Two Highwaymen caught at the same Robbery and &executed together on 26th of July, 1693
THESE two malefactors were executed at Tyburn on Wednesday, the 26th of July, 1693, for the same fact, which was robbing one Mr Salter, of Stoke, in Buckinghamshire. They had both been great offenders before, according to their age, though abundance of their robberies are not recorded. William Jones, alias Goodwin (which latter was said to be his right name, though he went by the former), was born in Gloucestershire, at a village near Campden, called Weston Subedge. He was kept at school till sixteen years of age, with one Mr Taylor, whom he was like to have killed with a pistol. At their breaking up at Christmas the boys had shut their master out of the school in the midst of their diversion, and refused him entrance. Mr Taylor upon this endeavouring to force open the door upon them, Jones discharged a bullet through the keyhole and narrowly missed his breast.
Complaint being made to his father of this misdemeanour, he was severely corrected and removed to another school, the master of which was called Bedford, with whom he continued about two years more. He now thought himself too old to be restrained, and requested his parents to take him home; which was done, according to his desire. Some time after this he had a small estate left him by his grandfather, which made him still more desirous of being fully his own master; to which also his indulgent father consented, and promoted his liberty (if marriage may not rather be called a slavery) by matching him to a fortune as good as his own. The woman, however, not proving so good as she should do, a sense of her ill-usage made him extravagant. He now abandoned himself wholly to excesses. He had one night a small quarrel in company, when he made no more to-do but pull out his sword and stab the person who gave the affront to the very heart. A dread of the consequences of this murder made him get off as fast as he could, and the want he was in of a maintenance, when he was from home, and durst not send to his friends, made him take to the highway, where he committed a great many robberies.
In particular, he robbed the Worcester and Bridgnorth stage-coaches several times over, and within the compass of a few days stopped a great number of passengers, horse and foot, upon Sarney Downs, near Winchester. His reign was not very long, but no man ever was more industrious to improve the little time that his fortune permitted him to go on in his villainies.
John Barber was born at Chard, in Somersetshire, from whence, coming up to London when he was very young, he got into a gentleman's service, and lived, among others, with Dr Boorne, at the Two Twins, in Moorfields, where he was detected in cheating his master of small sums of money, and turned out of doors for the knavery.
When he was out of place he took to gaming, at which he soon lost all his unjust gains, and whatever else he had saved. The same persons that won his money put him into a way to get more, by going out with them on the footpad. He was concerned in all the robberies that were committed by this gang from the time of his entering among them till he joined himself with Jones, and had more than once been guilty of murder, particularly at a gardener's at Fulham, whose house he broke open.
Jones and Barber had not been long united before they came to the fatal union at Tyburn already mentioned. The only facts they had been concerned in together, that we have heard of, were the breaking open the houses of four or five farmers about Eversley and Blackwater, out of one of which they took a hundred and thirty pounds in gold and silver, and in another took away the life of one who attempted to resist them in their enterprise.
When they were under sentence of death for Mr Salter's robbery they both behaved in a very indecent, or rather impudent, manner. At the place of execution they gave a great many ill words to the ordinary, who desired them to be serious in their last moments, and consider that they were going to appear before God to give an account of their actions. Just as they were going to be turned off Jones cried out: "What a sad, wicked, silly dog have I been to bring myself into this devilish scrape! Well, it is a dismal thing, for all our jesting, to be hanged up by the neck, and not to know where we are to be the next quarter of an hour!" Jones was twenty-six and Barber twenty-four years of age.