Home > History of Wine > A deadly glass of wine

A deadly glass of wine


Today I continue my series of accounts which look at historic quotes involving “bottle of wine”, “pint of wine”, and “old wine”.  In this post I focus in on the phrase “glass of wine” found in the killing offences of The Proceedings of the Old Bailey.  These proceedings, involving both swords and fists, resulted in both guilty and not guilty verdicts.  At times death with immediate and other times it took another day.  One man, after receiving a cut above his wrist-bone, found his arm swelled the next day and subsequently died.

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Plate 12 of First Part on Chest Punches. Romeyn de Hooghe. 1674. The British Museum #

7th July 1675
“it appeared to be done in a kind of fray, for the prisoner being at a Tavern, drinking of a glass of wine with some company, one of them being the aforesaid Frenchman, would have this Gentleman to pledge it, which he refused to do, whereupon the other gave him a box on the Ear, and fell upon him in a rude and violent manner”[1]

10th December 1690
“but upon Long’s refusing to take a Glass of Wine a fresh quarrel happened in the Street, wherein Price gave Long a blow on his Face with his Fist, and soon after several Swords were drawn”[2]

12th October 1692
“Mr. Whitbey and Mr. Vesey, and another Gentleman, were at the Horn-Tavern in Fleet-street, drinking a Glass of Wine, and some Words hapned betwixt Mr. Whitbey and Mr. Vesey, concerning one Mrs. Gee”[3]

9th December 1696
“The Prisoner alleged. That the deceased threw a Glass of Wine in his Face, catcht him by the Perriwig and thrust his Fingers in his Eyes.”[4]

9th July 1718
“That then having drank each a Glass of Wine, he perceiving a Distortion in Mr. Bowen’s Countenance, and he rose and barricado’d the Door with two Chairs, told him that he had injured him past verbal Reparation, and nothing but fighting him should make him amends”[5]

12th July 1720
“but to shew that he had no Intention to quarrel with him, ask’d him to set down and drink a Glass of Wine as usual, which he did; but soon began to offer fresh Insults, calling him a ridiculons Fellow, and Several other scurrilous Names”[6]

3rd July 1751
“this gentleman came up to me and took me round the waist, and ask’d me, if I would go take a walk or a run, or drink a glass of wine. I refused him, he pull’d me, and I gave a stagger, which might make the other witness believe I was consenting.”[7]

16th January 1754
“they agreed to fight for a leg of mutton and turnips, and a little beer, to the value of a crown. The deceased drank half a quartern of brandy, and I believe the prisoner drank a glass of wine; then they went out and stript, shook hands, and fell to fighting, and fought about half an hour.”[8]


[1] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 10 December 2015), July 1675, trial of Dutch Gentlemen (t16750707-5).

[2] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 10 December 2015), December 1690, trial of Thomas Long Simon Rogers (t16901210-9).

[3] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 10 December 2015), October 1692, trial of Josias Whitbey (t16921012-37).

[4] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 10 December 2015), December 1696, trial of Robert Taylor (t16961209-7).

[5] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 10 December 2015), July 1718, trial of James Quinn (t17180709-1).

[6] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 10 December 2015), July 1720, trial of Roger Mansuer Mary Chapman Elizabeth Johnson (t17200712-40).

[7] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 10 December 2015), July 1751, trial of John Passinore (t17510703-24).

[8] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 10 December 2015), January 1754, trial of John Hudson (t17540116-40).

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  1. December 10, 2015 at 10:33 am

    I wonder how Rumpole might have felt about all that.

    Great read.

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