William JULIUS 
- Born: 12 Nov 1726, St Kitts (Reg In London)
- Marriage: Jane Smith EDWARDS  about 1753 in Recorded In London
- Died: 18 Feb 1780, London. at age 53
- Buried: 22 Feb 1780, St Paul Covent Garden
Another name for William was William John.
Florence Stevens nee Julius, an early researcher of the family history wrote:
William first managed then inherited the family sugar estate "Killiekrankie" on St Kitts, (however his wife's death notice describes William as "of Mansion Estate St Christopher's") where he lived until about 1779, then at Cavendish Sq London. He was considered one of the proudest and most extravagant men in England, who never rode out without his coach and four with out-riders, and fully living up to his income of L7,000 per annum.
A close personal friend of British Foreign Secretary Charles James Fox (d1806), and Godfather to his infamous second son, he was one time secretary to the Marquis of Rockingham, then Prime Minister.
Much of the above is family lore, and incorrect.
Ref: Image of Mansion Estate Yard courtesy Dr. Grant H. Cornwell, of the College of Wooster
Ownership of Mansion Estate,
Christ Church Nichola Town St Kitts.
William Julius ( estate) 1780 - ?
In his will of 1813, John Julius (q.v.), the brother of William Julius, said the he had purchased Mansion, which had belonged to William, subject to an annuity of £300 p.a. to Jane Smith Julius [nee Edwards], William's widow.
John Julius ? - 1813
John Julius junior 1813 - 1815
John Julius (above) 1817 - 1826
John Swindell 1 Feb 1826 - 1834
William left in his Will considerable property to his widow for her life; marriage portions to his three daughters, directions for the apprenticeship of his son. JOHN JAMES, also for the purchase of part of a ship for his son ROBERT EDWARDS, and the remainder in the hands of Trustees for his son GEORGE CHARLES, then only 5 years who he desired should be educated at Eton and afterwards Kings College, Cambridge.
Trial of John Barbot of St Kitts; for the murder of Mat Mills Esq. William Julius witness for the defence. John Barbot shot Mat Mills on 19th Nov. 1752. He was tried on 5th June 1753 and found guilty. William Julius "one of the coroner's inquest".
Full account in the London Magazine Vol. 6 page 34 August 1753 and Caribbeana Vol 7 Pg 34
On Wednefday as the chariot of William Julius, Esq; of Downing-ftreet, was coming to London from Feverfham, the Axle-tree broke at Stroud, by which Accident Mr Julius and his Lady were overturned, and tho' every Glafs was broke, and Mrs Julius big with child, they yet reciev'd not the leaft Hurt, but the Coachman was bruised in a very violent Manner
Public Advertifer Sat 9 Apr 1757
Monday, as William Julius, Esq; and his Lady, with two Children, were coming to Town in the Poft Chaife with four Horfes, they were met between the two Pack-horfes at Turnham Green, by a wagon driving furioufly with out any man attending the Horfes, which run foul of the Chaife and tore it all to Pieces, cut Mrs Julius, and a child about four years old, in a moft terrible Manner: but as they were conveyed immediately to London, and attended by two eminent Surgeons, it is expected they will do well. The Wagoner came up after the Accident, and in the confufion was fuffered to make his escape.
St James's Chronicle or the British Evening Post 31 December 1761
Monday as William Julius, Esq; and his Lady, with two children, were coming to town in their post chaife with four horfes, they were met between the two Pack Horfes at Turnham-Green by a wagon driving furioufly without any man attending the horfes, which ran foul of the chaife and tore it to pieces, and cut Mrs Julius and a child very much.
General Evening Poft Dec 31 to 2 Jan 1762
To Be Sold by Auction.
By Mr Affleck and Son
On Thurfday the 25th day of October
The entire genuine houfehold Furniture, &c. belonging to William Julius, Esq; at his late Seat called a Holt Houfe near Woakingham Berkshire: consifting of Four poft Bedfteads with neat and elegant Furnitures, Bedding, large Pier and other Glaffes, Cheft of Drawers, Tables and Chairs; the Kitchen and Brewhouse Furniture compleat; a Stack of exceeding good old Hay, Gardening Utenfils and Dung; likewife the Live Stock, consifting of fome high-bred Colts and Fillies, a Cart, horfes, &c.
To be viewed on Monday the 22nd until the Time of Sale which will begin precifely at 11 o'clock, the Whole being to be fold in one day.
Catalogues to be had the Days of Viewing at the Place of Sale; at the Inns at Staines, Egham, Sunning Hill, Windfor, Maidenhead, Reading, and Woakingham: and at Mr Affleck's in Parliment Street, Weftminster.
The London Chronicle Sep 27 - 29, Oct 18 - 20, Oct 20 - 23 1764.
Yefterday fet out for Scarborough, for the recovery of his health, William Julius Esq and his Lady and family, from their houfe in Wimple-ftreet, Cavendish-fquare.
Gazette and New Daily Advertifer 12 May 1767
To be Sold by Auction,
By Mr Christie,
On the Premifes,
On Wednefday the 3rd of October,
And the following Days,
All the genuine net Houfehold Furniture, China, Wines, Liquors, a Crane neck, Town Chariot, and other valuable Effects of William Julius, Esq; retiring to the Country, at his House No 18 Wimple-ftreet, Cavendish-fquare; confifting of rich Crimfon Damafk and Cotton, in Drapery Bud, and Window Curtains, Sofas, French Elbow Chairs, elegant Pier Glaffes, Variety of neat Cabinet Work, Screens, &c. At the fame Time will be fold by Auction the unexpired Term of 42 Years of his fpacious Dwelling-houfes, with all convenient Officers, fitted up in the prefent Tafte, and completed with every requifite Fixture, and may be entered on immediately after the Sale.
