William Wager, Edward Baker, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 8th December 1736.

Reference Number: t17361208-14
Offences: Violent Theft > highway robbery; Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdicts: Guilty; Guilty
Punishments: Death; Death

16, 17. William Wager, otherwise Corkey Wager , and Edward Baker , were indicted (with William Eadey not taken) for assaulting Samuel Lewis on the King's Highway, putting him in corporal Fear, and taking from him one iron Key, value 1 d, a Nutmeg, value 1 d, a copper Ticket, value 1 d, 3 copper Medals, value 2 d, 3 pieces of Silver Coin, value 2 s. 10 d, 5 Guineas, 2 half Guineas, and 13 s. and 1d, in Money , the Property of Samuel Lewis , August 27 .

They were a 2d time indicted for assaulting George Sleath on the King's Highway, putting him in Fear and taking from him 8 s. in Money , September 24

Samuel Lewis . August 27 I was coming from Woburn in Bedfordshire, in Company with a Gentleman and a Lady, and near Kentish Town in the Washy-Lane , I met four Horseman, one of them cry'd, Hey! I cry'd, Hallo! When I had rid a little Way down the Lane, Horsenail (who was with them on a Grey Horse) came up and turn'd on my Horse's Buttock. I went gently on, and he brush'd past me and got before me; Sir, says he, you must deliver your Money; another of them said, By G - d, Sir, if you stir, I will blow your Brains out. Horsenail (who stood before me) had a Pistol, and he who was behind me held another to my Head. I had two or three Pistols about me at once, and looking behind me I saw the fourth Man stop a Gentleman in our Company under an Oak Tree, they took him to be my Servant because he had some Venison behind him, and was about twenty Yards behind me. I put my Hand in my Pocket and pulled out the Silver and these Pieces, which I gave to Horsenail. There was four of the Men in all, but I cannot swear to either of the Prisoners; one of them had his Face disguis'd, but the Face of him that robbed me, was as bare as mine is now. I believe they are the Men, because some of my Pieces were found upon them. I gave them thirteen or fourteen Shillings in Silver, and a Silver Moidore, three Copper Pieces, and another Silver Piece, and another Shilling. These are the 3 Pieces which were taken from me; one Silver Piece and two Copper Pieces besides; these I put into the Man's Hand that robbed me among the Silver, the rest of the Money he took out of my Pocket; then the Man who was behind me said, he must search me. D - n it, says the other, he never rides without a Watch, look for it. I pulled up my White Waistcoat to get to my Pocket, and pulled out five Guineas and two Half Guineas. D - n it, says the other, look for his Watch, and he felt all round me. Sir, says he, I must take a little more care, and he felt all about me, and took a Nutmeg and a Key; nay, he took every Thing from me but the Part he could not take. I beg'd they would not meddle with the Lady;

no, says he, if any one meddles with her, I'll shoot him through the Head; and he bid her ride before, but she stood still. When they put their Hands into my Breeches, I began to swear at them. Pray don't swear, says one of them, there's nobody shall use you ill, we shall only take all the Money you have; then he put his Hand into another Pocket where the Ticket was, and the five Guineas, and the Nutmeg, and the Key: The Gentlemen who was behind could not make his Mare stand still for want of her Company, on which Account they threatned to shoot him. When they had robbed me, they went to him and searched his Pockets; d - n him, said they, he is no Footman, we must search him. When they had done, they cry'd, Now don't say we have us'd you ill, and d - n you, if you had had a Bushel of Arms, they would not have signify'd a Half-penny to you. I knew one of them, and when he was taken I knew him again.

Wager. Mr. Lewis is not certain that Horsenail was one of the Company that robbed him; when he came to New-Prison he said he knew Baker, but that he never knew me in his Life.

Mr. Lewis. Baker has liv'd in our Parish ten or twelve Years, he was behind with the other Gentleman about twenty Yards from me. He did come up with the rest of them to me, but he presently turned back and went to take Care of the Gentleman behind me.

Q. Can you say you remember any Thing of Wager's Voice?

Mr. Lewis. I believe them to be the Men, but Voices differ much.

Baker. Mr. Lewis at New-Prison said, he should have known my Voice if he had heard it a Mile off.

