John Davis, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 10th May 1733.

9. John Davis was indicted for assaulting John Sadgrove on the Highway, in the Parish of Twickenham , putting him in fear, and taking from him a steel Buckle, value one Penny, and three Shillings in Money , April 30

He was a second time indicted for assaulting Henry Mackrel on the Highway, putting him in fear, and taking from him a Bag value one Penny, and 5 s. 6 d. in Money , April 30 .

He was a third time indicted for a Misdemeanor, in assaulting, beating, and wounding Robert Hinton on the Highway, with an Intent to steal his Money and Goods , April 30 .

He was a fourth time indicted, for assaulting, beating, and wounding William Ludlow on the Highway, with a Design to rob him .

And he was a fifth time indicted for assaulting, beating, and wounding John Fulbrook on the Highway, with an intention to steal his Goods and Money .

Robert Hinton . Being out of Business, I went to Colebrook to see for a Place, but not fixing in any, Mr. Mackrel hired me to drive one of his Waggons to London. As we went over Hounslow Heath we had three Waggons in Company; Mr. Sadgrove drove the first, Mr. Mackrel the second, and I the hindermost: There were other Waggons going the same Road, but some of them were got a pretty Way before us. Between 9 and 10 at Night the Prisoner rode up to me, and ask'd me if I belong'd to the Waggon? I told him I only drove it for Mr. Mackrel. - He then demanded my Money; I said I had none; with that he punch'd me in the Face with his Pistol and broke my Head with it, and turn'd my Pocket inside out to search, but could find no Money. I got from him once, but he fetch'd me again and beat me. I got away a second time, and ran to my Master Mackrel, and told him how I had been abus'd, and so I crept into the Waggon; I was hardly well in, when the Prisoner came riding up, and said, Damn your Blood, here I am again. Then he robb'd Mr. Mackrel, and afterwards went to Mr. Sadgrove, who was about as far before Mr. Mackrel as 'tis from hence to the Street. I can safely take my Oath that the Prisoner is the very Man that abus'd me.

Henry Mackrel . As we were driving the Waggons over Hounslow-Heath, between 9 and 10 at Night, just as Hinton had told me and William Eastman how he had been abused, a Man came galloping up to us with Pistol in Hand, and said, Damn ye, here I am again, and what then? - I left him and Eastman disputing together and went round my Horses. The Highwayman rid after me till he came so close, that one of his Horse's Feet stood upon one of mine; I ask'd him what he meant by serving me so? He demanded my Money; I gave him my Bag, which had in it two half Crowns, a Shilling, and some Halfpence. He did not meddle with my Waggon, but when he had got my Money he rode from me to Mr. Sadgrove, whose Waggon was about four Lugg* off. - I can't swear the Prisoner is the Man that robb'd me: I had no Lanthorn, and it was not light enough to see his Face, and besides I find I was mistaken as to the Colour of his Horse, for I thought he rode upon a black Horse, but others that were assaulted by the same Man, say it was a dark bay Horse. So that all I can be positive of is this, I was robb'd by

the Man who said, Here I am again. Early next Morning when I came to Kensington I found the Prisoner was taken up there, and I said then and afterwards before Justice Lilly, as I said now, I was robb'd, but could not swear to the Man.

* A Pole or Perch.

Court. Hinton, are you positive that Mackrel was robb'd by the same Man that abus'd you?

Hinton. Yes, for there was no Body else went by on Horseback from the time he beat me, to the time he robb'd my Master: Afterwards indeed, a Man rid by on a grey Horse.

