Chapter 2 – Search for William Atterbury’s Parents

The Gutt House, Polar, Middlesex, Erected by William Atterbury, Butcher, Circa 1730

This work will investigate the ancestry and descendants of a person named William Atterbury, who was born in London, England in 1711 (author’s assumed date), who was transported a convict from New Gate Prison to Annapolis Maryland in 1733, and who died in Loudoun County Virginia in about 1766.  This William Atterbury was the progenitor of the author’s family and of most Atteberrys living in America today.  In the pursuit of this research into the William Atterbury family in America the author has found only three other published works to exist on Atterbury families in America:

  1. In 1933 L. Effingham de Forest and Anne Lawrence de Forest published a book entitled The Descendants of Job Atterbury.[1]  That work presents the genealogy of Job Atterbury, who first appeared in American records when some of his children were recorded born in New Jersey starting in 1795.  The de Forests represent Job Atterbury to have been the first of that surname to have settled in America.  Such assertion is clearly incorrect as there are records of several other earlier Atterburys.  This will be the last mention of Job Atterbury and his descendants, as there is no known connection to the William Atterbury family. 
  2. In 1984 Voncille Attebery Winter, PhD. and Wilma Attebery Mitchell, self published their work entitled The Descendants of William Atterbury, 1733 Emigrant.[2]  The Winter-Mitchell book culminated many years of research by these William Atterbury descendants, and was the single, most comprehensive document found by the author to have been written on this family. 
  3. In 1998 Wayne Attebury published his work entitled Atterbury Family, which is available online at the LDS Family Search Library[3]

Prior to the author’s research virtually nothing was known of William Atterbury’s first 22 years of life.  Heretofore the known life of William Atterbury commenced with his arrest and conviction for shoplifting, a crime potentially punishable by death, and which had associated events described briefly as follows:

“AT the King’s Commission of Oyer and Terminer, and Goal Delivery of Newgate, held (before the Right Honourable John Barber, Lord Mayor of the City of London; the Honourable Mr. Baron Thomson; the Honourable Mr. Justice Lee; the Worshipful Mr. Serjeant Urlin, Deputy Recorder of the City of London; and others his Majesty’s Justices of Oyer and Terminer, for the City of London; and Justices of the Goal-Delivery of Newgate, holden for the said City and County of Middlesex) at Justice-Hall in the Old-Bailey, on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, being the 21st, 22d, 23d and 24th, of February, 1732[OS], in the Sixth year of his Majesty’s Reign.”[4]

At these trials held on 21 thru 24Feb1733 the cases were heard and sentences were handed down for 53 individuals who had been arrested and indicted in London over the previous couple of months for various crimes.  43 persons were sentenced to transport to the colonies, one was burnt on the hand and likely released, and 10 individuals were sentenced to death, of which nine men were executed on 5Mar1733 at Tyburn [Hanging Tree] and one woman was executed on 7Mar1733 near Temple Gate.  William Atterbury was one of the prisoners sentenced to transport.

“Leonard Budley , alias Butler , and William Harris[on] , were indicted for assaulting John Hands, on the Highway, putting him in Fear, and taking from him a Silver Watch, value 40 s. and 5 s. in Money , Jan. 1.  William Harris[on] , was a second Time indicted, and William Atterbury for stealing five Yards of Linsey Woolsey [valued at three schillings?], the Property of George Cole on the testimony of Frederick Humble , Jan. 30 .”[5]

Leonard Budley and William Harrison were indicted for the crimes of assault and highway robbery in which they and a third accomplice, Thomas Essex, stole at gunpoint the property of John Hand on the evening of 1Jan1733.  Thomas Essex gave witness against Budley and Harrison and was not charged with the crime.  Budley and Harrison were sentenced to death and executed.  This case is relevant to William Atterbury in that the same William Harrison was arrested as William Atterbury’s accomplice in the theft of Linsey-Woolsey that occurred on 30Jan1733.

William Harrison and William Atterbury were indicted for the crime of felony theft for stealing five yards of Linsey-Woolsey, the property of George Cole on the testimony of Frederick Humble.  William Harrison was sentenced to death and was executed for the combination of crimes of highway robbery and shoplifting.  William Atterbury was ultimately sentenced to transport to the colonies.  Following sentencing Budley, Harrison and Atterbury were returned to New Gate Prison to await their punishment.

However, researchers seem to have overlooked an earlier record, which when considered in context with William’s arrest in Feb1733 for theft of linsey-woolsey, may be viewed as a precursor to William’s ultimate slide into a life of crime.  On 4Dec1732 William Atterberry was arraigned before the court for an unspecifified offense for which he was ordered to pay a fine:

“William Attorbury is referred to Mr. Riccards to Bail or Discharge as he shall think fitt when Delivered to Pay his Fees 2s”[6]

Although no specifics on the matter which caused William Atterberry’s appearance before the court on this occasion, his record was intermixed with several other parties also appearing, who were charged and fined for various minor offenses, including petty larceny, trespass and assault.  William’s arrest on this occasion may have been for something as minor as a drunken fracus, but suggestive of someone whose life was in turmoil.

In the published journals maintained by James Guthrie, Chaplain of the Court of Ordinary at Newgate Prison from 1732-1744 it was recorded that there were ten persons convicted of capital crimes and sentenced to death during the February 1732/3 sessions listed as follows:

“Nine Men, viz. Rowland Turner, Edward Delay, George Dawson, William West, Jonathan Curd, Joseph Fretwell, William Atterbury, Richard Norman and William Chamberlain, alias Cockey Chambers; and one Woman, viz. Sarah Malcolm, were convicted of capital Crimes, and received Sentence of Death.”[7]

Note that in this list of ten persons sentenced to death was the name of William Atterbury, but missing from the list were the names of Leonard Budley and William Harrison.  Did Chaplain Guthrie make an error when he published this list of condemned persons or was there more to this story?  There is evidence found elsewhere in Chaplain Guthrie’s journal which suggests that this may have been a valid list at some point in the judiciary proceedings, which was later altered to reflect commutation of some death sentences to transport and the addition of others convicted of Capital crimes.

“The Trials being ended, the Court proceeded to give Judgment, as follows:  Receiv’d Sentence of Death 10. Rowly Turner , David Delly , Joseph Fretwell , William West , Andrew Curd , Leonard Budley , William Harris , George Dawson , William Chamberlain , Sarah Malcolm. Burnt in the Hand 1 [and probably released]. Transportation 43. Margaret Garnet , Daniel Cobb , Samuel Wilkinson , Edward White , Charles Hutchins , Martha Dixon , Ann Hutchins , Ann Makepeace , Mary Silk , William Jones , Elizabeth Coney , Jane Judson , Michael Allom , Alice Gregory , Catherine Delavan , Barbara Black , Catherine Ogleby , John White , Christopher Atkinson , Harry Fowl , Joseph Hitch , Benjamin Burdet , Catherine Vert , Thomas Bottam , George Felton , Bartholomew Fuller , William Allbriton , William Bates , James Hastings , John Walter , Ann Andrews , Ann Herbert , Elizabeth Earle , Hannah Ward , William [Richard?] Norman , Richard Tredwell , William Crone , William Doland , Christopher Boyle , Nathaniel Hargrove , William Harris , William Atterbury , Thomas Howard .”[8]

This record appears to have included the final judgments of the Court of Ordinary following its trials on 21 thru 24Feb1733.  Presumably, this record presents an accurate account of the final judgments of this Court which were handed down on 24Feb1733.  It should be noted that this final list of judgments also include the names of ten persons sentenced to death, but there was a difference between this list and the list that appeared in Chaplain Guthrie’s journal.  In the final judgment the names of William Atterbury and Richard Norman had been removed from the list, and the names of Leonard Budley and William Harrison had been added to the list of those sentenced to death.  Appearing on the list of persons sentenced to transport are included the names of William Atterbury and William [Richard?] Norman.  The author is unable to explain this discrepancy between the report of Chaplain Guthrie and that of the final judgment.

“Upon Saturday, the 24th of February, Report was made to his Majesty in Councel, of these ten Malefactors, under Sentence of Death, in the Cells of Newgate; when George Dawson, for privately stealing sixty Yards of Printed Lawn, value 4 l. 6 s. the Goods of Thomas Hodges, and Jane Turner, in their Shop, December 29th, received his Majesty’s most Gracious Reprieve.”[9]

This record might provide an explanation for William Atterbury having appeared on Chaplain Guthrie’s list of persons sentenced to death, and then later appearing on the list of persons sentenced to transport.  The crime for which George Dawson had been initially sentenced to death, but later commuted to transport was very similar in nature and value to the crime committed by William Atterbury and William Harrison. 

In England during the 18th century roughly one-third of the population lived in poverty.  Crime against personal property was rampant, particularly in urbanized areas like London.  As an intended deterrent, the Crown enacted a series of laws which became known as the “Bloody Code”.  The following quotation provides an overview of the increased usage of capital punishment during this time period:

“As theft was becoming more of an issue as we have described above, so the authorities did the only thing they knew and intensified the penalties. It would be some time before it was generally understood that the best way to deal with crime is to increase the certainty of detection rather than simply impose more severe penalties. The ruling elites hung on to the law and the gallows as the main mechanism of rule at their disposal. The expansion of crimes which carry capital punishment (the death penalty) is a major feature of the period. Not only murderers but thieves, rapists, forgers, were hung. In 1688 there were 50 offences which carried the death penalty. This is amazing by modern standards when even murder gets only imprisonment, but by 1800 there were 200 offences punishable by hanging. The eighteenth century was thus a period of expanding use of capital punishment. People were being hung for all manner of petty crimes. Some court records show that during the two years 1774-6 people were hung for arson, cattle stealing, ‘destroying silk on a loom’, ‘wilfully wounding a horse’, sheep stealing, swearing false oathes, ‘impersonating another to receive a seaman’s wage’, and similar.”[10] 

William Atterbury’s crime was probably classified as shoplifting, as it appears that the theft was from a merchant’s shop.  The valuation of the stolen property was used in the law to set the demarcation between petty theft and a capital offence. 

Shoplifted property valued at five shillings or more was classified as a capital offence described in the following quotation:

“Another very common petty property theft was shoplifting.  A statute of 1699 made it a capital offence to steal goods valued at more than five shillings from a shop.  But this capital provision was seldom enforced and the crime itself was greatly underreported.  Few shoplifting cases reached the courts.  The reasons were threefold.  In the first place, shopkeepers did not want the expenses of prosecution; in most cases they had caught the offender red-handed and got their goods back.  Second, it was bad business publicly if a prosecution ended with a hanging.  Third, most offenders were women, and in general, indictments were pressed against the female sex only in serious cases…. Throughout the century [18th] the most serious crimes against property remained highway and footpad robbery, burglary and housebreaking, and horse-stealing.”[11]

The foregoing description of the enforcement of shoplifting cases suggests that such crimes were seldom prosecuted, and almost never resulted in a death sentence. 

Winter and Mitchell described William Atterbury’s crime in the following quotation from their book:

“William Atterbury was a labourer of the parish of St. James Liberty, Westminster, Middlesex, and was tried on 31st January, 1732. He was a prisoner in Newgate prison, in the reign of George II.  He was committed by 01. Lambert esquire, on oath of Frederick Humble for stealing out of the shop of George Cole some stuff, five yards of Linsey Woolsey, worth 3 shillings.”[12]

According to Winter-Mitchell this account of the crime, arrest and trial of William Atterbury was obtained from the original Court documents, which were translated from Latin by a hired genealogical researcher working for The Kinseer Genealogical Researchers of Kent, England.  This author has not seen the original documents, but is prepared to accept Kinseer Genealogical Researchers’ purported translation, at least in general terms.  Their accounting of these events comports fairly closely with the accounts published in “The Proceedings of the Old-Bailey”, but with some exceptions.

The accuracy of the Kinseer account of William Atterbury’s criminal proceedings seems somewhat suspect.  For example, the crime is reported to have occurred on 30Jan1733, so it is highly improbable that he was “tried” on 31Jan1733.  More likely he would have been arraigned before a Magistrate the day following his arrest to establish whether there was sufficient evidence for him to be bound over for trial.  The Kinseer account also indicates that the property involved in the theft was valued at three shillings, yet nowhere else in the published record is there any indication of the stolen property’s valuation.  Finally, the Kinseer account states that William Atterbury was a labourer of the parish of St. James Liberty, Westminster, Middlesex.  This information might have been instrumental in determining William Atterbury’s ancestry, yet no factual basis for this asserted biographical information has been provided by either Wayne Atterbury or by Winter-Mitchell.  Search as we might the author has found nothing anywhere in these court records to suggest anything about William Atterbury’s occupation or place of residence prior to his arrest.  In fact, the location of the theft for which William Atterbury and William Harrison were arrested does not appear anywhere in the record. 

However, using the names of the victim, George Cole, and the witness, Frederick Humble, it may be possible to reconstruct the approximate location of the crime.  Starting with Frederick Humble, through a search of the christening records in and around London it is possible to establish his date and place of birth.  Frederick Humpele [sic] was born on 15Jan1718/9 and christened on 5Feb1718/9 in St. James Parish, Westminster to parents: Christopher and Mary Humble.  Frederick had a sister, Mary, born on 3Dec1717, and a brother, Christopher Jr., born on 31Dec1720, also in St. James Parish, Westminster.  On 7Mar1732/3 Frederick Humble entered a seven-year apprenticeship with Master, Richard Pitts, Dyer.  Frederick’s father was identified on the indenture as Christopher Humble of St. James, Westminster, Yeoman.  There was a Richard Pitts shown in the tax records of London living in Vintry Ward, Third Precinct, St. James Parish, Garlick Hill from 1722 to 1737.  Refer to Figure 2-1 for an illustration of the location of St. James Garlick Hill Precinct.  Also, note the occupation of Dyer, as it will play be a key factor in this attempt to establish the probable location of the theft of Linsey-Woolsey.

There are also tax records for a George Cole living in the 6th Precinct, Aldersgate Ward between 1718 and 1726 with adjacent taxpayers named William Holloway and Stephen Smith.  This precinct was nearby to St. Catherine Coleman Church off Magpye Alley.  This person may have been the same George Cole from whom William Harrison and William Atterbury stole the Linsey-Woolsey.  George Cole disappeared from Aldersgate Ward after 1726, but a George Cole reappeared in Third Precinct, St. James Parish, Garlick Hill in 1734 and 1735, only a few blocks removed from Richard Pitts.  In 1737 Widow Cole was reported in place of George Cole, so presumably, George Cole had died sometime during the previous two years. 

The author believes that this George Cole was also a Dyer by trade, and is believed to have been the father of Andrew Cole, whose indenture was dated 24Nov1711.  Andrew Cole was indentured to Edward Peck, Dyer, and in the indenture Andrew’s father was identified as George Cole, Dyer of Lambeth, Surrey.  Andrew Cole was recorded as christened on 14Sep1695 in St. Mary’s Parish, Lambeth, Surrey County, father George Cole.  Edward Peck and his wife, Elizabeth [lnu], were recorded registering the births of five children at St. Dunstan’s All Saints in Stepney Parish between 1698 and 1706, all which records identified Edward Peck as a Dyer and living at Spitalsfield.  It should be noted that St. Dunstan’s All Saints (in the East) is situated only about six blocks from St. Catherine Coleman Church off Magpye Alley.  Remember that St. Catherine Coleman church was the neighborhood in which a George Cole was recorded in the tax records between 1718 and 1726.  This George Cole would have been living in the same neighborhood as Edward Peck, to whom Andrew Cole was apprenticed.  Such close living proximity between this George Cole and Edward Peck, Dyer makes it highly probable that this George Cole was the father of Andrew Cole and himself a Dyer by trade.

