Ex-Classics Home Page

The Newgate Calendar - JOHN MORGRIDGE


Murderer, executed at Tyburn, on the 28th of April, 1708.

 We now present a dreadful instance of the effect of intoxication. This unfortunate man, who, through the indulgence in this vice, met an untimely fate, was a native of Canterbury, whose ancestors had served the crown for upwards of two hundred years. He had been kettle-drummer to the first troop of horse-guards for a considerable time, and would have been promoted, had it not been for the following unfortunate quarrel. A Mr. Cope having obtained the rank of lieutenant in the army, invited several officers to dine with him at the Dolphin tavern, in Tower-street; and one of the parties invited Morgridge likewise to go, assuring him that he would be made welcome on the part of Mr. Cope. When dinner was over, Cope paid the reckoning, and then each man depositing half-a-crown, Morgridge and others adjourned to the guard room, to which place more liquor was sent. They had not been long there before a woman of the town came in a coach, and asked for Captain Cope. Being introduced to the guard-room, she remained a short time, and then said, "Who will pay for my coach?" Morgridge said, "I will;" having done so, he advanced to salute her; but she pushed him from her in a disdainful manner, and spoke to him in very abusive terms which induced him to treat her with the same kind of language. Morgridge's rudeness was resented by Cope, who took the woman's part, and a violent quarrel ensued between Cope and Morgridge, both of whom were intoxicated. This contest in creased to such a degree, that they threw the bottles at each other; till at length, Morgridge, inflamed with passion, drew his sword, and stabbed Cope, who instantly expired. Morgridge being taken into custody, was tried at the Old Bailey, July 5, 1706 'but a doubt arising in the breast of the jury, whether he was guilty of murder or manslaughter, they brought in a special verdict, and the affair was left to be determined by the twelve judges. The judges having consequently met at Sergeant's-inn, the case was argued before them by counsel; when they gave an unanimous opinion that he was guilty of wilful murder, because he did not kill Cope with the weapons he was originally using, but arose from his seat and drew his sword, which was deemed to imply a malicious intention. Morgridge, in the interim, made his escape from the Marshalsea prison, and went into Flanders, where he remained about two years: but being uneasy to revisit his native country, he imprudently came back to England, and being apprehended, received sentence of death, and suffered, along with William Gregg, at Tyburn, on the 28th of April, 1708. When convicted he was truly sensible of the crime of which he had been guilty, acknowledged the justice of his sentence, and submitted to his fate with becoming resignation.

Previous Next

Back to Introduction