Thomas Walker I was in Company with Mr. Lewis and my Sister the same Time; we were attacked by four Men on Horseback, one of them rid up to Mr. Lewis, but my Sister being forward; he turned his Horse quick upon him, and asked him for his Money, presenting a Pistol at the same Time. Another of them came up and said, If he stirr'd he would blow his Brains out. I was behind them, and the Mare I rode not standing still for want of her Company, one of them came to me and robb'd me under an Oak Tree, about twenty Yards Distance from Mr. Lewis. D - n him, said one of them, He pricks his Mare, shoot him through the Head, so one of them staid with me while the others robb'd Mr. Lewis, and prevented my riding back. When they had done with Mr. Lewis, they took about ten or twelve Shillings from me.

Q. Did Mr. Lewis turn back to ride towards you, when they threatned to shoot you?

Mr. Walker. Yes, he turn'd his Horse's Nose to my Mare's, to make her stand still. After they had robb'd us they said, Now have not we us'd you like Gentlemen? D - n you, be gone about your Business and don't look back. I endeavour'd to conceal my Watch in my Hand, but hearing them say that Mr. Lewis had hid his Watch in his Hand, I slipp'd it into my Coat Pocket and so I sav'd it, this was done in the Washy-Lane, and they all rid off towards Kentish Town. I can't say I know any of the Men, I was then very much surpriz'd, and the Man that robb'd me hung down his Head under the Boughs. one of them had disguis'd his Face, either with a Mask, or with Crape. I really believe the Prisoners are the Men, but I will not Swear to them. Baker's Coat I took Notice of; he had then such a plush Coat on under a riding Coat.

Q. Have you any Reason to believe, that the Man who is a Witness, was one of the Company?

Mr. Walker. The Evidence, Horsenail, I believe, was the Person that robb'd Mr. Lewis.

Mr. Lewis. I know him to be one; for he was some time searching me for my Watch, and felt all over my Breeches, and every where, where he might feel.

Wager. I never saw him before in my Life but in New Prison, and he there declar'd he did not know me neither.

Baker. The Gentleman said in New Prison, he did not know me.

Stephen Horsenail . The 27th, of Aug I was -

Q. Consider you are upon your Oath, and tho' you are one of the Persons guilty of this Fact, be cautious that you Swear nothing but what is true.

Horsenail. I will: - On the 27th of August, I was in Company with the two Prisoners, and William Eadey , (who is sled to Holland) at the White-Lyon in Hornsey-Lane. About 6 o'Clock, (or a little later) in the Evening, we set out from thence, towards Battle-Bridge: We met some People on the other side the Turnpike, next London, and we robb'd them. Several People coming from Barnet Races, we stopp'd altogether, and robb'd them likewise; but we had robb'd some People before we came to the Turnpike. There were a Dozen (I believe) in Company coming from the Races, and tho' I cannot say we robb'd them all, yet I robb'd one, and they robb'd some of the rest. We were then going Home directly to Hornsey-Lane all in Company together. Eadey was on Foot when we set out, but we took a Horse from one of the Company we robb'd, and then we were all mounted. In returning Home we pass'd Mr. Lewis;

and Baker said to me. D - n you there's your Mark; then I turn'd back and stopp'd Mr. Lewis; and Wager came up to the Head of his Horse directly, and assisted me in robbing him, by holding (his Bridle in one Hand, and presenting a Pistol in the other) I had a Pistol in my Hand when I stopp'd him; and I was the first that spoke to him. Sir, says I, you must stop; I must have your Money; then Wager came up to his Horse's Head to assist me. Gentlemen, says Mr. Lewis, don't use me ill; you shall have my Money ! And pray don't use the Lady, ill! No, says I, if any Body offers to use her ill, I will shoot them thro' the Head; so I search'd Mr. Lewis, and took from him, - I can't tell what directly, because we had been taking Money from others, but I believe - to the best of my Knowledge, it was about 6 l. in Gold and Silver, and those pocket Pieces which lye in Court. These 2 Pieces I gave to Mr. Barnes, when I was in Bridewell.

Mr. Barnes. These are the Pieces I had from him there.

Q. Did any of you touch the Lady?

Horsenail. No, no body at all.