To be viewed on Monday the 1ft and till the sale.
Printed particulars of the Premifes, and Catalogues of the Furniture are preparing, and will be ready to deliver in a few Days.
Public Advertifer 26 September 1770
The Leeward Islands suffered a hurricane on the 31 Aug 1772, in the Parish Christ Church Nicola Town William Julius Esq. (Estate?) reports 'Both works, and all the out-houfes down; two cows, two mules, and a negro killed. The crop fupposed to fuffer between thirty and forty hhds. One boiling houfe has been fince built from the ruins of the former two".
Ref: Government report (on computer file) St Kitts Hurricane 2008
Saturday died in Bond-ftreet, William Julius, Esq; of St Kitts.
The London Chronicle 19 - 22 Feb 1780
Died. The fame day (Sat) in Bond Street, William Julius, Esq; of St Kitts.
The London Evening Poft 19 - 22 February 1780
Saturday, in Bond-Street, William Julius, Esq.of St Kit's, fome time one of the Members of the Affembly for the Leeward Iflands.
The St James Chronicle Sat 19 - Tues 22 February 1780
At The birth of William's twins, Jane and William 1757 his address is shown in a newspaper report (copy on file) as "at his seat at Holthouse nr Oakingham Berkshire".
Note: Oakingham was changed to Wokingham in the early 20thC.
Burial Register St Paul Covent Garden.
22 February 1780 William Julius Esq from St George Hanover Square.
Ref: Harleian Series.
THE WILL of WILLIAM JULIUS Esq.
Dated June 5th 1779.
In the Name of God Amen. I, William Julius of the Island of St Christopher Esquire, being of sound and disposing mind, memory and understanding do think fit to make my last Will and Testament as follows that is to say
Imprimis I Will that all my just Debts Legacies and Funeral charges be fully paid and satisfied and I charge all my Estate. Real as well as Personal with the payment thereof.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my Wife her Executors Administrators and Assigns for ever all my household furniture and Plate Coach and Chaise Horses Chaises and other carriages except such are used upon and for the business of my Plantation and it is my Will that my said Wife if she shall choose so to do be permitted to live and remain in the Dwelling House on my Plantation during her Widowhood only but no longer.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my Daughter CATHERINE CHARLES JULIUS, the sum of one thousand Pounds Sterling to be paid to her on her Day of Marriage with lawful Yearly Interest to be raised and paid for the same in the mean time at the rate of eight percent per annum in lieu of maintenance but it is my Will that if my said Daughter shall die before Marriage the said sum of one thousand Pounds shall not be raised and paid to her Executors Administrators or Assigns.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my Daughter JANE SMITH JULIUS, the sum of one thousand Pounds Sterling to be paid to her on her Day of Marriage with lawful Yearly Interest to be raised and paid for the same in the mean time at the rate of eight percent per annum in lieu of maintenance but it is my Will that if my said Daughter shall die before Marriage the said sum shall not be raised and paid to her Executors Administrators or Assigns.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my daughter LOUISA CAROLINE JULIUS now in England the sum of one thousand Pounds Sterling to be paid to her upon her Day of Marriage with lawful Yearly Interest to be raised and paid for the same in the mean time at the rate of eight percent per annum in lieu of maintenance. But it is my Will that if my said Daughter shall die before her said Marriage that the said sum of one thousand pounds shall not be raised and paid to her Executors Administrators or Assigns.
Item. I give to my son ROBERT EDWARDS JULIUS the sum of five hundred Pounds Sterling, to be paid to him within six Calendar Months next after my "Wm Julius" decease to be laid out in the Purchase of part of a ship.
Item. I give to my son JOHN JULIUS the sum of five hundred Pounds Sterling to be paid to him upon his attaining his age of twenty one years but without any interest for the same in the mean time and it is my Will that my said son shall be maintained at the expense of my estate during his minority according to the discretion of my Executors hereinafter named And also that when of a proper age, he will be bound Apprentice of some Tradesman being a Freeman of the City of London and that reasonable Apprentice fee be paid with him upon his being bound Apprentice and that such apprentice fee be paid out of my estate over and above the sum of five hundred Pounds Sterling hereby given and bequeathed unto him but it is my Will that if my said Son shall break his Indentures and shall not duly and regularly serve out his Apprenticeship that the said sum of five hundred Pounds shall not be raised and paid to him.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my good Friend William Wharton my stop Watch by Mudge as a token of my Friendship and Regard for him.
Item. I give to John Wood of Old Burlington Street a mourning Ring and fifteen Guineas for a suit of mourning if he shall choose to wear it
Item. I give to the said William Wharton Mr Nicholas Richards and Mr James Akers a mourning Ring apiece.
