January 10
Thomas Green, weaver, was indicted for the wilful murder of Elizabeth Mantin by throwing her out of the window of their upper floor garret in Moors Alley, Norton Folgate. She was found in the courtyard, not quite dead but never to speak another word, on the evening of December 23rd. Green was nowhere to be seen in Moors Alley. He was spotted in two public houses in the area during the evening. A mob, led by Sarah Hewin tracked him down to the King and Queen in Norton Folgate. When challenged, he claimed that he and the dead women merely lived together “ He sat by his own fireside, while she broke the windows with her knuckles”. Later that evening, William Flint, the local beadle of the Liberty of Norton Folgate tracked him down to the New Crown, Wheeler Street in Bethnal green and he was formally accused of Elizabeth’s murder.

At the trial, a number of female residents of the courtyard garrets gave their evidence. Elizabeth Williams, his neighbour “divided by lath and plaster only” said that they defendant and victim argued day and night and on that night Thomas had demanded that Elizabeth “give him his money back”. Elizabeth Manning said more or less the same thing. Ann Kelsey heard the same thing, with the crucial and life saving exception of hearing Elizabeth Mantin say that she wanted to get out of the room, and if she was stopped, she would throw herself out of the window. Thomas Green had admitted to stopping her leaving the room; in his defence he argued that it would have been physically impossible for him to throw her out of the window. “

“The crime with which I am charged, if I was the wickedest person in the World would be impossible for me to commit; it would be impossible for me to take a strong middle aged woman and so force her out of a window four feet from the ground”

The judge directed the jury to find Green “Not Guilty”
January 12

William Goddard, a shoemaker in Spitalfields, took one of his tools that he used for his trade and slit his own throat. His family had noticed no change in his mood. There was no hope for his recovery.
January 19th

On this day there was a meeting of the re-formed Spitalfields Soup Society. It had originally been formed in 1797 in Brick Lane as the Spitalfields Soup Ladling Society. For more details see


It was reported that 6000 Spitalfields weavers were out of employment and great the stocks of silk held suggested that this would not improve very quickly. The situation was caused by a lack of demand for silk, notwithstanding the lower price of food compared to last year, and the pernicious effect of smuggling from France. The poor rates could no longer support these paupers so two resolutions were made-firstly, that only domestic production should be purchased and secondly that a subscription be organised to provide soup for the poor.

The concerned gentlemen did not know that by November, distress would have turned into starvation and riot.

January 24th
It was reported that Sarah Harman, a weaver’s wife, being unable to feed her baby due to the poverty of the family, wrapped up the child well and placed it at the doorstep of a Mr Hibbert, a local philanthropist who would look after the child. However, in the meantime the child was found by a man walking the streets who heeded the advice of locals and took the child to the workhouse infirmary. Just before handing it over to the officials he took a look at the infant and realised that it was his own child…..


If you are interested in the Regency Poor- try this new book, out now.Please consider asking your local library to order a copy. Tell them the book fills a gap- a social history about the poor, the powerless and their struggle. There’s nothing wrong with Jane Austen, but she tends to dominate this period…..

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