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Deplorable Spirit of Jennet Frogman

Updated on July 25, 2019

Rupert Taylor


I’ve worn-out one-half a hundred (yikes) penning for tuner and print—mostly mark. I desire to be calm tapping the keys as I payoff my death hint.

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Her pilot describe was Mary New, but she was such an realised cutpurse, or “diver” as the occupancy was known among the crook classes, that her mob re-christened her “Jenny Plunger.”


Poverty-stricken and Unheeded Puerility of Jennet Plunger

Jennet Plunger was natural round 1700 in Northerly Ireland. Her sire was Harriet Jones, a lady’s maidservant. But, Harriet became significant without the contraption of a hubby, so she was dismissed. This was the pattern operation for women in domesticated avail in Harriet’s place and they had nearly no options but to sorb whoredom to live.

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Harriet shortly deserted Jennet Plunger, who lived in various surrogate homes until she was interpreted in by an older upper-class charwoman.

Jennet Plunger Goes to London

Nether the upkeep of this ma’am, Jennet well-read to learn and publish and showed a flare for needlecraft, her fingers existence selfsame agile.

When she was astir 15 a manservant in a nearby theater was attracted to her and announced his beloved. Patently, Jennet had no affectionateness for the swain but saw in him the chance of acquiring to London.

The storey is picked up by The Concluded Newgate Calendar : “she, determinant to piddle his love submissive to the function she had conceived, promised to splice him on circumstance of his winning her to London. He joyously embraced this proposition, and now busy for a passing in a watercraft bounce for Liverpool.”

The travel was financed by the unseasoned man’s stealing of a aureate sentinel and fourscore guineas from his employer. The law-breaking led to his hitch and the mates was set-apart; he was transported to the colonies and Jennet travelled to London.

London and the Spirit of the Cutpurse

Jennet met up with an Irish miss named Anne Potato who offered her a spot to be. Anne Potato was, as told by capitalpunishmentuk.org , “the leader of a lot of pickpockets and introduced Jennet to the craft. As an prentice dip, she was tending 10 guineas on which to exist until she could starting producing income herself.”

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She proven to be an cunning and canny stealer, with a sleight that made the pick of pockets loose for her. On one juncture she remote a infield mob from a man’s script without him intentional, until he lost it after.

The Newgate Calendar described another of her ruses: “[S]he procured a duad of assumed workforce and munition to be made, and concealment her veridical ones nether her dress she repaired on a Sunday eventide to the office of idolize … in a sedan-chair, one of the crew leaving earlier to secure a arse among the more civilised role of the fold, and another attention in the quality of a footman.

“Jenny beingness sitting betwixt two aged ladies, apiece of whom had a au sentry by her slope, she conducted herself with ostensible expectant idolatry; but when the servicing was most ended she seized the chance, when the ladies were standing up, of larceny their watches, which she delivered to an confederate in an adjoining pew.” As she sat with her ”manpower” in her lap she was not suspected.

She was capable to run among her affluent targets without misgiving because she garbed fashionably and was exceedingly attractive. Her pickpocketing skills were so full that she could yield graceful dress.

She was besides hotshot at performing the supposed “Badger Gage.” A moneyed valet would be lured to her digs with the foretell of intimate favours. The ring would so assuage the unsuspicious beau of his valuables and apparel. One of these escapades is aforementioned to birth yielded 100 guineas, an come that would be tantamount to leastwise $13,000 now (estimates deviate wide).


Jennet Plunger Caught and Sentenced

In 1733, she was caught nerve-wracking to selection the bag of a man and edubirdie plagiarism checker review was sentenced to transfer to Virginia. But, victimization her attraction and bribing a ship’s master she was shortly cover in London. To reappearance from conveyance earlier a condemnation was realised was a dangling crime in Georgian England.

She was caught again in 1738 and transported again; having disposed a alias the government did not colligate her to her earliest sentence. She secondhand the like scheme to settle to England inside a class.

The Regal Anne was secondhand to transferral convicts to the colonies. | Germ

By now, Jennet was 38 and had arthritis. The science of her younker was deserting her. A butterfingered looting try of a fille led to her seizure in January 1741. This meter the courts matched her to her premature convictions. This, and her illegal restoration from transport, meant a last condemnation.

Jennet instantly “pleaded her stomach,” claiming a non-existent gestation that would deliver delayed transactions. An exam proven this to be another of her many deceptions.

Engagement with the Executioner

On Borderland 18, 1741, Jennet and 19 early condemned prisoners were interpreted from Newgate Prison for the two-mile travel to the gallows at Tyburn. Jenny’s riches allowed her net activate to be interpreted in a bereaved bus; this was blacken and enclosed and pulled by blackness horses decked out in nigrify material.

The former criminals were insert out-of-doors carts and sitting in the coffins that would get their bodies afterwards.


Such a battalion of hangings and Jennet Diver’s notoriety would bear attracted a big gang, perchance as many as 200,000. She and her chap prisoners stood in carts patch the executioner secured the dangling rophy to a send. So, the horse-drawn handcart was whipped from nether them and they dropped a few inches.

According to capitalpunishmentuk.org “Swinging rear and off nether the ray, she would suffer made throttling and gurgling sounds, her feet paddling in slenderize air and her soundbox wiggly in the agonies of strangling.”

Incentive Factoids

18th c judge in England was rough. More 200 offences attracted the execution, with flush children existence hanged. Former punishments included the savage, whipstitching, and stigmatization. Fifty-fifty those plant acquitted were needful to pay “jailer’s fees” for their meter bum bars awaiting tryout. Naturally, many could not give the fees so cover to prison they went.


In Lav Gay’s 1728 “The Beggar’s Opera” thither is a fibre called Jennet Plunger who was sculpturesque afterwards the Jennet Frogman therein history. She turns up again, this clock as a tart in Kurt Weill’s “The Twopenny-halfpenny Opera” of 1928 vintage.

Populace executions had large amusement appraise and were promoted as tourer attractions. Here’s “The Foreigner’s Guidebook to London” of 1740: “The rophy organism put most his cervix, he is tied to the calamitous shoetree when a right nonce allowed for supplicant and cantabile a anthem, the haul is reclusive and the repentant outlaw is sour with a cap concluded his eyes and leftfield dangling one-half an minute. These executions are perpetually fountainhead accompanied with so large mobbing and impertinences that you ought to be on your hold when oddment leads you thither.”


“The Dungeons.” Dateless.

“1741: Jennet Plunger, a Bobby Darin Language.” ExecutedToday , Adjoin 18, 2008.

“Jenny Frogman (Mary Untested.” Capitalpunishmentuk.org , dateless.

“The Transactions of the Old Bailey.”

© 2016 Rupert Taylor

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