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Allan [Allen], James [Jimmy] (1734–1810), Northumbrian piper and rogue, was born at Hepple, Northumberland, probably in March 1734, and baptized at Rothbury, Northumberland, on 21 April 1734, the son of William Allan or Allen, also known as Wull Faa, a noted vermin hunter and performer on the Northumbrian small pipes. ...

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George Barrington (1755–1804) by Sir William Beechey, c. 1785 by permission of the National Library of Australia T275

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Barrington [formerly Waldron], George (1755–1804), actor, pickpocket, and transported convict, was born in Maynooth, co. Kildare, Ireland. Some claim that his birth date was 14 May 1755 and that his father was Henry Waldron, a silversmith, and his mother a Miss Naish (Naith)...

Article

Bateman [née Harker], Mary (1768–1809), thief and poisoner, was born in Asenby, Yorkshire, the daughter of a small farmer named Harker. She evidently received a good education for one of her class, and could read and write proficiently. At the age of thirteen her father sent her into service in ...

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Bennet [Bennett], John [alias William Freeman or Hill; called the Golden Farmer] (d. 1690), thief, of unknown parentage, is at present visible only in the last year of his life. On 9 September 1689 the authorities had—or thought they had—him in Newgate prison...

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Biggs, Ronald Arthur [Ronnie] (1929–2013), criminal and fugitive, was born on 8 August 1929 at 37 Dalyell Road, Stockwell, south London, the youngest child in the family of four sons and one daughter of Henry Jack Biggs (1888–1965), a railway dining car steward, and his wife, ...

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Biggs, Ronald Arthur [Ronnie] (1929–2013)

Article

Blake, Joseph [nicknamed Blueskin] (bap. 1700, d. 1724), burglar, was baptized on 31 October 1700 at All Hallows the Great, London, the son of Nathaniel and Jane Blake, who were later described as having been 'in tolerable Circumstances' (Most Remarkable Criminals...

Article

Brodie, William [known as Deacon Brodie] (1746–1788), local politician and thief, was probably born at Brodie's Close, Lawnmarket, Edinburgh, the eldest of eleven children of Francis Brodie (d. c.1787), a prominent and prosperous local cabinet-maker or wright, whose family had been members of the ...

Article

Chatham, George Henry [nicknamed Taters] (1912–1997), thief, was born on 3 April 1912 at 16 Garvan Road, Fulham, London, the son of George Chatham, waiter in a coffee house, and his wife, Jenny, née Hewson. He showed an early talent for football, captaining ...

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Clay, Marcy [alias Jenny Fox] (d. 1665), highwaywoman and thief, is said to have been born in Dorset, the daughter of travelling pedlars. The anonymous pamphlet The High-Way Woman is the only extant biography of Marcy and no other evidence has yet come to light to corroborate its claims. It describes how, at the age of fifteen, ...

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Dagoe, Hannah (d. 1763), thief, was born in Ireland and went to London when very young. She began her working life as a milliner but was a basket-woman in Covent Garden at the time of her condemnation. She married a Spanish seaman named ...

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Dalton, James (bap. 1700?, d. 1730), street robber, was probably born in Cow Cross, London, and may have been the child baptized at St Andrew's, Holborn, on 14 January 1700 whose parents were James and Elizabeth Dalton. It was said that Dalton's father was hanged about 1705 and that he had insisted his son watch the execution. His mother may then have married a butcher about 1711. ...

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Duck, Ann (bap. 1717, d. 1744), criminal, was baptized on 22 July 1717 in Cheam, Surrey. Her father, John Duck, was a black man and her mother, Ann Brough, was white; they married on 12 August 1717 in St Clement Danes, Westminster. John Duck...

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Edwards, Ronald Christopher [Buster] (1931–1994), robber, was born on 27 January 1931 at 41 Jeffreys Road, Lambeth, London, the son of Christopher Charles Joseph Edwards, barman, and his wife, Mary Elizabeth, née Gaisford. A south London boy from the Elephant and Castle, he left school at the age of fifteen to work in a local sausage factory, where he cashed in on the post-war black market by stealing meat. After a brief but felonious period serving in the ...

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Fitch, William Stevenson (1792–1859), antiquary and thief, was born at Ipswich on 17 November 1792, the eldest of the five children of Samuel Fitch, druggist, and his wife, Elizabeth Stevenson. After five years at Ipswich grammar school (1802–7) he joined the family business and later took over the shop on his father's death in 1815. An early and consuming fascination with old documents, autographs, prints, and coins, particularly those relating to ...

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Freney, James (d. 1788), highwayman and burglar, was born in Inistiogue, co. Kilkenny, the son of John Freney, a servant and bailiff, and Alice Phelon, a servant. He was educated privately. He married some time after 1742, and using his wife's dowry he set up a public house in ...

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Frith [married name Markham], Mary [known as Moll Cutpurse] (1584x9–1659), thief, is of uncertain origins. She was perhaps the daughter of William Frith who was baptized at St Martin Ludgate, London, on 19 April 1584. This is consistent neither with her reported age ('in her seventy-fourth year') at her death in July 1659 nor with the contradictory statement of her birth in 1589, both of which come from ...

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Mary Frith (1584x99–1659) by unknown artist © National Portrait Gallery, London

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F. H. Groome

revised by J. Gilliland

Haggart, David (1801–1821), thief and murderer, was born at Golden Acre, Cannon Mills, Edinburgh, on 24 June 1801, according to his own account. He was the son of John Haggart, a dog trainer and gamekeeper. He kept the kennels and was sometimes taken as a gillie to work in the highlands for the gentry, who tipped him lavishly. It was to the fact that he early became used to having money to spend that he attributed his downfall, saying 'it was just fate'. He received a good plain education but soon turned to petty theft. In July 1813 he enlisted as a drummer boy in the ...