Item. All the rest and residue of my Estate both real and Personnel whatsoever and wheresoever Charged and Chargeable as aforesaid I give devise and bequeath unto my son GEORGE CHARLES JULIUS his Heirs Executors Administrators and Assigns respectably forever. But in case of my said son GEORGE CHARLES JULIUS shall die before he attains his age of twenty one Years then I give and bequeath my said Estate real and Personnel unto the said William Wharton, Nicholas Richards and James Akiers and the survivors and survivor of them and the Heirs Administrators Executors and Assigns of such survivor upon this special Trust and Confidence that "William Julius" they or the survivors or survivor of them or the Heirs, Administrators Executors or Assigns of such survivor do and shall sell and dispose of the same at publick or private Sale with all Convenient speed after the Death of my said son GEORGE CHARLES JULIUS and pay apply and divide the monies arising from such Sale unto and amongst my said Daughters CATHERINE CHARLES JULIUS, JANE SMITH JULIUS and LOUISA CAROLINE JULIUS equally share and share alike if they shall be living at the time of the death of my said son GEORGE CHARLES JULIUS but if there shall be only two of my said Daughters then living then to pay apply and divide the said monies unto and amongst such two surviving Daughters equally Share and Share alike but if there shall be but one of my said Daughters then living then it is my Will that my said Estate shall not be Sold but that my said Trustees or the Survivor or Survivors of them or the Heirs Executors Administrators or Assigns do and shall Convey my said Estate real and Personal unto such only and surviving daughter her Heirs Executors Administrators or Assigns for ever to whom I accordingly give the same
And it is my Will that my said son GEORGE CHARLES JULIUS be educated at Eton School and afterwards sent to Kings College Cambridge and it is my further Will that my said son GEORGE CHARLES JULIUS shall not come into the possession of my said Estate until all my Debts be fully paid and satisfied but that the same do and shall remain in the possession Management and direction of the said William Wharton Nicholas Richards and James Akers or the survivors or survivor of them or their Heirs Executors Administrators or Assigns of such survivors until such Debts shall be fully paid and satisfied.
Lastly I do hereby Nominate Constitute and Appoint the said William Wharton, Nicholas Richards and James Akiers Executors of this my Last Will and Testament and also Guardians of the Bodies and Estates of such of my said Children as are Minors during their respective Minorities.
In witness whereof I the said WILLIAM JULIUS have to this my last Will and Testament contained and written upon four sides of a sheet of Paper to the first three my hand and to the fourth and last side thereof my hand and seal set this fifth day of June in the Year of our Lord one thousand Seven hundred and Seventy nine.
SIGNED sealed published and declared by the said Testator WILLIAM JULIUS as and for his Last Will and Testament in the presence of us who at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other have subscribed our names as witness to the execution thereof, the word "Sterling" between the twenty sixth and twenty seventh lines of the first sides having been first interlined
SIGNED: Thomas Bridgewater, William Butler Pemberton, Jn Mabzac, St Christophers.
Before the Honourable Lewis Brotherson Esquire President of his Majestys Council and deputed Ordinary of the Island aforesaid
PERSONALLY Appeared Thomas Bridgewaterone of the subscribing witnesses to the execution of the above and within written Will of the above and within named William Julius and made Oath on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God that he was personally present and did se the said William Julius duly Sign Seal publish and declare the same Will as and for his Last Will and Testament in the presence of this Deponent and William Butler Pemberton and John Mabzac who at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other severally subscribed their names as Witnesses to the Execution thereof and that the said William Julius at the time of his Executing his said Will was of sound and disposing mind memory and Understanding
SWORN before me this 2 Day of June 1780
WHEREAS upon my leaving St. Christophers I made a Will disposing of all my Worldly Effects but to the best of my recollection I forgot to mention my Plate of which I have between three and four hundred ounces I Will and desire that my Dear Wife JANE JULIUS shall have the use of the said Plate during her natural Life at her death it shall go equally to my three Daughters or as many of them as may be living at my Wife's Death if neither of my Daughters are living at the Death of my Wife I then in that case Will and bequeath this said plate to my son GEORGE CHARLES JULIUS and his Heirs for Ever
This is meant as a Codicil to the Will I made at St Christophers and not intended to militate or Operate against any part of my said Will
SIGNED in London September 1st 1779
SIGNED and sealed in the presence of James Blair, John Calfe.
Saint Christophers Before the Honourable Lewis Brotherson Esquire President of his Majestys Council and deputed Ordinary of the Island aforesaid
PERSONALLY Appeared James Blair one of the subscribing witnesses to the within written Instrument of Writing purporting to be a Codicil to the last Will and Testament of the within named William Julius who made Oath on the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God that he was personally present and did see the within named William Julius duly Sign Seal publish and declare the same Codicil as and for his codicil in the presence of this Deponent and and of John Calfe who at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other severally subscribed their names as Witnesses to the Execution thereof and that the said William Julius at the time of his Executing his said Codicil was of sound and disposing Mind Memory and Understanding
SWORN this 2 Day of June 1780 before me
Ref: St Kitts Archives Will 10110 Folio 15 copy document on file - C Macpherson 2013.
Family copy of the above Will: "My Fathers Will received from my mother Feb 1802. - In G.C.Julius's handwriting it came to me after the death in 1876 of Emily Julius, dau of Dr G C Julius" [Florence Stevens]. Not accurately transcribed.
Copy on file.
Issue 103 - Deaths of Considerable Persons -
No.19 Wm. Julius esq. of St Kitts.
Ref: Gentlemans Magazine 19 Feb 1780 Issue 103.
