John Eyres, James Cropp, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 13th April 1743.

Reference Number: t17430413-27
Offences: Violent Theft > highway robbery; Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdicts: Guilty; Guilty
Punishments: Death; Death

211. 212. + John Eyres and James Cropp of St Leonard, Shoreditch , were indicted for assaulting Barnard Merest Byfield , on the King's Highway, putting him in Fear, and Danger of his Life, and taking from him a Hat, val. 2 s. a Pair of Gloves, val. 6 d. a Linnen-Handkerchief, val. 6 d. and 5 s. in Money March, 31 .

Barnard Merest Byfield . On Thursday was se'nnight (the last Day of March) about 10 o'Clock in the Evening, as I was going home to Newington, I was overtaken by two Men; they laid hold of me and demanded my Money, and while one of them was searching me, the other came and took off my Hat, and they took my Gloves and my Handkerchief; I begged for my Hat because it was very cold; and the second Person, who took off my Hat, put me in a great deal of Fear, and if it had not been upon the Account of the first Person that stopped me (Eyres) I believe I had lost my Life. - I was down on my Knees and begg'd for my Life; they threatened me very much. - The first that came up to me took 5s. out of my Breeches-Pocket - I cannot be certain whether they took my Gloves and Handkerchief, but they were all gone, I missed them when I came home; and I suppose the Person that search'd me took the 5s. out of my Pocket. It was on the other Side of Shareditch, on the Causeway, by the Ironmongers Alms-houses .

Court. Look upon the Prisoners; and see whether you can say, one, or either of them are the Persons that used you so?

Byfield. No, I cannot, it was pretty dark; I cannot tell their Faces - It was only Star-light.

Charles Warman . I am the King's Evidence. On the 31st of March (the Day before Good-Friday) James Cropp , Eyres, and I, went out with an Intent to rob; we went as far as the Black-Horse, in King's-land-Road, and as we were coming back again, we met this Gentleman (Mr Byfield) - I do not remember the Gentleman's Person; we passed him, and after we had passed by him, Eyres and Cropp turned back again; I went to see what they turned back for, and they had got hold of him, Eyres was down on his Knees searching of him, and Cropp took off his Hat; we pawned the Hat in Holioway-Lane, for 2 s. - they said, they found nothing else about him.

Q. Where was this done?

Warman. It was a little beyond the Ironmongers Alms-houses; we did not meet any People till we came to King's-land-Road. - They owned the Fact before Justice De Veil.

Byfield. I believe it was something beyond the Ironmongers Alms-houses.

Q. Who was present before Justice De Veil when they owned it?

Warman. Several Persons in Court.

Charles Robinson . I was present at Colonel De Veil's when these Prisoners were examined (I do not know whether any Thing was taken in Writing ) but the first Time they were examined they both acknowledged the Robbery; and one of them said, he had not any Part of the Money.

Q. What did Cropp say?

Robinson. He owned his being present at the robbing of Mr Byfield, and confessed what he was charged with, but that he had not any Part of the Booty, and Cropp said, that the Evidence pawned the Hat, and that Eyres and he stood at some Distance while he pawned it.

Q. What were they charged with?

Robinson. They were charged with robbing a Person in King's-land-Road - a Person that was then unknown; there happened to be a Gentleman present, upon the Examination, who said, he knew the Person that was robbed, and that Mr Byfield had told him of his being robbed; upon that, Colonel De Veil appointed another Day for their further Examination, and at the second Examination they both denied it; it was not then known that the Gentleman lost any thing but a Hat.

Abraham Whitehead . I am a Pawnbroker; on the 1st of April, about seven o'Clock in the Morning, a young Man brought a Hat to me to pawn, and I lent him two Shillings on it; he took it off his Head and gave it me, and on the 5th of April it was fetched out. I do not know the Hat, or the Man who came into the Shop.

Warman. I had this Hat from Cropp, and I am sure this is the Hat I carried to the Pawnbroker's.

Q. Are you sure this is the Hat that Cropp gave you?

Warman. If it is the same Hat that I gave the Pawnbroker, it is the same Hat that I had of Cropp. - I cannot be sure this is the Hat I had of Cropp.

Mr Byfield. This is the Hat I had on that Night I was robbed.

Q. to Whitehead. Who brought this Hat to you?

Whitehead. The Person that brought it came as soon as I had opened Shop in the Morning. I never saw him before.

Warman. I believe it was about seven o'Clock in the Morning when I carried it.

Whitehead. As near as I can tell it was about seven o'Clock in the Morning.

Q. Did you ever carry any ot her Hat to this Man to pawn, but the Hat you had from Cropp?

Warman. No, I never carried any other Hat to him.

The Prisoners did not make any Defence, but desired the Witnesses to their Character might be called.

Richard Eyres . The Prisoner Eyres is my own Brother, the more is the Misfortune. I never knew but what he was an honest Fellow, and worked hard for his Bread. He is a Smith by Trade , he has worked with me about six Months. - He goes about with me buying damaged Flour and damaged Goods to make Pasteboards. - I do not live in the House with him, but I used to send my Girl to him when I wanted him.

Q. Do you know any Thing of his being with you on the 31st of March?

Richard Eyres . He was at work with me that Day, - till twelve o'Clock.

Q. What Twelve at Night?

Richard Eyres . No, Twelve at Noon. I will speak nothing but what is true.

