John Machell, Richard Wilkinson, Theft > animal theft, 11th October 1738.

Reference Number: t17381011-1
Offence: Theft > animal theft
Verdict: Guilty; Not Guilty
Punishment: Death

1, 2. John Machell and Richard Wilkinson , were indicted for stealing two black Mares, value 20 l. the Goods of John Lucas , September the 16th .

John Lucas. On the 14th of September, in the Night, I lost two heavy black Mares, out of my Grounds at Thollowson, in the Parish of Dunchurch, in Warwickshire ; and my Servants having Inform'd me that two sorry Fellows had been lurking about the Ground the Evening before, I enquired of every one I met, if they had not seen two such Persons with two Mares, and was told they were gone towards London; I followed them to St. Alban's, where a Man told me he had seen them at Redbourn Wash, coming for London; at the New-River-Head I heard of them again, and was informed they would certainly be push'd into the Market for Sale; upon this I went directly to Mr. Cleaver, in Smithfield, and searched the Toll-Book, and got a Friend to search the Inns about Smithfield and St. John's-Street, while my Landlord and I went to cross the Water, in order to look for them in the Borough, and just as we were going to take Boat, the Hostler came to us, and told us the Mares were found at the Pewter-Platter in St. John's-Street; we returned with the Hostler, and saw them; I am positive they are the same Mares that I lost from Thollowson; as to the Prisoners, I can only say, they answer the Description my Men had given me of them; I can't say I ever saw them before.

Thomas Salter . Mr. Lucas and Mr. Cooper, (a Neighbour of his) came to me at the Rose and Crown, and desired me to enquire for two Fellows

with a Couple of large black Mares. Accordingly, while Lucas went for the other Side of the Water, we enquired at the Golden Lyon, where we heard that the Mares had been there, but were carried to the Pewter-Platter, higher up the Street. We went thither, and found a Neighbour of mine, (one Mr. Twist) bargaining with the Prisoner Machell, for one of the Mares. I asked him whether the Mare was his own? he said, yes; and, says Mr. Twist, he asks Eight Guineas for her, and I will give but 5 l. Well, says I, let's go in and drink don't let's have a dry Bargain; so we went into the House, and I ask'd him (Machell) if he had not another Mare, and if another Man was not concerned in the Property of the Mares? he said, yes, - but his Partner was above Stairs, - a-bed. Then I went up to the other Prisoner (Wilkinson) and told him his Partner wanted him, and could not sell the Mares unless you come down. Are they yours, says I, yes, reply'd Wilkinson, we bought them at Woburn Fair last Thursday, and gave Twenty Guineas for them. When Wilkinson came down to Machell, I asked them again about the Price they had paid for them, and they said Twenty Pounds or Guineas, I can't tell which. The two Prisoners answering the Description that Lucas had given of them, as exactly as if he had drawn their Pictures, we got a Constable who took them into Custody. We were confirmed in our Proceedings by the Keeper of New-Prison, who happening to be there, knew Machell, and told us he had been tried for such an Offence, but the very last Sessions. Machell told us before the other (Wilkinson) came down, that he bought them at Woburn Fair for 20 Guineas or 20 l.

Lucas. The Prisoners were carried to the Justice, - before I got back to the Inn, where the Mares were found.

James Gill . The Morning we found the Mares at the Pewter-Platter, Machell was talking to a Man about one of the Mares; the other ( Wilkinson ) was a-bed, but was fetch'd down Stairs. I thought it might be proper to part them, so I took Wilkinson into the Kitchen, and asked him some Questions, in answer to which, he said, he knew nothing of the Matter, nor from whence the Mares came; then he said he bought them at Woburn Fair for Twenty Pounds, and they were his own; and then Machell said he bought them himself.

John Maxwell . On the 15th of September about 7 at Night, the two Prisoners brought the Mares into our Yard; one rode one of them, and the other Man led in the other. On the one were two Saddles, the other had no Saddle but four Bridles. They bid me take Care of them, litter them and make them clean; which of them in particular gave me this Charge, I cannot take upon me to say, - they both came together, and gave me charge of them; then they went into the House, and sent for me to drink with them, and Machell again bid me take Care of his Mares. My Master Jones coming in, I told him those two Men had two good Coach Mares; - and I'll be hang'd then, says he, if they have not stole them. When the Prisoners were gone to Bed, he and I went to look at them, one was about four Years old, and the other about six. In the Morning my Master got Mr. Markham to come and look at the Mares, and I call'd Machell to shew him one of them. He warranted the Mare to be sound; and while Mr. Markham and he were talking together, this Gentleman (Mr. Salter) came in and sent for a Constable, and Mr. Cleaver sent after Mr. Lucas, and fetched him back. I went before Mr. Poulson to swear I received the Mares from the Prisoners. They told me I needed not give them any Corn, for they had given them as much as they would eat at Whetstone. This was on Friday Night, and the next Morning Mr. Lucas came and owned the same Mares, which the Prisoners over Night had given me Charge of.

Machell. I was going down to Northampton, and met with this Wilkinson, and the two Mares. He told me he had bought them, and offer'd to satisfy me if I would come with him to Smithfield Market to sell them.

Wilkinson. He had none of the Mares from me. I met him at Newcastle under Line with them and a Sorrel Mare, which he swopp'd away at Daventry, and afterwards it was claim'd by another Man I had got 4 or 5 l. and thought to have got a Place, but I spent it with him, and he promised to pay me again when these two Mares were sold.

Machell Guilty . Death . Wilkinson, Acquitted .


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