Julius William died in Feb. 81 (Buried 22 Feb 1780 at St Paul Covent Garden)
Cayon Diary St Kitts
Some ambiguity exists around the dates and details of Williams life, Florence Stevens considers that he did not have a second name John. She notes his brother is John. She also writes (incorrectly) that he finally settled in Cavendish Sq London in 1779, but died in Jan 1780. Musgraves Obituary puts him at 19 Feb 1780. However William is referred to as William John in some notices about him, particularly on the IGI at the birth of his daughter Catherine Charles
The Victorian Julius's adopted a Family Crest, as published on Julius Jottings, its provenance is uncertain.
West Indian Deeds On the Close Rolls at the Public Record Office. (Not Searched at 2015)
Relating to bargains in land 1768.
William Julius and Henry Willmot - St Christophers B. 4.
Henry Wilmot by William Julius - St Kitts 1768 4-20-21
Ref: Caribbeana Pages 171 & 352.
This item below of family lore appeared in the family magazine Julius Jottings No 4 Jan 1901 and has been taken as read since. It was submitted by Mrs Stevens but attributed to Ella Julius who gave her the story about the year 1865.
However the researcher has not been able to establish it as fact, beyond Michael Billett & Gillian Spraggs writing, (see below), that Rann worked as a coachman, and for several wealthy gentlemen in London. It seems a bit unlikely William Julius was gay, see Gillian Spraggs below, but who knows! ELF.
SIXTEEN STRING JACK. (John Rann)
Once upon a time, that is to say, about the middle of last century, there lived in Cavendish Sq a certain Mr Julius. He had a comfortable income of L.7000 a year derived from estates in the Island of St. Kitts. He was secretary to the Marquis, of Rockingham, then Prime Minister, a friend of the Prince Regent's, and lived what was then the life of fashionable man about, town. He was well known as the fortunate possessor of four very celebrated grey horses.
At this time the environs of London were greatly infested by highwaymen, and among these knights of the road there, was one, afterwards known as Sixteen-Stringed Jack, who was specially famous.
Now, it happened, on a clear moonlight night, that the Duke of Argyle was riding alone across Hounslow Heath, then a bare, desolate common, when he was stopped by an armed highwayman, who, threatening to shoot him, demanded his purse.
The Duke, by way of reply, drew his pistol and fired at the man, but missed his aim ; whereupon the: robber put spurs to his horse and galloped off in the direction of London. The Duke, who had recognised him as the renowned highwayman, immediately gave chase, but the robber soon distanced him, and on entering London turned suddenly down a dark ally, and gave him the slip.
During the chase the Duke had been particularly struck with the robber's horse, a fine grey, so like Mr. Julius', that the Duke proceeded at once to Cavendish Square to make inquiries. He was out; "gone to the play," his Grace was informed. Thither he followed him. The performance was drawing to a close, but Mr. Julius still in his box.
The Duke hastily related his adventure, his pursuit of the robber, and his firm conviction that the highwayman was mounted on one of the well-known greys. Mr. Julius assured the Duke: he must be mistaken, as he had driven to the theatre with the four greys, and
had ordered them to be put up at the mews close by. The Duke
was not satisfied and persuaded Mr. Julius to accompany him to the stable, and there they found them. Three were cool and quiet, but the, fourth panting and covered with foam.
The Duke turned to make inquiries of the coachman, and in a moment recognised him as the man who had stopped him an hour before, at whom he had fired and chased to London, in a word, the celebrated and dreaded highwayman.
It is hardly necessary to add that the coachman was
immediately arrested, and shortly afterwards tried, found guilty,
and condemned to be hung, which sentence was duly carried out.
at Tyburn ; and thus ended the career of Sixteen-Stringed Jack,
a who in the red-book of the knights of the road ranks second only
to Dick Turpin.
Shortly before his execution Sixteen-Stringed Jack made a
full confession of all his guilt, whereby it appeared that he had
been in the constant habit, after driving his master to the
theatre, of mounting one of the greys, galloping off to Hounslow
Heath, committing a robbery, and returning in time to drive
his master home.
Ref: Julius Jottings, Jan 1901, No.4, Pg 105
OUTLAWS & HIGHWAYMEN - The Cult of the Robber.
by Gillian Spraggs.
"In 1774 . . . . . the last of the truly colourful Highwaymen ended his life at Tyburn. This was John Rann commonly known as Sixteen String Jack. Rann a former coachman received his nick'name from the ribbons he tied below the knees of his breeches. He affected a gorgeous style of dress altogether, frequently boasted in public that he was a Highwayman and protested if anyone treated him in a manner that he thought was unsuited to his dignity as a Gentleman."
Published by Pimlico, Random Hse, London.
15 November 2003
Dear Edward Fenn,
Thank you for your letter. I am sorry not to have replied to it before, but it arrived when I was under a lot of pressure of work.
My information on John Rann comes from the following sources:
a) An Account of John Rann, Commonly called Sixteen String Jack. Being a circumstantial Narrative of his Principal Transactions, and His Amours to the Celebrated Miss La Roache. London, T Sabine, 1774?
b) The Life of John Rann, otherwise Sixteen Strings (sic) Jack . . . . . Together with anecdotes of Miss Roche. London, Frederick Wheeler, 1884 (reprinted from eighteenth-century original published in about 1774)
Both of these are in the British Library. They are fairly short, more
pamphlets than books. Either one of them is plagiarising parts of the other (in which case it seems most likely that a is plagiarising b) or both are borrowing from a third biography that I haven't seen.