Q. Was any body in Company with Mr. Lewis beside the Lady?

Horsenail. Yes a Man, that we took to be the Footman; and I said don't rob the Footman. He was at some Distance behind Mr. Lewis, and Baker staid with him; he did not care to come up to us, because Mr. Lewis knew him.

Q. Did Baker take any Notice that he knew Mr. Lewis?

Horsenail. Yes, he did, when he said, D - n you there's your Mark, and therefore he staid behind with the young Man.

Q. Did Baker give that as a Reason why he would watch the young Man?

Horsenail Yes, my Lord, he did.

Q. Who robb'd the young Man?

Horsenail. Baker did. I saw him have the Money in his Hand, after we had robb'd Mr. Lewis; and he told us, he had got about 7 s. from him. When we had done with them, I wish'd them a good Night, and said we had used them handsomely, and I hoped they would use us the same; for we had not threat'ned them any farther than their Money.

Q. After you had got your Booty, where did you meet.

Horsenail. We went to the White Lyon in Hornsey-Lane, and there we shar'd the Money; the whole Plunder of the Day.

Q. How much did you divide a-piece?

Horsenail. About fifty Shillings each our Dividend came to. I had two; Baker had the Silver Piece which Mr. Lewis asked for when I was in New-Prison, and when I was before Justice Midford; I had the Julius Caesar's's Piece, and the Carolus XII. of Spain, but Baker had the Silver Moidore. When Mr. Lewis asked Baker for it, he told him it was gone to be gilt. The third Piece was lodg'd in Ralph Guy's Hands, who keeps the White Lyon in Hornsey Lane.

Mr. Lewis. I had it from thence.

Horsenail. I have at present a Key belonging to Mr. Lewis, which we took among the rest of the Things; this is the very Key. [pulling out a Key]

Mr. Lewis. This is the Key of my private Bureau, where I keep my Books; this was in my Pocket with the Gold and the Nutmeg. Horsenail told me had it, but resolv'd to keep it till the Day of Trial.

Q. Did you make a Discovery of your Companions before you was Apprehended, or afterwards?

Horsenail. I was taken up on another Account about six Weeks ago, and I voluntarily discovered this Robbery before Justice Midford. I am sorry either, or any of us, should be so unhappy as to be in this State, but the Prisoners were indeed at the committing of the Fact. I have been concerned with them in this Way, but since the 24th of August last.

Wager. I don't doubt but Mr. Lewis was robbed, and suppose he was robbed by Horsenail and his Gang; but I desire to know, whether he can produce any Gentleman of Credit who has seen us together on the Road?

Q. What, do you expect he should produce some Body who saw you together in a Robbery?

Wager. No, my Lord, only with Regard to this Robbery.

Horsenail. Well then, I sent two Subpoena's, one to Edward Tow, who let us through the Turnpike, and the other to Ralph Guy, who keeps the White-Lyon. Tow let us through the Turnpike, and knew what we were upon; he said, indeed, he was sorry for our Courses.

Ralph Guy . I keep the White Lyon in Hornsey-Lane, -

Horsenail. This is the Man at whose House we shar'd the Money.

Q. Did you see (to Guy) Horsenail and Wager and Baker together at your House?

Guy. I have seen them together, but I can't say I saw them together, the Day this Robbery was committed; they have been together at my House, sometimes; but I have no Acquaintance with any of them: Baker I have known these 2 or 3

Years, he lived with a Gentleman whose Horses I us'd to Shoe. I have seen them together several Times, this last Summer together; they have drank at my House together.

Horsenail. Who gave you the copper Peice, - the Ticket for the Kings private Road.

Guy. Why - one of-them gave it me, and bid me give it my little Boy. - I had it from Eadey, I think it was.

Q. Who gave you the other Pocket-peice?

Guy. I had it from Baker.

Horsenail. You was present when we shar'd the Plunder.

Guy. I was always counted an honest Man. - I did see them telling Money, but I can't say what they were about. I saw them telling Money from one to the other, - there was Half-pence and Silver, I saw no Gold, - I did not I assure you.

Horsenail. He knew of our going out, and when we came back he said it was pretty well, considering it was late when we went out. Did not we lie at your House that Night?

Guy. They were at my House all Night.

