Stephen Maberly of the Riots

Background of the Events

 Lord George Gordon was the third and youngest son of the 3rd Duke of Gordon, educated at Eton and entered the British Navy as was quite common for a younger son. He rose to the rank of lieutenant in 1772 but when 4th Earl of Sandwich, who was head of the Admiralty at the time, would not promise him a command, he resigned his commission. In 1774 he entered Parliament having been given a small borough as a bribe to withdraw from an election elsewhere.

In 1779 although Gordon was considered insignificant, he organised and made himself head of the Protestant Association which was formed to repeal the Catholic Relief Act of 1778. This Act was to relieve the former brutal oppression of Roman Catholics in the country. Lord George Gordon was known as an eccentric agitator and was unrestrained both in his fanaticism and in his passions. On June 2nd 1780 he led a mob to the houses of Parliament to present a petition with 30,000 - 40,000 names against the Act but it turned into a riot. Many of the mob were poor and probably had their own axes to grind about the hardship of their own lives. They also protested against the bungling of the American war. Political protest turned into anarchy as the mob broke windows, damaged buildings including the Bank of England, King's Bench, Newgate & Fleet Prisons. They burned down homes and chapels of Catholics and finally set free the inmates of Newgate Prison. Justice Coxe's house in Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, was similarly treated. Along the way, over a 1000 people died.  Hundreds were burned to death in an inferno after a distillery on High Holborn was set on fire.  Fire fighters mistakenly pumped raw alcohol onto the flames, thinking it was water. Lord George Gordon was arrested and later tried but found not guilty. A fuller version of the events of that week can be found at: The events of the riots were dramatised by Charles Dickens in "Barnaby Rudge"

Stephen Maberly's Petition at the King's Bench, Middlesex

Maberly Vs Sargeant

Sums involved on the right.

  P.R.O. Ref: TS11/976

Records created/inherited by the Treasury Solicitor. Pte Stephen Maberly vs. John Sargeant & Richard Barker - Kings Bench 1780. Former reference 3530. (This reference consists of pages thus: 1 x AO, 1 x A1, 15 x A3, 6 x A2 & 1 x A4)

 The Petitioner's Case

Mr Stephen Maberly, the Petitioner is a Coach Currier and in June last lived in Little Queen Street Lincolns Inn Fields and he has brought this action against the defendants who are two of the inhabitants of the hundred of Ossulston to recover a satisfaction for the damages he sustained by having his house demolished and his furniture & stock in trade destroyed by the mob during the late riots. The action is founded upon an Act of Parliament made in the first year of the Reign of Geo. 1st entitled "An Act for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies and for the more speedy and effectual punishing of the rioters". By this Act it is enacted - That if any such dwelling house, barn stable or other outhouse shall be demolished or pulled down wholly or in part by any person so unlawfully riotously & tumultuously assembled that then, in case such dwelling house etc shall be out of any city or Town that is either a County of itself or is not within any Hundred that then the inhabitants of the Hundred in which such damages shall be done shall be liable to yield damages to the person or persons injured & damnified by such demolishing or pulling down wholly or in part and such damages shall and may be recovered by action to be brought in any of His Majesty's Courts of Record at Westminster by the Person or person damnified therby against any two or more of the inhabitants of such Hundred, and that judgement being given for the Petitioner or petitioners in such action the damages so the be recovered shall at the request of such petitioner or petitioners or their Executors or admons be raised and levied on the inhabitants of such Hundred and paid to such Petitioner or Petitioners in such manor or form and by such ways and means as are provided by the statute made in the 27th of Elizabeth for reimbursement of the Person or Persons on whom any money recovered against any Hundred by any party robbed shall be levied."