They contradict each other; b) says that Rann had been 'coachman to a man of fortune', a) that he had been 'a common Hackney Coachman' and not a coachman to a nobleman, 'as has been reported'.
I don't know how you are going to feel about this but b) as much as says that Rann's unnamed master was homosexual and that Rann was his lover. It says that Rann was a particular favourite with his master, that his master allowed him to dress in a way that was 'far above his rank', that his master gave him 'silk breeches with eight strings at each knee, from which he acquired the name of SIXTEEN-STRINGS JACK'. It continues 'It is irksome to say what might be said on this occasion; but a Miss Smith, with whom this
unhappy wretch has since lived, has been heard to say that he was not a Woman's Lover.'
This may not any of it be true; hack writers writing the lives of notorious criminals were perfectly capable of making up sensational stuff by the yard.
On the other hand, it might be true, or there might be some truth in it.
There was certainly rather a camp quality to some of Rann's behaviour it seems to me. Though that doesn't mean he wasn't heterosexual, of course.
On the Duke of Argyle: I don't know anything about his being robbed on Hounslow Heath, but he may well have been at some point. I have checked in Gordon S. Maxwell's Highwaymen's Heath (1935), which has many highwaymen stories, but all it tells me about the Duke is that he had an estate at Whitton, one of the villages on the Heath. The London press, including the Gentleman's Magazine, would certainly have reported such a robbery. I have dipped into the Gentleman's Magazine but to go through all the many news items related to highway robberies is a labour I have never undertaken. You might like to see if the public library in Hounslow has a local history librarian who might help you. Or they may be able to put you in touch with a local history group.
However, as you know, the story about Argyle being involved in Rann's arrest and trial is untrue.
On ranking Rann second to Dick Turpin: I am not at all sure about that. I don't think I would. Claude Du Val had a huge reputation right into the Victorian age, and still isn't completely forgotten now. Rann certainly was remembered a long time after his death. Robert Louis Stevenson talks about having read stories about him as a boy. I think I'd stick at what I said about Rann in my book: 'the last of the truly colourful highwaymen'.
I have no problem at all with your including a short quotation from my book in a dossier of family history material for consumption within your family.
You may like to know that the book itself is still in print, and is distributed in New Zealand.
I hope this material is useful to you. Best of luck with your researches. It sounds as if you are having a lot of fun.
Extract from Highwaymen & Outlaws by Michael Billett
During the final decades of the eighteenth century, the formation of John Fielding's Bow Street Runners made life extremely hazardous for English highwaymen. A good example was John Rann, one of the last extrovert highwaymen to gain fame and notoriety before he was caught by the Runners. He was born in a village near Bath in 1750 the son of an itinerant tinker who placed him in service at the age of twelve. Rann later worked as a footman, before becoming a coach man to several wealthy gentlemen in London. He admired their life-style and began stealing to finance his own high living. He became an extravagant dresser and wore breeches with eight silk
strings or tassels attached to each knee. The strings were threaded into the eyelet holes, where the breeches were gathered at the knee. This fashion earned Rann the nickname of 'Sixteen
His entry into crime was as a pickpocket, working in a team with several other men. The booty he acquired was 'fenced' fox, him by his mistress, Eleanor Roche. In due course. Rann decided there was more money to be made as a highwayman and took to the road. On one occasion, he was captured after being accused of robbing a coach on the Hounslow Road and stealing a watch and money. He was brought to court in leg-irons, making a flamboyant appearance before John Fielding with blue ribbons tied to his irons and a buttonhole of flowers in his new suit. Eleanor Roche appeared alongside him accused of receiving. Both pleaded their innocence and lack of real evidence secured them their freedom. However, Fielding remained suspicious and detailed one of his best Bow Street Runners to take an interest in their future activities.
Rann continued his highwayman's life and even openly boasted about it to his friends in the many taverns he visited. He dressed extravagantly on social occasions, one of his favourite outfits comprising a scarletjacket, tambour waistcoat, white silk stockings and a hat trimmed with lace. Once he wore this garb when attending the execution of a fellow highwayman at Tyburn; craving attention, he pushed himself to the front of the crowd in order to be more conspicuous, and it was rumoured that he forecast to all and sundry that one day he would not be just a spectator at Tyburn but the main participant in the proceedings, His outrageous style of dressing made him easily recognisable, too, at the races, when he wore a sporty waistcoat of blue satin, trimmed with silver threads.
When Rann was at work, however. he deliberately dressed shabbily. This confused his many victims and witnesses because they could not vouch it to be the same man who appeared court extravagantly dressed. He gained several acquittals on this account but the Bow Runners were not so easily deceived. They continued to watch Rann carefully, until he made a final mistake.
This occurred on 26 September 1774 when he robbed, with an accomplice. Dr William Bell chaplain, as he travelled along the Uxbridge Rd by Gunnersbury Lane in Middlesex. They stole just eighteen pence from him and a watch in a tortoiseshell case.
The latter was to prove fatal as it was later traced to his mistress Eleanor Roche by the Bow Street Runners. In court Dr Bell positively identified Rann as the highway and this evidence was corroborated by his servant who saw the accused riding in the area before the robbery took place. Rann was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged, but mercy was recommended for his accomplice, and Eleanor Roche earned fourteen years transportation for her part as the fence.
