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Old Bailey-John Hoy

Edmund Swinney , otherwise McSwinney, theft: simple grand larceny, 22 May 1765.

Edmund Swinney , otherwise McSwinney, was indicted for stealing two hempen bags, value 2 d. one Jacobus, value 20 s. two silver dollars, and 30 l. in money numbered, the property of William Plummer . May 17. ++

William Plummer . I live within Aldgate, and am an oil-man; I found my desk broke open last Friday morning; and my man informed me that the prisoner, (who had lived servant with me) came into my shop on Thursday evening, between nine and ten o'clock, and took up a pot and went down and drawed himself some beer, without asking leave; at which time, I have great reason to believe he unbolted the cellar window; and came in at it in the night, and got to my desk: I missed the money mentioned in the indictment out of my desk: On Sunday morning he was taken up, and brought to me; I examined him in my compting-house; he was three parts drunk: he denied the charge: at last I got out of him; he lived in Wapping: he was carried to the compter, and the next morning before Sir Samuel Fludyer : upon finding he was not at his lodgings that Thursday night, I got out of him that he was at Mr. Dowdall's, in King's-street, Wapping: I asked him if he staid there all night; he said, he went from thence to a club; but would not say where: I sent my kinsman to enquire, and found he had been at Mr. Breadey's, Montague-street, Whitechapel: and there he found two bags of money; upon which the prisoner was examined again before Sir Samuel Fludyer ; there he confessed that when he went into my cellar he drew some beer, he unbolted two bolts of my cellar window, and in the night got in, and so up into the kitchen; and took the key of the compting-house, and went and unbolted the door, and broke open my desk, and put the money into two bags; which he confessed to be my bags; and carried the money and left it in Mr. Breadey's hands: he begged for mercy, and proposed pleading guilty.

Mr. Breadey. The prisoner was at my house last Saturday night; the first time I ever saw him; he had two bags with money tossing them about the table; there was another man with him; my wife thought the man might be a sharper; she asked him to leave his money till he was sober: he came to me and said, he worked very hard for it, and he intended to go home in a fortnight or three weeks: he put it on the table and reckoned it up; 35 l. 6 s. I observed a bad moidore; afterwards the money was sealed up: upon opening it I found a broad Jacobus; I did not see that; I imagine that was left in the bag, when we counted the money.

Prosecutor. There was in my money a bad moidore, and a broad Jacobus, (the money produced, he takes them in his hand); these I can swear are my property: there are two dollars amongst the money; I know I lost two: I lost a dish full of silver; and here is 19 l. all in silver amongst this: here is a smooth six-pence that has been gilded, which I have had some time.

John Hoy . I am porter to Mr. Plummer; yesterday was a week, at night, I was serving a customer; the prisoner came in, and said he was very bad and very dry; he took the pot without leave and went down into the cellar, and returned again in about five or six minutes: I had bolted the cellar window myself about three quarters of an hour before; I heard the prisoner confess he was guilty of the fact.

Prisoner's Defence.

They want to swear my life away upon a piece of money or two, that there is many more like them.

Guilty. T.


Thomas Johnson , theft: simple grand larceny, 11 Dec 1765

.) Thomas Johnson was indicted for stealing one wicker basket, value 6 d. and six dozen of quart glass bottles, value 15 s. the property of John Middlemarsh , Esq; Samuel Lowe , James Watts , and Sarah Brent , widow, Nov. 13. *

James Watts . I live at the glass-house, at the old barge-house on the other side the water. Mr. Middlemarsh, Mr. Samuel Low , I, and Mrs. Sarah Brent , are partners. I sent four porters with a quantity of quart bottles to different customers, on the 13th of last month, to be landed at Black-lion-stairs: there was a basket with six dozen. missing. The other witnesses can give a farther account of it, I was not there.