On Friday the 2nd June last the Petitioner was very active in endeavouring to suppress the rioters who had assembled at the Sardinian Ambassador's Chapel and he actually apprehended several of the rioters who were in the act of pulling down and setting fire thereto. On the next day, Mr Maberly appeared before the Magistrates in Bow Street & gave evidence against several of them who were committed to Newgate. This it is imagined draw down upon Mr Maberly the resentment of the mob which afterwards assembled for on the Wednesday following being the 7th of June, a very large mob of persons came to his house and entirely demolished the same together with a lodging house, shop, stable and warehouse belonging to the same, all which Mr Maberly held by Lease for the remainder of a Term of 31 years and which premises he was by Covenant obliged to repair and uphold. Mr Maberly having received intimation of their design, removed the greatest part of his furniture and concealed the same in a Vault under his Warehouse and was in hope he should have saved but this he was disappointed for the mob having destroyed what furniture remained in the house discovered the place where the other parts thereof were concealed and immediately destroyed and demolished the same and burnt the pieces in the street before his house.

The amount of the damage done to Mr Maberly's house, shop, warehouse, stable & other buildings hath been estimated by surveyors of Character & skill at the sum of 903.00

Besides which he is obliged to pay the rent & taxes for the same altho' he cannot inhabit his house or use any of the buildings until Christmas next, which will an additional charge to him of 200.00

The petitioner hath likewise expended in procuring estimates to be made.

The petitioner hath also seen obliged to pay rent for other apartments for himself and family.

The petitioner with the assistance of his servants and some friends who were present at the time his furniture was concealed as aforesaid was able to make out an account and inventory of the furniture & stock & utensils in trade which were destroyed by the mob and the amount of the damage he hath sustained in those respects amounts to the sum of 1,169 as appears by the following particulars:

Furniture in the house valued at 765.00
Furniture in the lodging house 16.00
Furniture in the stable 15.00
Furniture for 30 doz. of Paling barrs preparing for the county 30.00
Stock in trade 210.00
Utensils in Trade 133.00

The final settlement included "Damage to the several buildings" amounting to 903.00

Grand total: 2,072.00

Doubts have been and still are entertained whether the petitioner can recover damages for the loss of furniture, stock in trade etc. It being contended that an injury separate and distinct from that of demolishing the house & for which the act of 1st George hath not given any remedy. The Case indeed hath been determined by the Court of King's Bench in favour of the petitioner in the case of Radcliffe against Edon but there seems to be doubts still entertained about the rectitude of that determination. For in a Case tried a few days ago in the Common Pleas the Court doubted and the jury have found a special verdict as to that matter only. In the present case we mean to call persons to prove the riot, the demolition of the house & other buildings by the rioters. We mean then to show that the house was at that time in perfect good repair and we shall then call the officers of the Board of Works Surveyor of skill to prove what it will cost to reinstate the buildings. When we have shown this and that the defendants are inhabitants of the Hundred of Ossulston & that the premises are situated with that Hundred we conceive there cannot be a possible objection to the petitioner recovering that amount in damages. With regard to the proof of the damages sustained by the loss of the furniture we are under more difficult. However, we propose to give general evidence that the petitioner's house was extremely well furnished and though we can't show where the furniture was bought & of course which was paid for the same yet we shall be able by servants and others to prove the petitioner's furniture of each room and with respect to the value thereof fortunately for the petitioner some broken parts thereof having been saved or since found have been shown to the appraisers whom the petitioner employed to estimate his damage & from thence they have been able to estimate & will prove the petitioner's loss in that respect, and from those servants appraisers and persons of skill in the same trade you will learn that the petitioner's damage in these respects amount to the sum of 1,169 which we hope he will also recover but if the Court should have any doubt whether the petitioner ought in this action to recover damages for the loss of his furniture we submit that we should as to that ask for a special verdict.

Proofs for Petitioner

Murdock MacKenzie Lives in Little Queen Street Long Acres will prove the rioters pulling down the house & outhouses & their destroying the petitioner's Stock in Trade & furniture in the manner stated in the case.

Mr Alexr Wilson if necessary, may be called to prove the same facts.

Mr Henry Allen & Mr Wallis Will prove that the houses & buildings were at the time of the riots began to demolish them were in good and substantial repair, and that the petitioner had a little time before laid out a large sum of money in repairing the houses and in order to show that the petitioner bound to repaired and uphold the houses the lease may be called for.