Andrew Cole is believed to have married Anne Brison at St. Paul’s Cathedral on 29Dec1720.  There is also a christening record for a William Cole dated 31Mar1722 born to Andrew and Ann Cole at St. Leonard’s Shoreditch.  The author believes this Andrew Cole to have been the son of George Cole, Dyer, due to the timing and close proximity of St. Leonard’s Shoreditch to the home of Edward Peck at Spitalsfield.  By Feb1725 it appears that Andrew and Anne Cole had moved into Farrindgon Without Ward, where they recorded the christening of three additional children at St. Dunstan’s in the West between 1725 and 1730.  Andrew was identified in these records as a Dyer.  In the London tax records Andrew Cole was identified as living in St. Anne’s Blackfriars parish in 1724 and 1725, but between 1726 and 1735 he had moved westerly where he was living on Chancery Lane.  So, it would appear that at the time of the theft of the Linsey-Woolsey Andrew Cole, son of George Cole, was residing on Chancery Lane within only a few houses of the Robert Harrison family on White’s Alley.  This analysis would seem to place George Cole’s son living and doing business as a cloth dyer in the same neighborhood as William Harrison, the accomplice of William Atterbury.

Now that we have tracked Andrew Cole to ground, what of the whereabouts of his father, George Cole, Dyer?  If the George Cole who paid taxes near St. Catherine Coleman church in Aldersgate Ward from 1718 to 1726 was Andrew Cole’s father, then there is good reason to believe that he was also the George Cole who appeared on the tax rolls in St. James, Garlickhythe precinct of Vintry Ward in 1734 and 1735.  The absence of George Cole from the tax records between 1726 and 1734 cannot be explained.  It is possible that he may have returned to Lambeth, Surrey County during that period.  It is also possible that he was living with his son on Chancery Lane.  Note that George Cole’s disappearance from St. Catherine Coleman in 1726 coincided with the appearance of Andrew Coleman on Chancery Lane in that same year.  Regardless, there is good reason to believe that the George Cole in St. James Garlickhythe was the Dyer and father of Andrew Cole.  In 1734-5 this George Cole’s neighbors were the Vintner Hall and Jonathan Raven Sr. and Jonathan Raven Jr. 

First, let is be noted that the Worshipful Company of Dyers had its meeting hall on Dowgate Hill from about 1725 to the present day.  Dowgate Hill is the fourth street to the east of Garlick Hill as shown on Figure 1.  It was common practice for many members of a trade company to set up shop within easy distance from their company’s meeting hall.  To illustrate this practice take note of the following quotation:

“Eight of the 25 dyers lived in the St James Garlickhythe precinct of Vintry ward, none with a stated specialty.”[13]

Roger Feldman’s statement regarding the concentration of Dyers within St. James Garlickhythe precinct was based on his analysis of a Jury Poll compiled in 1721.  The context in which Feldman made this observation was related to his attempt to describe the number of dyers in London during this time period that chose to practice in a specialty of the trade as contrasted to those who remained unspecialized, i.e., linen dyers or silk dyers vs. general dyers.  The survey from which Feldman extracted his 1721 tally of dyers covered the following wards: Bassishaw, Bread Street, Castle Baynard, Cordwainers, Farringdon Within and Farringdon Without, Vintry and Walbrook.  The 1721 jury poll data encompassed roughly 35% of all London households as illustrated in Table 1.  The household tallies shown in Table 1 were taken from a publication entitled A Short Account of the Several Wards, Precincts, Parishes, Etc. in London, prepared by John Smart and published in London in about 1741.  The household tallies contained in this publication are reflective of a period probably around 1738 to 1740.  Another important calculation is the relative number of households within Vintry Ward to the number of households represented in the 1721 jury poll.  Using the household data from circa 1738-40, Vintry Ward contained roughly 5% of the 8014 households in the wards represented in the 1721 jury poll.  In contrast, using the tally of Dyers from the 1721 jury poll compiled by Feldman, St. James Garlickhythe Precinct of Vintry Ward contained roughly 32% of those Dyers, i.e. 8 out of 25.  St. James Garlickhythe precinct contained only 148 households, or only about 2% of the total households in the 1721 jury poll.  On a household by household basis, St. James Garlickhythe had one Dyer for every 18.5 households, whereas the rest of the precincts from the 1721 jury poll had one Dyer for every 450 household.  Consequently, the earlier assertion by the author that a greater number of Dyers would tend to establish their business in close proximity to the Company of Dyers Hall would seem to be supported by the foregoing calculations.

What is the relevance of the foregoing analysis of the concentration of Dyers within St. James Garlickhythe to this search for the location of George Cole, Dyer?  It has already been reliably shown that Richard Pitts, the Master of Frederick Humble, very likely was the person shown living in St. James Garlickhythe.  Now, given the extraordinarily high concentration of dyers within this precinct, it seems highly probable that the George Cole recorded on tax records in St. James Garlickhythe in 1734 and 1735 was George Cole, Dyer, and father of Andrew Cole, Dyer.  To further lend credence to this probability, it should be noted that two of George Cole’s immediate neighbors, Jonathan Raven Sr. and Jonathan Raven Jr. were also both members of the Company of Dyers.

And, finally, how does all of this information about George Cole, Frederick Humble and Richard Pitts relate to the search for the probable location of the theft of Linsey-Woolsey by William Atterbury and William Harrison?  First, note that all these persons appear to have been engaged in the Dyers Trade.  The theft involved Linsey-Woolsey, a rough and inexpensive cloth fabric that was in widespread usage throughout Europe during this time period in the manufacture of a variety of clothing and other household goods.  One of the final stages in the manufacture of these products would have entailed the dying of the fabric, a function performed by members of the Dyers Trade.  Consequently, it would be natural for anyone engaged in the Dyers Trade to have on hand quantities of various types of fabrics awaiting the process of dying or finished bulk dyed products awaiting sale or transport to other trade shops for the final crafting into marketable goods.  George Cole and Andrew Cole, as active dyers, would be expected to have quantities of various cloth fabrics at their place of business, including large quantities of Linsey-Woolsey.

Given the connection between Frederick Humble and George Cole in the theft of Linsey-Woolsey by William Atterbury, and given the close geographic and contemporaneous proximity of George Cole and Richard Pitts in St. James Garlickhythe precinct, it is a reasonable conclusion to be drawn that the theft of the Linsey-Woolsey occurred somewhere within close proximity to Vintry Ward.  The close contemporaneous and geographic proximity of Andrew Cole to the Robert Harrison family along Chancery Lane may have been mere coincidence, but the author is inclined to believe that there may have been an indirect connection that contributed to George Cole’s shop being targeted by William Harrison and William Atterbury.  Information will be presented later in this chapter which potentially links William Atterbury’s family to this same neighborhood around St. James Garlickhythe.

In addition to the above questionable “facts” regarding William Atterbury around the time of his arrest, Wayne Atterbury, Winter-Mitchell and other researchers have also suggested motives for William Atterbury having committed this crime of shoplifting.  The most frequently reported motivation was that William Atterbury planned to be arrested so that he would be transported to the colonies.  Another party has suggested that William Atterbury stole the Linsey-Woolsey to be used as the burial cloth for a recently deceased relative.  These speculations will not do.

Let us consider the theory of “planned transportation to the colonies” in the light of the only real facts known in this case.  If Chaplain Guthrie’s account is accurate, then it would appear that William Atterbury’s initial sentence may have been death.  Since George Dawson was initially sentenced to death for the shoplifting theft of sixty yards of printed lawn valued at 4 l. 6 s, then it seems entirely plausible that William Atterbury also may have been initially sentenced to death for the shoplifting of five yards of Linsey-Woolsey of uncertain value.  The crimes of William Atterbury and George Dawson were both for shoplifting of small quantities of cloth material.  As shown in the above citation relative to the penalties for shoplifting, the theft of property valued over five shillings could be sentenced as a capital offence.  By his own admissions William Harrison committed several crimes over the preceding four months prior to 30Jan1733, some of which would have been considered capital offences.  Does it seem reasonable or rational to think that William Harrison and William Atterbury would have sat down over a pint of ale at the Lamb and Horseshoe in George Alley on the evening of 29Jan1733 and plan to shoplift five yards of Linsey-Woolsey valued just under five shillings so that they might be arrested and transported to the colonies?  What if they miscalculated and the cloth turned out to be valued at 5 l. 6 s.?  Or, what if, as occurred with George Dawson, the Magistrate did not place too fine a point on precise property valuation and declared 4 l. 6 s to be sufficient for a sentence of death?  Did William Harrison and William Atterbury have sufficient legal savvy to be able to understand the subtle distinction between petty theft and capital theft?  It would seem clear that William Harrison had no such knowledge of the law or chose to disregard it, as he was arrested for footpad robbery and was executed along with Leonard Budley for that crime.  It is far more realistic to assume that William Atterbury was not all that unlike his accomplices and simply found it easier to turn to a life of crime than to pursue an honest trade or craft.

In order to gain some insight into the true character of William Atterbury it is well worth the time studying the character and background of his known associates.  One of the main responsibilities of James Guthrie, Chaplain of the Court of Ordinary at Newgate Prison, was to attend to the spiritual needs of persons awaiting execution.  Toward this end Guthrie conducted extensive interviews with each condemned prisoner, which he then meticulously recorded in his journals.  The following is Guthrie’s account of the interview he conducted with William Harrison within the week following his sentencing:

“William Harrison, 22 Years of Age, of honest Parents in the Parish of St. Andrew’s Holbourn, who took care of his Education at School, to prepare him for Business, and instructed him in the Principles of our Holy Religion. When of Age he went Apprentice to a Founder , but did not serve out his time, being the most disobedient, cross and obstinate Boy to his Parents and Master in the World; who gave him a good Example, and were willing and desirous of affording him the best of instructions. Being wearied of confinement in an honest Way, at last Bartholomew-tide, he renounced all Business, took his last fair well of his Parents, Master and all that was good and vertuous and took on the Profession of a notorious Thief, Robber and Pick-Pocket, joyning himself to the most villanous Gangs about the Town and shunning the sight of all honest People who knew any Thing of him. About this Time he married a Wife, who was his private Companion. He confessed the above nam’d Robbery with Budley, and no more of that kind; both of them blam’d Essex the Evidence, as their Promptor and Adviser to undertake such a wicked Course of Life. He own’d innumerable Thefts in Shop lifting, and every little Thing he could lay his Hands upon; as also that he was a great Drinker, Gamester, and very much giving to Women. He was very Sick and Penitent, in Evidence of which he shed Tears plentifully. He had more Knowledge of Religion than any of his Companions. He died in the Faith of Christ; Penitent, and in Peace with all Men. ” [14]

From this description we find that William Harrison was 22 years old in 1733, that he was from St. Andrews Holborn Parish, educated for a career in business, instructed in religious principles, apprenticed to a “Founder” [metal worker], and married shortly before his capture.  Apprenticeships generally entailed a commitment of at least seven years, so Harrison probably was under indenture until age 20 or beyond.  He tired of his work as an apprentice and turned to a life of crime.  Harrison stated that he had just embarked on his criminal ways only about five months before his arrest, and that he had been badly influenced by Thomas Essex, who was about ten years older and a career criminal.  He further stated that he had performed only the one armed robbery for which he was convicted, and that his other crimes had primarily been shoplifting.  Search of parish registers supports the existence of the Robert and Mary [Jones] Harrison family living off Chancery Lane on White’s Alley with three children: William christened 14Oct1711, John christened 21Nov1715 and Mary christened 2Aug1719.  This almost certainly was William Harrison’s family.  It is important to note that White’s Alley was located about one block from the southeast corner of Lincoln’s Inn Field, the site of the armed robbery committed by William Harrison, Thomas Essex and Leonard Budley.

Prior to his being arrested with William Atterbury for the theft of five yards of linsey-woolsey from George Cole, William Harrison had been connected with an earlier offense involving armed robbery in association with Thomas Essex and Leonard Budley.  Budley was also interviewed by Chaplain Guthrie, who recorded the following biographical sketch:

” Leonard Budley, 22 Years of Age, of honest Parents in Stepney Parish, who gave him good Education at School, in Reading, Writing and Arithmetick, to fit him for Business; and had him instructed in Christian Principles. When of Age, he was put Apprentice to a Master Currier, whom he serv’d honestly for the Space of four Years; but not agreeing well with his Mistress, he left him about that Time, and then he serv’d an Uncle of his own for some Time, who giving up Business, he went to a Master in Fetter Lane [St. Andrews, Holborn], where being in Company with his Father of the same Business, he had very good Encouragement for a young Man of his Standing: Yet not satisfy’d with his Lot, and desirous of a licencious Freedom, he left his Master, and the good Company of his Father, who always readily gave him the best of Advice, counselling him to live as becomes a Christian. And at Christmas last, having contracted Familiarity with some who belong’d to the vilest Gang of Thieves, he went to live by himself upon picking of Pockets, Stealing, Robbing, House-breaking, &c. He own’d his keeping too much Company with lewd Women, which prov’d a very great Snare to him; but he did not blame them, as having any concern in his Stealing or Robbing. He said it was his Loss, that his Master was too indulgent to him, and him he commended for a very good Man. His first Fault was, when he got any Money, to stay whole Nights with idle Company, Drinking and Debauching: His Master observing him irreclaimable in this obstinate and wicked Way, was content to let him go about his Business. He kept the Church till of late, when he renounc’d all that was Good. Three or four Weeks ago, after he had commenc’d Street-Robber, he married a Wife; he had been very negligent of his Book, and knew but little of religious Principles, but was very desirous of instruction, which I imparted to him in the most familiar Way. He was very humble and penitent, under a deep Sight and Sense of his Sins. He own’d the Justice of his Sentence according to Law, and that they robb’d the Gentleman in Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields, as was sworn against him; and said that he was never guilty of another Highway Robbery, only that the Night following they attach’d another young Gentleman in Lincoln’s InnFields, who told them he had no Money, and as they were stripping him of his Cloaths, and what things he had about him, Company coming up, they were oblig’d to fly for their own Safety. He own’d also that he was guilty of a great Number of Petty Thefts in Picking of Pockets, and stealing small things out of Shops, but that he never committed any notorious Facts, but these which we have mention’d. On Tuesday Evening, the 27th of February, when I was visiting his Partner Harrisson, who was lying Sick in the Cell, Budley came up crying most bitterly and loudly; afterwards he told me the Reason was, that he had parted with his Mother and a vertuous young Woman, with whom he was in Terms of Marriage, and who told him, if he had perform’d his promises to her, that might have prevented his miserable Fate. He always behav’d decently and well, seem’d to be a young Fellow capable of Business, but who was at once ruin’d by bad Company. He declar’d his Faith in Christ; that he repented of all his Sins, and died in Peace with all the World.”[15]

Leonard Budley described himself as being 22 years old in 1733, born in Stepney Parish, having been given a good education and training as a youth, was placed as an apprentice to a Currier, left his apprenticeship after four years, joined in another apprenticeship in the same business with his father in Fetter Lane [St. Andrews Holborn], then left that apprenticeship for a life of “licentious freedom” which undoubtedly involved crime.  Budley claimed to have married just four weeks before his arrest.  William Harrison and Leonard Budley were arrested for the armed robbery of John Hand, which occurred on the street in front of Lord Newcastle’s residence at the northwest corner of Lincolns Inn Field, about four blocks from William Harrison’s birthplace and presumed residence on White’s Lane.  A search of the church records for St. Dunstan’s All Saints Church in Stepney produces records of the family of Thomas and Judith Budley, in which Thomas is described variously as a “Colourman” [painter or paint supplier, or perhaps a dyer] and a “Haberdasher”.  Thomas and Judith Budley are recorded with three children: Hester christened 16Feb1707, Leonard christened 27May1711 and Thomas Jr. christened 19May1717. 