William Wilkins . The prisoner came to me on the 13th of last month, where I live, in Hungerford market, and desired me to carry some bottles for him: he sent me down, and said there were three prittle baskets, the farthest of them was his. He did not go quite to them, I went and took them up; Mr. Hounsworth helped me up with them. I went to the prisoner, he led me through Church court and Round court, and into Southampton-street, where I had a fall with them, and several were broke; he swore at me and helped me up with them. I carried them to a pitching-place at the corner of White Horse lane, there he gave me three-pence, and I left him and them together.

Q. Did you know the prisoner before?

Wilkins. No, I never saw him before to my knowledge. After they were missing, Mr. Hounsworth informed the porter of me, and they came to me, and I went with them to the house of Mr. Hoy, where the basket and bottles were found.

Henry Hounsworth . I live with Mr. Watson, a wine merchant, who trades with Mr. Watts. On the 13th of November about dusk, I was at the Black-lion-stairs, and helped the porter, Wilkins, up with a prittle basket of bottles. I was waiting for some bottles for my master.

John Hoy . I live in Vere-street, Clare market, I deal in broken glass bottles. The prisoner came to my house about 4 o'clock on the 13th of November, and asked me to buy 16 bottles; they appeared to be new ones, I said I would have nothing to do with them; then he desired I would let him leave the basket, and he would send for it in about half an hour: there was some broken glass at the bottom. (a basket and bottles produced.) These are the same. After that, Mr. Watts's man, name Grant, came and owned them.

Thomas Grant . I am one of Mr. Watts's porters. There was a prittle basket with six dozen bottles of our master's lost from Black-lion stairs; I came with them there in the boat, so did the prisoner: they were missing about 3 in the afternoon on the 13th of November; while I went with some to Albemarle-street, they were taken away from the landing place.

Q. Did you leave any one in the care of them?

Grant. No, I did not, it is not usual so to do. Mr. Hounsworth told me a porter that lives in Hungerford market, had carried them away; we went and found Wilkins, who went with us, and we found the prittle and these bottles at Mr. Hoy's (here produced) I know the basket to be the property of our master, and the bottles also, there being none like them made nay where else in London.

Prisoner's defence.

I know nothing of the matter, I never saw these men in my life before.

Guilty. T.

He was committed July 22, for obtaining 20 gallons of brandy, by false pretences, the property of Wenman and Co. but the indictment being laid wrong, he was discharged.

PETER HARRIS, theft: simple grand larceny, 13 Sep 1775

PETER HARRIS was indicted for stealing two cotton counterpanes, value five shillings, two linen sheets, value four shillings, two linen aprons, value three shillings, four linen shirts, value sixteen shillings, two linen shirts, value four shillings, one linen frock, value twelve-shillings, two linen waistcoats, value thirty shillings, a cambrick handkerchief; value eight shillings and a linen gown value eight shillings; the property of Penelope Owen, August 29th. ++

Penelope Owen. I live in Thames-street, I went out to a day's work. I had before washed a great many things, and bundled them up. When I came home at night, I saw the counterpane which I had washed in the week, on the ground, then I saw the prisoner come down stairs, he flew past me like an arrow out of a bow; my daughter pursued him. I went up stairs and found all the things mentioned in the indictment bundled up in a sheet, on a frame of the window, half in and half out. I has steped home about an hour before, they were safe then. I am sure the prisoner is the man, he was taken in about half a quarter of an hour; I knew him again directly.

Thomas Cooke. The prosecutor came into my house and said she had been robbed, I live next door to her. I went up stairs and found her door broke open and this chissel [producing it] in the room close to the door, with which it appeared to have been done. The prisoner was taken and brought to my house in about five minutes after. The prosecutrix knew him immediately.

John Hoy. I pursued the prisoner and took him; he begged of me to let him go and said if I did not, he should be either hanged or transported.

Alice Masters. The prosecutrix is my mother, I heard her cry out that she was robbed. I ran down stairs and say the prisoner turn the corner; I pursued him, I never lost sight of him. My mother knew him again as soon as he was brought back.

"The prisoner laid nothing in his defence,

"but called five witnesses, who gave him

"good character."