John Sadgrove Between 9 and 10 at Night on the 30th of April, as I was coming over Hounslow-Heath with my Waggon, I heard somebody galloping hard after me; I turn'd my Head and perceiv'd a Man upon a little serubbed Horse just behind me. Whose Waggon is this? says he. Why, says I, whose Waggon do you want? Damn ye, says he, let it be whose it will, if you don't stop it immediately, I'll shoot you thro' the Head: So I stopt my Horses, and then says he, What Passengers have ye got? Why what do you want with my Passengers? says I, Why I want their Money, says he, and damn ye I'll blow your Brains out, if you don't tumble 'em out of the Waggon-Tumble out my Passengers that I get my daily Bread by? that would be fine Work indeed! thought I to myself, so I told him I had no Passengers. Damn ye you lie, says he, - But however, give me your Money and your Bag and all. So I gave him my Bag with 3 s. in it. Now turn your Pockets, says he. I did so, but yet that did not satisfy him. For, says he, you have not so good a Hand at searching as I have; so he stopp'd down and search'd my Fob and my other Pockets himself, but he found only a steel Buckle, which he took away. He again enquir'd if had any Passengers? No, says I. You lie, you have, says he. Why then, says I, if you won't believe me, you may get off and look. And upon that he gave me a knock with his Whip, and knock'd me quite under my Horses; if they had gone forward I should have been crush'd to Pieces. Then he rode off, but he came back again presently, and giving me a cut with his Whip, told me, that if he should ever come to know that I had any Passengers that Night, I should never travel that Road again. Then he ask'd me where about the other Waggons were, I said I did not know. He told me I ly'd; and taking a Pistol out of his Pocket, he presented it towards me, and said, I have a mighty Mind to give you a Pill before I go. But he went off towards London without doing me any more Mischief. He had not been gone long before I heard a Pistol go off, upon which I concluded that he had overtaken the other Waggons. This was on the Monday Night; I got into London on Tuesday Morning, and returning thro' Kensington on Wednesday Morning I went to see the Prisoner, who was in Kensington Round-house. I told him I thought he was the Man that robb'd me: He desir'd me to do him Justice; Aye, says I, then I must hang ye; and so I went on upon my Journey and the Prisoner was sent to Newgate.

Court. How far was you from Mackrel's Waggon when you was robb'd ?

Sadgrove. His Waggon was 3 or 4 Lugg behind me; and he told me, that the same Man that robb'd me, had robb'd him and abus'd his Man but a little before.

Mackrel. Yes, the Highwayman went directly from me to Sadgrove; I heard the Blow that he gave him, and was afraid he would have murder'd him.

William Ladlow . My Master Fullbrock and I were upon the Road to London; he drove the Waggon and I the Cart; I forgot the Day and Hour, only I remember it was on a Monday Night, and the same Night that Mackrel and Sadgrove were robb'd, tho' neither I nor my Master saw any thing of those Robberies, for we were a Mile or better before Sadgrove: But as we were coming out of Hounslow, the Prisoner rode up to my Master, and shook Hands with him, and said, Honest Countryman ! How go Affair, in our Country? There was a Light in a Room pretty near us; I suppose somebody was going to Bed, and by this Light I could see the Prisoner plainly: He parted from us, and we drove forward along Smallberry Green: By and by I heard

a Horse coming hard behind me, I gave the Way; the Prisoner came up and cry'd, Damn your Blood, where's your Passengers ? I want their Money! Grand look, says I, and ask 'em for it. Upon that he beat me, and going up to the Head of the Waggon he tore the Tilt to look in; I struck at his Horse with my Whip, and his Horse moving a little, he pull'd a Pistol out of his Bosom and fired at me; the Bullet just graz'd on my Cheek; he did not stay to examine the Waggon after he had shot, but rode towards London. We hollo'd out to the Turnpike Men to stop him, but they let him pass; tho' when we came up they own'd they heard us hollo, but pretended that they did not know what we hollo'd for.

John Fullbrook . Coming out of Hounslow the Prisoner rode up and shook Hands with me, and ask'd me what House! should drink at on Smallberry Green ? I told him, that was according as the People happened to be up, and so we parted for the present; but we had not got above a quarter of a Mile upon Smallberry-Green before he follow'd and stopp'd the Waggon. I had some Passengers, who had 4 or 5 l. among them, which they hid in the Straw, and I had Money myself. But the Prisoner neither search'd me not them, for he shot at my Man and then rode off towards London. We came to Kensington about 2, (Or something more) in the Morning. It was Just begun to be a little lightish, and there we saw the Prisoner, who was just taken by Clark the Watchman and others Both I and my Son know him again as soon as we saw him. He was in the same Dress as when he stopp'd my Waggon, for then he had no Boots, a light Coat, and a white Horse-hair Wig, and he rode a little bay Horse about 14 or 15 Hands high.