Mr John Rogers Is a surveyor of skill and character who hath surveyed the dwellinghouse & buildings demolished by the mob and he will give the Court and Jury a particular account of the damage and he will prove that it will cost the petitioner the sum of…………….to reinstate them

Mr Wm Leech & Jason Harris Are two surveyors belonging to the office of Works, who by order of that Board have surveyed the buildings and made an estimate of the expense of reinstating those buildings and they will confirm the last witnesses.

Revd Herbert Jones, Mr John Foster, Mr Holmes & Mr Wm Cribb Are four of the petitioner’s neighbours who were inhabitants of intimacy with him, and very often visited him, will prove that his house was very genteelly furnished and that they believe the inventory now made thereof is a fair and true account of the furniture which he had when his house was demolished.

Hannah Jewson & Eliz Jewson Two of Mr Maberly’s servants will prove that after the demolition of the petitioner’s house they assisted in making out an account an Inventory of the furniture which their Master had in his house & which was destroyed by the mob & they will also prove the nature, quality and condition thereof.

Wm Draper & Wm Maynard Are two of the petitioner’s Journeymen who will prove the quantity off hydes & other Stock in Trade destroyed by the mob.

Mr MacKenzie Will prove the same facts.

Mr John Roper Is a broker and sworn appraiser & will prove that he made an Inventory of the petitioner’s furniture & utensils in Trade from an account given to him by the petitioner’s wife, Journeymen & Servants, and from whom he took a very particular account of the nature, quality and condition of the same, and that from thence he hath been able to set a value thereon, and that he believes the same to have been worth 949.00

Mr John Kirkham Is an upholder & sworn appraiser who has been frequently employed by the Union and other fire offices in settling losses was employed by the office of Works to take an account of the amount of the damages sustained by the petitioner by the loss of this furniture stock and utensils in trade, & he will state the method he took of ascertaining the same and prove that the damage sustained by the petitioner by the loss thereof amounts to the sum of 1,159.00

Mr Bolby & Mr Solloway The one of them Currier, the other a Tanner will prove that the charges made for the loss of the Stock in Trade is just and reasonable.

Addresses & Occupations of some of the above (They all signed by marking an X)

Murdock MacKenzie Little Queen Street, Coachmaker

Alex Wilson Drury Lane, Watchmaker

Mr Henry Allen Long Acre, Carpenter

Mr Wallace Long Acre, Carpenter

Rev Herbert Jones Christchurch Hospital

William Cribb 113 High Holborn, Apothecary

Mr Holmes Country Street, Hay Market, Sedan Chair maker

John Foster Long Acre coachmaker.

John Rogers Southampton Row, Surveyor

John Roper Goodge Street, Tottenham Court Road, Auctioneer.

John Kirkham Smithfield Auctioneer

Samuel Solloway Dog Lane, Southwark, Tanner

Thomas Kirby Smithfield

Other suppliers

Jeremiah Thompson James Street, Cooper

William Allen Broadway, Coachmaker

Thomas George King Street, Cutler

Richard Rankin Stratton Street, Chandler

William Mitchell Princes Street, Upholsterer

Robert Gregory North Street, Carter

Michael Griffin Princes Street, Cheesemonger

William Reeves The Broadway, Grocer

Jeremiah Church The Broadway, Grocer

John Which Tifton Street, Grocer

William Auld Castle Lane, ?Gardener


I also have a list of the pool of jurors – all Esquires from various parts of London.



I won’t transcribe the Brief for the petitioner, but the accused, John Sargeant and Richard Barker were tried on 6 counts.

The defendants were found not guilty on the last 2 counts, which were "demolishing certain Outhouses called a Warehouse" & "demolishing another Dwelling House". They were found guilty of demolishing the dwelling house in which the petitioner lived in Little Queen Street.

I will likewise not transcribe the actual court case (too large & difficult to read!) - no doubt of interest to any lawyers amongst us!

I have no idea what their sentence was but, as some of the mob were hanged, maybe they were amongst them, I don’t know.


If anyone would like more detail of any of this, let me know