Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 The Newgate Calendar: Martha Davis


Sentenced to Death for robbing a Foot-Boy while on an Errand for his Master

IN London a set of daring prostitutes of the lowest description all night long prowled about the streets in order to prey upon unguarded youth. Even in the light of day, as in the present case, they were often daring enough to seize any victim who might accidentally pass their door, drag him into their den of misery, then ill-treat and plunder him.

Circumstances of this nature have come to our knowledge, where apprentices and servant-lads have been inveigled by them, stripped, forcibly detained till midnight, and then, almost naked, turned into the street. The sufferer, in his fright, and happy to escape with life, finding himself at liberty again, runs from the scene of wickedness; and, forgetting the place, the plunderer too often escapes with impunity.

Of this description of dangerous women was Martha Davis. She was indicted at the sessions at the Old Bailey for stopping Thomas Tidswell, the foot-boy of Mr Lewis, the comedian, on the highway, carrying him by force into a wretched apartment in Dyot Street, St Giles's, and there robbing him of his hat and two-and-sixpence in money. The boy was sent with a message to Broad Court, Covent Garden, and having to pass from his master's house, in Hart Street, Bloomsbury, into Holborn, took Dyot Street, by mistake, in his way. The prisoner was standing at her door, and she forcibly seized him, dragged him into her room, and beat and robbed him. She then turned him into the street, when he alarmed the watch, and she was apprehended. The prisoner said in her defence that the prosecutor, with other boys, were engaged in throwing mud at her, seeing her intoxicated; and, having caught Tidswell, she dragged him into her room and boxed his ears, but denied robbing him. This was evidently a fabrication, and the jury found her guilty. Sentence of death was passed.