Robert Clark , Watchman in Kensington. On Tuesday Morning, between 1 and 2, I heard a Horse trampling and prancing at a Brandy Shop Door in Kensington. I went up to see who was there, and found the Prisoner sitting on a little bay Horse, and drinking Gin with a Soldier. The Newbury Coach had been robb'd but the Saturday before, and a Man then rid by me full Speed on such a Horse as I now found the Prisoner's to be. This gave me the first Suspicion that he was one of those concern'd in that Robbery, and made me take the more Notice of him. He ask'd me what a Clock it was ? I told him it wanted a quarter of Two. He pull'd out a Watch, and took the Case off to look at it. I thought by the Manner of his handling it, that he had not been much us'd to a Watch. As he put up the Watch I perceiv'd a Pistol in his Breast, and this made me conclude that he was one of the Highwaymen that robb'd the Newbury Coach, for I had not then heard of the Waggons being robb'd. So I resolv'd to get Help if I could and take him. But that he might not mistrust me I staid a little to drink with him, and then told him I was going to call up some Market People, tho', God knows my Heart, I was going for Assistance to apprehend him. I went to a Tallow Chandler's and a Baker's, and told their Men, who were at work, that there was a Highwayman at the Brandy Shop Door, and if they would assist me, we might easily take him. I hey seem'd then afraid to venture, and so I went back; but in a little while I found two of them (Paget and White ) at the Gin-shop. We drank two or three Quarterns, and then I was for taking the Prisoner, tho' they were still afraid, but I swore, - yes, I did swear, begging your Lordship's Pardon, - that now was the only Time, and so I seiz'd him, took the Pistol out of his Breast, and clapp'd it to him. He struggled and endeavoured to get his Hand to his left Pocket, and if he had done that, Gods knows, I might have been kill'd, for he had got a Pistol there, but others assisting me, we prevented farther Mischief. We had scarce well secur'd him before the Waggons came up. The Waggoners were overjoy'd to see him; and as poor People are apt to swear an Oath now and then as well as their Betters, they all swore that he was the Man that had robb'd and abus'd them.

Court. Was Mackrel there then?

Clark. Yes, and Sadgrove too, and they both swore positively and heartily that he was the Man. - As soon as ever they saw him, they cry'd, This is the Rogue that robb'd us! But they were afterwards afraid to swear

positively before the Justice, for as they constantly travell'd the Road, they thought their Lives would be always in Danger. The Prisoner was searched, and a Pistol ready charg'd and 8 loose Balls and some Powder and other Things, were taken out of his Pockets. The Pistol that I took from him was not charg'd. I suppose that was the Pistol he had discharg'd at one of the Waggoners: For one of them (a little Fellow) came in with his Face bloody, and said the Prisoner had shot at him, and that the Ball graz'd upon his Cheek. - So we carried the Prisoner to the Round-house 'till such Time as his Magistrate the Justice was up. - Have I told a Word of a Lie now? [To the Prisoner.]

Prisoner. Yes, in saying that you saw me ride by you in Kensington on the Saturday before, for I was sick a-bed then.

Court. How was the Prisoner dress'd?

Clark. He had a white Horse-hair Wig, a light Coat, black Waistcoat and Breeches, and no Boots; I ask'd him why he rid without Boots, and he said he had worn 'em out.

William Paget . Clark the Watchman knock'd at my Master's Door about 2 a-Clock on May-day Morning, and ask'd me to go and take a Highwayman at the Brandy Shop. He said he had call'd upon Will. White too, but Will. was then lock'd in, and could not get out immediately. Clark went away and I call'd upon White, and took him with me to the Gin-shop Presently we heard Clark crying 2 a-Clock, and White call'd him in. - When we had drank together, says Clark, I'll go and seize him now, or he'll be gone. So he went to the outside of the Prisoner's Horse, clapp'd his Hand to the Prisoner's Coat, took a Pistol out of the Prisoner's Bosom, and holding it up, threaten'd to shoot him. - The Prisoner lean'd back, and went to put his left Hand to his Pocket, but I prevented him, and holding him by the Coat he fell back, and his Heels struck thro' the Brandy Man's Window. Two or three Shillings and a Six-Pence fell out of his Pocket. I kneel'd upon him to keep him down, and took a Pistol out of his Pocket. the Constable came, and then we ty'd the Prisoner's Hands and search'd him farther, and we found upon him two Handkerchiefs, a Snuff-Box, a Silver Watch, and a Pewter Watch (such as they have to please Children,) seven or eight loose Bullets, a little Powder in a Bag, a Fleam, a Silver Buckle, and a Steel Shoe-Buckle. In a quarter of an Hour three or four Waggoners came in, and swore he was the Man that robb'd 'em. The Soldier that was drinking with the Prisoner, said the Prisoner was a Gentleman, and went to push me from him, but upon my holding the Pistol to the Soldier, he march'd off.

Court. Shew that Shoe-Buckle to Sadgrove.

Sidgrove. This is the Buckle the Prisoner took from me, and here is the Fellow to it.

