Henry Baxter, John Rook, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 5th December 1733.

Reference Number: t17331205-12
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

15, 16 Henry Baxter and John Rook , alias Jack-the-Hatter +, was indicted for assaulting Samuel Maxwell in an open Field near the Highway, in the Parish of Stepney ,

putting him in Fear, and taking from him 19 s. 6d. November 22.

+ This is not that Jack-the-Hatter who was convicted of several Felonies in September last.

The Prisoners pray'd the Witnesses might be examin'd a-part, which the Court granted.

Samuel Maxwell . On Thursday, November 22, about five in the Evening I went with my Master, Mr. Wilmot, to the Globe at Mile-End; I expected to meet a Man with whom I had some Business to do, but he not coming, I told my Master, I thought there would be no Occasion for me to stay. My Master telling me I might do as I would, I concluded to go, but having received some Money at Stepney, I thought it would not be safe for me to venture over the Fields with it alone, and so I left 26 l. with him, and came away about six a Clock; but recollecting that I still had 7 l. 10 s. in Moidores and Silver, I put it into my Side-pocket for the better Security. Coming into White-horse-lane I was met by three Men, one of them, which I think was Baxter, pass'd me, and bid me good Night, but presently turn'd back again, when one of the others, in a red Coat, with a thick short Stick in his left Hand and a Pistol in his right, bid me deliver, and swore he had seen me put Money in my left Side-pocket; I gave him the Silver, but not the Moidores; then he demanded my Watch, I told him it was a Family-Watch, and I hop'd he would not take it from me. Why then, says he, you may keep it; go forward, and say you are well us'd. So we parted, and I return'd another Way to my Master at the Globe, and told him and Mr. Collingwood, who was with him, what had happen'd. I staid with them there about three or four Hours, and then we all three came away together. We took Links with us, and coming to the same Place where I had been robb'd, we saw two Men running towards us; For God's sake, says one of them, have a Care, Gentlemen, we are frighted out of our Wits; we met a wild Bull, and thought the Devil was coming for us. As they look'd like loose Fellows, Mr. Collingwood ask'd them if there had not been a Robbery there that Night? They said, they had not heard of any. I thought I knew them again, and taking hold of one of them, whose Name is Macdonald, I told him he was the Man that robb'd me. The other was Baxter, and him my Master and Mr. Collingwood took Care of. We carry'd them to the Sun Tavern at Stepney, where we search'd them, and found a large Fowl upon one, and two Chickens upon t'other. We provided them with separate Lodgings for that Night, - the Watch-house and the Round-house. I saw Macdonald next Morning, and then he confess'd that he was the Man who took my Money, and said, as he us'd me well in giving me my Watch again, he hop'd I would let him be an Evidence.

Thomas Wilmot . My Clerk left me and Mr. Collingwood at the Globe between five and six, in order to go home, but in a little Time he return'd again, and told us he had been robb'd; he stay'd with us till about ten, and then we went away together. In the Field we met Baxter and Macdonald running as if they were frighted out of their Wits. They said they had met a mad Bull; we charg'd them with the Robbery, and carry'd them to the Sun at Stepney - Baxter confess'd.

George Collingwood . Going over the Fields with Mr. Wilmot and his Clerk, two Fellows came running along, and crying out, Lord have Mercy upon us! - O Lord! - a mad Bull! - the Devil! - has frighted us out of our Wits. I thought they look'd like a Couple of Rogues, and the Prosecutor said, he believ'd they were the Men that robb'd him, and so we made bold to secure them both.

John Macdonald . I and the two Prisoners went out together upon the Account. We call'd at the Globe, at Mile-End, where we saw the Prosecutor taking some Money out of his Pockets, and so we went out, and watch'd him, and as he came over the Bank, I stopp'd him, and demanded of him his Money. He made no Ressistance, but gave me 19 s. and 6 d. out of his Pocket. Then I bid him deliver his Watch; he said, it was a Family-Watch, and hop'd we would not take it from him. Well, says I, take it again then, and say you was well used. So we left him, and went round by Bow, and

in 3 Hours after, came to the same Field again, where we were frighted by a mad Bull. Rook, ran away with the Money, and Baxter and I ran athurt [athwart] the Path where we were taken.

Baxter. Had you none of the Money?

Macdonald. No; Rook run away with it all.*

* It appears that Macdonald took the Money from the Prosecutor, but he might afterwards give it to Rook.

Baxter. What Cloaths do you say we had on?

Macdonald. I had a red Coat, a short Stick, and a Pistol, Baxter had a great Coat, and Rook had a new Coat with Buttons on it.

Baxter. Where did we meet?

Macdonald. Baxter and I went from Mary Aldus's House and going along by the Gardens near the Hog-house, we met Rook.

Baxter. We were all at Low-Layton, from 3 in the Afternoon, 'till 10 at Night.

Macdonald. We were at a Place, 4 Miles from Stra'ford, I don't know the Name of it, it might be Low-Layton ; but we went from Aldus's between 10 and 11 in the Morning, and return'd between 2 and 3.

Baxter. You know what a vile Fellow you have been. You was an Evidence against Stockings, and Will. White. +

+ See the Trial of Tho. Wadsworth , Will. White, and John Powell , alias Fisherman, in the Session-Paper, for April last, Numb. IV. p. 124.

Mary Aldus . I live in Church-Lane. About a Fortnight ago, Baxter and Macdonald lay at my House, I think it was a Wednesday Night, and next Morning they went out together, between 10 and 11 a Clock; my Husband was then sick a-Bed. But they came not near us 'till next Day, for then they were carry'd before the Justice, and my Husband was taken out of his Bed at the same time, and carry'd before the Justice too.

John Tindall . I took Rook last Sunday Night, in Blue-Coat-Fields, by the Direction of Macdonald, who told me, he went by the Names of John Rook , and Jack-the-Hatter, I found him, sitting by the Fire with two Women. Is not your Name Rook? says I. No; says he. Nor Jack-the-Hatter? says I. No; says he again, Pray who are you? I told him I was a Constable, and came to carry him to the Watch-house.

John Rook . I have Witnesses to prove I was in another Place when this Robbery was committed.

Edward Rook . The Prisoner, John Rook, is my Son. He was in my House, from Thursday Morning, the 22d of November, 'till Monday Morning following.

Court. Are you sure he came that Day?

Edward Rook . Yes, for as I am informed, that was the Day the Robbery was committed.

Court. But by what Circumstance do you remember the Day of the Month?

Edward Rook. By his being there.

Court. Was you constantly at home from Thursday to Monday?

Edward Rook. No; I went out in the Morning to my Labour, and return'd between 7 and 8 at Night.

Court. And will you take upon you to swear that he was at home when you were abroad?

Edward Rook. I don't know that he went out.

Elizabeth Johnson . I lodge at Edward Rook's, and I know that the Prisoner, John Rook, was at home all Day on Thursday, the 22d of November, and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Court. And are you sure he was not out in all that time?

Eliz. Johnson. Yes.

Court. Were you in his Company all that time?

Eliz. Johnson. Yes.

Court. Are you marry'd?

Eliz. Johnson. Yes.

Court. And where was your Husband on: those Nights?

Eliz. Johnson. A-bed with me, the Prisoner was in my Company a-Days, I don't know where he was a-Nights.

The Jury found them Guilty . Death .


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