"Sixteenstring Jack" remained cheerful to the end and entertained seven girls among his guests at a party - apparently with much drink and merriment - in the condemned cell, on the Sunday before his execution. Aged twenty four, he was allowed to go to his execution at Tyburn, an 30 November 1774, dressed in a suit of his best gaudy clothes.
EXTRACT FROM THE TRIAL OF JOHN RANN.
John Rann late of the Parish of Ealing MDX labourer, and William Collier late of same labourer on the 26th Day of September 1774 with force and arms at the Parish aforesaid in the Kings Highway therein did make and assault the said William Bell in corporal fear and danger of his life in the Kings Highway then there feloniously did . . . . . one watch with the inside case made of silver and the outside case made of tortoise shell of the value of L.3 and one stone seal set in gold of the value of 5/- one gilt key of the value of 6d and 18d in moneys, goods chattels and moneys of the said William Bell in the Kings Highway aforesaid then and there feloniously and violently did steal take up and carry away against the said Peace of Our Lord the King,
AND the Jury say Guilty. (No goods)
To be hanged by the neck until he be dead.
Ref London Metropolitan Archive Parchment OB/SR 151 (2003)
THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE OLD BAILEY.
Homepage - http://www.oldbaileyonline.org
JOHN RANN, WILLIAM COLLIER, ELEANOR ROACHE, CHRISTIAN STEWART,
Theft: receiving stolen goods, theft with violence: highway robbery, 19 Oct 1774.
735, 736, 737, 738. (M.) JOHN RANN, WILLIAM COLLIER, ELEANOR ROACHE, and CHRISTIAN STEWART, were indicted; the two first for that they in the king's highway, in and upon the Reverend William Bell, doctor in divinity, did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and stealing from his person a watch with the inside case made of silver, and the outside case of tortoiseshell, value L.3 a stone seal set in gold, value 5/-, a gilt key, value 6d. and eighteen pence in money, numbered, the property of the said William, Sept. 26th. And the other two for receiving the above goods well knowing them to have been stolen. *
Dr. William Bell. In my way home to Gunnersbury, on the 26th of September, at rather more than a quarter past three o'clock, I came through a part of the town of Ealing, that part that is next Brentford; when I was a little way in the town, my attention was attracted by two men on horse-back, who were before me; they rode one immediately behind the other; they walked their horses. Something appearing singular about the head of the first man. I took my glass out of my pocket to see what it was; I found it was the flap of his hat let down all round, probably without strings, and a red handkerchief upon it; they walked their horses; I trotted, and by that means came up to them before they had quitted the houses at the end of the town, and their dress and appearance being something singular, attracted my notice to see what they were; the thought of their being highwaymen never entered my head, but that my pace might not be hindered by them, I passed them close by the hedge, and then I put my horse into the track immediately before the foremost man; as I passed them I took particular notice, though as I said before I had no thoughts of a highwayman, that the hindermost man was clothed in a lightish coat, a hat flapped round, a great deal of black hair hanging loosely about his head, and his horse was something of a kind of brown, though I took no particular notice. The first man I observed to be in a frock mourning coat, buttoned; I likewise observed, as I passed by him, that his horse was black and very low in flesh; it struck me that his boot was shorter than boots commonly are, and there appeared over it something of a light coloured stocking; I took notice likewise that his boots were very dirty, and his hair was loose about his head, but not in so large a quantity as the man I first came up to; the man that I first came up to I observed to be of a very sallow countenance and of a sickly look +; the other was not sallow or sickly; they each kept their heads steadily forwards, but both looked at me, my way lay perhaps about a quarter of a mile straight forwards; I went that quarter of a mile, and then turned, as my way led me off to the left, in the road that leads to Gunnersbury; I soon heard the sound of, I thought, two horses in the road, and thought I heard the sound of wheels, and from a curiosity I cannot account for, I turned about to see what carriage might be coming behind; I looked, and could see neither horses nor carriages, nor at that time could hear any thing; therefore I concluded they were at that time down in that part of the road which forms a hollow, and which going low, it was impossible for me to see; I turned forward again, and rode off; in a little time, on a sudden, I heard two horses coming up briskly after me; I heard there were no carriages; I had nothing to get out of the way of, and having no apprehension I did not turn my head to get out of the way, but when I found by the sound of the horses feet, that they were just coming a-breast of me, turning my head to the left to see who might be passing me, upon that instant a black horse's head and neck came up directly to my bridle, and turning to see who might ride upon me in that manner, having then no thoughts of a highwayman, when I immediately perceived the man I passed first at Ealing Town; he at that instant said either so sir, or stop sir; as soon as he had said this, and partly by his riding upon me, and my checking my horse, I was stopped; he immediately said your money; I said, my money? he immediately answered yes, or I will blow your brains out; he upon that instant put his hand into the sore part of his coat, as if he would open his coat, in order to take out a pistol, but did not open his coat, nor take out any pistol; upon his saying that, I believe I answered I will give it you; I drew my glove off my right hand, knowing my silver was always in my right hand pocket, and I had no purse in the other; taking up the flap of my coat, he saw the key of my watch, and said, and your watch too, sir, in a minute, and take no notice (as I was at that time looking him in the face); I put my hand into my pocket; I had only eighteen pence there; I held it to him in the palm of my hand; he took it up; I held my watch in my hand; he took it greedily and bid me ride on; I did, and they galloped off instantly. My lord, I omitted one circumstance, that all the business was transacted with the man who set himself before me; but I was sensible that in half a minute after he was up with me, there came another horse close on my right hand, but kept behind me, and staid there during the time I was robbed, and then they rode off together.