JOHN WEBB, JOHN TAYLOR, theft: simple grand larceny, 02 Dec 1795

JOHN WEBB and JOHN TAYLOR were indicted for feloniously stealing four gallons of rum, value 3l. the property of John Chatfield, William Chatfield, and Robert Chatfield, November 28.(The case was opened by Mr. Knapp.)


(The witness cried.) - Q. What is the reason of your being frightened; is there any reason for it? - A. I dont know that there is. I am a carpenter by trade, and live with my father, No. 49, in the Little Minories.

Q. Do you know Messrs. Chatsield's cellar, in Sheepy-yard? - A. Yes; on Saturday I saw Taylor, Mr. Chatsield's servant, open the door and go in.

Q. Don't be frightened, there is nothing to frighten you? - A. Perhaps there will be.

Q. Had Taylor any light? - A. No; it was between three and four in the afternoon; on his going into the cellar, I went and told Wade, the other witness, as I was ordered to do; I returned to the cellar, and Wade followed me; I then saw a man, with a basket on his shoulder, come out of the cellar that Taylor had gone into.

Q. How long was that after Taylor went in? - A. About eight minutes, not longer.

Q. Do you know who that man was? - A. Yes; the other prisoner that stands by Taylor.

Q. What makes you so frightened? - A. Because I am brought here to condemn these men.

Q. Wade was with you? - A. Yes; we followed him into the Minories, and the constable took him into custody, and took him to the Fountain public-house; we searched the basket, and found a large bladder in it.

Q. What was in the bladder? - A. According to the smell of it, it was rum; it smelt very strong; Wade took him to the Compter: I left them at St. Mary-Axe, because I wanted to go back to my business.

Q. Are you sure there was but one bladder? - A. I am not certain; I did but just look into the basket.

Q. You had seen Taylor before? - A. Yes.

Q. You are sure it was he that went into the cellar? - A. Yes.

Q. You are sure the other man was Webb? - A. Yes.

Cross-examined by Mr. Ally. - Q. Who gave you instructions to come here and prosecute these men? - A. The constable; he gave me notice to attend at Mr. Knapp's house this afternoon.

Q. What were you doing at Mr. Knapp's house? - A. Nothing at all, but sitting there till I came here.

Q. On what business were you at Mr. Knapp's office; tell the truth; you must out with it? - A. I was waiting there till I was sent elsewhere; Mr. Wade ordered me to be there at half after four.

Q. Mr. Knapp is the attorney for this prosecution? - A. Yes.

Q. Upon your oath, what conversation had you there? - A. I had no conversation but with my mother, who was with me, and sat next me.

Q. What where you frightened about when you came into this court? - A. I was frightened to speak about these men.

Q. Upon your oath, what conversation had you with Mr. Knapp's clerk, about this prosecution? - A. When I came to the house, he said, come in and sit down; I had no conversation with him after I came in and sat down; I don't think a word passed after that.

Q. Who sent you to watch the prosecutor's cellar? - A. My father; he told me, if I saw any body go into the cellar, to tell Mr. Wade.

Q. You saw Taylor go into the cellar, and afterwards you saw the other man come out? - A. Yes.

Q. Then you did not see that man go in? - A. No; nor did I see Taylor come out; as soon as Taylor went into the cellar, I went to tell Wade.

Q. Then you don't know but this man took the basket with him into the cellar, which you saw him bring out? - A. No.

Court. Q. When Taylor went down into the cellar, had he a basket with him? - A. No; he had not.

Court. Q. Where did you dine to-day? - A. At my father's.

Court. Q. Have you had any liquor since dinner? - A. No.


