Strange News from Staffordshire: Being a true RELATION OF TWO Bloody Murders Committed by one Andrew Sympson, Upon the Bodies of a young Man and a young Woman.

O What a world of Curses the eating of the forbidden fruit hath brought upon Man­kinde! and unavoidably entail'd upon the Sons of Men great Misery; amongst all which none appears more terrible and full of Sorrow, and bewraying greater Wrath, than the Blood-crying Sin of Murder, especially when it is attended with Crimes, whose Wickedness of themselves might pur­chase the reward of Death: which in the Person, of whom this Relation is written, might have been fully evidenced, before he committed this horrible Action, for which he received his just Reward or Punishment.

The place of his usual abode was Leeke, a Town in the Moorlands in Stafford shire; his Name Andrew Sympson, by Trade a Shoe-maker, and some time an Ostler in an Inne in the same Town, where he first begun to act his wicked Designs: For, about two years ago, a Countryman coming to Market in Leeke, he set up his Horse at the Red-Lion, where Andrew was [Page 2] Hostler; and from thence going into the Town, he received, for Corn, some Three Pounds, which put­ting in a large Leather-purse in his Pocket, he in the Evening comes to his Inne, and drinking indifferent hard, stays till 10 of the Clock or thereabouts (it be­ing in September, the Nights dark;) he then calls for the Ostler, and giving him two Pence for his horse, he rode homewards towards his own house, which was some four Miles from Leek.

But Andrew seeing this Purse of Money, and judging it to be more than it was, he takes a Horse of his Master's out of the Stable; he rides a nearer way through a back-ground of his Master's, and meets the Country-man in an open large Moor; where bidding him stand, he robs him of his Money, and then with a Horse-collar, or Halter, binds his hands and feet, loosing his Horse to run home; and so leaves the poor Country-man in great distress all Night on the cold ground, Moneyless and comfortless.

Next Morning he was by Country-people found, and came back to Leeke, where he made known his bad Misfortune: But none could suspect Andrew to be the Actor in this Fact.

After this prize, he continues a good time honest, till another opportunity affords it self to his eye, which he would not let slip; which was as followeth:

About six months after the former Robbery, there came a youngman to the house on foot, traveling for Nantwich in Cheshier, who over-night inquiring in the house of his way, next day none was so forward as Andr. to inform him, or to get into the acquaintance of this Stranger, who, by his own lavish discourse, discovers he had good store of Money, and that he had lately left his Friends upon Discontent. Andrew informs him of the best way he could towards Congerton seven miles on his way, and himself proffered next morning to put him in the right way for a mile or two. The [Page 3] Stranger accepts his proffer; and so in the morning out they go together, their way lying over a great and almost unfrequented Moore, and so through a great dismal Wood; in the midst of which he takes an oppor­tunity, and with one blow of a heavy Stick he knocks the poor Traveller down; but not so content, he re­doubles his blows till he found him breathless on the ground: which when he perceived, he took out of his Pocket six pounds in Gold and Silver, with two Rings, and a silver Box, and then takes the Body and drags it into an old useless Coal pit; which being left open and deep, the Body was not found till his Confession before Justice Anderson in June last, 79.

From acting this horrible Crime, he comes home a­gain to Leeke, no body ever suspecting him: for he easily told where he pretended he parted with the Stran­ger, and they never thinking but he was gone his Jour­ney.

Andrew upon this Theft was full of money, which he freely spent, the onely way to be poor again, and so to be tempted to another sin or Robbery. He was so cun­ning an Artist, as he never exposed the Rings to sale in Leek, but once going over to Stafford, he there to a Goldsmith sells them, with the Box pretending he found them.

After this, he continues till May last, without acting any disho­nesty to be detected; but though he was asleep in security, he could not escape the Divine Vengeance for his horrid Facts: for now the time of his apprehension drew on, and that he must ren­der an Account for all his sins before the Terrestrial and Coelestial Judges. He observes in May last, a woman, who coming to Leeke with Cloath, Lace and Thread, and other Pedlers Commodities, she took some money in the Town, and with what she had before, it was pretty considerable. She then intends for the Town of Bakewel, North-west from thence, where she must pass by a place called the black Mere of Morridge, which is a strange deep black water-pond of a very prodigious depth and colour, differing from most ordinary waters. Andrew learns what way she must travel, but in his heart he intends to prevent her Journey, and adde one more great sin to his two former. This place was some seven miles [Page 4] or thereabouts from Leeke; and it was almost three in the after­noon ere she went out of Town, and consequently it must be near night ere she past by this unfrequented place. Andrew follows her, pretending he was going to a Town three miles off; but he dogs this woman, and follows her to the very place he intended, where by force he first strangles her, and then taking her Purse of money from her side, and her Boxes of Lace, and her Linnen, he tyes a Rope to her middle, and a great Stone to the end of it, and throws her into the Mere; and so packing up his Prize he hyes home, where he gets before morning, and in a Hay-mow hides all his Purchase: which he had not long possest, but being over-kind with a Maid-servant in the house, he tells her he would give her some Lace and Linnen; which she being glad to hear, often tells, and urges him for his promise. At last she so much tires him, that he goes one day to fetch her some of both; but she watching him privately, wonders to see him from the Hay-mow draw forth such a quantity of Linnen and Lace. She says nothing to him, but at night, sick of a womans distemper, she tells her other fellow-ser­vant, who could scarce believe it; but the other affirming it, she next day tells her Mistriss, who also wondering, sends for Andrew, and taxes him, but he denies it stoutly. She then calls her Hus­band, and he going to look in the very place, they finde all the Linnen and Lace, and some Money.

Andrew was secured, and carried before a Justice; where, after a many strange Excuses, he confesses the Fact: and for it being committed to the Goal, he was, this last Assizes there held, Condemn'd: And then he confessed the other two Facts, receiving the just Reward of his horrible Murders and Robberies.

This Relation is known to be true by most of the Inhabitants of Staffordshire, and by the Authors here inserted. Mr. Tho. Horsley, and Mr. Samuel Stains.


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