+ Note, Collier answered that description.
Q. Do you believe the prisoners to be the men?
Bell. I was robbed on Monday; I was called to see these prisoners in Bow-street, on Wednesday; having been robbed in open day light, and they having no disguise upon their faces, I was in hopes before I saw them that the first sight of them would sufficiently convince me whether they were the men or not; therefore when I was at the upper end of the Court, and they came into the lower part, I kept my eyes off them, that I might not see them till I was ordered to go into the Court to look at them; at the very first view of them, I could not have sworn to them, there was so much difference, though at the same time so much likeness, that I could not positively swear to them; I took a considerable time to look at them; after having done that I went into the yard to relieve them and myself, and came back to look at them again, and I do declare upon my oath, though at first sight I could not undertake to swear to them, yet I did in the progress of my survey see such looks and marks that I do declare that I firmly believe that John Rann is the identical man that robbed me, and I do believe that if I had had the same conviction upon the very first sight of them, as I had after I had attentively surveyed them, that I should at first sight have positively swore to them, and I do also believe that William Collier is the other man that I saw pass riding with John Rann. My attention was wholly taken up with the man that actually robbed me, and I neither saw the other man, nor horse, though I am confident there was a horse there close up to me.
Q. Which of the men did you see at the time of the robbery?
Bell. John Rann.
Q. You saw him after that at Sir John Fielding's?
Q. Was your opinion confirmed or staggered by that?
Q. Upon the result of the survey and deliberation, are you of opinion or not of opinion John Rann is the man that robbed you?
Bell. Clearly of opinion.
Q. Is your opinion equally clear with regard to Collier being with that other man at the end of Ealing Town, or less clear?
Bell. I would hardly from the nature of things say it can be so equally clear, but the remarkableness of the person of William Collier is so very great, that I think myself very clear.
John Cordy. I am a pawnbroker in Berwick-street. On the 26th of September, the day Mr. Bell was robbed, the two women prisoners, Roache and Stewart, came to my house, and offered a watch to pawn; I was not in the shop; my lad came for me; I went; I asked them if it was their watch; they said a gentleman left it with them; this was between eight and nine o'clock; I asked them who the man was, and said the man must come or I cannot lend you money upon it; why, said Roache, it is a very singular circumstance that you should object to this, you took a watch of me at such a time; I said I knew I did, but that was no rule she should be entitled to bring more; she said it was a very singular circumstance, and why should I stop it? I said I must till the man comes. I knew well where they both lived, so I made as light of it as I could, and said they must bring the man: the short one, Stewart, said, well, it is a matter of indifference, we can bring the man to-morrow; I said if so it will do; I let them go; I went directly up to Sir John Fielding's; I got two of his men; we went down to their house, and took the two women; I left my two servants with one of the constables to wait for the two men, and on ransacking the house, the constable and I found two pair of boots quite wet and dirty; I took the watch to the watchmaker; he told me it was Mr. Bell's; I found the women at their lodgings; I was at Sir John Fielding's when the two men prisoners were brought there by the constable; this is the watch (producing it.)
Dr. Bell. The watch seal and chain are mine.
William Hill. I am a postilion to her Royal Highness the Princess Amelia; I saw Rann go through Acton the same day, the 26th of September; it was about ten minutes after three.
Q. How far is Acton from Ealing?
Hill. About a mile; there was another young man with Rann at that time.
Q. Was that the other prisoner?
Hill. I cannot tell, I did not take much notice of him; I am sure as to Rann.
Q. Did you know Rann before?
Hill. Yes; they were going towards Ealing.
Q. What coloured clothes had they on?
Hill. I did not take particular notice of their clothes: I know Rann by sight very well.
Q. Did you take notice whether they were clean or dirty?
Hill. Dirty; their boots were very dirty; one of their boots was rather shorter than the other.
Blanchville Clarke. I am a constable belonging to Sir John Fielding; upon Mr. Cordy, the pawnbroker, coming to the office, Mr. Halliburton and I went up to Miss Roache's lodgings; Mr. Cordy shewed us the lodgings; on searching in her apartments, in the left hand closet, I found two pair of boots, quite wet and dirty, as if they had been wore that day.
Q. What time in the evening was this?
Clarke. It was after ten o'clock; I cannot be particular to the time; I took Miss Roache and Christian Stewart, and brought them down to Bow street; I went back and took Peter Senhouse with me; I was then informed that the two prisoners had come in, and Halliburton had taken them into custody; when I went back to Bow-street I found them there.
William Halliburton. I went to Roache's lodgings with Mr. Cordy and Mr. Clarke; when we came there we found these two girls, and these boots; Mr. Cordy and Mr. Clarke, and the two women went away together to Bow-street; I with Mr. Cordy's two young men staid behind; about a quarter after ten o'clock, or it might be more, I heard a knock at the door; I went and opened it; the first person that came in was Rann, who I knew perfectly before; I desired him to walk in and was going to shut the door; I found a person against the door; I let it open again, and then came in Collier; I got them into the parlour and made them fast, and carried them to Bow street; I believe they did not speak a word till I tied their hands; then Rann spoke out, what have I done now, and got in his old way of swearing.
