A PEPYSIAN GARLAND - online book

Black-letter Broadside Ballads Of The years 1595-1639

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The life and death of Mr George
Pepys, i, 128, B.L., two woodcuts, four columns.
This is a fine example of a "hanging ballad," though a bit more hostile in tone than is customary. The hostility of the ballad-writer is certainly excusable, for Mr George Sandys, his father Sir George, and his mother Lady Susanna were notorious rotters, inveterate criminals. Abundant information about the three—for much of which I am indebted to Pro­fessor Kittredge—is available.
On August 10, 1616, Sir George Sandys was indicted in the Middlesex Sessions on four counts: (1) for assaulting and robbing Anthony Culver-well of a cloak and a watch worth forty shillings each; (2) for assaulting and robbing John Foxe of personal property to the value of fifteen shillings; (3) for assaulting and robbing John Marston of "a blacke roned gelding worth ten pounds" and valuable personal property; (4) for assaulting and robbing Robert Wright of "a grey gelding worth seven pounds, a chest-nutt bay gelding worth eight pounds, three saddles worth forty shillings," and so on. Sir George pleaded "not guilty," and the trial resulted in his acquittal (Jeaffreson's Middlesex County Records, 11, 125). On August 21 M. de Tourval wrote to Francis Windebank {Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1611—18, p. 391) that Sir George Sandys and others were hanged for highway robberies at Kensington "of twelve or thirteen per­sons in an evening." It is hardly credible that there were two highway robbers of the same name and title; and as our Sir George was acquitted by the courts sometime in August after the tenth, it seems reasonable to suppose that Tourval had this trial in mind and was misinformed about the verdict.
On June 1, 1617 (Jeaffreson, op. cit. 11, 131), "Sir George Sandes knt., his wife Susannah Lady Sandes, and George Sandes gentleman, all three of Endfield," were indicted for being absent for a whole month from church!—evidence that, whatever their other faults, they were not sancti­monious lip-servers of religion. But in spite of these peremptory warnings, Sir George did not mend his ways; and, according to a letter written by Sir Gerard Herbert to Sir Dudley Carleton (Calendar of State Papers, Domestic, 1611-18, p. 527), he was hanged about March 10, 1618, "at Wapping for taking purses on the highway, having been formerly pardoned for like offences; his lady and son [are] in prison as accomplices."
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