Lewis. One of the Copper Peices I lost, had a String in it, I ask'd about it, and Guy told me he had cut the String off.

Guy. I had this Piece (with the String) of Baker, he gave it me, and at the same Time there was Wager, Baker, Horsenail, and Eadey, together.

Horsenail. So we were; and you saw the silver Moidore in Cockey's Hand.

Guy. No, - it was in Baker's Hand; but you were all Four together. Wager was Arrested for Debt; he got from the Bailiffs and was conceal'd at my House, but that was some Time before I saw this young Man. [Horsenail]

Wager. Why Horsenail used to bring me Money, while I was conceal'd at your House.

Guy. Yes, - he used to come to my House when Wager was conceal'd, - but I never saw him before he came to Wager. Eadey brought him to my House.

Horsenail. Call Edward Tow .

Q. You are the Keeper of the Turnpike?

Tow. Yes, I keep Battle-bridge Turnpike.

Q. Do you know the Prisoners at the Bar?

Tow. Yes, my Lord, I have known one of them a pretty many Years; the other I have but a small Knowledge of.

Q. Do you remember whether you let the 2 Prisoners and Horsenail and Eadey, thro' your Turnpike about the Time of Barnet Races.

Tow. I can't remember a particular Day - I cannot remember to have seen them come thro' together in my Life, Horsenail would have persuaded me that I have. I have seen Baker come thro' on Horseback by himself, but I don't know that I have ever seen them together.

Q. About July or August last have not you seen them come through a little Distance from one another.

Tow. Not to my Knowledge.

Horsenail. Please to ask him if he did not speak to Baker the Time that Mr. Lewis was robb'd, and if he did not say he was sorry for our Way of living.

Tow. Not to my Rememberance; I don't remember I did.

Horsenail. Did not we meet you next Sunday Morning at the King's-Arms and Black-Mare? And did not Baker tell you of it?

Tow. Not in my Hearing.

Q. You Turnpike Keepers, often know that Men travel the Roads for these wicked Purposes, and conceal them.

Horsenail. You have known me these 2 Years, tho' not in this Way.

Tow. I never Drank with you.

James Barnes I am Headborough, and took Horsenail the 25th of October (on Suspicion of another Robbery) at Sir John Oldcastle's. I brought him to the Vine Tavern, and took a Pistol out of his Pocket, and my Assistants found another upon him. I taxed him with being concerned in some Robberies, and he said, if I would use him well, and carry him before a Magistrate, he would discover his Accomplices. When he was before Justice Midford he made his Information, and I got Horses and Assistance and went directly to Epping-Forrest; where according to his Instructions I searched 2 Barns for Baker and Cockey; and going thro' a Field to search another, I met Baker, and the Landlord of the House, to which the Barn belongs coming down the Field, about half a Mile from King's-Oak. I kick'd up his Heels, and took from him a Pistol, a Blunderbuss and a Dagger. My Companions seiz'd his Landlord, but he got from them, and is run away. I asked Baker where Cockey was, and he inform'd us, he was in the Barn, about 10 yards from the Place where we took him. The Barn-door was Lock'd, but I threw it off the Hinges; we search'd about, and in the Rafters over the Horses, there we found Cockey cover'd with the Hay. We brought him down and Hand-cuff'd him. Baker then asked if Horsenail was taken, and one of the Company told him yes; upon that Wager quarrell'd with Baker, and ask'd what Business he had to Betray him. But D - n me, said he, I don't care, we shall both be Jamm'd together. Twas as much as we could

do to get Wager Home, though I made a Man ride behind him, for he was very unruly, pulling the Horse about, making Motions with his Hands at every Body that it came near him, as if he was firing a Pistol, crying Phoo! Baker was very quiet, and only said that Horsenail was a Rogue, and deserved to be hang'd as much (or as well) as they did; but Cockey was very uneasy, and curs'd and swore bitterly, on the Road, and when we got to Town, the Mob was so great that I could not carry him directly to the Justices for fear of a Rescue, so I got them with much Difficulty to New-Prison, and the next Morning the Justice went to the Prison and examined them there, what they said upon their Examination I know not, for they were examined before I came down. Mr. Lewis, and I, and Baker, afterwards drank a Pint of Wine by ourselves, and Baker said to Mr. Lewis, I know I am a dead Man, for I had your Silver Moidore, 'tis now gone to be guilded, but if the Man that has it don't give it you, I'll have him punished. He own'd to us that he was the Man that cry'd Hey! and that Mr. Lewis cry'd Hallo!. He told us likewise that he had said to Horsenail, he would not have Mr. Lewis robb'd, because he knew him.

