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Born at Chepstow, Monmouth. He progressed from thieving in England to swindling on the Continent and, on emerging from a spell in Valladolid prison, achieved the rare feat of stealing money from Titus Oates. In October 1678, on the conclusion of a six months' stay in Newgate, he embarked on an exceptionally successful career as an informer, by claiming to be able to reveal the facts of the murder of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey. He gave evidence against over a dozen priests, and even accused the queen, Catherine of Braganza, of plotting to murder the king. He died at Bristol, 20 August 1680. A contemporary considered him much superior to Oates in imagination and fluency of speech, and hardly inferior to him as a liar and a perjurer.
Published date: 1959
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