Thomas Dangerfield - Encyclopedia




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THOMAS DANGERFIELD (c. 1650-1685), English conspirator, was born about 1650 at Waltham, Essex, the son of a farmer. He began his career by robbing his father, and, after a rambling life, took to coining false money, for which offence and others he was many times imprisoned. False to everyone, he first tried to involve the duke of Monmouth and others by concocting information about a Presbyterian plot against the throne, and this having been proved a lie, he pretended to have discovered a Catholic plot against Charles II. This was known as the "Mealtub Plot," from the place where the incriminating documents were hidden at his suggestion, and found by the king's officers by his information. Mrs Elizabeth Cellier, - in whose house the tub was, - almoner to the countess of Powis, who had befriended Dangerfield when he posed as a Catholic, was, with her patroness, actually tried for high treason and acquitted (1680). Dangerfield, when examined at the bar of the House of Commons, made other charges against prominent Papists, and attempted to defend his character by publishing, among other pamphlets, Dangerfield's Narrative. This led to his trial for libel, and on the 29th of June 1685 he received sentence to stand in the pillory on two consecutive days, be whipped from Aldgate to Newgate, and two days later from Newgate to Tyburn. On his way back he was struck in the eye with a cane by a barrister, Robert Francis, and died shortly afterwards from the blow. The barrister was, tried and executed for the murder.

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