JACK COLLET ALIAS COLE
Highwayman, who robbed in the Habit of a Bishop. Executed at Tyburn, 5th of July, 1691, for Sacrilegious Burglary
THIS unfortunate person was the son of a grocer in the borough of Southwark, where he was born, and from whence, at fifteen years of age, he was put out apprentice to an upholsterer in Cheapside. He did not serve above four years of his time before he ran away from his master and took to the highway. We have not an account of abundance of his robberies, though it is said he committed a great many; but there is this remarkable particular recorded of him, that he frequently robbed in the habit of a bishop, with four or five of his companions at his heels in the quality of servants, who were ready to assist him on occasion. Collet had once the ill fortune to lose his canonical habit at dice, so that he was forced to take a turn or two on the road to supply his present necessities in unsanctifying garments. But it was not long before he met with a good opportunity of taking orders again and becoming as holy as ever.
Riding from London down into Surrey, a little on this side of Farnham, he met with Dr Mew, Bishop of Winchester, and commanded his coachman to stop. The Bishop was not at all surprised at being asked for his money, because when he saw his coach stopped he expected that would follow. But when Collet told him he must have his robes too, his lordship thought him a madman. There was no resisting, however; the old doctor was obliged to strip into his waistcoat, besides giving him about fifty guineas, which Collet told him he had now a right to demand, by having the sacerdotal habit in his possession.
Collet followed this trade till he was about thirty-two years of age, and, as if he had been determined to live by the Church, he was at last apprehended for sacrilege and burglary, in breaking open the vestry of Great St Bartholomew's, in London, in company with one Christopher Ashley, alias Brown, and stealing from thence the pulpit cloth and all the communion plate. For this fact he received sentence of death, and was executed at Tyburn on Friday, the 5th of July, in the year 1691. This Brown and Collet had before robbed St Saviour's Church, in Southwark, in conjunction