William White . Paget call'd me from Work to help the Watchman. I went up, and looking at the Prisoner I saw no Pistol, and so was forgoing away; but the Watchman coming in, said, he was sure that the Prisoner had a Pistol. The Man of the House said, Have a Care what you do, fo r he's a Gentleman. - The Watchman seiz'd him, took a discharg'd Pistol from his Breast, and Paget took a loaded one from his Pocket. We pull'd him back, and in falling he broke the Window with his Feet, and dropp'd some Money. The Waggoners came in, and swore Damn him, this is the Man that robb'd us, - and this is his Horse. It was a dark bay Horse, about 14 Hands high. The Prisoner had no Boots, and but one Spur.

Tho Sympson , Constable. When I came up to the Prisoner, White and Paget had just pull'd him off his Horse, and there was a Soldier, who, I believe, had a great Mind to rescue him. The Waggoners came in and said, This is the Rogue that robb'd us on Hounslow-Health and Smallberry-Green. Do you say that I am the Man? says the Prisoner. Yes, and will swear it too, said they. I ask'd him why he had abus'd the Waggoners? He said he had neither been upon Hounslow Health nor near it, not any farther on that Road than Kensington, where he then was. But upon searching him, we found, besides other Things, two Turnpike Tickets for that Day,

one for Smallberry-Green, and another for Kensington. And when he saw them, he said he did not know where he had been. I ask'd him what Business he had with those Pistols and Bullets, and he told me he was a Gunsmith by Trade. The Money that we found about him was 13 s 6 d. in Silver, and 2 d. 3 Farthings. The first Day that he was carry'd before the Justice he would confess nothing; but the second time, when he found he must go to Newgate, he own'd he had committed several Robberies on t'other Side of the Water, but still said, that he neither robb'd the Waggoners, nor. knew any thing of them.

Prisoner. I don't know that I ever saw any of the Witnesses that have sworn against me, 't ll I saw them at Kensington.

Court. Then you did not take Fullbrook by the Hand at Hounslow ?

Prisoner. No, I saw none of them. I shall give an Account how I get my Bread. - I don't deny but I have been guilty of some Facts, but not of these that I am indicted for.

Court. What Facts?

Prisoner. That will be known when the Gentlemen that I shall call come in and give their Evidence.

William Ansell . I am an Anchor Smith . I live in St. Mary Magdalen Bermondsey. I have known the Prisoner five Years. He served his Time to a Farrier , but he work'd along with me at my Business six Months. Then he went three Years and a half Armourer in the Cadugan, an India Man. When he came back, which is two Years ago, or better, he return'd to his Work, and work'd in a very barbarous Manner.

Court. Barbarous!

Ansell Yes, he work'd till his Hands were so sore that he could hold it no longer.

Court. How long did he hold it?

Ansell. He work'd at our Shop three Weeks (after he came from India ) and then he went down to see his Father in Wales. He staid about a Fortnight, and then return'd to his Work, and continu'd at it constantly till within these six or seven Weeks; and he work'd very hard, and call him when you would he was always ready. I have call'd him up to Work by One or Two in the Morning (as our Business sometimes requir'd it) and he was always ready and willing. I was almost continually in his Company. I never saw him disguis'd in Liquer ; he was not at all given to drink or game, or keep ill Company, but was always very sober and sedate. We work'd at Harrison's and Duke's, Anchor-Smiths in Rotherbith.

Thomas Perriers . I am Clerk to those Anchor-Works. The Prisoner kept his Time as well as any Man in the Work, and behav'd in a very regular precise Way. But our Labour being very hard, and he being in a weak Condition, he went to India to gather Strength. - The last of his working with us was from June to the 7th of March last, and then he took Leave of the Shop, and said he was going down to his Father in Pembrokeshire, he not having Strength to hold the Business.

Richard Henderson . He behav'd very handsomely, kept his Time well, was very diligent in his Business, and never guilty of Drinking, Swearing, or keeping ill Company. He left the Work about six Weeks ago, but I can say nothing of him since that Time. He told us he was going to see his Father and Mother.

Court. But it seems he did not go. [Several other Witnesses spoke to the same Purpose.]

Prisoner. I own I did not go down to Wales. But there was a young Man, one Richard Cass , a vile Rogue, that came over with me from India, and he telling me a great many fine Stories about going upon the Highway, and I not knowing any better, was led into it.

Court. Was not Cass taken on your Information?

John Bourn . I am the Prisoner's Brother-in-Law. On his Information I took up Cass about a Month ago at the White Horse behind the 'Change, and then Cass would have sworn against my own Brother and me too, but Justice Lade would not take his Oath.

The Jury found the Prisoner guilty . Death .


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