Leonard stated that he joined with his father in a business on Fetter Lane, probably when he was about 18 years old.  It should be noted that Fetter Lane was the next street to the east of Chancery Lane and White’s Alley, the birthplace of William Harrison.  It should further be noted that there are numerous records in St. Andrews Holborn parish for members of the Budley family.  These Budleys were almost certainly kinsmen of Leonard Budley, probably the family of his father’s brother.  These Budley’s were recorded as living on Fetter Lane and on Shoe Lane, all within only a few blocks of William Harrison’s family.  It seems highly probable that William Harrison and Leonard Budley would have become acquainted through close contact within this neighborhood in St. Andrews Holborn Parish as young men in their late teens, if not earlier.

Before leaving this character assessment of William Harrison and Leonard Budley it may be useful to review the transcript of Harrison and Budley’s trial:

“51, 52. Leonard Budley , alias Butler , and William Harris[on] , were indicted for assaulting John Hands , on the Highway, putting him in Fear, and taking from him a Silver Watch, value 40 s. and 5 p. in Money , Jan. 1 .  William Harris [sic] , was a second Time indicted, and William Atterbury for stealing five Yards of Linsey Woolsey , the Property of George Cole , Jan. 30 . Testimony: John Hand . Between 12 and 1 at Night, as I was going along the upper Side of Lincolns-Inn-Fields , by the Duke of Newcastle’s, I met Leonard Butler . Court. How do you know it was he? Hand. By the Light of a Lamp that was just by; he [Budley] seiz’d my Coat with his Left-Hand, and holding a Pistol to me with his Right, he swore he would have my Watch and Money. I stood with my Back to the House, and he with his Back to the Fields [Lincolns Inn], and being taller than I was, I could the better observe his Face by the Lamp. I said, aloud, Take away your Pistol, and you shall have what I have got. No, he swore he would not, and kept punching me with his Pistol. I took out my Watch and gave it him; he took it with his Left Hand, and then had his Accomplices (who I believe to be the Prisoner [Harrison] and this other Person [Essex]) to search my Pockets, which they did, and took out 4 Shillings, and 2 Sixpences. Says I, If you’ll leave the Watch for me at any House, I’ll bring the Money for it. They would not agree to that, but Butler bid me make off, or he would send a Ball after me. As I was going, I found my Breeches were cut all down the Side; I gather’d them up as well as I could, and went to a Watchman in Holbourn [Street]; I told him my Case, and he came back with me to the middle of Duke-street to look for ’em, but we could not find ’em. Amos Foss , Watchman. The Prosecutor came to me and complained that he had been robb’d of his Watch and 6 or 7 Shillings, near the Duke of Newcastle’s, by a tall Man and 2 short ones. I saw his Breeches were cut. Thomas Essex . Between 12 and 1, I and the Prisoners met the Prosecutor near the End of Duke’s-Street. Butler seiz’d him by the Collar, and holding a Pistol to him, swore he would blow his Brains out, if he did not deliver his Watch and Money. He took the Prosecutor’s Watch, and I search’d his Pockets, and found 4 Shillings and 2 Sixpences, and then I cut his Breeches. Court. What did the other Prisoner [Harrison] do? Essex. He stood upon the Guard, with a Knife in his Hand. Court. How came you to find out the Prosecutor? Essex. I surrender’d my self a voluntary Evidence to Justice Mercer; then I advertis’d the Robbery, and the Prosecutor came in next Morning. Court. How long have you been acquainted with the Prisoners? Essex. Ever since last Bartholomew Fair [24Aug]. Court. Have you any Body to prove that you kept Company together? Essex. Yes; we used to drink at the Lamb and Horse-Shoe, in George-Alley, which goes from Shoe-Lane to the Ditch-Side [east side of Shoe Lane]. The City-Marshal often came there, and found us together, and threaten’d to send us to the Compter, if he catch’d us there any more. Richard Abbot , Carman. I used to drink at that House [Lamb and Horseshoe], and have several Times seen Essex there, in Company with the Prisoners; but I know nothing of their Doings. Taylor. I am Constable of St. Andrew’s Holbourn. The Lamb and Horse-Shoe is a very notorious House, I used to go every Night, with the City-Marshal, to search it, and I believe I have seen Butler [Budley] there with Essex. Jarvis. The Prisoner Butler [Budley] was my Servant 3 Years ago; he’s a Currier by Trade; but I know nothing of him for this last Year, only that I heard he work’d with Mr. Kitchen. He serv’d his Time with Mr. Kitchen, and I heard he has work’d for him within these 3 Months. Court. You should swear nothing but what you know; what you heard from another is no Evidence. William Harvey . I never heard any Ill of Butler [Budley] before this Time; but I know nothing of him for these 6 Months past. Harris[on] was an Apprentice to a Cock-Founder [caster of brass valves, ball cocks, etc.], but did not serve his Time out. And after that, he work’d 5 Years with a Gunsmith; but for this half Year, I have known but little of him. The Jury found them both Guilty . Death .”

Having studied the biographies of Harrison and Budley and their trial transcript, it is possible to make an “educated guess” about William Atterbury, himself.  Given that both Harrison and Budley were aged 22 years in 1733, it is reasonable to assume that William Atterbury would have been of a like age.  Since Harrison and Budley lived the last seven to eight years of their lives in St. Andrews Holborn Parish, it is also possible to infer that William Atterbury must have lived part of his early adult life in the same neighborhood.  It is also reasonable to assume that William Atterbury would have been exposed to a similar upbringing, being schooled in reading, writing, ciphering and religion from his youth.  He may also have had the good fortune to have been indentured into an apprenticeship.

Now, armed with some fundamental parameters regarding his probable childhood and youth, the author will endeavor in the remainder of this chapter to identify William Atterbury’s family.  But, before starting this journey into William Atterbury’s past, the reader should be made aware of the fact that many prior genealogical researchers have already gone on record as to William’s parentage.  Some researchers have suggested that William was the son of William Atterbury, a London Butcher, and his wife, Sarah Rogers, christened on 25Jun1710 at St. Giles Cripplegate.  Such lineage is unproven.  Let it be said that the author enters this investigation with an open mind, and is prepared to evaluate the facts fairly and objectively wherever they may lead.

Given that William Atterbury was arrested in London in January 1733 at the approximate age of 22 years, it seems reasonable to assume that he was born somewhere within Middlesex County.  The likelihood of his family having been from London is strengthened by the fact that his accomplice in crime, William Harrison, is known to have been from a London, St. Andrews Holborn family.  This likelihood is further strengthened by the fact that William Harrison’s accomplices in an earlier crime committed on 1Jan1733, Leonard Budley and Thomas Essex, were also from St. Andrews Holborn parish.  Since William Atterbury’s only known associates were born of London families, it seems highly probable that William, himself, was from a London family.  Starting with the hypothesis that William Atterbury was born somewhere in Middlesex County, the authors will search for William’s family from among Londoners.

During the 17th and 18th centuries there were several dozens of Atterbury families living in Middlesex County, only a few of which conceivably could have been William’s direct kinsmen.  The great majority of these families resided in the eastern half of the County, and most were concentrated in but a few parishes: St. Giles Cripplegate, St. Bartholomew by the Exchange, St. Bartholomew The Great, St. Leonards Shoreditch, St. Andrews Undershaft, All Hallows Staining, St. Botolphs Bishopgate and St. Botolph Aldersgate.  Of course, there were Atterburys to be found in numerous other parishes scattered around London during this period, but none of those scattered Atterburys appear to have established families of multiple generations or branches, and only a few had a son named William born during the appropriate time period: 1705 to 1720.

The primary source utilized in this search for London Atterburys was the London, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 database found at  This database encompasses the relevant time period, plus it contains indexed church registers for births/christenings, marriages/banns and burials. claims that this database contains records from over 10,000 Church of England church registers within the London area and more than 8.5 million records.  As such, it would not contain records for non-conforming churches, but laws of this period required registration of births, marriages and deaths in the Church of England parish church; so presumably, this database should contain most persons born, married or buried in London during that time period regardless of religious affiliation.  The evidence of non-conforming registrations in Church of England registries can be observed in those entries specifically identified as Quaker, Baptist, etc.  Omissions from this database would include missing records due to natural or manmade disasters, i.e. floods, fire, theft, etc., or events that simply went unrecorded.

Because there are many variations on the spelling of the surname of Atterbury and because the Ancestry database search engine has a limited set of search criteria, mining this database for Atterburys requires imagination and creativity.  To give an example of the surname variations, the author found such spellings as Allerbury, Attlebury, Atherbury, Arthorbury, Atterbrry, Atturbury, Arterbury, and Anterbury, to name a few.  There are almost as many variations to be found of the “bury” ending as there are for the “Atter” beginning.  To facilitate this search the author resorted to using only variations on the “Atterb” beginning combined with an “*” wildcard trailer.  The searches also specified exact matches in order to eliminate soundex mismatches, thereby eliminating duplications between searches.  This search method returns a few non-Atterbury surnames, such as Attenborough, or Atterborn but these interlopers were readily discernable and culled.  By disregarding the possible variations of the “bury” ending, use of the wildcard permitted a return of all ending variations.  Table 2 presents the panoply of “Atterb” variations utilized by the authors in the mining of this database, and the number of hits realized from each individual search request.  Since the desired time period and location parameters (17th and 18th century Middlesex County) were already built into the database, neither date nor location was specified in the searches.  As evidenced by Table 2 the “Atterb” beginning was by far the most common of all noted variations with almost 450 hits (including “Aterb” as simply a variant on “Atterb”).  “Attenb” was the second most frequent with 33 hits, followed by “Allerb”, “Attleb” and “Arterb” rounding out the top five most frequent variants. 

It is the author’s opinion that most of these surname variations can be attributed to the fact that many of these Atterburys were not fully literate and that their names frequently were recorded based on phonetics, as interpreted by the recorder.  It also seems possible that some of the variations might be attributed to record transcription errors as in the case of “Attenb”, where the “r” was probably misinterpreted to be an “n”.  However, given the consistencies of Atterburys by parish locations, time periods and given names, most of the Atterbury variants are believed to have been derivative of a common ancestry, at least within the previous two to three centuries.  Using yet another surname spelling variant, “Adderb”, there is evidence found that Atterburys resided in Surrey County back into the 16th Century and earlier.  This study has ignored these earlier Atterburys on the basis that they are irrelevant to this study’s scope.  Even if this study were successful in establishing William Atterbury’s ancestry with some degree of certainty, it seems highly improbable that that ancestry could be traced backwards for more than one or two generations.  Certainly, the records are so scant that tracing William’s ancestry before 1600 seems a hopeless endeavor.

Now, as for the cataloging of this set of approximately 550 Atterbury records compiled by the author, they were first entered into an Excel spreadsheet, with each record potentially containing the following data elements: Name [given name followed by surname], Event Type [marriage, banns, baptism, christening, and burial], Event Date, Event Place [church, ward, parish], Parents, and Spouse.  In order to minimize the number of data elements, baptisms were merged with christenings, and banns were merged with marriages by license.  The tally of Atterbury records by these three main categories of event type is presented in Table 3.  It is interesting to note that the number of burial records frequently exceeded the number of births during this time period, presumably due to the high mortality rate caused by the plague, yellow fever and other epidemics, and the migration from the country into the city.  The records containing parent’s names only pertained to christenings [baptisms] and to burials when the burial involved an infant, but never to a marriage record.  Records containing spouse names mainly pertained to marriage records, but occasionally also pertained to a burial record.  It should be noted that occasionally other relevant data might be found in a record, i.e., occupation, birth date, cause of death, street name or age; but these data elements were not tabulated in the spreadsheet.  However, these extraneous data elements were found extremely useful in analyzing the overall record in the effort of establishing family connections and groupings. 

For example, a William Atterbury of St. Giles Cripplegate was recorded in several christening records with the occupation of “Butcher”, information that many researchers have utilized in establishing what they believed to have been his only five children: Jane, William 1st, William 2nd, Charles and Sarah.  However, by scrutinizing records from St. Leonards Shoreditch, it seems clear to the author that William “the Butcher” had relocated his family to St. Leonards around 1713 where he and Sarah were recorded with five additional children: Appelina, Anne, William 3rd, Elizabeth and Jasper.  The connection for this relocation by William “the Butcher” was made possible by comparing the occupation reported by William on the St. Giles church records to legal records in Norton Folgate [St. Leonards Shoreditch] consisting of an acquittal for charges of rape in 1716 and the Last Will and Testament of William “the Butcher” made at Norton Folgate in 1747.

An important advantage of placing the Atterbury London records in a spreadsheet is that they can then be sorted and grouped by various categories for comparison and analysis.  After first sorting the records by Event Type, the next complete sort was performed by Event Place and then Event Date.  This second sort permitted a display of all records within a specific parish ordered by event type and then by the date of the event portrayed by that database subset.  Based on the probability that these families had limited mobility, i.e. remained within a narrow geographic locale, then scrutiny of records in chronological order within a specific parish facilitated the identification of probable family units, i.e. parents and children.  Depending on the existence of additional generations, this approach would also facilitate identifying second generation families.

Table 4 presents a summarization or tally of Atterbury records by parish church for those parishes that contained four or more records.  The general location of the parishes that contained more than five records has been overlaid onto a current map of London as illustrated in Figure 2.  As stated at the outset of this chapter, the majority of Atterbury records occurred in the eastern half of the County.  This statement is born out by the map in Figure 2.  Of the 73 London parishes in which Atterbury records were found, more than 50% of those records occurred within the twelve parishes that contained the greatest number of Atterbury records. 

Having assembled the London Atterbury records in chronological order and grouped them by parish church, the authors began a methodical study of each record within a parish in an effort to assemble them into identifiable family units.  Where there were records of christenings for children believed to be of the same parents, but appearing in more than one church parish, all those records for a single parent set were assembled into a single family unit.  Whenever a marriage or a burial record could clearly be associated with a member of any given family unit, then those records were merged with the appropriate family unit.  Lastly, the author analyzed each family unit thusly assembled in an effort to identify a potential candidate family for William Atterbury, the Immigrant.  From the opening hypothesis, the author has assumed that William Atterbury, the Immigrant, originated from a London family, and that he was likely between 18 and 25 years old when he was arrested in 1733.  Consequently, unless his birth was somehow omitted from the London database, it should be possible to find one or more candidates fitting his description using the methodology established by the author.

