Similar crimes, different outcomes

Recently I posted a picture that made me smile due to the strange use of punctuation. Overzealous use of the full stop is a picture of the entrance to Ludgate Square near to St Paul’s Cathedral and to me there seems to be an issue with carving of the name.

Having explored it I found it to be one of those pleasing little backwaters hidden away from the unadventurous traveller. There’s nothing extremely interesting about it, a collection of well kept shops and offices built on a short curve which takes you away from Ludgate Hill to bring you out on Creed Lane.

The older buildings look 19th century and subsequent research shows that Ludgate Square gets it first mention in Ordinance Survey maps of 1894. However, the line of the street has an older history. It’s earliest mention is by John Strype in 1720 when it was known as Holiday Court. In his opinion it, ” is a pretty large Place, but of no great Account: And here are two Courts into it, and both bearing the same name.” John Roque’s map of 1746 shows it as Holyday Yard

And it is in the era of this map that I discovered two similar crimes that took lace in the yard. In 1773 John Harwood was indicted for stealing one woollen cloth waistcoat, value 5 s. one pair of woollen cloth breeches, value 3 s. one velvet waistcoat, value 10 s. a velvet waistcoat, value 40 s. and two linen gowns, value 20 s. the property of John Shearman. Harwood, a printer by trade was Shearman’s lodger and stole the garments and later pawned them. He offered no defence at trial and was sentenced to be transported. At the time transportation to Australia was rare, so he probably ended up in North America or the West Indies.

Twenty years later, two men who lived in the yard appeared at the Old Bailey. John Wright was indicted for feloniously stealing, two shirts, value 6s. two handkerchiefs, value 3s. two waistcoats, value 10s. and seven yards of cloth, value 10s. the property of Michael Loney who he lodged with. Wright, a bricklayer said at the trial that he had stolen and pawned the items in order to buy tools to work with. His intention was to retrieve the items when he got paid and return them to Loney before he noticed their disappearance. Wright was found guilty and publicly whipped on Ludgate Hill.

By endean0

Hi, I'm Steve, a London tour guide and owner of A London Miscellany Tours, a guided walking tour company who specialise in small number tours of the greatest city in the world!

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