London Lives (1690 – 1800) is a wonderful research site. Put in a search term, and lots comes up, mostly quotes from Court records.

For example, because I’m fascinated with early theater right now, I searched “players” and got a vivid snapshot of daily life.

I loved this best—a definition of who would be deemed a Rogue and Vagabond (and thus taken directly to the Justice of the Peace):

THAT Persons pretending themselves to be Patent-Gatherers, or Collectors for Prisons, Goals, or Hospitals, and wandring abroad for that Purpose; all Fencers, Bear-wards, Common-Players of Interludes, Minstrels, Juglers; all Persons pretending to be Gypsies, or wandring in the Habit or Form of counter-feit Egyptians, or pretending to have Skill in Physiognomy, Palmistry, or like crafty Science, or pretending to tell Fortunes, or like phantastical Imaginations, or using any Subtle Craft, or unlawful Games or Plays; all Persons able in Body, who run away, and leave their Wives or Children to the Parish, and, not having where with otherwise to maintain themselves, use Loytering, and refuse to work for the usual and common Wages; and all other idle Persons wandring Abroad and begging (except Soldiers, Mariners or Sea-faring Men licenced under the Hand and Seal of some Justice of Peace, fetting down the Time and Place of Landing, the Place to which, and the Time within which, they are to pass, while they continue in the direct Way and during the Time so limited) Shall be deem’d Rogues and Vagabonds.

Delightful expressions:

“crafty Science”

“phantastical Imaginations”

“Subtle Craft”

Note that licensed soldiers and mariners were allowed to beg.

Do you have a research site you can recommend?