Having identified probable family units the author was able to identify most of the families contained within the London parish church records, which might have been the source of William Atterbury.  Table 5 contains a listing of all of the christening records for sons named William that fit within the assumed timeframe, i.e., 1705 to 1720.  There were only five families thus identified into which William, the Immigrant, might have been born.  The first family thus identified was of Richard and Elizabeth Atterbury of St. Anne Blackfriars, who christened twin sons, Richard and William, on 17Jun1706.  The next two potential families actually may not have been separate families, but may, in fact, have been the same family.  Those families are William and Sarah of St. Giles Cripplegate and William and Sarah of St. Leonards Shoreditch.  A fourth family thus isolated was Edward and Elizabeth Atterbury, who were recorded with a son named William christened at St. Andrews by the Wardrobe on 15Jul1711.  The fifth family included a William Atterbury christened on 21Jul1717 born in St. Dunstan and All Saints, Stepney to John and Rachel Atterbury.  These families will each be analyzed in detail in an effort to either include or exclude them as candidates for William, the Immigrant.  Since genealogists have selected the William, born on 25Jun1710 to William and Sarah Atterbury, as being the immigrant, this analysis will commence with that family set.

William and Sarah

From Table 5 we have three children named William Atterbury born to parents named William and Sarah, the first two of which are believed with certainty to have been born into the same family.  There are several records found in the St. Giles Cripplegate church register believed to be associated with this same family.  The earliest record believed to be associated with this family is of the marriage of William Atterbury of St. Giles Cripplegate to Sarah Rogers of St. Sepulcher, Holborn on 1Aug1707 in St. Botolph Aldersgate.  This marriage is believed to have been that of William, the Butcher, based on the fact that he identified himself as being of St. Giles Cripplegate, and that this marriage was closely followed by the christening of several children born to William, the Butcher, and Sarah in St. Giles Cripplegate.  This marriage record is followed by the christening records of five children summarized as follows:

1. Jane Atterbury, christened 27Jun1708

2. William Atterbury [1st], christened 16Jun1709, buried 16Apr1710

3. William Atterbury [2nd], christened 25Jun1710

4. Charles Atterbury, born 7Dec1711

5. Sarah Atterbury, born 1Feb1712

It is important to note that on most of these records William Atterbury’s occupation was recorded as “Butcher”, leaving little doubt that these children were from a single family unit, namely William Atterbury and Sarah Rogers.  It is also important to note that the first daughter was named “Jane”, presumably in honor of William’s assumed mother, Jane Ratcliffe, wife of William Atterbury [Blacksmith, Weaver and Milkman].  It is also important to note that the first son named William was recorded as being buried on 16Apr1710, and that the next son, christened on 25Jun1710 was also named William.  From these facts it can be inferred that it was important to this family to have a male heir to carry on the father’s and/or grandfather’s name.  It should also be noted that there were no further records found for this family in St. Giles Cripplegate after the birth of Sarah on 1Feb1712.  The ward in which St. Giles Cripplegate church was located was known as “St. Giles without Cripplegate” to denote that this ward and church were situated outside the old City Wall.  This church’s location is noted by the Number 1 on Figure 2.  St. Giles Cripplegate parish immediately abutted St. Leonards Shoreditch parish along its eastern boundary.

There were also several christening records found in St. Leonards Shoreditch presumed to be of a single family unit which also had parents named William and Sarah Atterberry listed as follows:

1. Appelina Atterberry, christened 6Jun1714

2. Anne Atterberry, christened 6Jun1716

3. William Atterberry [3rd?], christened 17Nov1717

4. Jasper Atterberry, christened 14Dec1718[16]

5. Elizabeth Atterberry, christened 23Jul1721, buried 21Dec1721 at St. Dunstans All Saints, Stepney

The author is of the opinion that this William and Sarah Atterberry family recorded in St. Leonards Shoreditch between 1714 and 1721 were the same family as William Atterbury [Butcher] and Sarah Rogers recorded earlier in St. Giles Cripplegate.  This belief is founded on several factors listed as follows:

  1. The fact that records for William Atterbury and Sarah Rogers ceased in St. Giles Cripplegate in 1712, and that the records for a William Atterberry and Sarah commenced in St. Leonards Shoreditch in 1714, without any time overlap, strongly suggests that these were the same family, which simply had moved the short distance [less than a mile] from St. Giles to St. Leonards Shoreditch sometime between 1Feb1712 and 6Jun1714.
  2. There is a burial record in St. Leonards Shoreditch dated 19Aug1712 for a Charles Atterberry.  It should be noted that St. Leonards Shoreditch burial records contain only the name and date of burial, unlike St. Giles Cripplegate records which typically contained the name of the father and his occupation in the case of the death of an infant.  Consequently, there is no way of discerning the approximate age or parentage from the St. Leonards Shoreditch burial records.  The author believes it probable that this Charles Atterberry was the son of William Atterbury [the Butcher] and Sarah Rogers born in St. Giles Cripplegate on 7Dec1711.  This belief is predicated on the fact that there was no other record found for the birth of a Charles Atterbury in either of these parishes during this period, aside from a son of William Atterbury [Milkman] and Jane christened in St. Giles Cripplegate on 26Aug1705.  Although there is good reason to believe that William Atterbury [Blacksmith, Weaver and Milkman] and Jane were the parents of William, the Butcher, there is no evidence that William and Jane relocated to St. Leonards Shoreditch.  If this Charles Atterbury was the son of William, the Butcher, then this record would provide direct evidence that William had moved his family from St. Giles Cripplegate to St. Leonards Shoreditch sometime between 1Feb1712 and 19Aug1712.
  3. There is a court record in which a judgment was entered for the acquittal of William Atterbury, Butcher, of Norton Folgate summarized as follows:

“Old Bailey Proceedings, 11th April 1716. Reference Number: t17160411-34 William Atterbury , of the Precinct of Norton Falgate , Butcher , was indicted for a Rape on the Body of Frances Adams , a Virgin of the Age of 18, on the 1st of January last. Frances Adams depos’d, her Mistress and Fellow-Servants being out at Market, on the Night aforesaid about 12 a Clock, the Prisoner bit of her put the Child to Bed, which she did; and coming down Stairs, he spread a Great Coat on the Ground and swore he’d cut her to pieces it she refus’d to le him lie with her, stop’d her Mouth, and forc’d her after she had spent herself an Hour and a half wite’d , struggling. That about a Fortnight after this she told her Brother of it, not daring to acquaint her Misstress with it, lest her Master should be the Death of her. A Midwife depos’d, she search’d the Body of the said Frances Adams, and found she had been injur’d by a Man. The Prisoner denied all this, and called a Neighbour and two of his Servants to disprove it the Substance of whole Evidence was, That the Prisoner and his Neighbour were at Cards that Night. But till late, and a Prentice fetch’d them some Drinks that after he was gone, they went to Work, then to Supper, and at last to Bed; that the Prisoner’s Wife , and another Servant coming home found only the Maid up; and a Midwife on their Side swore, she could not discover any Signs of Violence upon the Prosecutor’s Body. The Jury acquitted the Prisoner.[17]

Although the name of the wife was not provided in this case record, the occupation of “Butcher” and the location of the offense being in Norton Folgate would appear to connect the two families of St. Giles and St. Leonards together.  Norton Folgate was a small liberty located along Bishopsgate Street about one mile outside the old City Wall within the jurisdiction of St. Leonards, Shoreditch and adjacent to St. Mary Spitalsfield.  In fact, several of the christening records for the William and Sarah from St. Leonards indicated their residence as being at Kings Head Yard, which was situated at the north end of Long Alley as shown in Figure 2-3.  The boundary of the Norton Folgate liberty is delineated in Figure 2-3 by the dashed red line.  On yet another map dated 1722, the legend indicates two separate locations for Kings Head Yard: (1) being a lane leading off High Street to the west just above Hog Lane (numbered 68), and (2) being off Long Alley to the west into Butcher’s Close (numbered 117) as illustrated in Figure 2-4.  On this 1722 map was also shown land occupied by Atterbury to the northwest of Hog Lane as shown in Figure 2-5.

  1. On 14Dec1718 there was a christening record entered in St. Leonards Shoreditch for a son named Jasper Atterbury, born to William Atterbury and Jane [lnu].  This was the only record found for a couple named William and Jane Atterbury in St. Leonards Shoreditch during this time period.  Yet there were four other christening records entered for children born to William and Sarah Atterbury within five years of this date.  Is it possible that the church register is in error and that this Jasper Atterbury should actually have been recorded as a son of William and Sarah [not Jane]?  The answer to this question is important to providing proof of the connection between the two sets of William and Sarah.  This is made important by the probability that Sarah Rogers’ father was named Jasper Rogers.  Sarah’s parents are not known with certainty, but there is a high probability that she was the Sarah Rogers christened on 2Jan1685 in St. Giles Cripplegate, daughter of Jesper [Wheelwright] and Anne Rogers.  Although there were several Sarah Rogers born in London around the appropriate time to have been the wife of William Atterbury, Butcher, none fit as precisely as this Sarah, daughter of Jesper [Jasper] and Anne Rogers.  This Sarah Rogers was born within three months of William Atterbury, and in the exact same Parish.  The authors believe it highly probable that Sarah Rogers’ father was Jasper Rogers, and that the parents of Jasper Atterbury born in St. Leonards Shoreditch were William and Sarah Atterbury [not Jane].  Jasper is a relatively rare given name, and its appearance within the William and Sarah Atterbury family suggests that it originated from Sarah’s assumed father, Jasper Rogers.
  2. On 20Dec1721 there was a burial record in St. Dunstan All Saints church register for Elizabeth Atterbury, the daughter of William Atterbury of Spitalfields, Butcher.  Because this William Atterbury was described as a Butcher, of Spitalfields, the author is inclined to believe this Elizabeth to have been the daughter born to William and Sarah Atterberry of St. Leonards Shoreditch, christened on 23Jul1721.  It should be noted that Norton Folgate was situated on the boundary between St. Leonards Shoregate and St. Marys Spitalfields, so a person from Norton Folgate might be described as being from either of these parishes.  The fact that this record described the father as a Butcher provides yet another link between the William and Sarah Atterburys of St. Giles Cripplegate and St. Leonards Shoreditch.
  3. A record was registered in St. Botolph Aldersgate on 4Aug1736 for the marriage of William Atterbury, widower, and Sarah Walker, widow, both of St. Leonards Shoreditch.  Many researchers have assumed that this William Atterbury, who married Sarah Walker, was the Butcher who had first married Sarah Rogers in 1707.  There are several facts about this record which suggest connections to both the William Atterbury of St. Giles Cripplegate and the William Atterbury of St. Leonards Shoreditch.  The location of the marriage at St. Botolph Aldersgate was relatively close to both St. Giles Cripplegate and St. Leonards Shoreditch, as evidenced by Figure 2-2, and was also the location of the marriage of William Atterbury and Sarah Rogers.  The fact that both parties were reported as being “of St. Leonards Shoreditch” certainly would seem to connect this William Atterbury to the William recorded as living at Kings Head Yard [Hog Lane] in Norton Folgate.
  4. A Last Will and Testament for William Atterbury, Butcher, was written on 29Jul1747 at Norton Folgate and proven on 11Aug1749.  In this Will there were several properties mentioned, including property at Kings Head Yard, as well as marsh lands at Poplar in Stepney Parish near the Thames, and messuages and appurtenances at White Horse Alley, Cows Cross [Chick Lane].  William made several bequests to his wife, Sarah, and also named her as an Executrix.  He also made several bequests to his wife’s daughter, Mary [Walker] Moreton, the wife of George Moreton, Miller, including the White Horse Alley property.  He made a bequest of 50₤ to his niece, Sarah, daughter of his sister, Sarah.  He made further bequests of 5₤ each to seven different persons, most of whom he described as being Butchers from various parishes, including Christ Church and St. Leonards.  Clearly, the bequests of properties at Kings Head Yard and Long Alley connect this William to the William and Sarah whose children were christened in St. Leonards Shoreditch between 1714 and 1721. 

Many genealogists have reported that William Atterbury, Butcher, was a son of William Atterbury, variously Blacksmith, Weaver and Milkman, and Jane [Ratcliffe] of St. Giles Cripplegate.  The author’s analysis of the families of William the Blacksmith and William the Butcher strongly support this familial connection.  Probably the strongest piece of evidence is the apprenticeship indenture of William Atterbury dated 6Apr1699 to Master, John Wight, Butcher, which describes the father as being “William Atterbury of St. Giles Cripplegate, Blacksmith”.  The LWT of William Atterbury makes a bequest to his niece, Sarah, daughter of his sister, Sarah.  It should be noted that William the Blacksmith and Jane are recorded in St. Giles Cripplegate with the birth of twelve children, seven of whom also were recorded with burial records in St. Giles.  Two of the children of William the Blacksmith for whom there were no burial records found were named William and Sarah.  These facts, when coupled with the LWT of William the Butcher, provides strong evidence that William the Butcher was the son of William the Blacksmith, and brother of Sarah, a surviving daughter of William the Blacksmith.  This familial connection between William the Blacksmith and William the Butcher is further strengthened by the fact that William the Butcher and Sarah Rogers named their first daughter, Jane, probably in honor of William’s mother, Jane Ratcliffe.  So, from the foregoing analysis of the LWT of William the Butcher we find strong evidence that he was the same person as the William Atterbury of St. Leonards Shoreditch.

It is important to note the bequest of the property on White Horse Alley, as it was situated near the Smithfield Market area in the western part of London and described by John Strype as follows:

“Chick lane, an ordinary Place, both for Buildings and Inhabitants. It comes out of Smithfield by the Sheep Pens, and runneth down to Field lane. In this Lane are several Courts and Alleys: As Newcastle Street, or Durham Yard, pretty open to receive Carts and Coaches; having at the lower end a Yard for Stabling. And at the upper end is a passage into Katherine Wheel Yard, which is none of the best. Blue Boar Court, is ordinary, and ascended up by Steps. Churchyard Alley, but narrow and ordinary. At the upper end is a Churchyard which belongs to St. Sepulchre’s Parish. Hide’s Rents, a small open Court, very ordinary. Over against this Place is Cross Keys Court, also small and mean. St. Martin’s Court, a pretty open Place, but ordinarily inhabited. White Horse Alley, narrow and ordinary. Out of this is a passage into Sharp’s Alley, which leads to Cow Cross. Sun Alley, over against St. John’s Court, very small. Thatcht Alley, narrow, small and mean. Sharp’s Alley, but indifferent, having turning Passages; and falls into the lower end of Cow Cross as aforesaid. Opposite to this Place, is the Old Brewers Yard, but indifferent; and hath a passage into Holbourn, through the Kings Arms Inn.”[18]

It should be noted that this property was situated nearby to Smithfield Market, the largest livestock market in London at that time, and that numerous butchers maintained businesses in close proximity to that market.  Further, note that White Horse Alley was within the immediate vicinity of St. Sepulcher Parish, the same parish that was noted as the home parish of Sarah Rogers in the marriage record with William Atterbury, the Butcher, in 1707.  It is possible that this property on White Horse Alley may have been the residence of William Atterbury and Sarah Rogers before their relocation to St. Leonards Shoreditch.  The following quotation would appear to support this possibility:

“Because men had to live near their work, tenements stood cheek by jowl with slaughterhouses and tanneries.”[19] 

The fact that William Atterbury, Butcher, made bequests of property in the vicinity of Smithfield Market suggests that his primary place of business may have been in the immediate vicinity of St. Giles Cripplegate and St. Seplucher, both of which locations held a connection to William, the Butcher and Sarah Rogers.  It is curious that William, the Butcher made no mention of any children of his own in his LWT.  Does this suggest that they may all have predeceased their father?

