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Morning a Man came and knockt at her Door, and ask'd if she had lost any Goods, whereupon she went with him to the Watch-house, (where the prisoner was and had the Coat and a pair of Breeches on him) and own'd her Goods. There being no proof of the Burglary the Jury acquitted him of that, and brought him in Guilty of Felony only, Transportation.”8


In the Quarter Session records we find that William Spurgeon of Stepney Parish, labourer, was arrested and charged on 14 January 1718/19, stealing:


One flaxen sheet worth 4s.; one holland sheet worth 2s.; one flaxen shirt worth 12d.; one holland smock worth 3s.6d.; two linen aprons worth 2s.; one silk handkerchief worth 6d.; one holland pillow cover worth 12d., belonging to Joseph Ruby. Mary Styles, spinster late of said parish received these stolen goods sometime after 14 Jan.9


William, James’ likely brother, was caught in the district of Wapping and held by


Frances Johnson and Christian Ruby; he was also imprisoned in Newgate Prison 25 February 1718/19. Wapping is just south of Stepney on the Thames River. In 1701, Captain Kidd was hung at the Wapping Dock. The Quarter Sessions Roll lists his indictment:


Frances Johnson, of Clowyelefields, in Hamlet of Wapping, Stepney, Spinster Christian Ruby wife of Joseph Ruby, upon condition that they do severally personally appear at the next General Sessions of the Peace Gaol Delivery to be holden for the said County to prosecute the same with effect and give evidence against William Spurgin for feloniously stealing from Joseph Ruby several pieces of linen and not depart the court. 10th Day of February 1718.10


In the above indictment the word “Clowyelefields” was transcribed by other researchers of


the Spurgeon family as “Clew galefields” which is what it indeed looks like in the original record. After examining the original, I have come to the conclusion that it is actually Coverleyfields, spelled (or rather misspelled) by the person writing the indictment either out of error or because it sounded similar to the known pronunciation of the word at the time. I also believe that the error of the transcription of “Clew galefields” comes from an unfamiliarity of the transcriber of the area in question. Of additional interest in the Gaol Delivery Book, is the notation that Maria Styles, who was caught receiving stolen property from William Spurgeon, was also transported at the same time as the Spurgeons (Which has lead some to think that it was this Mary who married William Spurgeon).


In The Proceedings of the Old Bailey is found the following listing of those to transported


in a particular session of the court. Shown are James Spargin and William Spurgin (As 12 received the sentence of death for their crimes, the brothers William and James would have been happy to be transported):11


8 “The Proceedings of the Old Bailey”: William Spurgin, Mary Stiles, theft: simple grand larceny, theft: receiving stolen goods, 25 Feb 1719. Ref:


t17190225-2; James Spurgin, theft: housebreaking, 25 Feb 1719. Ref. t17190225-3.


9Ibid. 10Ibid. 11“The Proceedings of the Old Bailey.” Ref: s17190225-77,


© 1993 Spurgeon Family History by Dr. Gary Alan Dickey, 1546 Devonshire Avenue, Westlake Village, CA 91361 • p. 7


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