Q. Did he own to you who was in Company?

Barnes. Yes; he said Wager, and Horsenail, and Eadey, were in Company together. When I went to this Guy's House, he confess'd they all had been together, and had often lain at his House; and told us, that Cockey Wager had done so many audacious Things, that he had forbid him his House.

C. The Gentlemen in the Commission will prevent his keeping a Publick House to harbour Highwaymen.

Wager. I had been up by Four o'Clock that Morning, to get betimes to Waltham Market; when I came back I was weary, and went up to rest me on the Hay, but about 8 o'Clock I was surpriz'd, hearing a Noise in the Field, and hearing them breaking the Door; so I got up, and said, what is it you want? D - n you, we want you, and we'll shoot you through the Head. I had no Arms, and came down directly

Barnes. When I took him down and hand-cuff'd him, he swore at Baker and d - n'd his Blood, and told him if he had his Arms, and had been at Liberty, he would have drove us all to the Devil

Owen Griffith . Barnes and I had a Warrant to apprehend Horsenail on Suspicion of a Robbery; so we took him and carried him to the Vine-Tavern, and afterwards to Justice Midford, there he made a Discovery of several Robberies, and among the rest, of this Fact, in which he said Wager, Baker, and Eadey, were concern'd. He told us where we might find Wager and Baker if we went directly. We set out between 11 and 12 at Night, there was Barnes, and I, and Thomas Rose , and one Garland. According to our Directions we went to the Waggon-and-Horses by Hound's-Field near Endfield-Wash, and from thence to this Barn, where, if we found such and such Horses, we might depend upon the Prisoners being there If we found them not here, we were to go to one Howlet's, near King's-Oak. We put up our Horses at the King's-Oak, and were directed to the Barn, the People telling us if we went early in the Morning, we should certainly find them there, but if we were not upon them betimes, they would be gone to rob the Butchers on Rumford Road. We came to the Field where the Barn stood, and saw Baker coming down with his Landlord. Barnes went up to Baker and seized him, but the Landlord got away. Barnes took a Dagger out of his Breast, and one or two Pistols out of his Pocket. We ask'd where Cockey was; by G - d, says he, he's in the Barn. We search'd a Hay-Mow that was in the Barn, and God forgive me, I swore bitterly all the Time. Over the Horses there were some Poles laid, and a Truss or two of Hay upon them; here I search'd but could not find him. Barnes swore, and said, go up on the other Place; I did, as soon as I got up, he (Cockey) cry'd out for Mercy. But I have over-shot myself; my Lord, I should have told you, that Horsenail having informed us that Baker carried a Blunderbuss about him, we ask'd him for it, and he told us it was on his Right Side in a Pocket, and there we found it. There were some Expressions dropp'd, as if Horsenail was a Rogue, and deserv'd to be hang'd.

Q. Was Wager angry with Baker for betraying him?

Griffith Yes, he call'd him Dog, I think, and said, if he had had Baker's Arms, he would not have been taken. He might say something likewise of being jamm'd together, but I did not take Notice of it. We had a very hard Struggle with the Mob to get them to Prison. Justice Midford came to examine them in Goal, but as he had been there a considerable Time before I came, I can give no particular Account of their Examinations, but Baker afterwards desired to speak with Barnes by himself, and the Discourse that

passed between them was much as Barnes has related, for I listen'd at the Door, and heard all that passed.

Baker. I never said I was concerned in this Robbery, for I knew nothing of it; and Mr. Lewis said before the Justice, that he did not know me.