Lastly, make note of the bequest of land situated at Poplar in Stepney Parish, near the Thames.  This land is believed to have been the same property known as the Gut House, a public house constructed by William Atterbury, Butcher, in the 1730’s illustrated in Figure 2-6 and described as follows:

“The Breach, Poplar Gut and the Gut House. A large section of the medieval river wall below Limehouse was dramatically breached on 20 March 1660 and much of the Isle of Dogs was flooded. It was the worst breach since that of 1449, although smaller ones had occurred from time to time, and they may have become more frequent during the seventeenth century. (ref. 91)  The Poplar Commissioners of Sewers repaired the damage and rebuilt other sections of defective wall, at a cost of more than £16,000, raised by the imposition on landowners of very high rates of about £24 per acre. The work was done by William Ham, Orton Brooker and George Salmon, and presumably consisted of timber piling and planking, with chalk and clay fill and buttressing. The new section of wall was set well back from the river behind unprotected foreland that came to be known simply as the Breach. (ref. 92) Most of the floodwater was drained, but approximately five acres of water remained, stretching eastwards from the Breach. This came to be called the Great Gut, or Poplar Gut. (ref. 93)

In the early 1730s William Atterbury, a butcher, built a house at the south-west corner of the Gut; this became a public house which by 1750 was known as the Gut House, although it may originally have been the Shipwright’s Arms (Plate 41b). (ref. 94)[20]  In the 1790s a row of eight houses and William and John Godsell’s ropeyard were built south of the Gut House, but these were removed within a decade for the building of the City Canal. (ref. 95)  The Gut House was displaced by the West India Export Dock in 1806 and the establishment moved to new premises north of the City Canal west entrance lock, but these had to be demolished in 1811 for a realignment of Bridge Road. The proprietor, James Oughton, then moved slightly further south to build the City Arms public house.”[21]

See Appendix A for a transcribed copy of the Last Will and Testament of William Atterbury, the Butcher.

Given all of the evidentiary facts presented hereinbefore, the author believes it highly probable that William and Sarah of St. Giles Cripplegate and William and Sarah of St. Leonards Shoreditch were one and the same persons.  Assuming this to have been the case, then there is evidence presented herein to suggest that William, the Immigrant, probably was not descended from William, the Butcher, and Sarah Rogers.  This evidence is embodied in the birth of a third son, whom they christened “William” on 17Nov1717.  About the only reason that a parent would give the same name to more than one child was because the older child of that name had died.  Consequently, just as William and Sarah named the second William following the death of the first son who had been christened William, it is reasonable to assume that the second William, christened on 25Jun1710 had also died before the christening of the third William on 17Nov1717.  It was the second William Atterbury, christened on 25Jun1710, that genealogists have posited as having been William Atterbury, the Immigrant.  Given the strong likelihood that that William Atterbury had died sometime before 17Nov1717, it would be impossible for him to have been the immigrant.

Similarly, there are strong arguments against the third William, christened on 17Nov1717 having been the immigrant.  If the third William had been the immigrant, he would have been only 15-1/2 years old in Jan1733 when the Immigrant was arrested for the theft of cloth.  A youth of such tender age hardly seems to fit the profile of the person who committed the theft of linsey-woolsey.  William Atterbury, the thief, was arrested with an accomplice named William Harrison who was 22 years old in 1733.  Leonard Budley was also 22 years old.  It seems highly unlikely that William Harrison and Leonard Budley would form a social and criminal association with a youth of 15-1/2 years.

As the final argument against a son of William, the Butcher, having been William Atterbury, the Immigrant, we have a marriage and burial records abstracted as follows:

  1. William Atterbury of Shoreditch, bachelor and butcher, married Elizabeth Flawent [Flawn?] on 11Dec1737 at Fleet Prison.

Given the occupation, location and date of this record, it seems highly probable that this was the son of William Atterbury, Butcher, and Sarah Rogers, christened at St. Leonard‘s Shoreditch on 17Nov1717.  If this was the son of William, the Butcher, then he could not have been William Atterbury, the Immigrant.

  1. On 29Sep1742 William Atterbury, aged 25 was buried at St. Botolph, Bishopgate.

Given the age, date and location of this burial of William Atterbury, it seems highly probable that this was the son of William Atterbury and Sarah Rogers, the same William Atterbury who married Elizabeth Flawn or Flawent at Fleet Prison on 11Dec1737.  Again, by the same reasoning as stated herein before, William Atterbury, son of William Atterbury, Butcher, could not have been William Atterbury, Immigrant.

For what it’s worth, it should be noted that the property mentioned in the LWT of William Atterbury, Butcher, situated on White Horse Lane, off Cows Cross [Chick Lane] was located at the northern end of St. Andrews Holborn Parish nearby to St. Sepulcher Church as shown in Figure 2-7.  The following is a description of the habitués and environs around Chick Lane during the 1730’s and 40’s:

“The notoriety of Chick Lane, Holborn was proverbial. Ned Ward in The London Spy in 1698–9 observed that on the northwest side of the Bartholomew Fair area ‘music-houses stood as thick one by another as bawdy-houses in Chick Lane’. If someone’s clothes were stolen, the first thing they would do was go to the shops that sold old clothes in Chick Lane, where they were sure to find them. John Price, the official Executioner at Tyburn who was himself hanged in 1718 for violently raping and killing a woman, sold the clothes of the persons he executed to the brokers in Monmouth Street and Chick Lane, and used the money to get drunk: ‘on every execution-day he had as great a levee as some persons of quality; being attended on by broom-men for old hats, periwig makers for old wigs, brokers for old coats, suits and cloak, and cobblers for old shoes.’

Chick Lane is frequently mentioned in the Old Bailey trial records. In the early 1730s, in several unrelated trials witnesses deposed that the criminals were found drinking together at Mr Rhodes’s, at the Goat in Black Boy Alley, off Chick Lane. The gang of armed robbers comprising John Robins, Valentine Robins, Henry Barret, Joseph Charley, Richard Dangerfield and William Norman [was this the William Norman sentenced to transport with William Atterbury?] regularly met at the Goat to plan their night’s work. When they were apprehended, they all offered to turn evidence against their partners; Norman was allowed to give King’s evidence, on which basis the other five were hanged in July 1732.

Near the Goat was a house kept by the fiddler Richard Pointer for the entertainment of pickpockets. If people advertised for stolen goods he would direct them to a nearby pawnbroker’s, where they were sure to find them. Various goods were stolen from the Sexton of Christ Church in his Vestry in Butcher Hall Lane while he was at the Lord Mayor’s Show on 29 October 1731. ‘Next day I went in quest of my goods among the old clothes shops in Chick Lane, and left a description of what I had lost.’ Soon after, Patrick Nowland was apprehended offering the Sexton’s calamanco gown for sale to Mr. Savage at the Golden Key, in Chick Lane. Nowland lodged in Abel’s Buildings in Rosemary Lane – Rag Fair – and was at the centre of a gang of housebreakers specializing in clothes, which they disposed of at Rag Fair [may have been same as “Cloth Fair” directly east of Smith Field Market] and various pawnbrokers’ shops; he was hanged, as, eventually, were several of his accomplices, including his son. Stolen hats and wigs were usually disposed of at Anthony Lancake’s shop in Chick Lane, though he was clever enough to avoid being successfully prosecuted for knowingly receiving them as stolen goods. In December 1733 Lancake was indicted for receiving stolen hats, which were found in his shop. Susan Jones had sold him a hat, and offered to fetch three more from the George alehouse, also in Chick Lane: ‘I went and put them one in another, and brought them on my head; he blam’d me for bringing them in such a gaping open manner.’ Another man said he frequently saw her in Lancake’s shop selling hats to him, and he knew she kept ill company. The owner of the hats identified them as stolen. But Lancake denied even knowing her, and his neighbours – who also kept shops in Chick Lane – swore he was an honest man, and he was acquitted.

Chick Lane was full of ‘Hell Fire Clubs’. Hugh Morris, hanged at the age of 17 with two other Irish lads in November 1730, confessed to eight robberies and told the Ordinary of Newgate that ‘his total ruin was owing to some places about Chick-Lane, where numbers of the vilest miscreants, street robbers, thieves, pick-pockets, house-breakers, shop-lifters, and other monsters of wickedness, meet in great companies, and there they drink and carouse in a most intemperate manner; then (having got musicians of their own kidney), they fall a dancing, and crying out like so many pigs and geese, and often, as drink comes in, wit goes out, they fall a fighting, beating, and tearing one another.’…

There was a hill off Chick Lane where twenty or thirty – sometimes even as many as fifty – men and women would sit together, smoking their pipes and drinking. By the 1740s many of the men had been apprehended by the law, and the people who congregated there were mostly loose women, who generally made pests of themselves to any gentlemen passing that way, and who dared anyone to arrest them. The character of Chick Lane did not improve over the course of the century. One night in September 1758 the pistol-carrying gang of robbers Robert Bridges, Andrew Socket, William Gibbs, John Brinklow and John Curd went out together from Chick Lane to rob people in the streets; they knocked a man down with a stick in Ludgate Street and took his hat, shoes and buckles, which their companion Ann Fin sold to the Jewish pawnbroker Gabriel Lazarus and they divided the money between them. Many of the buildings along the lane were either alehouses or shops where people bought and sold second-hand goods, with a high concentration of pawn shops in the neighbourhood. The small-time thieves Thomas Coltis, John Smith and Joseph Blaze all met one another at an alehouse in Chick Lane, and formed an association specializing in stealing from grocers and chandlers shops, then disposing of their goods, mainly tea and sugar, at the chandlers kept by Francis Feathers at the end of Black Boy Alley; they were prosecuted for numerous thefts (and Feathers for being the receiver) in 1759. Another trial in 1759 reveals that the prostitutes of the neighbourhood would stand outside the Chequers alehouse in Chick Lane, in groups of two or three, and grab drunken men by their coats and offer them sex, then bring them to a ruinous old house opposite the Chequers, upstairs to a room where the panel of the door had been broken in, where they had sex and then robbed them. One of these women, Anne Bennet, who scraped together a living by buying and selling old clothes, was easily apprehended by the constable because he knew that she went to the Chequers every evening at 9 o’clock for her daily dinner of bread and cheese. The reputation of the area remained the same throughout the century…

We can form a greater appreciation for the area if we concentrate on just one alley that runs off Chick Lane: Black Boy Alley, the centre of operations of the Black Boy Alley Gang, which constitutes a miniature portrait of the criminal subculture of eighteenth-century London. One day in autumn 1744 the Headborough Alexandar Forfar together with a constable and four assistants went to Joseph Field’s house in Black Boy Alley to arrest two disorderly persons. But when they got there they were afraid to break open the door because the occupants ‘held candles out of the window and showed cutlasses to us in order to terrify us, and threw brickbats and glass bottles at us’. A mob began to rise. A boy called Lippy (because he had a hare-lip) shoved Forfar down and was caught and given to the constable, but the mob grew so large that the constable was forced to let him go, and most of the officials had to retreat. Forfar and an assistant who remained were chased to Cow Cross and White Lion in Clerkenwell, where Forfar was wounded in the head with a cutlass and then beaten by the gang of men, women and children ‘with bludgeons, pokers, tongs, and other things’. There were nineteen wounds to his head, and one of his fingers was almost cut off. The ones who particularly assaulted him were Ann Duck – who shouted ‘Hamstring the dog!’ – and Thomas Wells. Wells lived in Black Boy Alley but kept a gaming house at Black Mary’s Hole. One person recalled that he passed his door every day ‘with a gang of gamblers and pickpockets, and such as they call street robbers’.

At the trial in October, Thomas Wells, Ann Duck, Theophilus Watson, and the boys Joshua Barnes and Thomas Kirby (both aged 12 or 13) – with Ann Collier not yet taken (she had been tried but acquitted at a previous Session for being a lock and fence and keeper of a house of ill fame) – were charged with assaulting and robbing Forfar (because they took his powder horn). Ann Duck had previously been tried in both the January and the June Sessions for similar robberies and had been acquitted. They were all acquitted once again, because the robbery (a felony) could not be proved. The Jury nevertheless advised the Judge that ‘it was a pity such dangerous persons should slip out of the hands of justice, and desired they might be prosecuted in another manner’. A constable at Mulberry Garden, Clerkenwell, also told the court he hoped they would not discharge Wells, because on the Monday after the incident mentioned above, he and twelve others of the gang came to the constable’s house with drawn cutlasses and pistols cocked, and Wells said ‘Damn their eyes and blood, we will have him out of his house, for we will have his head, and this night his brains shall be broiled in Black Boy Alley.’ The prisoners were therefore detained while a Bill of Indictment could be raised against them for assault and wounding (a misdemeanour). At the subsequent trial the two men and two boys were found guilty and sentenced to one year’s imprisonment in Newgate and to pay a fine of one shilling each…

At yet another Session, Bess Nash appeared as evidence against her friends Ann Duck and Elizabeth Dawney for killing a man whom Bess Nash had picked up in Cow Cross Lane. She, Ann Duck and Elizabeth Dawney took him to an empty house in White Lion Court off Turnmill Street, where they fell upon him and threw him upon his back. Bess Dawney put her knee against his throat, Ann Duck sat on his stomach, and Bess Nash sat on his legs and took three guineas and twelve shillings from his pocket. When they got up Bess Dawney gave him a kick in the head. Ann Duck cried Damn the Blood of a Bitch, he is not dead. Bess Dawney answered, Damn him but he is, as dead as a door nail. God forbid, said Bess Nash, wherefore did you kill the man? To which Ann Duck answered, without any concern, God damn you, what else did you bring him for, but first to rob, and then murder him? They then left the body and retired to the house of Ann Collier and ordered a pint of gin and went upstairs to ‘snack the cole’, that is share out their booty. Yet another woman alleged to be part of ‘the Black Boy Alley crew’ was Judith Tilly, who in July 1745, together with four other women not captured, knocked down the jeweller Ford Bolley in Aaron’s Alley in Whitechapel, and after stealing his money deliberately cut him across the nose with an edged tool or knife. She was sentenced to death.

James Guthrie, the Ordinary of Newgate, believed that ‘three such vile women as Duck, Barefoot, and Gwyn, were hardly ever seen together within the walls of Newgate’ during the many years he was its Chaplain. Ann Gwyn, now 27 years old, had been born to poor parents in the parish of St Luke’s, Middlesex, now both dead. She was employed as a servant, then as a washerwoman, before she fell into bad company, and became a common streetwalker for some years, ‘and seldom left a man whom she had pick’d up, without robbing him of something’.

Ann Barefoot, now about 25, was born in Cambridge, then lived with an aunt in Bishopsgate Street, then with a brewer’s servant and had two children (now dead). Some years ago she was apprehended for walking the streets, and was committed to hard labour in Bishopsgate Workhouse for a month. There she made friends with a fellow streetwalker, who was discharged at the same time she was, and invited her to lodge with her in Chick Lane. She became a noted thief as well as streetwalker, and became acquainted with a wide circle of thieves, whores and pickpockets. She took a house in Thatched Court in Chick Lane, where she set up her own boozing ken, which she kept for about a year. But custom wasn’t very good so she gave it up, and took up lodgings at Mr Gray’s, in Black Boy Alley. There she met Ann Duck, Ann Gwyn and Thomas Wells (currently in prison for wounding Alexander Forfar, as discussed earlier), and passed as his wife, assuming his name.