Hannah Craggs. I live in Berners-street: Roache and Stewart lodged in the same house. On the morning of the day they were taken in the evening, I let in Collier between ten and eleven o'clock; he came to Miss Roache; between eleven and twelve two horses came up to the door; I saw Rann (I did not know his name then) go into the necessary house in the morning; I imagine he was there all night, but he was not to my knowledge; there were two horses walked about the door some time; soon after somebody opened the parlour door and paid for the horses.
Q. What colour were the horses?
Craggs. They were so low in flesh I could hardly tell; one seemed of a blackish colour, the other rather brown; somebody opened the door and paid them for the horses; then I heard the door open, and Rann and another man went away after the horses; it must be the two prisoners; I do not suppose there were any others in the house; I saw the same men again in the evening when Sir John Fielding's men took them; I did not see them before, nor did I know who they were till then: I am sure to Collier; Rann was dressed in reddish coloured clothes.
Q. from Rann. Why you say I was in the house in the morning?
Craggs. I saw him go into the yard; there was a woman with him; she said who he was; I had heard great talk of him but did not know who he was.
I knows no more of it than a child does unborn, nor I never seed Mr. Bell before he came to Sir John's, which Mr. Bell must be certain of, for to think for me, for to come to him in the middle of the day, for to rob him, which I was never guilty of; I know no more of the affair what these gentlemen, that belongs to Sir John, that wants to do things to swear my life away, for I don't know what. They have said false things to you; I know no more of it if I was to suffer death to-morrow. This woman wants to swear my life away for an affair I know nothing of, no more than this candle, and I am innocent of the fact if I was to suffer for it to-morrow; if I had been guilty I would not have trusted her with the affair.
On the 26th of September last I called at Miss Roache's lodgings; when I came in I asked if she was within; there was a stranger, who was Halliburton; he opened the door; he said, no, and desired I would walk in; I walked in; he took hold of my hand and the other prisoner's, and bound us together, and said you must go with us, and took us to Sir John Fielding's.
These are not the men that gave me the watch; there were two gentlemen went by my parlour window that afternoon; they were dirty and wet; they said they were just come to town; they asked me if they might come in; I said they might; they sat a little while, and asked me to give them leave to change themselves; they had just come to town; they had clean shoes and shirts, &c. the maid helped off the boots; one of the gentlemen was dressed in mourning; he asked me to go into the bed room with him; I did; he said he had no money; he had nothing but notes about him, and his watch, and he would leave his watch; and if I wanted money, I might pawn it, and he would dine with me next day, and give me ten or twenty pounds if I wanted it; I went to the pawnbroker that I have dealt with two years to pawn the watch; he stopped me; indeed he did not stop me because he knew where I lived, and I believe does not know of my pawning any thing but my own property; I said a gentleman was to come for it; I came home to my lodgings; I was going to bed when the pawnbroker and Sir John Fielding's men came in; in the morning a gentleman of my acquaintance called upon me, and said he was going out of town for three weeks; a little after he was gone away two horses came to the door; the maid was gone out for some beer; I said the horses were come to the gentleman in the parlour; the men went and ordered the horses from the door; I know no further of them; my life has been threatened a great while about Mr. Du Wall's watch, that they would not mind what they did to bring me into a snare; some of his acquaintance might lay the snare to bring me into it; he is not the man; if I had known the watch was stolen I should not have offered it to a pawnbroker I had dealt with a great while.
I was servant to this lady; I went with her to the pawnbroker; I told this lady I was surprised to have the horses coming at this time of day; she said she was surprised at it, and wondered who they came to; I said they came to some young man that used to call upon my mistress, who I supposed had ordered them to come here instead of elsewhere; I went and ordered them from the door; when the horses came up two gentlemen came past the window and asked how she did; she said, very well; they asked if they might come in; I said yes; I opened the door; one was dressed in second mourning; he came in and saluted my mistress, the other sat down in the parlour; I went down into the kitchen; I did not come till I was called again; my mistress went into the back-chamber with this gentleman; she came out again, she had the watch in her hand; the gentleman said you may pawn the watch for four or five guineas, or whatever you may get for it; I will come tomorrow and dine with you, and get the watch.
RANN and COLLIER, Guilty. Death.
ROACH, Guilty. Transportation for 14 years.
Collier was recommended by the Jury to his Majesty's mercy.
Note. The defence of Rann is printed verbatim et literatim.
Supplementary material: John Rann
John Coleby, Charles Jones, William Lewis, John Rann, William Lane, and Samuel Trotman, who were capital convicts last sessions were executed at Tyburn; on Wednesday, the 30th of November. The rest of the capital convicts were respited during His Majesty's pleasure.
1. Mansion Estate Buildings: Sugar Plantation: Nichola Town St Kitts WI.
View over Mansion Estate Lands, Overseers House, Yard, Sugar Mill, late 20thC.
Images courtesy Dr. Grant H. Cornwell, of the College of Wooster
William married Jane Smith EDWARDS  [MRIN: 213], daughter of Dr Robert EDWARDS of Antigua  and Catherine JULIUS , about 1753 in Recorded In London. (Jane Smith EDWARDS  was born on 15 Feb 1733/34 in Antigua, baptised on 17 Mar 1733/34 in St Peters Basseterre St Kitts WI, died on 27 Jun 1823 and was buried on 3 Jul 1823 in Bunhill Fields Burial Grounds Bristol GLS.)