Thomas Hogson, accused of murder 1739

Ipswich Journal, 14 April 1739

A few days since, one Thomas Hogson, a labouring man of Winslow, in the County of Bucks, having some Words with his Wife, on a sudden catch'd up a small Wooden Stool, or Cricket, and struck her on the Head therewith so violently, that she died soon after:   And an Inquisition being taken before Mr. Burnham, one of the Coroners for the said County, the Jury found the said Hogson guilty of Wilful Murder; and he was the same day committed to Aylesbury Gaol.   And on Friday, the 23rd past, the said Hogson cut his own Throat through the Wind-pipe, but is still living, tho' 'tis thought he cannot continue so many days


Mary Hogson was buried at Winslow on 19 March 1738/9. She was probably the Mary Edlyn of East Claydon who married Thomas Hogston of Winslow at East Claydon on 2 April 1710. Thomas survived long enough at Aylesbury Gaol to make his will:

Will of Thomas Hogson, labourer, 1739 (proved 1740/1)

National Archives, PROB 11/707/218

In the Name of God the Father Son and Holy Ghost three Persons and one Incomprehensible Lord God Almighty and Eternal Amen.  The last Will of me Thomas Hogson of Winslowe in the County of Bucks Labourer  First I having made a Surrender of all my Copyhold Lands Tenements and Hereditaments held of the Mannor of Winslowe with the Members to such uses Intents and Purposes as I the said Thomas Hogson in and by my last Will and Testament should Limit direct or appoint Now I do hereby give direct and appoint all and every my Lands tenements and Hereditaments held of  the said Mannor and all my Estate Right title and Equity of Redemption of in and to the same unto Benjamin Quarringdon my Brother in Law and his Heirs Upon Condition that he pay unto Mr Peter Goldsworth the Sum of Five and twenty pounds For payment whereof the Premisses are Engaged or a Bond given to him by me for payment thereof  And also to pay and satisfy himself All such Costs Charges and Expences as he shall have been at in any way relating to me in my unhappy Circumstances  Also I give unto John Tapping my Neighbor and kind  Assistant twenty shillings Also I give unto the said Benjamin Quarringdon All my personal Estate after my Debts and Funeral Expenses are paid And in case there shall be an Overplus after my Debts and Funeral Expenses are payd Then I give unto Charles Bowler my Nephew and Dynah Bowler my Niece the Sum of Five pounds apiece And Lastly I do hereby nominate and appoint the said Benjamin Quarringdon Sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament  And I do hereby revoke and make void all former wills by me heretofore made and declare this only to be my last Will and Testament  In Witness whereof I have hereunto Sett my hand and Seal this Seven and twentyeth day of March One thousand Seven hundred thirty nine.    

Thomas Hogon [l. margin: Or(iginal) so]

Signed Sealed published and declared by the Testator in the Presence of us who have hereunto Subscribed our names as Witnesses in the Testators Presence
Fra(ncis) Howse  John Woodcock  Nicho(las) Merwin

This Will was proved at London the twenty seventh day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Forty Before the Right Worshipfull John Bettesworth Doctor of Laws Master Keeper or Commissary of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury lawfully constituted By the oath of Benjamin Quarringdon the Executor in the said Will named to whom administration was granted of all and singular the Goods Chattells and Creditts of the said deceased being first sworn duly to administer.


Thomas was the son of Simon Hogs(t)on (1653-1736), and grandson of John Hogson, yeoman (1614-1679). His father and grandfather were both churchwardens. Thomas was bap. at Winslow on 12 Dec 1682.

Thomas' sister Dinah (b.1686) married Charles Bowler at Winslow in 1722; they were the parents of the niece and nephew mentioned in the will.

Benjamin Quar(r)ingdon the executor died in 1742. He was married to Thomas' sister Sarah (b.1689). His will describes Thomas as yeoman rather than labourer.

Peter Goldsworth the lawyer evidently acted on Thomas' behalf, and Nicholas Merwin, the other Winslow attorney, must have gone to Aylesbury Gaol to draw up his will. The Gaol at this time was on the site of County Hall in Walton Street. It may not have been very secure: according to the Daily Gazetteer (27 April 1739): "They write from Aylesbury, that one Night last Week the Prisoners in the Gaol found means to clear themselves of their Irons, and made off, but were all retaken except one."

To make a will you had to be "of sound mind", but someone who tried to kill himself would normally be considered to have "the balance of his mind disturbed". The lawyers must have worked hard to get the will validated, if the newspaper report was correct. Three prisoners convicted at Aylesbury Assizes, not including Thomas Hogson, were executed on 6 May 1739 according to the London Evening Post. The next Bucks Assizes were held at Buckingham on 30 July and Thomas is not mentioned in reports of them either, so he probably died before he could stand trial.

Thomas apparently did not follow the appropriate procedure for transferring copyhold property, so it seems that his will was initially not upheld by the manor court. At the court in 1742, his "cozen and heir att law" William Hogson sold the 3 messuages of "Thomas Hogson late of Winslowe Yeoman", "in the severall occupations of Benjamin Quarrendon, Robert Blakeman and Joseph Spooner", to David Hannott of Mile End New Town. William was probably the son of Thomas' uncle John Hogson (d.1692). It is not clear how he could be Thomas' heir since Thomas had two sisters alive when he died - presumably William claimed that there was an entail in the male line.

However, according to Benjamin Quarrendon's will made on 5 Aug 1742, Thomas' property had been surrendered to his will "By the Hands of Thomas Worrall and John Goldsworth Gent both deceased two other Customary Tenants of the Mannor aforesaid Or by any other Copyhold Tenants of the same Mannor", and Benjamin left his interest in them to his wife Sarah. Sarah's will made in 1749 said that she made a surrender to her will of her copyhold tenements, which she bequeathed to her nephew Charles Bowler; they were in Sheep Street.

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