Benjamin Garland . Past 12 o'Clock, between the 25th and 26th of October last, Barnes, Griffiths, and Rose, came to my Bed-side and told me I must get up, they had something for me to do which would be for my Good. I went with them to Waltham-Abbey and to King's-Oak As we were going to this Barn, we met Baker and his Land-lord in the Field. Barnes seiz'd Baker, and took from him a Pistol, a Hanger, and a Blunderbuss. Baker told us Cockey was in the Barn; we search'd the Hay, and thrust the Hanger into it; at last I perceiv'd him to stir, and I cry'd out, Here he is! and Griffths got up and took him. As we were bringing them to the King's Oak, Wager said, D - n you, you Dog (to Baker) could you not be content to be hang'd, without me, and called him very scurvilous Names; but if I am hang'd, says he, I have the Pleasure of having you hanged with me. Baker only shook his Head, and gave him no scurvilous Language again.

Wager. I am sure I behaved myself very indecently, - decently I mean, and what they all say is entirely false As soon as they had taken us they said, now there was 280 l for us; and one of them said, he would get himself a Marshal's-Court Officer's Place with his Part of the Money.

Thomas Rose . Barnes and Griffiths came to my House to be informed how they might take Horsenail, for he liv'd just over-against my House; I knew he was at Home, so we watch'd for him and took him. Eadey and Wager us'd to come to and from Horsenail's Lodgings frequently. I was at the taking of Baker by Horsenail's Directions; and after we had taken the Hanger and the Pistol from him, we asked for a Blunderbuss, which Horsenail told us he generally carried about him; he readily told us it was in his Great Coat Pocket, and there we found it. Wager curs'd and swore bitterly all the Way we brought him along, d - ning Baker for a cowardly Dog, and telling him if he had his Arms, he would have made a devilish Sweep among us. One of our Company asked him, whether that would not have been a very barbarous Crime? No, says Wager, 'tis all one for that, I could but have been hang'd.

Wager. I liv'd with Mr. Howlet seven Weeks, he is a Butcher, and he bid me get up that Morning and dress the Goods for Waltham Market, when I had done I was a-tyr'd, so I got up in the Hay-Loft to sleep; these Fellows came in, and said, G - d d - n you, if you speak a Word, we'll shoot you through the Head; I told them they were welcome to lay hold of me, so I surrendred and went very peaceably with them to New Prison. As to what they have said about my cursing Baker, with humble Submission, there's none of them lives in Credit; Rose keeps a bad House, and the others are Black-Guards. I hope your Lordship will consider what they have said. I have no Witnesses now, they were all here Yesterday.

Q. And did not you yourself desire Yesterday to have your Trial put off untill this Morning?

Arthur Perkins , Richard Dennis , and Thomas Wright , appeared to Wager's Character.

William Savage , - Pantrey, and Thomas Dean , appear'd in Baker's Behalf. Guilty Death .

William Wager , otherwise Cockey Wager, and Edward Baker , were a second Time indicted for robbing George Sleath , as above.

George Sleath . I was coming from East Barnet the 24th of September, and upon Finchley-Common before 8 in the Morning, I was stopp'd by the two Prisoners at the Bar, they had Pistols in their Hands, and demanded my Money, and bid me be quick. I put my Hand in my Pocket and gave them ten or twelve Shillings, and said, if they must have it, there it was. I kept Six-pence in my Right Hand, and desired them to leave me that to pay the Turnpike. I am positive to the two Prisoners, for I look'd at them four or five Times, and they did not check me. Cockey took the Money, I delivered it into his Hands, and Baker, when I ask'd for the Six-pence, said, well, well, let him have it. They d - n'd me, and said, I had not given them all, so they searched my Breeches and my Fob, and then they rid away; I am sure I carried the Thoughts of them in my Mind ever since, for they are very notify'd. When they rode off, Baker said, d - n you, don't tell any Body that you have been robbed, for if you do, the very next Time I meet you, I will shoot you; but I rode not above half Way over the Common, before I told the People I met, that I had been robb'd; I thought I should know them again, and the Moment I saw them in New - Prison, I was sure they were the Men.

Wager. I never robb'd that Man throughout the whole Course of my Life.

Baker. I never saw him before in my Life. Guilty , Death .

Horsenail informed the Court, that Mr. Atkins and Mr. Lucas had been with him, since he was taken into Custody, and had solicited him to swear against one Birch, whom they had taken at Gravesend; that they had made use of Promises and Threats to induce him to do it: Upon which the Court ordered Mr. Atkins into Custody; but he was the same Day admitted to Bail.


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