Monday, 2 April 2007

George Cruwys sergemaker of Tiverton

I've been searching through the back issues of the London Gazette which are now available online. The collection includes all the issues from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and most of the issues from 1752 to 1799. I found the following gem which was published in two consecutive issues of the London Gazette, dated 23rd to 27th July and 3rd to 6th August 1765:

Whitehall, July 27, 1765
Whereas it has been humbly represented to the King,
That, on Saturday the 20th Instant, about Noon, was found in the Garden belonging to George Cruwys, of Tiverton in the County of Devon, sergemaker, a Piece of Paper, on which were wrote the Words and Figures following:

"George Cruwys if you Don’t put 12 Gunnis out under your Backe Door Betwix 12 and 2 to help the Prisnors weill Vire your House or By God wee will Morder you Take this for Warning."

Which said Paper Writing was tied with Packtbread to a Piece of dry Mortar, by which Means it was thrown over the Wall belonging to the said Garden: His Majesty, for the better discovering and bringing to Justice the Persons concerned in writing the said Paper, is hereby pleased to promise His most gracious Pardon to any one of them, (except the Person who wrote the said Paper) who shall discover his or her Accomplice or Accomplices therein, so that he, she, or they, may be apprehended and convicted thereof.

And, for the better Encouragement, the Ministers, Church-wardens, Overseers of the Poor, Gentlemen, and Principal Inhabitants of the Parish of Tiverton, do hereby promise a Reward of Fifty Pounds to any Person or Persons making Discovery of the Party or Parties guilty thereof, (except as before excepted) to be paid by the Church-wardens of the said Parish, on the Conviction of any one or more of them.

And, as a further Encouragement, the said George Cruwys doth hereby promise a Reward of Twenty Guineas to any person or Persons making such Discovery as aforesaid, (except as before excepted) to be paid by him, on the Conviction of any one or more of them.

Geo. Cruwys.

There were at least three George Cruwyses baptised in Tiverton in the early part of the eighteenth century and I currently have insufficient information to distinguish between them and to establish which one is the sergemaker. One George Cruwys was the Corporation Treasurer. He met a very sorry end dying suddenly at the Mayor's on 15th January 1769 after suffocating on his own vomit. Another George Cruwys was the mayor of Tiverton in 1797.

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