John Mobley (Snr)

John Mobley, Snr. was a butcher from Weston Turville, Buckinghamshire, born in about 1767 to William Moberley/Mobley and Elizabeth Brill. He was drafted into the Bucks Militia, probably through a Militia ballot.

In 1795, the Bucks Militia were stationed in Portsea, Hampshire where he married Martha Quinton (of Downton, Wiltshire) on 14 Sep 1795. Their first son, Richard was baptised there in 1796.

The Royal Bucks were the first of 13 English Regiments of Militia to volunteer for service and to land in Ireland in 1798, which was then in a state of rebellion. It is feasible that John, Jnr. was born during his father’s Irish posting.

1807 Signs up with 4th Regiment of Foot.

Died in Weston Turville 1852.

John Mobley (Jnr)



Birth - Possibly 15 Jan 1798 at Pigeon House Fort; Dublin, Ireland

1807 John and his mother are abandoned by John (Snr) and there are removal orders for them to removed from Downton, Wiltshire to Weston Turville

1815 The Portsmouth to Arundel canal scam -> 28 Days Borough Gaol, Portsmouth

1822 The Bear Inn, Holloway (near Bath) dying act and allegedly supporting break-in -> 2 Months Hard Labour Shepton Mallet Prison.

1823 Newgate Market, impersonation of William Clayton (Duck Breeder) -> Newgate House of Correction 3 months

1832 White Hart and James Grace Accident scams -> One Month Aylesbury Prison

1838 Weston Turville (Sunday) School Teacher Role

1853 Burglary Conspiracy scam -> 14 days Aylesbury House of Correction

1857 Convict Impersonation Scam tour of the Pennines -> First known listing in the Police Gazette

1857 Convict Impersonation Scam tour of the Pennines -> 12 months in Stafford Gaol with hard labour and hits the international press.

1859 John Woodbridge impersonation -> 21 days hard labour in Oxford Gaol

1860 Various convict impersonation scams in Abingdon, Faringdon, Wootton Bassett. -> 14 days New Prison Devizes

1860 Major convict impersonation of George Potter in Market Lavington, including lectures and addresses the children of the Wesleyan congregation.

1860 and as Snook in Shrewton. When arrested, admits his name is not Potter of Snook, so arrested as John Shoebridge. -> 3 years in Salisbury, Pentonville, Millbank and Woking Invalid Prisons.

1865 caught kissing the girls while a guest of Aylesbury Workhouse

1866 impersonating James Dollimore in Tebworth, William Brown in Woburn Sands and Wolverton -> 21 days imprisonment

1866 an exhausted returned convict in Monks Risborough -> 1 month hard labour

1866 Convict impersonation of William Stallwood in Loosley Row -> Cautioned and rearrested

1866 Convict impersonation of John Chandler in Watford -> 3 months imprisonment

1867-1873 Mostly in Aylesbury Workhouse. Occasionally released to attend Weston Turville Feast. A few Drunk & Disorderly.

1873 Three charges of false pretences at St. Albans - Imprisoned for one month for each charge.

1875 The Rising Sun, Datchet scam as George Richards - False pretences case dismissed

1876 In the Police Gazette twice more.

1889 Dies in Aylesbury Union Workhouse

Full story available:-


The remarkable story of a notorious, brazen imposter with numerous aliases and a frequent guest of goals and workhouses across the country. This publication consists of a fact based biography together with his obituary and three of his autobiographies (all quite different), one of which was serialised in The Bucks Advertiser for 33 weeks between June 1878 and February 1879.