EDWARD LOWE AND WILLIAM JOBBINS
Young Incendiaries, who set fire to a House in order to plunder it, and were executed in the City, 20th of November, 1790
THESE prisoners were indicted at the Old Bailey sessions for feloniously setting fire to the house of Francis Gilding, in Aldersgate Street, on the 16th of May, 1790.
From the evidence of the apprentice of Mr Gilding, who was an accomplice in the wicked deed, it appeared that he was acquainted with the two prisoners, who were persons of bad character; and that it was determined among them that Mr Gilding's house, which was the Red Lion Inn, should be set on fire, in order that they might plunder it. Accordingly, at about twelve o'clock on the night of Saturday, 16th of May, they met in the inn- yard, and Lowe got up into the hay-loft and, placing some combustibles there, set them alight with a pipe, which he was smoking. The fire soon blazed up, and the prisoners very actively carried off the goods, which they took away in a cart. The witness was in the act of carrying away a chest of drawers when he was stopped by Lucie, a constable, upon whose evidence he was convicted. He subsequently, however, on condition of being pardoned, consented to give evidence against the prisoners. This testimony being confirmed by that of other witnesses, the jury returned a verdict of guilty against the prisoners, and on the 2nd of November they were brought up to receive judgment. The learned recorder then addressed them in the following terms: "I hardly know how to find words to express the abhorrence that I feel, or that the public entertains, of the crime of which you stand convicted. The setting fire to houses in the dead of night, for the purpose of plunder, at the risk of the lives of the inhabitants of a great city, is a crime not yet to be met with upon the records of villainy that have been brought forward in this court. As the crime is singular, so the punishment must be marked. I take it that it will be so marked, and hope the example will be such that if there should be left any persons of the same wicked intentions they will take example from your fate. As your crime is singular and novel, I hope it will be the only one brought into this court of the same description. You therefore must prepare to die, and consider yourselves as men without hope in this world. And give me leave to assure you that it is my decided opinion that, for an offence so very atrocious as yours, you can never expect salvation in the world to come unless you make some reparation to your injured country, and to God, Whom you have offended, by a sincere confession of all the offences of which you have been guilty, and by a disclosure of the names of all persons who either have engaged, or are about to engage, in crimes so detestable as that of which you stand convicted. Nothing therefore remains but that I should pray to Almighty God, and it is now my earnest prayer to Him that you may all obtain forgiveness and remission of your sins."
On the morning of the 20th of November these incendiaries were brought out of Newgate and placed on a high seat, which had been fixed in the cart to render them more conspicuous to the spectators. They were then conveyed, attended by the sheriffs and other city officers, to Aldersgate Street, where a temporary gallows was erected opposite the spot where stood the house of Mr Gilding, to which they had set fire. They arrived at the fatal tree about a quarter before nine o'clock, when Mr Villette, the ordinary, went into the cart and prayed with them for about twenty minutes, after which they were turned off. They both confessed to Mr Villette the facts for which they so justly suffered.
Jobbins had been educated at St Paul's School, was bred a surgeon, and was only nineteen years of age when he suffered. Lowe was about twenty-three years of age.
A boy named Mead was, on the 31st of August in the ensuing year, executed for a similar offence, in firing the house of his master, Mr Walter Cavardine, a publican, in Red Lion Street.