Alexander Ratcliffe, Theft > burglary, 12th October 1737.

Reference Number: t17371012-5
Offence: Theft > burglary
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

8. Alexander Ratcliffe , was indicted for breaking and entering the Dwelling-house of Thomas Gibson , in the Parish of St. James's Clerkenwell , about the Hour of Two in the Night, and stealing a silver Watch, val. 4 l. a silver Porringer, val. 30 s. a silver Cup, val. 3 l. a silver Spoon, val. 10 s. and a Pair of silk Stockings, val. 10 s . March 26. 1735 .

Mr. Gibson. The Prisoner was taken on the Information of an Accomplice, who was concern'd with him in robbing me. On the 25th of March 1735, about One o'Clock in the Morning, my Servant called me up to assist him in my Business, and about Two I sent him into the Yard for the Scovel, to sweep the Oven. He had not gone far from the Bake-house Door, before I heard him cry out. I suspected what was the Matter, so I whipp'd up a Pole, and ran to assist him: But before I got to the Door, I saw a Man with a Pistol in his Hand: He fired it at me, and wounded me in the Breast, and in the Arm, in a desperate Manner. The Rogue stood within the Bake-house. The first Pistol was no sooner fired, but a second came full in my Face, and beat me down: They were loaded with Bird shot, several of which I have now in my Body. When I was on the Ground, three Men came and took me up in their Arms, and unbottoning the Waistband of my Breeches, they took what Money I had, out of my Pockets - I believe there might be between ten and twenty Shillings. When they had done, they laid me down on the Ground, and brought my Servant in (whom they had seized in the Yard) and made him direct them, where they might have Candles to search the House; then they ty'd his Hands behind him, and a Handkerchief over his Eyes, and led him to several Places in the House, where the Things were, which they wanted; and when they had done with him, they brought him to the Oven's Mouth, where I lay on the Ground, and set him down on the Ground by me, and two Men were plac'd as Guards over us; one stood at my Head, and another at my Feet; one of them had a Sword, and the other a Pistol. There was five of them in all - three ransack'd the House, and took away Goods to the Value of 50 l. among which, were the Things mentioned in the Indictment.

Q. Which Way did they come in?

Mr. Gibson. The Bake-house is contiguous to the Dwelling-house, and opens into a Yard: Which Yard is enclosed with a Brick-wall, and a Door opens in this Wall, into the Fields, toward Islington. I apprehend, one of them got over the Wall, and then open'd the Door, and let the rest of them into the Yard. I cannot take upon me to say, whether the Bake-house Door was shut or open, when the Man came who fir'd at me; but when they were ransacking the House, they broke a large Door, to get into a Room, and several other Doors and Locks they broke when they were in the House. The Judges who try'd the former Cases (for two Men have been executed already for this Fact) were of Opinion, that this was a Burglary. They were about half an Hour in rifling the House, and when they had done, they ty'd our Hands and Legs together, and then went out the same Way they came. The Prisoner was discover'd some Time after, by the Information of an Accomplice, and according to that Information, I went to the Rose and Crown in Drury Lane, to take the Prisoner; but he escap'd over the Tops of the Houses, and got away to Ireland, from whence I fetch'd him hither. I can't swear he was one of the Men that was in the House, but my Man will give the Court Satisfaction in that Particular.

Bryan Bird . I need not relate the Manner of my first being seized, because my Master has done it, very exactly.

C. You must give an Account what happen'd to you.

Bird. About 2 o'Clock in the Morning, I don't remember particularly the Day of the Month, but 'twas in the Year 1735, I was at Work with my Master in the Bake-house, and went out into the Yard for the Scovel; five Men rush'd out of a back House in the Yard, which faced the back

of the Oven, and they either knocked me down or push'd me down, I can't tell which. Then they clapp'd a Sword to my Throat, and a Pistol to my Breast, swearing if I made any Noise they would kill me. After they had silenc'd me, they all went in Doors, except one Fellow, who stood Guard over me, with a Sword in his Hand. I saw the Flash of the Pistol that was fired at my Master in the Bake-house, and heard him cry out once. I did imagine they had kill'd him, and that I should meet with the same Fate. In some little Time, the Man that stood Guard over me, made me go into the Bake-house with him, and there I found another Man standing over my Master, and two others were present: The Fifth Man having been my Master's Servant but a little Time before, - he kept out of Sight, but he was the first Man that laid hold of me in the Yard. The Face of the Prisoner at the Bar I remember very well, I observed it, and am positive he is the very Person that robb'd my Master; I am sure he is the Man. When they came into the House they broke a strong old fashion'd Door, and they broke Part of the Lock off to get it open. They broke open several Locks and Chests of Drawers, but I don't know directly what Goods they took, for after they had brought me into the Bakehouse, they tied a Handkerchief over my Eyes, but I know the Prisoner was one of the three that went up and down the House to rifle it. I am sure he is one of them.

