Mistress of the Duke of Buckingham, fined Five Hundred Pounds for forging a Bond for Forty Thousand Pounds, and died in Newgate Prison in 1692
MADAM MARY BUTLER, alias Strickland, mistress to George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, on the 13th of October, the year after his death, was indicted at Justice Hall, in the Old Bailey, for a misdemeanour in forging a bond in the name of the Worshipful Sir Robert Clayton, knight and alderman of the City of London, for forty thousand pounds, with a condition to pay twelve hundred pounds per annum, with interest, and that after the decease of the said Sir Robert Clayton there should be twenty thousand pounds paid her within six months; which bond had a seal, and was witnessed by four persons.
The first evidence was Mr Woodward, an eminent attorney in the city, who deposed that Mary Butler had been his client for several years; and that about two or three years before that time she came to him and brought him a bond to look over, and desired him that another should be drawn by it, which bond was signed Robert Clayton, and had a seal affixed to it, and the names of four persons subscribed to the same, and was of the penalty of forty thousand pounds, and dated in the year 1687, or thereabouts, to pay twelve hundred pounds yearly so long as Sir Robert should live, and after his decease to pay the sum of twenty thousand pounds; and that she desired it might be kept a secret, and that his servants should not know anything of it, for that it was to be delivered up to Sir Robert, and she was to disclaim her interest by a bill in Chancery. And she told him she had received money upon the said bond, and desired him to cast up what was in arrears; which he did, and then took a copy of the bond to draw the other by, by reason it was a special condition (which copy he produced in court, and said that he did believe it to be a true copy of the same); and that afterwards he drew a bond of the penalty of fifty-four thousand pounds for the payment of twenty-seven thousand pounds; upon which he told Mrs Butler it was a great sum, and required people of credit to see it executed, and offered her to be one of the witnesses to see it done himself. Upon which she replied that Sir Robert knew him very well, and did not desire him to be a witness, and that she then took away the bond and the draft from him; and he did not know what she did with it afterwards.
The next evidence was a very worthy gentleman, who deposed that he was present when she was brought before the Lord Chief Justice Holt, and that she did then acknowledge that she did cause the bond to be made by one Lucas, a scrivener in Bishopsgate Street, and owned that she did it herself and directed him to make it by her order.
Mrs Butler denied the fact upon her trial, and called persons to her reputation; but that did not avail her: the jury found her guilty of a misdemeanour, and the Court fined her five hundred pounds, and ordered her to remain in prison till it was paid. But she never paid it, for after four years' imprisonment she died, in the common side of Newgate