William Blackwell, Theft > burglary, 15th October 1735.

Reference Number: t17351015-20
Offence: Theft > burglary
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

25. William Blackwell , otherwise Long Will , was indicted for breaking and entering the House of James des Romains , Esq ; in Paddington , and stealing a Gold Watch, a Silver Snuff-box, three Gold Rings set with Stones, one Gold Mourning Ring, thirteen Silver Spoons, twelve Silver Forks

seven Knives with Silver Handles, one Silver Soop Ladle, four Silver Salts, eight Silver Tea Spoons, two Pistols mounted with Silver and Steel, one Silver-hilted Sword, one Silk Damask Night Gown, twenty Holland Shirts, six Holland Sheets, fifty two Guineas, and seventeen Shillings, the Goods and Money of James des Romaine , Esq; And four Silk Damask Gowns, three Silk Petticoats, ten Holland Shifts, four Suits of Laced Head Clothes, one Cloth Cloak, and one Silver Buckle set with Bristol Stones, the Goods of Ann des Romaine , Spinster, October 25. 1733 . in the Night .

Col. Des Romaine. On the twenty fifth of October, 1733. about eight at Night, I heard some body knock at the Door. My Maid who was below, not coming up, I took a Candle and went to the Door my self. As soon as I had unbolted it, a Man thrust his Foot between the Door and the Threshold, and seizing me by the Shoulder, swore he must have my Money, and if I made a Noise, he would shoot me dead. However, I pushed the Door as hard as I could with my Hand, and cryed out Murder, and called to my Maid, and bid her call my Men to bring the Pistols. I was in hopes by this to make the Rogues think I had Men in the House, though I had none. But presently I was struck across the Head with a Cutlace. I still kept the Door to, upon which another of them said, D - him, beat his Brains out: and then I received such a Blow with the Butt end of a Pistol, that I lost two of my Teeth, and was afraid my Eye was put out. I fell down, and four Men rushed in. One of them went towards the Maid, and the other three rifled me of a Gold Watch, two Rings, about fifteen or sixteen Shillings in Silver. While they were searching my right Pockets, I slipt a Purse with six Guineas and a half out of my left Fob and thrust it under the Matt on the Floor. They tyed my Hands, and dragged me up Stairs, and threatned, and struck me again with a Pistol to make me discover where my Money was, but I told them I had none. They opened my Trunk, and took out a Box of Plate. The Trunk had a double Cover, in which I had forty five Guineas and a half. They did not then open the upper Cover, which gave me some hopes that they would not find the Money. They took two Pistols and a Silver-hilted Sword out of a Closet. One of them was for breaking the Blade, but the others opposed it. After this they all three took me down Stairs again, and at the Parlor Door I saw my Maid lying with her Petticoats turned up, and the fourth Man putting up his Breeches. He was very tall, and like the Prisoner, but I cannot be positive to his Face, for the Blood run over my Eyes, so that I could hardly see. Then they tyed my Hands behind me so hard, that the Cord was hid under the Flesh of my Wrists, which put me to such violent Pain that I thought the Torture of putting the Question could not be worse, and the Marks made by the Cords remained in my Wrists for a Year after. They put a Napkin over my Face and the Maids Petticoat and Gown over my Head, and in this Condition I remained from eight at Night till three the next Morning. They bound the Maid close by me in the Parlor. I heard her say, For God's sake let me alone. I could feel her move, and hear them go backwards and forwards. They came to me several times and beat me over the Head with a Pistol, but her Petticoat broke the Blow. One of them said, O ye old Rogue! You told us you had no Money. By which I concluded that they had found the Guineas in my Trunk. I desired them not to abuse me in that manner, but rather kill me, and so put me out of my Misery. Presently I felt something like a Hanger put under the Petticoat to my Neck. Upon which my Maid cried, For God's sake do not kill my Master, rather kill me. Between two and three o'Clock, hearing no Noise, I told my Maid that I believed they were gone. She said she feared they were not, and begged me for God's sake not to hazard my Life. However, I ventured to move about till at last I got my Back towards her, and she with much Difficulty untyed my Hands, and being thus got loose, I went into the Passage. I perceived a Light in the Fore Parlor, which at first gave me some Apprehensions

that they were not yet gone. But hearing nothing stit, I ventured forward and found no body, and the Door was left ajar.