Ann Duck, about 25, was born in Little White’s Alley, Chancery Lane [birth place of William Harrison]. Her father was a black man, who had been well known for teaching gentlemen in the Inns of Court ‘the use of the small sword, of which he was a very good master’. Her mother, a white woman, could not control her daughter. Ann ‘first became a servant at a bawdy house; then walk’d the streets on her own account; next commenc’d pickpocket’; and at length became a bold and resolute street-robber. She confessed to numerous robberies, beginning in December 1741 in company with Ann Barefoot, with whom she generally walked out. She laid hold of a man who was walking along the street, and cried out to Barefoot to come to her assistance, and held her arm around him while Barefoot dived into his pocket. ‘After we had got the money, we cried out George! George! which we did on purpose to frighten the old man, that we might have an opportunity of making our escapes.’ In June 1743, with Elizabeth Yates, she picked up a man and brought him into the house of Mary Ballat, or Ballard, in Thatched Alley [off Chick Lane], had a dram, took him upstairs, threw him down by force on the bed, dived into his pocket, and when he struggled she gave a knock on the floor with her foot, and her bully came up and swore he’d throw the man out the window if he made any disturbance; he left, but came back with a constable and she was committed to Newgate. Another time, with Alice Norman ‘on our usual walks’, she brought a man to the house in Thatched Alley, threw him by force on the bed and picked his pocket, gave a knock with her foot, the same prearranged signal as before, and their bully came up, pretending the women were his wife and sister. Their victim came back three days later and they were sent to Newgate, but he didn’t appear to prosecute, so they were discharged. She recounted several other robberies, usually involving the infamous house in Thatched Alley and following the same pattern. She and her female companions were frequently sent to the Compter, but their victims seldom appeared to prosecute later.”

It should be noted that White Horse Alley, where William Atterbury, Butcher, owned property was just off the north side of Chick Lane to the west of Smith Field Market as illustrated in Figure 7.  It seems possible to the authors that White Horse Alley may have been the residence of William the Butcher and Sarah Rogers before they relocated to King Head Yard on Hog Lane in 1712.  The foregoing description of criminal elements in the vicinity of Chick Lane provides a vivid picture of the type of social decadence to which William Harrison, Thomas Essex and Leonard Budley would have been exposed as youths.  From the testimonies of Harrison and Budley, they were recruited into crime by the older Thomas Essex.  With such role models in their immediate neighborhoods it is not difficult to understand how they may have been tempted into a life of crime.  It is reasonable to assume that William Atterbury, the immigrant, would likely have been reared in a similar environment, and been seduced by much the same temptations as Essex, Harrison and Budley. 

It is reasonable to assume that the acquaintance between William Harrison and William Atterbury occurred within the year prior to their arrest.  Consequently, it is reasonable to assume that William Atterbury very likely was a habitué of the same environs as William Harrison during that time period.  From the testimony of both Thomas Essex and Constable Taylor at the trial of Harrison and Budley it was learned that Essex, Harrison and Budley were frequenters of the Lamb and Horseshoe on George Lane.  John Strype’s description of Shoe Lane identifies George Alley as being off the east side, with the Rose and Crown on the south connecting into George Alley.  Note that one passageway further south was “Curriers Alley”.  Leonard Budley had been apprenticed as a Currier, and was described by one of the witnesses at trial as having been working as a Currier before his arrest.  See Figure 2-7 for the approximate location of the “Lamb and Horseshoe”.

“The next Lane in Fleetstreet is Shoe lane, very long, runneth North from Fleet Street, over against Salisbury Court, into Holbourn, by St. Andrew’s Church; a Lane of no great Note either for Buildings or Inhabitants. In it are a great many Alleys and Courts, though of little Account. I shall begin first on the East side next to Holbourn, and so towards Fleet Street: And then the first is Plumbtree Court, the best of all; being large and well built, with Inhabitants according. It hath a passage into another Court, so called, which falls into Holbourn; that Part towards Shoe lane being pretty broad. Well Alley, very mean and ordinary. Molins Rents, indifferent good, but hath a narrow passage into it. Isaac’s Rents, very ordinary. Near unto this is Spectacle’s Rents, very small and mean. Eagle and Child Alley, narrow, but indifferent good; hath a passage into Fleet Ditch, down Steps. Brewers Yard, so called from a Brewhouse at the lower end there, and with some small Tenements; this hath a passage into Fleet Ditch. Queens Arms Alley, but narrow, with a Freestone Pavement which leads to the Ditch side, down Steps. George Alley, but narrow, hath also a passage down to the Ditch side. Rose and Crown Court, but indifferent, hath a passage into George Alley. Stonecutters street, pretty good and open, with indifferent Inhabitants. This leadeth down to the Ditch side. Curriers Alley, very ordinary, runs to the Ditch side. Harp Alley, but narrow, runs down to the Ditch side; a Place of great Trade for old Houshold Goods, for which it is of Note; but the Buildings very mean. Angel Court, small and ordinary. Fountain Court, but ordinary.”

It seems unlikely that William Harrison and Leonard Budley would have taken on a partner almost eight years their junior, particularly considering that their mentor, Thomas Essex was in his early thirties.  Consequently, it seems highly unlikely that William Atterbury, the third son of that name born to William, the Butcher, would have been their accomplice at age 15-1/2 years.  It seems more probable that Budley and Harrison would have allied with someone more of their own age, and probably someone directly from their own neighborhood of St. Andrews Holborn.  Although it is probable that the William and Sarah of St. Leonards Shoreditch were the Butcher’s family, their residence had been removed from the vicinity of Smith Field Market for almost 20 years before William Atterbury stole cloth in 1733.  It seems unlikely that someone from St. Leonards Shoreditch would fall in with hoodlums from St. Andrews Holborn.

John and Rachel Atterbury

On 21Jul1717 John and Rachel Atterbury of St. Dunstans All Saints, Stepney, christened a son named William Atterbury.  John Atterbury, bachelor, married Rachel Brant, spinster at St. Botolph Aldgate on 6Nov1716.  They are believed to have been the parents of William Atterbury, christened 21Jul1717.  This was the only birth record found associated with this family.  There are some interesting additional facts associated with this christening record.  John Atterbury was identified as a “Butcher”, and his address was described as “M.E., N.F.”  The authors believe the address to have been Miles End for “M.E.”, and Norton Folgate for “N.F.”.  The occupation and location are closely associated with William Atterbury, Butcher.  It seems possible that this John Atterbury was a kinsman of William Atterbury, Butcher, possibly a cousin.

Because of the extremely youthful age of this William Atterbury in 1733 [about 15-1/2 years], he does not seem to be a very good candidate for William, the Immigrant.

Richard and Elizabeth Atterbury/Edward and Elizabeth Atterbury

There are records of two families living contemporaneously in St. Anne Blackfriars parish in the 1700’s by the names of Richard and Elizabeth Atterbury, and Edward and Elizabeth Atterbury.  These two families registered the christening of children in the same parish within only a few years of each other.  Such close timing and geographic proximity strongly suggests that they shared a close blood relationship, probably as brothers.  A few years later there are records found for two families living in St. Olave’s, Southwark also named Richard and Elizabeth Atterbury, and Edward and Elizabeth Atterbury.  Based on a variety of factors the author is inclined to believe that these two families in Southwark were the same families that had previously lived in St. Anne Blackfriars.  Additionally, there are two records a few years later found in St. Lawrence Pountney parish related to an Edward and Elizabeth Arterbery, which the author also believes to have been the same family as the Edward and Elizabeth, who were found earlier in St. Anne Blackfriars and St. Olave’s, Southwark. 

All of the church records associated with these two families are presented in Table 6.  It should be noted that the records for these two different families in St. Anne Blackfriars and St. Olave Bermondsey did not overlap in time, and that St. Olave Bermondsey parish is situated on the south bank of the Thames at the south end of London Bridge and only about 1.5 miles from St. Anne Blackfriars.

Richard and Elizabeth Atterbury of St. Anne, Blackfriars, London, christened their twin sons: Richard Jr. and William Atterbury on 12May1706, whereas Edward and Elizabeth Atterbury christened Edward Jr. in St. Anne Blackfriars on 28Mar1708 and William at St. Andrew by the Wardrobe on 15Jul1711.  It would appear that Richard and Elizabeth Atterbury were the first to move across the Thames to St. Olave parish.  Yet, if the Richard Atterbury recorded in St. Olave’s, Southwark was the same person recorded earlier in St. Anne Blackfriars, then there are two inconsistencies needing clarification:

  1. The marriage record in St. Olave Bermondsey between Richard Atterbury and Elizabeth Bowell on 25Oct1709 occurred after a Richard and Elizabeth had been recorded christening twin sons at St. Anne Blackfriars in 1706.  The most logical explanation for this seeming contradiction is that Richard’s first wife must have died and that he coincidentally married another woman named Elizabeth in 1709.  This explanation is entirely plausible given the high mortality rate existing in England in the 18th century and the commonality of the female appellation of “Elizabeth”.
  2. If this were the same Richard Atterbury who previously lived in St. Anne Blackfriars, then he would appear to have christened another son named Richard on 6Oct1710 in St. Olave.  Again, the logical explanation is that the first son named Richard must have died sometime before Oct1710.  The probable death of the earlier son named Richard is underscored by the apparent high level of importance in these Atterburys to have an heir named after the father.  The high level of importance of this tradition was observed when William (the Butcher) and Sarah christened three different sons with the father’s name of William.

One other important factor connecting together this set of records (Table 6) pertaining to Richard and Edward Atterbury are the early London tax records.  Spanning almost 15 years Edward and Elizabeth Atterbury (or Arterbury) were recorded in the tax records of Farringdon Within and Dowgate wards as follows:

  1. 1706 – Edward Arterbury, New Street, Dowgate Ward, St. Anne Blackfriars, adjacent tenants: John Wilks and Simon Day.
  2. 1707 – Edward Arterbury, New Street, Farringdon Within Ward, St. Anne Blackfriars, adjacent tenants: John Wilks and Simon Day.
  3. 1708 – Edward Arterbury, New Street, Farringdon Within Ward, St. Anne Blackfriars, adjacent tenants: John Wilks and Simon Day.
  4. 1709 – Edward Arterbury, New Street, Farringdon Within Ward, St. Anne Blackfriars, adjacent tenants: John Wilks and Simon Day.
  5. 1710 – Edward Artenbury [Arterbury], New Street, Farringdon Ward, St. Anne Blackfriars, adjacent tenants: John Wilks and Simon Day.
  6. 1711 – Edward Arterbury, New Street, Farringdon Within Ward, St. Anne Blackfriars, adjacent tenants: John Wilks and Simon Day.
  7. 1712-16 – John Wilks and Simon Day continued to be recorded in tax records for Farringdon Within Wards, but Edward Arterbury ceased to be reported until 1721.
  8. 1721 – Edward Atterbury, 7th Precinct, Dowgate Ward, St. Anne Blackfriars, adjacent tenants: William Hancock and George Yowart.
  9. 1722 – Edward Atterbury, 7th Precinct, Dowgate Ward, St. Anne Blackfriars, adjacent tenants: William Hancock and George Yowart.
  10. 1723 – Elizabeth Atterbury, 7th Precinct, Dowgate Ward, St. Anne Blackfriars, adjacent tenants: William Hancock and George Yowart.
  11. 1724 – Elizabeth Atterbury, 7th Precinct, Dowgate Ward, St. Anne Blackfriars, adjacent tenants: William Hancock and George Yowart.
  12. 1725 – Elizabeth Atterbury, 7th Precinct, Cripplegate Without, St. Anne Blackfriars, adjacent tenants: William Hancock and George Yowart.
  13. 1726 – Elizabeth Atterbury, 7th Precinct, Dowgate Ward, St. Anne Blackfriars, adjacent tenants: William Hancock and Manassah Broghdin.
  14. 1727 – Robert Jones, 7th Precinct, Dowgate Ward, St. Anne Blackfriars, adjacent tenants: William Hancock and Manassah Broghdin.

It is interesting to note that Edward Atterbury was recorded as a tenant in St. Anne Blackfriars parish intermittently between 1706 and 1722, but that Richard Atterbury was not recorded on these same tax records.  This suggests that Richard Atterbury’s stay within this parish was very short lived, or that he was not considered to be the head of a household.  There was a three-year gap between the recording of the christenings of Richard and Elizabeth’s twin sons in St. Anne Blackfriars and the record of Richard’s presumed 2nd marriage in St. Olave.  It seems probable that Richard Atterbury lived in St. Anne Blackfriars parish for only one or two years, but that he was living in someone else’s household.  It seems possible that Richard and Elizabeth may have been living with Edward and Elizabeth until they moved to the south side of the Thames.

As for those tax records found for Edward Atterbury [aka Arterbury] in St. Anne Blackfriars there are several facts worthy of note and discussion:

  1. Between 1706 and 1711 Edward’s surname was recorded as “Arterbury”.  This fact is of particular significance to this search for the ancestry of William Atterbury, the Immigrant.  The significance of the surname spelling of “Arterbury” will be discussed in greater detail later in this Chapter.  During this time period Edward Atterbury was recorded as living on New Street in St. Anne Blackfriars parish.  The location of New Street is shown in Figure 2-8, which is excerpted from the 1746 map of London drawn by John Racque.  New Street was only about one-block in length extending between Shoe Makers Row and Ireland Yard, and about one block distance from both St. Ann Blackfriars and St. Andrews by the Wardrobe Churches.  Most of these records were filed in Farringdon Within Ward, except for 1706 when Edward was reported in Dowgate Ward.  Edward’s neighboring tenants were consistently reported as being John Wilks and Simon Day, suggesting that Edward’s place of residence remained constant during this six-year period.  Yet, the Ward jurisdictions varied from year-to-year, alternating between Dowgate and Farringdon Within.  The reference to Dowgate Ward in 1706 is believed to have been in error, as a review of the original record clearly shows the location to have been within Farringdon Within.  Also note the close proximity of New Street to St. Paul’s Cathedral, as this proximity will be shown to have relevance to Edward’s occupation and presumed employer.
  2. There was a ten year gap in the tax records for Edward Atterbury between 1712 and 1721.  It should be noted that Edward and Elizabeth Atterbury recorded the christening of their son, William Atterbury, in St. Andrews by the Wardrobe on 15Jul1711, a parish which immediately abutted St. Anne Blackfriars (see Figure 8).  The next record believed to be for the same Edward and Elizabeth Atterbury was at the christening of another son named Charles Atterbury in St. Olave,s Southwark on 15Mar1714.  The date of this christening record fits within the tax record gap for Edward Atterbury in the London tax records.  It would appear from these records that Edward and Elizabeth Atterbury had moved to the south side of the Thames sometime after the birth of their son, William, in Jul1711 and before the recording of taxes in the spring of 1712.
  3. The tax records for Edward Atterbury recommenced in Dowgate Ward in 1721, but continued for only two years.  During those two years Edward was reported being in the 7th Precinct of Dowgate Ward, with neighboring tenants named William Hancock and George Yowart.  The author was able to establish the location of Edward and Elizabeth’s residence upon their return to Dowgate Ward as being in the near vicinity of St. Lawrence Pountney Church as illustrated on Figure 9.
  4. Edward Atterbury disappeared from the Dowgate Ward tax records after 1722, but commencing in 1723 Elizabeth Atterbury was recorded for four consecutive years until 1726 as the neighbor of William Hancock and George Yowart.  These records seem to give clear indication that Edward Atterbury died sometime between 1722 and 1723, and that his widow, Elizabeth Atterbury, continued to reside at the same location until 1726.
  5. In 1727 Elizabeth Atterbury disappeared from the tax records of Dowgate Ward and in her place in the tax record appeared a person named Rob [Robert?] Jones.  Robert Jones continued to be recorded in the 7th Precinct of Dowgate Ward until about 1733, and presumably in the same location formerly occupied by Edward and Elizabeth Atterbury.  It seems possible that Elizabeth Atterbury, widow of Edward Atterbury, may have remarried Robert Jones after the death of her husband, but no record was found to confirm this marriage.  Keep in mind the date of 1733 that Robert Jones disappeared from the Dowgate Ward, juxtaposed to the year of 1733 when William Atterbury was arrested for stealing Linsey-Woolsey.
  6. There was a christening recorded in St. Lawrence Pountney parish on 7Aug1720 of Jane Arterbery, daughter of Edward and Elizabeth Arterbery.  The author has reason to believe that this record was of the same Edward and Elizabeth Atterbury previously recorded in the registers of St. Anne Blackfriars, St. Andrews by the Wardrobe and St. Olave Bermondsey parishes.  The date of this record being in 1720 and Edward and Elizabeth reappearing in the Dowgate Ward tax records in 1721 fits well with these parties having been one and the same.  St. Lawrence Pountney parish was located near the north end of London Bridge, directly across the Thames from St. Olave’s Southwark, and the 7th Precinct contained houses belonging to St. Lawrence Pountney parish.[22]
  7. On 23Sep1722 Edward Arterberry was buried at St. Lawrence Pountney.  It should be noted that St. Lawrence Pountney parish church was destroyed in the Great Fire in 1666, and it was decided not to rebuild the church.  St. Lawrence Pountney parish was subsumed into St. Mary Abchurch parish.  However, burials in the old St. Lawrence Pountney parish graveyard continued into the mid-18th century.  It would appear that the old church register from St. Lawrence Pountney escaped destruction in the fire, as christenings, marriages and burials continued to be recorded in the old register into the 18th century.  Given the date of the burial of this Edward Arterberry, juxtaposed with the disappearance and presumed death of Edward Atterbury in Dowgate Ward between 1722 and 1723, it seems highly likely that this and the foregoing record both pertained to Edward Atterbury of Dowgate Ward.  One factor that would seem to connect these records of Edward Arterbury in St. Lawrence Pountney to Edward Atterbury of St. Anne Blackfriars would be the surname spelling of Arterbery/Arterberry.  This spelling corresponds with the earlier tax records of Edward Arterbury in Farringdon Ward Within.

