an old man's will, (I will not be sure to the time when he said he brought it) and desired him to dictate a will to him for his father-in-law. That Farr told him, that the testator had an utter aversion to a lawyer making a will; and that he, at Farr's request, dictated a will, which Farr wrote; I think he said this was at the King's head in Broad St. Gile's, that after the will had been wrote by Farr at that house, he went with him to the next house, called the Robin-hood, at Farr's request, in Charles-street; that Farr desired him to wait there, while he went in to the testator his father-in-law, and upon Farr's not returning immediately, he went away; nor was he at the execution of the will; and that it was the same will that was produced in the commons. As we were in Guildhall-yard, just before we went before Mr. Alderman Blunt, I said to him, As you say you are innocent of this affair, I should be glad to know who wrote the will? He said, as Mr. Farr wrote the body of the will, you may easily guess who wrote the name; he likewise declared, he did intend to let us into the secret, and did send his brother once or twice to have given information; that he had a letter wrote by Mountstephens, which he said was either two or three sheets of paper, and Mountstephens had no concern in the affair, and desired to know if I had any thing against Mountstephens; I told him, I had not, and that instead of desiring Mountstephens to keep out of the way, I desired him to get him to come to me, that I might know what he had to say on that affair. [...]

Q. Do you remember what conversation you had with him?

Hamlen. I do. After we took him we had him before a magistrate. The magistrate ordered us to take him to London: he was a little obstinate at first, and wanted to go home; but the constable said, he should go before a magistrate. We brought him from the magistrate's by water to London. Coming along, he said, he had no occasion to come to London to throw himself into our hands; that he had kept at Greenwich some time, and if we had sent to him he would have surrendered: and if we had not come down to day he intended to have surrendered himself; that he knew the will to be a forged thing himself, and that he dictated the will at a public house in St. Giles's and Farr wrote the will; he said, Mr. Farr said to him, I should be obliged to you if you will do this thing for me, because my father-in-law always said no lawyer should make his will; and that he dictated it, and Farr wrote it; then they went to the Robin Hood, and there, at Mr. Farr's request, he staid some time, in order for Farr's coming back to let him know whether his father-in-law was ready for him to come to be a witness to the will; finding him not coming immediately, he went away; he said several times, he was concerned for Mr. Farr in such an affair, and that Farr had such an estate left him by his father-in-law, a taylor in Charles's square, and he was going to mortgage an estate which Mr. Farr had at Crookhorn, in order to carry on this affair, and he had no manner of doubt but they should succeed. And coming along, and afterwards at the Queen's Head in Tower street, on Tower-hill, where we dined, he mentioned it; and there he begged we would admit him an evidence, and he would give us all the assistance he possibly could; that he knew it to be a forgery, and had several papers relating to this will, and if we would call at the Counter in a day or two after, he would deliver the papers up to us. While coming by water, he several times said, he knew the thing was forged. We asked him, if he knew who signed the name Jeffery Henvill? Said he, Mr. Farr wrote the body, and who do you think signed the name? He said, he hoped we would be as favourable as we could to him, and he hoped we would not take up Mr. Mountstephens: he said, he had a letter from him as long as my arm, wherein he sets forth the thing; and said, he as well as myself knows it to be a forgery. He said, Mr. Farr had given him a note of 50 l. and he was to make out a bill of cost for the business he had done to that amount.[1]

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IRHB's brackets. 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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