Ralph Mitchel . Brown and Whitlock * (who were since executed for this Fact) and I being Prisoners in the New Jail, agreed to rob Mr. Sherrack the King's Jeweller at Paddington, Brown and I were acquitted at Croydon Assizes, and Whitlock was acquitted in the Country. We committed several Robberies on the Highway. And Brown and I meeting afterwards at Paddington, we happened to quarrel, and so we parted without doing any business at that time. But I going into Southwark met with Whitlock, and went to drink at Pepper Alley. He asked me where Brown lived. I told him that Brown and I both lodged at one White's an Alehouse at the Hand-and-Flower in the Grainge near Barnaby Street. On the twenty fifth of October we all three met at White's and agreed to rob the King's Jeweller that Day, but we wanted another Hand. So we went to Rag Fair to see for Long Will, not the Prisoner, but another Long Will, one William Simon who is hanged. We could not meet with him, and so we went to an old Friend of ours one John Gasley (Garscee) who kept a Brandy-shop in Tyburn Road, and asked him to go with us, but he said he had left off dealling that way, and that he did not care to venture again. Brown asked him if he knew where Long Will (the Prisoner) was. Yes, says Gassy, I believe he is at his Mothers, and I will step and fetch him; but while we we were talking, the Prisoner came in. We drank a Bowl of Punch together above Stairs, and told him what Lay we were upon. He made no Objection, but that he had no Arms, upon which I lent him one of my Pistols, and so about seven o'Clock we went to the King's Jeweller's House, but seeing an Iron Grate in the Door to look through, they said it would never take. However, says I, let us do Business if we can. Ring the Bell, and see whether they will open the Door or not. So we rung, and a Servant coming to the Door, we asked her if Madam de Batt was there. She answered, No, she is just gone. So we went away and consulted what do; we agreed to go to Col. Romaine's, which we did. Brown and I went foremost, and having put back the Bolt of the Yard Door, we came to the Door of the House and knocked. The Colonel himself opened it, and I thrust my Foot in between the Door and the Threshold, and struck him on the Head with a Cutlace. He cryed out Murder, and called to his Maid to bid his Men bring the Pistols. But we forced in, and as we were tying his Hands, Whitlock and the Prisoner came in, and I asked them why they did not come up sooner. We risled him and bound his Hands behind him, and carried him into the back Parlor. The Prisoner seiz'd the Maid, who came up with a Candle, and we tyed her Hands in the same Room. Then I and Brown and Whitlock took the Colonel up Stairs to make him shew us where the Money was, and left the Prisoner with the Maid. We began to break open a Chest, but he desired us to untie his Hands, and he would give us the Keys. We took out a parcel of Plate, and some Pearl Necklaces, but I saw no Money there, and if they found any they sunk it. We went up another Pair of Stairs, and turned the Beds up to examine them. We took a rough Draught of what was there -

* See their Trial in December 1733.

+ See the Trial of John Gassey in the Sessions Paper for July 1722.

- What do you mean by a rough Draught?

Mitchel. We gave a look round the Room, and then went into his Daughter's Chamber and broke open a Chest of Drawers and took out some Head Clothes and other Women's Apparel. We went again to the Colonel, bound his Hands again behind him, and carried him down Stairs with us. Coming into the Entry, we saw the Maid lying with her Coats up, and the Prisoner on his Knees putting up his Breeches. D - ye you Rogue, says I, You ought to think of other

things at such a time as this. And turning to the Maid, I said, my Dear, has he hurt ye? She made no answer, but cryed. Whitlock often went to the Colonel, and threatned him to make him discover his Money, and once he took a Knife and was going to cut his Throat. After this we brought the Things all into one Room and packed them up, and went away about three in the Morning. The Prisoner had the Plate in a Box, and I put what Goods I had in a Basket. We staid in the Fields till the Watch was gone off, and then took Water to Pepper Alley, and went from thence to White's in the Grange, where Brown and I and our Wives lodged. Brown's Wife let us in, and we went into her Room, where we opened the Goods and shared the Linnen. Brown and I and Whitelock went with the Gold Watch and Plate to Edward Bodenham * at the Ship Alehouse in the Old Bailey, and sold it all to him for twenty five Pound. We went back and gave the Prisoner his Share of this Money, and two Guineas more for his Snack in the Brocades. It being then near Night, he said he must go over the Water, and would return in a little while. But I saw him no more till he was apprehended - I have known him four or five Years, but never was concerned with him in any Fact besides this.

* See the Trial of Bodenham in the Sessions Paper for December 1733.

Prisoner, Prove that I ever was in your Company.

Mitchel. My Wife can do that.

Mitchel's Wife. I have known the Prisoner from a Child. He came between three and four that Morning with my Husband and Whitlock and Brown to our House; they brought brocaded Silk Clothes, Holland Shirts, Laced Head Clothes, a Gold Watch, Silver Forks, Silver-handled Knives, Silver Salts, a Silver-hilted Sword, and two Pistols, and other things. It not being quite light, I said to the Prisoner, I should know you by your Tongue. Is not your Name Blackwell, was not you a Soldier, and did not you live in St. Giles's, and sell Geese and Rabbitt? Yes, says he, and I have known you from a Child. Where did you get these Goods? says I; my Husband answered, they had been a Smuggling. But when he and Brown and Whitlock were gone to sell the Plate, the Prisoner told me they got the Goods at Colonel Romaines.

William Kirk . I have known the Prisoner eighteen or nineteen Years. On the twenty ninth of September last, between nine and ten o'Clock at Night, as I was going home, I saw the Prisoner on Horseback and very drunk, at the end of Earl's Court in Drury Lane. One Sarah Burgess was persuading him to go home, but he swore he would not. Why don't you go, says she, There's Will. Kirk. I had taken but little notice of him before, but upon hearing this, I looked at him, and he swore he would shoot me. I went round Red Lyon Court, and came again into Drury Lane, and found him at Sarah Burgess's Door at the Corner of Colstair's Court. I went to Brocks (Brogdon Poplet's) and told him that Long Will. was hard by and we might take him. But Brock said it was not worth his while, for there was but forty Pound for taking him. Upon this I went to George Redgate , and got him to assist me. We went after the Prisoner, and found him in Broad St. Giles's, and another Man with him. We thought it not proper to seize him till that Man was gone, and so we followed at a distance, till coming towards the Vine Tavern in Holborn, the Man wished him a good Night, and bid him hold by the Horse's Main. Never fear, Cockey, says the Prisoner, for, D - my Eyes I shall do well enough. The Man being gone, we pulled the Prisoner off his Horse, upon which he cried I am a dead Man! my Glass is run, D - my Eyes! We found a Pistol and Powder and Ball in his Pocket; and as we were carrying him to the Round house, he desired to be made an Evidence.

Prisoner. You know nothing of me but down-right Work.

Kirk. I have known him eighteen or

nineteen Years. He sometimes went with an Orange-Barrow with Twenty-one at three Throws. And sometimes he followed the Thimble and Button.

The Jury found him Guilty . Death .


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