Now, assuming that the author’s analysis and conclusions relative to the foregoing records pertaining the Richard and Edward Atterbury are correct, then we have a better foundation on which to assess the likelihood of either of their sons having been William, the Immigrant.  The authors believe it unlikely that Richard’s twin son, who he christened William, could have been William, the Immigrant.  Having been born in 1706, this William Atterbury would have been almost 27 years old when William, the Immigrant was arrested for theft of the linsey-woolsey.  This would have made this William five years older than William Harrison and Leonard Budley.  Not an impossibility, but unlikely.  Additionally, as discussed in Chapter 2, there is strong evidence to suggest that this William Atterbury was still living in London after 1744 when a LWT was written by a William Atterbury, Carpenter on 13Jul1744, proven on 3Jun1746.  The author has reason to believe that that William Atterbury was the twin son of Richard and Elizabeth Atterbury, and that he had followed the example of his father, who was also a carpenter.  If the author’s assumption regarding this William Atterbury, carpenter is correct, then he could not have been William, the Immigrant.

On the other hand, there are numerous factors which weigh strongly in favor of Edward and Elizabeth Atterbury’s son, William, christened at St. Andrews by the Wardrode on 15Jul1711, having been William, the Immigrant.  These various factors are discussed in detail as follows:

  1. Age and Proximity – William Atterbury, son of Edward and Elizabeth Atterbury, would have been about 22 years old at the time William Atterbury, the Immigrant, was arrested.  This would make this William about the same age as William, the Immigrant’s accomplices in crime.  This William’s father would have died when he was only eleven years old (1722).  His mother, Elizabeth, is known to have lived at least until 1726, when William would have been 15 years old.  It is unknown whether William’s mother lived beyond 1726, but the tax records leave open the possibility that she may have remarried Robert Jones, the person who superseded Elizabeth in the 7th Precinct, Dowgate Ward tax records.  This Robert Jones continued to be reported in the tax records at this location until 1733.  William (the Immigrant) was arrested in 1733.  If Robert Jones were William’s step-father, these records suggest that Robert Jones may have died within the year of William Atterbury’s arrest.  Having lost his father at the age of eleven, and possibly having lost his mother by the age of 15, it is understandable how William Atterbury may have matriculated toward a life of crime.  There was no record found by the author of this William having been apprenticed.  If Edward Atterbury were William’s father, he would have died before William would have reached the age for the typical apprenticeship.  If Robert Jones were William’s step-father, William would have been of the prime age (14 to 16 years) to be apprenticed, but Robert Jones may have had sons by an earlier marriage, and may not have been financially capable of arranging an apprenticeship for William, as the average cost at that time was about ₤15.  Some researchers have stated that William was working as a laborer before his arrest.  No documentation has been found by the author to support this assertion of William’s occupation.  However, the scenario of Robert Jones having been William’s step-father would be suggestive of such occupation.  Absent an apprenticeship, William would have been left few alternatives but to seek employment as an unskilled laborer.  

One other possible scenario is that this William may have been left in the guardianship of his uncle, Richard Atterbury, who was a Carpenter.  Richard Atterbury’s son, Abraham Atterbury, was also apprenticed as a Carpenter, and ultimately settled on Pye Lane near Smith Field Market, where he resided until his death.  Given Abraham’s presence in this part of St. Andrew’s Holborn parish, it seems possible that his father, Richard Atterbury, may also have resided in that same area during the 1730’s, although no records were found which could be absolutely linked to Richard Atterbury, Carpenter after about 1720 in Southwark.  Under this scenario, it is conceivable that William Atterbury, son of Edward Atterbury may have been placed as a ward of his uncle, Richard Atterbury, Carpenter, and may have been living in the area of St. Andrew’s Holborn immediately prior to his arrest.

  • Naming Conventions for Male Heirs – As already discussed to a superficial degree, English families in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries followed traditional patterns in the selection of names for their children, and particularly in the selection of names for male offspring.  This practice can be observed within these two families of Richard and Edward Atterbury.  Richard Atterbury is seen to have named his twin sons Richard and William.  It seems possible that he named one of these twins after his own given name, Richard, but the naming of the other twin, William, suggests a naming in honor of a grandfather, or possibly Richard’s father.  In the case of Edward, he named his first born son Edward, presumably in honor of his own given name.  Edward and Elizabeth then proceeded to name their next two sons, William and Charles.  Again, it seems possible that the second born son, William, was named in honor of a grandfather, or possibly in honor of Edward’s father.  The fact that Richard and Edward may have both had fathers named William (based on the afore described naming convention) makes it possible that they were brothers.  In Richard’s case, he also named his third born son, Richard, suggesting that the first born Richard probably had died, thus reinforcing the strength of adherence to this naming convention wherein it was highly important to leave an heir bearing the name of the father.  Absent the earlier death of a 1st or 2nd born son, the convention for naming the third born son might default to a male on the maternal side of the family, or to a male sibling or grandparent on the paternal side.  In the case of Edward and Elizabeth, it might be assumed that their third born son, Charles, was named for Elizabeth’s father.  Similarly, it might be assumed that Richard and Elizabeth’s 4th and 5th born sons, Abraham and Isaac, were named in honor of a male from the maternal side of the family.  Since Richard appears to have married twice, Abraham and Isaac may have been named for the fathers of each of his wives. 

There was nothing sacrosanct nor absolute in the conventions applied to the naming of male offspring, but the patterns existed to a sufficient degree, that they might be employed as an added tool in analyzing a person’s ancestry.  An analysis of the names given to the presumed sons of William Atterbury, the Immigrant, may suggest a correlation to the London Atterbury’s thus far analyzed in this work.

Most genealogical researchers of the American Atterbury lineage that derives from William , the Immigrant, are in general agreement as to the names of his sons.  Most researchers have assumed that the nine Atterbury males that appeared in the 1790 Camden District South Carolina census were sons of William Atterbury and Sarah Mitchell.  This assumption may or may not be correct, but it is reasonable to assume that those who appeared in Loudoun County VA or early Camden District SC records were William’s sons.  From the author’s investigations, the only assumed son, who cannot be proven with certainty, was the youngest son, Richard.  An accurate order of birth for these sons of William is vitally important to conducting an ancestral analysis based on traditional naming convention. 

Wayne Atterbury, author of Atterbury Family, assumed two different birth orders based on two different analytical methods.  The first birth order assumed by Wayne Atterbury was simply based on the descending number of assumed children reported in each male Atterbury household in the 1790 census.  A larger number of assumed children was taken to indicate an older age for that head of household.  Absent any other evidence to the contrary, this approach may seem logical, but is totally unreliable.  Wayne Atterbury’s second method of establishing order of birth was also based on method No. 1, but adjusted to incorporate the tithable records from Loudoun County.  Again, this seems a logical approach, but Wayne failed to apply the tithable records accurately, which resulted in some obvious and critical errors.

The author has developed his own birth order based on a combination of the Loudoun County tithable records and the Camden District land records.  As pointed out by Wayne Atterbury, the chronological sequence in which sons are first reported as “tithable” can be translated into their relative orders of birth.  Additionally, the fact that a son had to have attained the age of 16 in order to be declared tithable could also be used as a means of approximating their birth year.  Similarly, in order to receive a land grant, a person had to be aged 21 years or older.  Thusly, the year in which a male Atterbury was first recorded as a land owner in Camden District could also be used as a means of approximating that person’s year of birth relative to other male Atterburys.  Finally, the author reviewed other records, i.e. census, Wills and estate records, to ascertain whether there might be any other data that could be used to suggest birth order or age.

Table 7 contains a chronological listing of all the tithable records found in Loudoun County pertaining to the Atterbury family.  William Atterbury Sr. was first recorded in the tithable lists in 1758, the year in which Loudoun was erected a County.  In that year William Atterbury Sr. reported only one tithable, suggesting that he had no other males over the age of 16 in his household.  In 1760 William Sr. reported himself and his son, Michael, indicating that Michael had attained the age of 16 years sometime between 1758 and 1760 and that Michael was very likely William’s first born son.  This would indicate a birth year for Michael at about 1743.  Skipping forward to 1767 there was a William Arterbury reported in the same household with Thomas Morehead.  From other records on file in Loudoun County, there is good reason to believe that William Atterbury Sr. had died in 1766, so this William Arterbury living with Thomas Morehead was very likely William Jr.  From this record it is reasonable to assume that William Jr. was the second born son, possibly born around 1746.  The next tithable record of significance was the entry in 1769 wherein Sarah Artebery was recorded as head of household along with her son, Edward Artebery.  From this record it is difficult to know Edward’s age in 1769 except that he was over 16 years.  In 1771 Edward Atterbury was recorded as a head of household on his own, so it is reasonable to assume that Edward was the third born son and probably born around 1749-50.  The next record that may have been for a previously unreported son of William and Sarah was that of Thomas Aulberry in 1773.  It seems possible that this person was Thomas Atterbury, as there were no other records found in Loudoun County for anyone named Aulberry or any facsimile thereof.  This is further reinforced by the record clearly identifying Thomas Arterbery as head of household in 1777.  Assuming that the Thomas Aulberry in 1773 was a son of William and Sarah, this would suggest that Thomas Atterbury was the fourth born son, probably born about 1752.  However, it should be noted that Thomas Atterbury Sr. reported his age in the 1800 census as being under 45 years.  Consequently, the authors are inclined to accord Thomas Atterbury a birth year of about 1756.  This marked the final tithable record found for anyone named Atterbury in Loudoun County, so it might be assumed that all the members of this family had moved to Camden District South Carolina by about 1778.

Now, turning to the land records of Camden District South Carolina, we find the chronological listing of Atterburys in land records leading up to the 1790 census as summarized in Table 8.  Note that this is not a complete listing of all Atterbury land records during this time period, rather an abbreviated listing containing only those records in which an assumed son of William and Sarah appeared for the first time.  The first record of note is the plat map filing by Charles Arthurberry for 100 acres on 22Oct1773, witnessed by Edward and Michael Arthurberry.  This was the first record found for Charles Atterbury.  From this record it can be deduced that Charles Atterbury was born before 1752, which probably places his birth sometime between Edward and Thomas, say 1751.  This record also confirms that Michael, Edward and Charles probably had traveled to South Carolina together, and ahead of other members of their family.  The next record of note is the plat map filing by Nathan Arterbury for 200 acres on 4Nov1784.  This was the earliest record found for Nathan Atterbury, except that he filed a claim in South Carolina for expenses incurred during the Revolutionary War.  Using this land record alone it can be deduced that Nathan was born sometime before 1763.  However, considering the Revolutionary War claim, it might be assumed that he had reached his 21st birthday sometime before 1782/3, which would suggest a birth year of about 1760.  At a minimum, these records pertaining to Nathan would suggest that he was born after Thomas.  The next record of note is the plat map filing by James Arterbury for 641 acres on 1Aug1786.  This was the earliest record found for James Atterbury.  If one assumes that one of the first acts undertaken by a young male reaching adulthood during this colonial and revolutionary time period was to obtain a land grant, then it is reasonable to assume that James Atterbury had only recently reached age 21.  Consequently, it is reasonable to assume that James Atterbury was born after Nathan, probably around 1762.  The next land record of significance was the plat map filed by William Roden on 2Jan1792, witnessed by Richard Attuberry.  This was the first record found for Richard Atterbury.  However, in the grant for 142 acres to Richard Atterberry dated 7Dec1804 it states that this tract was first surveyed for Richard Atterbury on 15Aug1791.  Assuming that Richard Atterbury had just attained his 21 year of age, he would have been born before 1770.  Since it is reliably known that William Atterbury Sr. died in about 1766, then Richard’s birth year likely would have been before 1765.  Another indicator of Richard’s age is that his oldest daughter, Anna (wife of Reason Blissett) is believed to have been born about 1782, suggesting that Richard may have been born before about 1763.  Now, it should be noted that the ninth son, John, did not appear in records in either Loudoun County or Camden District, except in the 1790 and 1800 census records of South Carolina.  In the 1800 census John Atterbury was recorded as being over 45 years of age, placing his birth year at before 1755.  Absent any other evidence as to his possible birth year, the authors are inclined to place John’s birth year at about 1754.

Now, having compiled this independent analysis of the probable birth order of the sons of William and Sarah Atterbury, this ordering is presented in Table 9 along with the two orderings compiled by Wayne Atterbury for comparison.  The most significant difference in these orderings is the elevation by the author of Edward Atterbury from either 6th or 9th born to the level of 3rd born.  The author believes he has established a sound and factual basis for placing Edward Atterbury at this higher level.

Having established a reliable birth order for the sons of William and Sarah Atterbury, it is now possible to perform an ancestral analysis based on traditional naming conventions in practice in England in the 18th century.  However, before commencing this ancestral analysis it is important for the reader to have a grasp of other naming conventions related to the naming of male children in England during this same time period.  There existed three distinct naming patterns which also influenced the selection of male names in a broader and more general context. 