I am a constable: On the 28th of November, between two and three o'clock, in consequence of an information, I laid watch at Mr. Chatfield's cellar, in Sheepy-yard; I went with Bunce, the last witness, and saw the prisoner, Webb, come out of Mr. Chatfield's cellar, with this basket (producing it); he had it on his shoulder; I let him pass me, and followed him; I being a city constable, thought I had no power to stop him in the out-parts; I let him pass me till he got to George-street, which is in the city, there I stopped him, and asked him what he had got there; he informed me he had got a little rum; I asked him where he was going to carry it to; he said, the Lamb and Flag, Crutched-friars; he said, if I would take care of the rum for him, he would go and fetch a person to give him a good character; I took him to the Fountain; he said, he would leave the rum in my possession, if I would let him go and fetch a person from Tower-hill, to pass his word for his appearance; I left the rum with Mr. Crump, the landlord of the house, and took him to the Compter; I then went to Mr. Chatfield's house, and told him I had taken a person with some rum, which I supposed was his property; that I had left it at the Fountain, and taken him to the Compter; I found Taylor at Mr. Chatfield's, and took charge of him; he did not say any thing; I took him to the Compter; I went in the afternoon to the Fountain, Mr. Crump's, and took the property I had left there to Mr. Chatfield's, it was the same I had left, and the same that I took from the prisoner Webb.

Q. Did it contain the same things it contained before? - A. Yes; two bladders of rum. I attended the magistrates on the Monday; as I was taking Webb to the Compter, he said, he was taken in for the take of a few shillings; Taylor did not say any thing.

Cross-examined by Mr. Ally. Q. You saw Webb come out of the cellar? - A. Yes; I did not see him go in.

Q.Therefore you cannot tell in what manner he went in, nor what he took into the cellar? - A. No.

Q. For ought you know he took that into the cellar, and brought it out again? - A. I cannot say.

Q. This basket lay some time at the public-house? - Yes; I suppose half an hour.

Q. You had not opened these bladders? - No.

Q. Therefore the contents of them might have been changed, for any thing you know? - A. No.

Q. It was out of your possession half an hour? - A. Yes.

Q. The prisoner Taylor said nothing to you when you took him up? - A. No.

Mr. Knapp. Q. Had they the appearance of being the same bladders that were in the basket before? - A. I will swear it; I set a mark upon them; one of the bladders had burst, and run out a great quantity.

Q. Did you know what was contained in the bladders at all? - A. Yes; by the leaking of them, and putting my finger to it, and tasting it; and I tasted what laid upon the floor.

Court. Q. What did it taste like? - A. Very nice rum, my Lord.

Mr. Knapp. You were set to watch upon this cellar? - A. Yes.

Q. Was the cellar in a state of security? - A. It was when I first went round; there are two ways, and it was fastened secure.

Q. How was it afterwards? - A. I cannot say.

ANN BUNCE sworn.

I am the mother of Richard Bunce; I live in Sheepy-yard; I saw Wade and my son go past in a great hurry; I saw a man come out of the cellar with a parcel under his right arm, tied with a blue and white handkerchief; I saw another man come up from the same cellar with a bunch of keys in his hand.

Q. What time of the day? - A. As near as I can guess, it was after three o'clock.

Q. How long after Bunce and Wade were gone? - A. Not a minute.

Q. Should you know the person of the man that came up with the keys? - A. I did not take any particular notice of him.

Q. Look round the court, and see if you can see him? - A. I do not see him.

Q. Did you see the door looked? - A. No; he came strait up.

Q. Do you recollect how the man was dressed that had the keys? - A. He had a leather apron tied up to his breast, and a brown jacket, I believe; but I did not take particular notice; he went up Sheepy-yard, towards the Great Minories.

Cross-examined by Mr. Ally. - Q. This leathern apron is a common appendage to men in that line of business? - A. Yes.

Mr. Ally to Wade. - Q. You apprehended Taylor? - A. Yes.

Q. That was some time after the other prisoner was in custody? - A. Yes; I apprehended him at Mr. Chatfield's house.

Q. And that was some time after? - A. I suppose three-quarters of an hour.

Q. Might he not have gone away? - A. I look upon it he might.

Mr. Knapp. Q. How was the prisoner, Taylor, dressed? - A. In a leather apron, a brown jacket, and a hat; a common labouring dress.

Mr. Knapp to Richard Bunce. Q. How was the prisoner, Taylor, dressed, when he went into the cellar? - A. In a brown jacket, a leather apron, and a hat, with the brim cut round.


