Mary Frith (b. 1580–1659)

Many details about the life of Mary Frith (Moll Cutpurse), are unclear and exaggerated. Such embellishment of the truth began in her own day when her reputation as a notorious thief and organised criminal made her the subject of gossip and wonder. Her propensity for smoking, wearing men’s clothes and generally refusing to conform to expected social norms for women contributed to her reputation as a ‘roaring girl’, a variation of ‘roaring boy’, a term for a rowdy young male criminal.