Jane Eyres . I am the Wife of Richard Eyres ; the Prisoner, John Eyres , has worked very hard with his Brother, and did so that unhappy Day, till twelve o'Clock, but I cannot say where he went afterwards.

Abraham Mather . I come on the Behalf of Cropp. I live in the Neighbourhood where he did, and have known him from a Child, (nineteen or twenty Years) and never knew him guilty of any such thing before. His Mother follows the Business of a Dyer, and he has worked in the Dye-House with his Mother. I have been in the Dye-House perhaps three or four Times a Week.

Jury. Did you find him there often?

Mather. He has been at work sometimes, but he has not been so often in the Dye-House, since he has been acquainted with these People. - His Mother is a very honest Woman.

Ann Barbut . I have known Cropp these fifteen Years, he has been frequently in my House, and always behaved well; he has been just and honest to me. I have had silver Spoons and Mugs in the House, and he never did me any Wrong, and he might have done me a great deal if he would. - I carry on the Weaving Business.

Nicholas Paradice . I have known Cropp about two Years and an half, and have trusted him with several Parcels of Silk, which he has had to dye for me, and I always found it very right. His Mother and Brother are very honest People.

Mrs Jones. I have entrusted James Cropp in my House for a Fortnight together, and no Body but himself, where there was Plate and several Things of Value, and he never wronged me of any Thing: and he has received Money for me, and was always very just to me.

Ann Bosman . I live opposite to his Mother, and have known him between five and six Years, and never heard any thing amiss of him before.

Foreman of the Jury. I desired to be informed, whether she knows what he is, and how he spends his Time?

Bosman. He is a Dyer , his Mother and Brother carry on that Business, and he has worked in the Dye-House along with his Brother.

Jane Gilding . I am a Neighbour to Cropp, I have known him about ten Years, and he always behaved well in the Neighbourhood. There are several Gentlemen who would have come to his Character, but Business has prevented them. He worked with his Brother in the Dye-House.

Dorothy Clagget . My Husband lived in the Family, before he (the Prisoner) was born. Cropp has been frequently at our House, and always behaved well. I never heard that ever he wronged any Body in my Life.

Mary Radford . My Husband and I have lived twenty Years over-against the House where his Mother lives, and have known him ever since he was born; and I never knew or heard any Harm of him in the Neighbourhood. - His Mother is a very honest industrious Woman, and has brought up a large Family. I hope, my Lord, and Gentlemen of the Jury, for his poor Mother's Sake, and the bringing up of the Family, that you will take this into Consideration; she is now very much in Despair upon this Account.

Q. to Whitehead. Did you take in any other. Hat that Morning?

Whitehead. Yes, I did, but not quite so soon.

Both Guilty , Death .

Mr Byfield applied himself to the Court, on the Behalf of Eyres, and said if it had not been for Eyres, he believes he should have been murdered.

+ James Cropp was a second Time indicted, for assaulting Jonathan Beaumont , on the King's Highway, putting him in Fear, &c. and taking from him a Hat, val. 2 s. and a Perriwig, val. 5s . Jan. 28 .

Jonathan Beaumont . On Friday the 28th of January, I had been at Hoxton, and coming back in order to go home, I was knocked down in Hog-Lane, and beat in a barbarious Manner; I lost my Hat and Wig - I do not know what I was knocked down with, neither can I swear to the Persons who did it, or how many there were of them - I do not know whether the Person that attacked me first took my Hat and Wig - I believe it was a pretty light Night.

Charles Warman . On a Friday Night, the latter End of January - I cannot tell the Day of the Month, I and Cropp and Anderson and Bradshaw, went out with an Intent to rob some Body, and going down Northern Falgate, Cropp saw Beaumont at his Door - he knew him. There's Beaumont, says Cropp, his Father has been dead about a Fortnight, and he has got a Watch, and if we can get that it will be a good Booty. Cropp said, He is drunk; and I believe he was a little in Liquor: Beaumont went out, and we followed him him up Shoreditch, and all the Way to Hoxton, and there we lost him; I suppose he went into some House; we waited some Time but could not see him; two or three Hours afterwards we met him by Chance, in Hog-Lane, and he was singing. D - n you, says Cropp, there's Beaumont again; and he gave me a Stick and bid me knock him down; and accordingly I did knock him down; I did not care to strike him any more for fear of killing him; Cropp took the Stick from me and gave him two or three Blows more, and then snatched off his Hat and Wig and run away with it.

Q. What Time was this?

Warman. I believe it was about twelve o'Clock at Night; Beaumont was very much in Liquor; Cropp confessed the Robbery before Colonel De Veil; I believe the Keeper of New-Prison heard him.

Thomas Cavenagh (Keeper of the New-Prison.) I was there, but I do not remember that I heard him own this - it was said, but I do not know who said it; I heard Cropp say, If he had robbed him, that this Fellow (that is Warman) knocked him down.

Q to Beaumont. Was you in Liquor that Night?

Beaumont. Yes, I was a little in Liquor.

Q. Was you singing?

Beaumont. Yes, I remember I was singing.

Prisoner. When they knocked the Man down, I was asleep at the Baker and Basket Door, the End of Hog-Lane, and when they came to me they brought the Hat and Wig with them; I was not in their Company.

Warman. The Hat and Wig was carried to Rag-Fair to be sold by Anderson, who is gone to Sea. Guilty , Death .


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