Will Ogden and Tom Reynolds were Housebreakers and Highwaymen who were executed at Kingston-upon-Thames in April, 1714. Ogden remained sanguine to the end and his very last act in life gave the spectators some amusement!
The first of these villains was born in Walnut-Tree Alley, in Tooley Street, in Southwark, being a waterman by his calling; and the other was born in Cross-Key Alley, in Barnaby Street, being apprentice to a dungbargeman living between Vauxhall and the Nine Elms; but running away from his master before he had served his time, and taking ill courses with Ogden, they first robbed several ships, hoys and other vessels below bridge, for above two years, when, being very like to have been once apprehended for this sort of theft, they left it off and took to housebreaking.
Several houses they had broken open and robbed in and about the borough of Southwark. But at last being apprehended for breaking open a watchmaker's shop in the City of London, and stealing from thence twenty-six watches, in company with another rogue who made himself an evidence against them, they were committed to Newgate and condemned; however they both had the good fortune to be reprieved, and in August, 1713, pleaded her Majesty's most gracious pardon, after which they obtained their liberty. Nevertheless, these hardened rogues, not making good use of that mercy which they had received, turned footpads, and one of them - namely, Ogden - meeting one night, when the moon was up, with a parson who lived at Peckham, pretending to be a seaman out of all business and in great distress, humbly begged an alms of him; whereupon the parson, taking compassion on the dismal story gave him sixpence, and so they parted.
The parson had not gone above the length of a field before Ogden met again going over a stile, and begging his charity again, quoth the gentleman: "You are the most impudent beggar that ever I have met with." Ogden then telling him that he was in very great want, and that the sixpence which he gave him would not relieve his pressing necessities, he gave him half-a-crown; whereupon Ogden said: " These are very sad times, for there's horrid robbing abroad; therefore if you have any money about you, you may as well let me have it as another, who perhaps may abuse you and, binding you hand and foot, make you lie in the cold all night; but if you'll give me your money, I'll take care of you, and conduct you very safe home."
The parson then gave him all his money, which was about forty shillings. Qu'oth Ogden : "I see you have a watch, sir; you may as well let me have that too." The parson gave him that also. As they were trudging along, out came two or three fellows upon them; but on Ogden crying, " The moon shines bright," they let them pass quietly; and shortly after two or three other fellows came suddenly on, to whom also Ogden cried, "The moon shines bright," and they also permitted them to pass by. At last Ogden brought the parson to his door, where the parson invited him to walk in, with a promise that he would not hurt a hair of his head on any account; but Ogden refusing the parson's proffer, he called for a bottle of wine, and drank to Ogden, to whom he gave the bottle and glass to help himself. But he ran away with them, saying he would carry the wine to those who should certainly drink his health.
Another time Ogden and Reynolds, in company with one John Bradshaw - who was grandson of that infamous villain, Serjeant Bradshaw, who passed sentence on King Charles I to be beheaded - were watching for a prey in a wood near Shooter's Hill, in Kent, when one Cecilia Fowley, a servant wench, just come out of service, happened to be passing by with a box on her head. Jack Bradshaw went up to her by himself, being, as he thought, sufficient enough to deal with her, and took her box from her, in which were her clothes and fifteen shillings in money, which she had received for a quarter's wages. Whilst he was rifling it, after he had broken it open, a hammer being therein, she took it up and struck him on the left temple with it, the blow felling him to the ground, on his back. She then seconded it with the claw of the hammer, by striking it into his windpipe, of which wound the rogue instantly died.
Then a gentleman carried the maid before a magistrate, where he was bound for her appearance at the assizes held at Rochester in March, 1714, when she came there to take her trial, and was acquitted. Ogden and Reynolds, pursuing their wicked courses without any fear of the laws either of God or man, were at last apprehended for robbing one Simon Hasey and one John Boyout, committed to the Marshalsea Prison, in Southwark, and hanged, the first aged twenty-five years, the other twenty-two, at Kingston-upon-Thames, on Saturday, the 23rd of April, 1714. Whilst they were under sentence of death they attempted to break out of the stock-house, in which they were confined at Kingston; and as they were riding to the place of execution, Ogden flung a handful of money out of the cart to the people, saying : "Gentlemen, here is poor Will's farewell." And when he was being turned off he gave two extraordinary jerks with his legs, which was much admired by all the spectators.
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