Q. What are the names of your partners? - A. Robert Chatfield, John Chatfield, and Wilham Chatfield.

Q. I do not expect you will be able to swear to the rum, but have you any samples of rum here? - A. Yes; I have a sample taken out of the bladder that was burst; I saw the vat made up, on Thursday last, myself to a particular strength; I took it out of the bladder that burst; it was about half gone.

Q. Is that the same sort of rum? - A. Exactly; I have tried it with the instrument; it is usual to let it alone for a week, that it may be perfectly fine; it is a store vat, and we never draw out of that, but for the wholesale trade.

Q. Do you use such bladders as these in the basket, now produced, in your trade? - A. Never.

Q. Was Taylor your servant at that time? - A. Yes.

Q. Had you given any orders to him to go, between the 26th and 28th of November, to this wholesale cellar? - A. No.

Q. Was any drawn from these vats to your knowledge? - A. No; nor by my orders.

Q. Have you examined the vats since? - A. I have examined the dip; there is a decrease of about sixteen gallons; in our dip we allow a little for the slow, which we reckon about two gallons; so that there is a decrease, I am positive, of fourteen gallons.

Q. Do you use such baskets as this? - A. No.

Q. Is three o'clock a usual time for your servants to go to this store cellar? - A. If they have orders so to do, but not else.

Q. Is it usual to take candles into this cellar, or go without candles? - A. It is not safe to work without candles; our cooper always takes candles, to see if the cocks are safe; for, upon hearing this. I was alarmed, and immediately went with a candle to see if all was safe.

Cross-examined by Mr. Ally. Q. When they go with candles into the warehouse, and a number of men are at work, the superintendant takes candles to see that they do their work? - A. They go to the counting-house and take candles.

Q. How many servants do you occupy in your business? - A. At that time only two, John Taylor and Stephen Lloyd.

Q. What became of Lloyd? - A. He has run away.

Q. What was his occupation? - A. He and John Taylor were upon equal standing.

Q. As well as to wages as to the authority they had about your cellar? - A. Yes.

Q. Has it not been usual for Lloyd to give directions to the other man? - A. No.

Q. Did you not call him your cellar-man? - A. No; we had a cooper who had the superintendance of them; he was ill a fortnight, and I superintended myself; Lloyd took upon himself to order the other servants, and I took him to task for it; Taylor had complained to me that he made him work too much in drudgery of a morning; I told them to do it equally alike.

Q. At what time did Lloyd leave your service? - A. I received a note from him, telling me, that he should be very sorry to appear against his fellow servant; when the hearing was over, if I pleased, he would come to work again.

Q. When did he abscond from your service? - A. He went away on Saturday night, when he was paid, and I have not seen him since.

Q. The same night these men were apprehended? - A. Yes.

Q. Have you no person at all connected with you in business, but those you have mentioned? - A. None.

Q. None who derive any benesit from your business? - A. None.

Q. You have not been fortunate enough to obtain Lloyd? - A. No; I had a warrant today from the Lord-Mayor.

Q. Did you ever find fault with Lloyd for giving orders about conducting your business or trade? - A. No, never.

Court. Q. What is the size of this cellar? - A. I suppose about twenty or twenty-five feet square; there is a cellar beyond it much larger.

Q. Could Taylor get to the cellar beyond it? - A. Yes; there was a door way and no doors; nothing was kept in it but empty casks.

Q. Whether your cellars are so situated, that your man being busy in one, another man could not go down into the other, and take something without his knowledge? - A. If he did not see him, he must hear him; if he has any ears, for there is a large open door way without doors.

Q. Do you think it impossible for a man to go into the other cellar without his knowledge? - A. He could not draw the rum out of that vat, being full, and the cock large, without being heard the length of this court.

Webb's defence. I was hired as a porter to carry that basket out of the cellar; I had nothing to do with filling it, or any thing else.(Taylor left his defence to his counsel, who called Mr. Chatfield, John Hoy, John Harding, and John James, who all gave him a good character.

Webb, GUILTY. (Aged 38.)

Taylor, GUILTY.(Aged 36.)

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury, before Mr. RECORDER