  • Monarchical Names:  One of the most prevalent practices existing in England was the selection of a past monarch’s name for a new born son.  Most typical of this practice was the widespread selection of the names of former Kings such as William, Richard, James, John, Henry, Charles, Edward, George, etal. 
  • Biblical Names:  Perhaps the next most common practice was the selection of prominent biblical names from both the Old and New Testaments such as Thomas, Peter, Paul, Matthew, Abraham, Samuel, Michael, Joshua, Isaac, Isaiah, Nathan, etal.
  • Maternal Surnames:  To a lesser degree in England, but more extensively in the colonies was the practice of using a maternal surname to christen a son or daughter.  In the case of the London Atterburys existed the christened names of Luffman, Sanderson and Beddingfield.

While it is important to recognize and understand the existence of these added naming conventions, they are not likely to provide any direct, positive basis for determining a persons ancestry, except perhaps in the case of a maternal surname.  However, in the case of William and Sarah’s sons, we are faced almost immediately with an anomaly that is incongruous with any of the heretofore described traditional naming conventions.  The name of their first born son, “Michael”, while it might be recognized as having a biblical connotation, does seem totally incongruous with the names of most of his siblings.  As a first born son, Michael does not fit with the practice of naming in honor of either a father or paternal grandfather.  In fact, among the more than 550 London Atterburys tabulated by the author for this study, there was only one instance found of the christened name of Michael, and that was of a person buried at St. Dunstan’s All Saints, Stepney parish in 1780.  So, clearly there was no evidence found of the christened name of “Michael” having had any particular significance within this dataset of London Atterburys from whom it is assumed that William, the Immigrant, originated.  Lacking any real basis for evaluating the christened name of Michael within the William Atterbury family, the author chose to eliminate that son from this segment of ancestral evaluation.

In order to provide a comparative analysis between the birth order of William the Immigrant’s sons and the birth order of the other families thus far studied in this quest for the identity of William’s parents, Table 10 was compiled; showing the birth order of the sons of all five of these families.  If we ignore Michael as the first born son of William and Sarah and treat William Jr. as if he were the first born son, then it becomes clear that all five of these families were practicing the convention of naming their first born son for the father.  In fact, this desire to perpetuate the christened name of the father was so strong that William, the Butcher, christened a total of three sons with his name (William) in hopes of perpetuating his given name.  Similarly, Richard, the Carpenter, appears to have christened two sons with his given name (Richard).  So, from these observations about the naming of the first born son in these families after the father, it might be assumed that these families may have also continued this tradition into the naming of their second born sons after a grandfather.  Since William, the Butcher’s father was also named William (the Blacksmith), it is not possible to test the second born son naming convention within this family.  Similarly, since the father of Richard (Carpenter) and Edward (Mason) is not known with certainty at this juncture, it is not possible to test this convention absolutely.  But, since there are many factors suggesting that Richard and Edward were brothers, and since they both named their second born sons William, it is reasonable to assume that their father or grandfather may have been named William.  Now, for the primary test of this comparison and using the convention for naming a second born son for a grandfather, let’s look for a possible match to William, the Immigrant’s family.  William named his second born son Edward (after eliminating Michael from the equation).  Edward Atterbury (Mason) is the only family that would fit with this naming convention, namely, that William (Immigrant) named his second born son after his own father (Edward, the Mason).  Also note that William (Immigrant) and Edward (Mason) both named their third born son Charles.  In this quest to find William’s (Immigrant) parents, the application of naming conventions to this analysis is less than definitive, but is yet another piece of circumstantial evidence to be weighed.

  • Arterbury/Arthurbury Surname  – As promised earlier in this Chapter the occurrence of the Arterbury surname spelling within the records pertaining to Edward Atterbury, Mason, will now be discussed in greater detail.  First, let it be noted that out of the more than 550 London Atterburys contained in the author’s dataset, there were only six entries found in London Church registers having the Arterbury surname spelling.  These six entries are listed in Table 11. 

Two of these entries are believed to have pertained to Edward, the Mason.  Of the other four entries, the author believes it possible that the entry for the marriage between William Arterbury and Jane Wilkinson on 21Jun1676 at All Hallows London Wall may have also had a direct connection to the family of Edward, the Mason.  From the earlier analysis which utilized traditional naming conventions it was suggested that the father of Edward (Mason) and Richard (Carpenter) probably was named William.  Now we find the marriage of William Arterbury to Jane Wilkinson in 1676.  William Arterbury would have been about the right age to have had a son named Edward Arterbury, who was recorded commencing with the christening of children in St. Anne Blackfriars in 1708.  A further indication of possible kinship between William Arterbury and Edward Arterbury was the christening of Edward and Elizabeth’s daughter, Jane Arterbury, in St. Lawrence Pountney in 1720.  Traditional naming conventions were not limited only to the naming of sons, but have also been found to pertain to the naming of daughters.  It seems possible, given the continuity with and unique nature of the surname of “Arterbury” and the christening name of Jane matching the christened name of William Arterbury’s wife (Jane Wilkinson), that Edward (Mason) and Richard (Carpenter) were the sons of William Arterbury and Jane Wilkinson.  However, as presented in a later analysis of Livery Company records in Chapter 2, it will be discovered that William (the Mason) and Jane (Wilkinson) were not Edward’s and Richard’s parents, but that William Arterbury was very likely an uncle of Edward and Richard.

The fact that Edward (Mason) was recorded in the tax records of St. Anne Blackfriars for six consecutive years with the surname of Arterbury suggests that the occurrence of this surname connected with Edward Atterbury was not simply due to a transcription error.  The repetitive recurrence of the surname of Arterbury in connection with Edward both in St. Anne Blackfriars and St. Lawrence Pountney parishes strongly suggests that he considered that to be the correct spelling of his surname.  In fact, as will be seen in Chapter 2, Edward signed his apprenticeship record with the surname of “Arterbery”.

One other spelling variant worth noting was that of Arthurbury or Artherbury.  This is a name which occurred with even less frequency in London than that of Arterbury.  Yet there are eighteen consecutive tax records to be found for a person with the surname variously spelled Arthurbury and Artherbury in both Dowgate and Farringdon Within Wards in the 1760’s and 1770’s.  No given name was listed for this person, but, given the similarity of this surname spelling with that of Arterbury and given the fact that these later records of Artherbury occurred in the same wards where Edward Atterbury appeared about 50 years earlier, it seems possible that this later Artherbury may have been a kinsman of Edward Arterbury, perhaps one of his other sons: Edward Jr. or Charles.

To place the Arterbury/Arthurbury surname spelling into a broader context, it should be noted that there was not one instance of these surname spellings in the telephone directories of Britain spanning more than 100 years from 1880 to 1984.  In these same phone directories there were 3,381 instances of Atterbury and 783 instances of Atterberry.  These facts regarding the more contemporary spellings of the Atterbury surname clearly underscores the unique nature of the Arterbury/Arthurbury surname spelling.

Having established the highly unique nature of the surname spelling of Arterbury and Artherbury among London Atterburys in the 18th century and linked mainly to Edward Atterbury (Mason), it is now time to make the correlation to William, the Immigrant.  Although the early records for William Atterbury Sr. in both Maryland and in Loudoun County Virginia used variations on the traditional surname spelling of “Atterbury”, it should be noted that there was one very important exception.  Take note of the following abstract of a Loudoun County court record:

“14Aug1760 Order Book Judgment Entry – Richard Snowden against William Atterbury, otherwise William Arthurbury of Prince George’s County (Maryland), sawyer, – in debt – Defendant acknowledged Plaintiff’s action for 1997 lbs. of crop tobacco; Plaintiff to recover against Defendant 1997 lbs. of crop tobacco with interest from 1May1750 and costs.[23]

Note that in this law suit filed by Richard Snowden was specific reference to an alias used by William Atterbury, namely: “William Arthurbury”.  From this record it can be concluded that at some point during his stay in Maryland William Atterbury had used the surname spelling of Arthurbury.  This fact would seem to suggest that William Atterbury had more than a passing familiarity with the Arthurbury spelling.

Next make note of the fact that in the tithable records of Loudoun County there was frequent use of variations on the surname spelling of Arterbury by both Sarah Atterbury and her sons, Michael, William Jr., Thomas and Edward (see Table 7).  As we follow William and Sarah’s sons into Camden District South Carolina, it should be noted that most of those sons were recorded using the surname spelling of Arthurbury and Arterbury, or multiple variations thereof.  It should further be noted that some 3rd generation American Atterbury descendants continued to use the Arterbury spelling well into the 20th century in America.

The fact that both William Atterbury, the Immigrant, and his wife and sons had frequently used surname spellings of either Arthurbury or Arterbury strongly suggests that they too must have considered this to have been the traditional spelling of their family’s surname.  The author believes that the usage of the surnames of Arterbury and Arthurbury provides a direct and virtually unmistakable connection between Edward Atterbury (Mason) and William Atterbury (Immigrant).

This concludes the initial analysis of the families of Richard and Elizabeth Atterbury, and Edward and Elizabeth Atterbury [aka Arterbury].  The author believes that more than ample evidence has been provided to connect Edward (Mason) to William (Immigrant) as father and son.  The one unexplained anomaly in this analysis is the name of “Michael” given to William and Sarah’s first born son.  As already stated, application of naming conventions is not an absolute science.  One clue to the possible origin of the name Michael may be found in the name of a 4th generation American Atterbury named Michael Mitchell Atterbury, born 25Apr1811 in Hart County, Kentucky[24].  Although genealogists have not been able to reliably establish the ancestry of this Michael Mitchell Atterbury, it seems probable that he was the grandson of William and Sarah’s first born son, Michael.  There is evidence of another Michael Atterbury appearing in the 1820 census records in Grayson County KY, of whom very little is known.  It seems highly likely that the Michael Atterbury living in Grayson County KY in 1820 was a son of Michael Atterbury, first born son of William and Sarah.  Taking these clues into consideration, it seems highly likely that the christening name of “Michael” originated in this Atterbury family from the maternal side, through Sarah Michell, wife of William, the Immigrant.  This conclusion is supported by the fact that Sarah Mitchell had a younger brother named Michael baptized on 12Aug1726 at St. Barnabas Church, Queen Anne Parish, Princes Georges County, Maryland.  It seems highly likely that the first born son of William Arterbury and Sarah Mitchell was named in honor of Sarah’s brother, Michael Mitchell.  Consequently, the author’s decision to exclude William and Sarah’s first born son, Michael, from the naming convention analysis seems entirely appropriate.  Having deviated from traditional convention by naming their first born son for a maternal ancestor would not preclude William and Sarah from reverting to tradition in the naming of their next two sons: William and Edward for members of the paternal side of the family.


Following completion of the above analyses and conclusions pertaining to the probable ancestry of William Atterbury, Immigrant, the author discovered extensive supplemental data which support the connection to Edward Arterbury, Mason and Elizabeth Young (see Chapter 2 – Edward Arterbury Ancestry).  Further research has connected Edward Arterbury (Mason) and Richard Atterbury (Carpenter) as sons of Richard Arthurbury (Tallow Chandler) and Jane Bulley [Bull].  Richard Arthurbury (Tallow Chandler) was born in Morden Parish, Surrey County on 7Oct1650 to William and Ann Arthurbury.

Perhaps the most surprising of this new information was the apparent fact that William Atterbury, Immigrant, may have been married twice before being arrested for theft.  These marriages are summarized as follows:

  1. Fleet Marriage record dated 16Feb1731/2: William Arterbury, Mariner, Bachelor of Christ Church, Southwark, Surrey Couny married Hannah Scrimpton, Widow of same, performed by Daniel Wigmore.
  2. Fleet Marriage record dated 6Sep1732: William Atterbung [sic], Waterman, Bachelor of Christ Church Parish, Southwark, Surrey County married Elizabeth Good, Widow of Christ Church Parish, Southwark, Surrey County.

Given the name, occupation, date and place of residence shown in these two marriage records, it seems highly probable that these William Arterbury/Atterburys were one and the same person.  Christ Church was a fairly small and relatively new parish (~1675) located in the western part of Southwark, so it seems very unlikely that there would have been two persons of essentially the same name at the same time living in such a small parish.  It should further be noted that there was an earlier Fleet Marriage record for Edward Arterbury summarized as follows:

  • Fleet Marriage record dated 23Jan1703/4: Edward Arterbury, Bachelor of Angell Street – Broadwall near Hog Inn, Christ Church Parish, Southwark, Surrey County married Elizabeth Young, Spinster of same.

Given the names, place and date in this marriage record, it seems highly probable that this was the marriage of Edward Arterbury, Mason.  Given the “Arterbury” spelling, dates and locations of Christ Church shown in Items 1 and 3 above, it seems unquestionable that this William Arterbury was the son of Edward Arterbury.  One final record of note is as follows:

  • On 12Mar1750 Hannah Arterbury was buried at St. Botolph, Bishopgate, age 61 years.

Given the Arterbury spelling of Hannah’s surname, it seems highly probable that this was Hannah Scrimpton, who had married William Arterbury on 16Feb1731/2.  If this was in fact the wife of William Arterbury, and if William Arterbury was the same person as the Maryland immigrant, then it would seem that William Atterbury committed bigamy when he married Sarah Mitchell in Maryland.  To further compound matters, if the two William Arterbury/Atterburys in Items 1 and 2 were the same person, then William had already committed bigamy when he married Elizabeth Good in Sep1732.

The author is persuaded by the preponderance of the evidence that these marriage records were for William Atterbury, Immigrant and his father, Edward Arterbury, Mason.  Assuming this to have been the case, then we now have an occupation for William, the Immigrant of Waterman/Mariner and a place of his residence of Christ Church Parish, Southwark within a year and a half prior to his arrest.  More discussion is provided in Chapter 2.

[1] The Descendants of Job Atterbury, L. Effingham de Forest and Anne Lawrence de Forest, 1933.

[2] Available on microfiche from LDS Library, Fiche No. 6049268.

[3], accessed 25Jun2010.

[4], accessed 11Nov2012.

[5], accessed 11Nov2012.

[6], accessed 30Aug2018.

[7], accessed 11Nov2012.

[8], accessed 11Nov2012.

[9], accessed 11Nov2012.

[10], accessed 11Nov2012.

[11] Crime and Punishment in eighteenth-century England, Frank McLynn, reprinted 2002, pp. 92-95.

[12] The Descendants of William Atterbury, 1733 English Immigrant, Voncille Atterbery Winter, PhD. and Wilma Attebery Mitchell, 1984, pp. 23-24.

[13] Recruitment, training and knowledge transfer in the London Dyers’ Company, 1649-1826, Roger A Feldman, 2005, p. 185.

[14], accessed December 16, 2010.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Note that Jasper’s parents were identified as William and Jane Atterbury.  This suggests that there may have been another family of Atterburys in St. Leonards Shoreditch contemporaneous with William and Sarah, headed by a William and Jane. However, the authors believe this register record to have been in error, and that Jasper’s parents were actually William and Sarah, and that Jasper was named after his grandfather, Jasper Rogers.  More on Jasper Rogers later in this Chapter.

[17], accessed 29Feb2012.

[18], accessed 17Mar2012.

[19], accessed 21Mar2012.

[20] Date accessed: 15 October 2012

[21]  Date accessed: 15 October 2012

[22] A Short Account of the Several Wards, Precincts, Parishes, etc. in London, John Smart, 1741, p. 20.

[23] Ibid., p. 134.

[24] Atterbury Family, Wayne Atteberry, 1998, p. 812.

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