Daniel Vaughan, c. 1692-1716

Bridewell Apprentice Killed in Mug-House Riot

The popular protest which accompanied the Hanoverian Accession in 1715-16 included violent confrontations between gangs of young men supporting each side: the supporters of the Stuart family which had been excluded from the throne (the Jacobites), and whig loyalists. Perhaps because popular protest provided the Bridewell apprentices with a welcome opportunity to escape their disciplined environment, the boys, including Daniel Vaughan, were notorious members of the Jacobite mobs.

A Bridewell Apprentice

On 12 April 1704 Daniel Vaughan was apprenticed to Gabriel Bestman, weaver and arts master at Bridewell Hospital. At this time there were over 100 boys in Bridewell working in a range of trades. They took indentures at the age of about 14 and gained the freedom of the City of London at the age of 21.

Vaughan was one of the boys who gave the Bridewell apprentices a reputation for disorder. On Saturday 26 August 1710, between the hours of ten and eleven at night, he and thirty other boys from the school caused a tumult in Cheapside and several people were knocked to the ground. Vaughan and some others ran away. Following an enquiry, the Bridewell governors expelled Samuel Barron, the ringleader, and several boys were whipped in the presence of all the apprentices and gentlemen of Cheap Ward. Vaughan and two others concerned in the disorder were sent to the prison side of Bridewell to beat hemp.

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He Sets Himself up in Trade

On 6 March 1713 Daniel Vaughan completed his time as an apprentice and gained his freedom. By 10 December 1714, he had successfully set himself up in trade in Horseshoe Lane, Old Street. He petitioned the Bridewell governors for part of Lock’s Gift, awarded to apprentices to help them get started in their trade. The governors recalled that he had "behaved himself very well all his time except in that one instance" in 1710. He was now "very industrious", had a wife and two children and "had obtained a very good character in the world". They gave him £5 from Lock’s Gift instead of the usual £10 awarded to apprentices with unblemished records.

In March 1716 Vaughan returned to his old ways. On 28 March the Bridewell governors heard that on the night of the king’s birthday, Samuel Barron, expelled in 1710, and Daniel Vaughan had been cavorting around town wearing the school’s blue uniform. Two apprentices, who had stayed out all night, had lent blue doublets to them and four or five other young men. The governors had a warrant issued for Barron and Vaughan’s arrest but they were not found.

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The Mug-House Riots

On 24 July 1716 there was a "mug-house" riot in Salisbury Court, when whig loyalists celebrating an anniversary at Robert Read's alehouse were attacked by a Jacobite mob, including Bridewell apprentices. With his life and his property at the mercy of the rioters, Robert Read opened fire with a blunderbuss and Daniel Vaughan was killed. Read was tried for murder at the Old Bailey and there was conflicting evidence about the role of Daniel Vaughan in the riot. Some witnesses claimed he did not have a stick in his hand, while others testified that he led the mob, and that they called him Vinegar or Little Daniel. Read was acquitted.

Vaughan was buried on the evening of 27 July 1716 aged about 24. The apprentices from Bridewell were forbidden to attend his funeral.

External Sources

  • Rogers, Nicholas. Popular Protest in Early Hanoverian London. Past and Present, 79 (1978), 70-100.

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About this Biography

Created by

Dianne Payne 

Further contributions by

Robert Shoemaker