Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 The Newgate Calendar: William Udall


A Profligate Apprentice, who turned Highwayman. Executed at Tyburn, 14th of March, 1738

THE father of this reprobate was an eminent distiller in Clerkenwell, London. He gave his son a good education, and bound him apprentice to a watchmaker, in Leadenhall Street, where he was idle, but soon learned from some abandoned journeymen the trick of scraping gold from the inside of watch-cases, which he sold, and then squandered away his ill-gotten pelf.

His master died before he was detected, and he was turned over to another, whom he offended before he had served a quarter of a year.

He then went to live with one Mr Stanbridge, of Clerkenwell, who engaged to procure him his freedom at the expiration of the term for which he was originally apprenticed.

He had not been long in the service of Stanbridge before he connected himself with a number of young pickpockets, with whom he used to go out of an evening and steal watches, swords, hats and anything they could lay their hands on, which they deposited with one Williams, in Hanging Sword Alley, Fleet Street, who disposed of the effects and shared the booty with the young thieves.

Udall's father was apprised of his living in an irregular manner, but had no idea that he had proceeded to such lengths as to become a robber. However, to reclaim him from his evil courses, he took a house for him, and put him into business in a very reputable way.

One of Udall's companions was a youth named Raby, who, having served his time to a barber, his friends likewise put into business, and for some months the young fellows appeared to attend the duties of their respective professions; but they had not quitted their old connections, for they used to go almost every night to Drury Lane, to a house of ill-fame, which was kept by a woman named Bird.

In this place they associated with several young fellows of abandoned character.

At length they agreed to commence as highwaymen, and, in consequence thereof, committed a number of robberies in and near Epping Forest and Finchley Common, one of which was attended with a circumstance of unusual barbarity.

These associates in wickedness, having stopped the St Albans coach, robbed the passengers of about five pounds, and immediately put spurs to their horses; but they had not ridden far before Udall said that a lady in the coach had a remarkably fine ring on her finger.

On this Raby rode back, and, the lady being unwilling to part with the ring, the remorseless villain drew a knife and cut off her finger for the sake of the paltry prize. This horrid action being perpetrated, they rode to Hampstead, and having robbed some other people the same evening they hastened to Drury Lane, where they divided the spoil.

On one occasion Udall and two of his accomplices, named Baker and Wager, stopped a coach on the road to Uxbridge. A guard being behind the coach, with a blunderbuss, Baker threatened him with instant death if he did not throw it away, and the man obeyed. Wager and Udall guarded the coachman and postilion, while Baker robbed the company; but this was no sooner done than the guard produced a horse-pistol, with which he fired at Udall, and brought him to the ground; on which Baker shot the guard, so that he instantly expired.

Udall was conveyed to a farmhouse near Uxbridge by his accomplices, and lay there six weeks before he recovered; but soon afterwards they killed the person who guarded another coach as it was going over Turnham Green.

Only a short time after the commission of this atrocious crime Udall knocked down a young woman in Fenchurch Street, whom he robbed of a cloak, a handkerchief and her pocket, which contained only a few halfpence.

Not long after this adventure, Udall and some of his associates robbed a physician in the Strand, for which they were all of them apprehended; but Udall became an evidence against his accomplices, by which he escaped the fate which he had so frequently merited.

He and an accomplice named Man then committed several robberies in the neighbourhood of Epping Forest, and Udall, having one night left his horse at a public-house in the Forest, went to Man's lodgings in an absolute state of intoxication.

While he was in this situation Man went out and locked the door, on pretence of care that the men from the Marshalsea should not apprehend his companion; but he immediately delivered himself into custody and gave the key to the runners, who, entering the house, seized Udall, in bed, and conveyed them both to their former apartments.

Man now seriously reflected on his situation, and being apprehensive that he might be seen by some person who would charge him with a capital offence he begged to be conducted to a magistrate, before whom he was admitted an evidence against his companion, on a charge of his having committed several robberies on the highway.

Hereupon Udall was committed to Newgate, and being tried at the next sessions at the Old Bailey he was convicted, principally on the evidence of Man, and received sentence of death.

He was hanged at Tyburn, on 14th of March, 1738.