Ex-Classics Home Page



Convicted at the London Sessions, 20th of January, 1810, and sentenced to Imprisonment for a Conspiracy, in what is called " Child-Dropping "

   THIS unfeeling, unnatural couple, father and daughter, were indicted at the London Sessions, in January, 1810, for conspiring, with other persons unknown, to defraud the overseers of the poor of the parish of St Andrew, Holborn, by exposing there a child of tender years, which would, of necessity, have become a burden on the funds of that parish.

   W. Sculthorpe, a letter-carrier, proved that he had found a child, not above two years old, at the door of the house of Mr Moseley, in Castle Street, Holborn, after nine o'clock on the night of the 31st of August, 1809, half-way between the step of the door and the kerbstone. He took it up and kept it on his knee till Mr Moseley came out, who humanely took the child in.

   Mr Moseley stated that after some ineffectual endeavours to get the child into the Foundling Hospital he sent it to the workhouse. Ann Taylor said she nursed the child from the 9th of October, 1807, till the 27th of August, 1809, when Miss Pugh took it away; but afterwards, on the remonstrance of a Mrs Dally, who suspected some injury was intended to the infant, another nurse of the name of Inglis was given the charge of it, from whom, however, it was taken between seven and eight on the Thursday following.

   A coachman proved he carried the two prisoners and the child (on the night the latter was exposed) to Castle Street, Holborn. Elizabeth Feary swore that Miss Pugh had told her that in the event of the death of the child, who had been entrusted to her care, she should have three hundred pounds. The father of the child was an officer, who had settled that sum on the child, and on its death the money was to come to Miss Pugh. This story she often repeated to the witness, intimating her wish for the death of the child. This alarmed the witness; and she, in consequence, warned the nurse to whom the child was entrusted.

   J. Timbray proved T. Pugh's confession that a letter, arranging the meeting with E. Pugh at St Andrew's Church, Holborn, on the 31st of August, was in his handwriting. A long defence was read by T. Pugh, who was eighty-four years of age, and father to E. Pugh, on whom he threw the whole blame.

   Mr Gurney, counsel for Elizabeth Pugh, contended that the whole circumstances of the case proved that his client had no intention to put the child out of the way. She had paid ten pounds to the other defendant, T. Pugh, who had undertaken to get it provided for where there would be no probability of its mother being inquired after, and in this he had deceived her.

   The recorder made a suitable charge to the jury, who immediately found both the prisoners guilty.

   The recorder then pronounced the sentence of the Court to be, that each of the defendants be imprisoned in Giltspur Street Compter for six calendar months.

Previous Next

Back to Introduction