In his journal on 25th March 1841, banker and renowned dandy Thomas Raikes wrote of someone who for three years had been fascinating Londoners. Known to most as ‘The Boy Jones,’ Edward Jones was a teenager who had repeatedly managed to break into Buckingham Palace, and on three occasions had been caught: in December of 1838, 14-year-old Jones was apprehended with soot on his face, a sword in his hands, and Her Majesty’s underwear stuffed down his trousers. A jury acquitted him. Two years later, days after the Queen had given birth, he was discovered beneath a sofa in her dressing room. He was sentenced to three months. Mere days after his release, unable to help himself, he scaled the walls again and helped himself to meat and potatoes in the royal larder. He was given another three months. The Press loved his “daring” antics, and so did the public, but the government were less enthused. Unsure of what to do with him, convinced that he would enter again, they eventually shipped him off to Australia where he stayed for most of his adult years.
The Diary Entry
Thursday, 25th.—A little scamp of an apothecary’s errand-boy, named Jones, has the unaccountable mania of sneaking privately into Buckingham Palace, where he is found secreted at night under a sofa, or some other hiding-place. No one can divine his object, but twice he has been detected and conveyed to the Police office, and put into confinement for a time. The other day he was detected in a third attempt, with apparently as little object. Lady Sandwich wrote that he must undoubtedly be a descendant of In-I-go Jones, the architect.
The multiple volumes of Thomas Raikes’ journals are in the public domain and can be read online. Expect much gossip through the eyes of a rich (his father was once Governor of the Bank of England) and privileged ‘man about town’.
Recommended reading: Queen Victoria’s Stalker: The Strange Story of the Boy Jones by Jan Bondeson.
In 1884, Dickens wrote about The Boy Jones in his periodical, All the Year Round. Read that article here.
There was even a song: The Boy Wot Visits The Palace, by James Bruton.
His memorial plaque in Victoria, Australia, can be seen here (it was of course Buckingham Palace, not Windsor Castle).