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Matteis Ostragoe - Torquay, December 1864

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  • Matteis Ostragoe - Torquay, December 1864

    In the Suspects section entry on Ostrog there is a chronological list of the knows convictions of Ostrog. This reads, in part, as follows:
    1864: Convicted at Cambridge, sentenced to three months in prison. In July, appeared in Tunbridge Wells under the name Count Sobieski. Imprisoned in December of 1864, sentenced to eight months.

    However, the imprisonment in December of that year took place in Torquay, Devon. A press report of the case is below. Ostrog is named in this account as "Matteis Ostragoe". I had seen neither this version of his name or an account of this particular case before.


    Glasgow Herald
    Tuesday 27 December 1864

    THE "LAST OF THE SOBIESKIS" IN TROUBLE
    At the Torquay Police Court, on Wednesday week, Matteis Ostragoe (sic) was committed for trial on a charge of obtaining 3 and a five franc piece on false pretences from the Rev. Canon Windeyer, Roman Catholic priest. The prisoner has been in town for a month, passing himself off as Count Ostragoe, and also as "John Sobieski, the last of that noble line," and under a variety of pretences, had managed to defraud very many persons. Amongst others he ingratiated himself into favour with the priest, to whom he declared himself to be a "gentleman." The priest aided him with his advice, and frequently gave him a good dinner. At one of these dinners the "count" said beer did not agree with him, and accordingly the priest drew out a bottle of claret for the delectation of his distinguished guest. The said guest smacked his lips over the claret, extolled the canon for his hospitality, and said he expected a handsome present of wine from his friends abroad in a few days, of which he would give his entertainer half a dozen bottles, provided he would send for them. In a few days, having heard that the wine had arrived, the canon sent a trusty messenger for his promised gift, and half a dozen of famous claret was soon stored away beneath the hospitable roof of the presbytery. It was afterwards discovered that this wine had been obtained not from the count's friends, but from Mr Gee's wine office. Then the count spoke of his difficulties, and hinted plainly that money would be very acceptable. The canon, however, could not see the hint, so on Monday the 19th the count asked for money point blank, saying he had cigars to the value of 70 or 80 in the Teignmouth Custom House, and the duty amounted to 20 and few odd shillings. Towards this he had 17; would the kind hearted canon lend him just enough to make up the balance, which he swore should be paid next day. After much pressing, the canon advanced 3 and a five franc piece, understanding that the cigars were at the Custom House, and that the money would be repaid on Tuesday. When eased of his money the canon thought he had not been over discreet, and, after making a few inquiries, he found that there were no cigars belonging to the count at Teignmouth, and that the fellow had been practising upon the people in the town rather extensively. The canon tried repeatedly to see the count, but failed to do so. At length, on Monday night, the canon took a policeman with him to the count's lodgings, and after climbing up interminable flights of stairs, came to the topmost room of all, which served alike as bed and dressing room to the count. A summons to surrender was unheeded. At length the policeman put his knee to the lock and forced it open, and there was the count in an interesting condition, much astonished at such a singularly inappropriate visit. A demand was made for payment. The count declared the money was not due until Tuesday, said it was a debt, and would have to be recovered through the County Court. This sort of talk did not suit the Rev. gentleman, and at his desire the count was locked up. These facts having been proved in evidence, the count was committed for trial. The prisoner was also committed for stealing a silver plated pint cup from the London Hotel. The cup had been missed from the sideboard in the hotel after one of the count's visits, and was found beneath his bed after he was taken into custody.
    Western Morning News.

    The Canon in question is listed in the 1861 census as follows:
    Minister's House, Tormoham, Torquay, Devon
    Head: Edward Windeyer aged 39 born Chatham, Kent - Roman Catholic priest
    Visitor: Auguste Aubry aged 55 born France - Roman Catholic priest
    House Servant: Ellen Fitzpatrick aged 34 born Totnes, Devon

  • #2
    LOL that is pure Ostrog !!
    A good post there Chris.
    He always seems to over-step the mark and keep trying to swindle people until he gets caught,rather than knowing when to stop and move on.

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    • #3
      One other mention of Ostrog's victim - his christening record:

      Name: Edward Windeyer
      Gender: Male
      Birth Date: 21 Mar 1822
      Christening Date: 3 Sep 1823
      Christening Place: Chatham, Kent, England
      Age at Christening: 1
      Father's Name: Archibald Windeyer
      Mother's Name: Catherine

      Windeyer was priest of the Church of the Assumption of Our Lady, Abbey Road, Torquay.
      The guide to the church mentions him in connection with an addition to the church:
      "The Northern aisle was added with the Lady Chapel in the late 1850s when Canon Edward Windeyer was Parish Priest."
      Details and pictures of the church can be found at:
      http://assumptionofourlady.org/
      Last edited by Chris Scott; 06-03-2009, 12:57 AM.

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      • #4
        The offence actually went to trial in Exeter in January of 1865. The extract below is from Trewman's Exeter Post of 11 January 1865
        This gives an ever more bizarre version of Ostrog's name - Mutters Ostrogoc
        Attached Files

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        • #5
          Fascinating character,the way he behaves and the types of 'scrapes' he got himself into makes you wonder why he was a Ripper suspect at all.

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