Prisoner. What Cloaths had I on at that Time?

Bird. I did not mind any Cloaths; I endeavoured to observe their Faces, - not their Cloaths.

Prisoner. Were any of the Men disguised?

Bird. Yes; one Man was disguised, and he was the Man that had been my Master's Servant.

Prisoner. I would ask Mr. Gibson, whether Mr. White saw me at Bristol, when he took the two Men who were tried here before?

Mr. Gibson. No; you did not go to Bristol with the rest; - you did not fly till you was pursued.

Prisoner. The Night Mr. Gibson was robb'd, I was at a Christening, and staid there all Night, by the same Token I quarrell'd with a Man, and he cut me over the Lip with a Candlestick.

Mary Field . On Sunday, March 23, 1735, the Prisoner was at a Christening of mine, - I beg Pardon, I was delivered of a Child on the Sunday, and it was christened the next Day, - the next Evening; the Prisoner was present, and some Words happening between him and another Man, the Man took up a Candlestick and cut him on the Lip. I live at Mrs. Austen's in Cable Street, by Rag Fair. The Prisoner was intosticated (intoxicated ) with Liquor, and so he desired to lie with my Husband, which he did not only that Night, but every Night till Thursday.

Mary Maily . This good Woman's Child was christened on Monday Night the 24th of March, - 'twas last March was two Years; the Prisoner was there, and he quarrell'd with a Sailor, and got a Cut upon his Lip with a Candlestick, - there's the Mark of the Cut now. I was the Person that got Vinegar and Wine to stop the Bleeding. He staid there all Night, and two or three Nights following; during his Stay at this House he was very ill, and I got him some warm Ale to drink, and some Diaculum for his Cut.

Q. What had you for Supper?

Maily. I did not take Notice of that; it was something cold.

Q. Who were the Gossips?

Maily. One that is gone to Sea; and who the others were I can't tell.

Q. What Liquors had you?

Maily. Strong Beer and other Liquors. The Prisoner was never out of the House from Monday, to Thursday or Friday following; he was never out of the Doors.

Alice Dugan . About two Years ago last March, I laid this Woman of a Child. -

Q. What Day of the Week was it?

Dugan. I don't know.

Q. Don't you know what Day of the Week it was?

Dugan. 'Twas on a Sunday, - and the Christening was on Monday. I left the Prisoner there on Monday Night at almost Eleven. I went there again in a Day or two, and saw him there; and Mrs. Field told me he had got Hurt, and had lain with her Husband.

Q. What had you for Supper?

Dugan. I did not stay for Supper.

Q. Why you did not go away till 11 o'Clock you say.

Dugan. Yes, but I did not stay for Supper, it was something they had in a Publick House

Q. What Liquor had you?

Dugan. Beer and Wine. I am sure he was there, for he gave me Half a Crown. I saw the Prisoner there on Monday Night, and on Thursday I went there again, and Mrs. Field told me that he had lain with her Husband ever since. He had then a Cloath about his Face, and I saw a

Plaister upon his Lip. Besides, the Prisoner was one of the Gossips.

Q. What was the Name of the Child?

Dugan. I can't tell; - it was John I think

William Drew . I liv'd with Andrew Conolly , at the King's-Head, in King's-Head Court, in Drury-Lane, and drew Beer there. I remember one Morning Ward and Row (who were executed for this Robbery) and three others, came in and went up Stairs with a Bundle. Ward had a Coat with Yellow Buttons, and Row had a Pair of carv'd Silver Buckles; it frighted me so, - to see such Things opened, that I could see no more - The Prisoner at the Bar was not with them, - by Virtue of my Oath.

Marget Chipsey. I have known the Prisoner four or five Years; he work'd at Labouring Work and resorted to Mrs. Austen's, in Cable Street. At that Time in particular he came to me to buy a Shirt, for I sell such Things, - old and new, - and he was to give me four Shillings for it; he gave me a Crown Piece to change, and it being Saturday Night, and I very busy, I gave him a Six-pence and a Half Guinea instead of two Six-pences; but on Sunday Morning he came before I was up, and returned me the Half Guinea again - he's a very honest Fellow.

Alexander Graham had known him a considerable Time to follow Labouring Work, and never heard ill of him.

Rebecca Loveit was the Prisoner's Washerwoman, and he always paid her very honestly. Last Shrove-Tuesday was Twelvemonths he told her he was going to Ireland to receive a small Legacy. She had lived in the House with him two or three Years, and he always came Home - every Night - between 10 and 11 o'Clock.

Prisoner. I hope your Lordship will consider that I have been a Year and a half in Goal on Account of this false Information. If I had been a Rogue, a Villain, or a Robber, certainly something would have come out against me lying in Goal all this Time. Guilty . Death .


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