William Brister, James Page, James Roberts, Theophilus Watson, John Potbury, Henry Gadd, William Billingsly, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 5th December 1744.

Reference Number: t17441205-37
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Not Guilty; Guilty
Punishment: Death

59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65. + William Brister , James Page , James Roberts , Theophilus Watson , John Potbury , otherwise Jack the Sailor , Henry Gadd , otherwise Scampy , and William Billingsly , otherwise Gugg , of St. Peter Cheap , were indicted (together with Samuel Bannister , William Lippy , and Richard Morris , otherwise Irishman, not yet taken) for assaulting James Hind on the King's highway, putting him in fear, &c. and taking from him a silver watch, value 50 s. a steel seal, value 6 d. and a padlock key, value 6 d. his property , August the 20th .

James Hind . On the 20th of August, about nine in the evening, I was coming down Cheapside with some gentlemen's servants; several people hussled them, and presently after they hussled my fellow servant and me, (his name is Thomas Read ) and robbed me of a silver watch, a steel seal, and a padlock key. They all surrounded me; one of them clapped his hand upon my breast, and the little one in the black wig [Potbury] I think 'tis him, robbed me.

Q. Was there any boy among them?

Hind. I don't know that there was; I can't say any thing to that; they put me in a great fright.

Q. Do you know Page?

Hind. I can't say that I do; I don't know any body but him in the black wig. I heard of some people being taken up, by an advertisement that was published. I went one day last week to enquire about it, and was in hopes of hearing of my watch again, but I never did.

William Harper . On the 20th of August, it was a particular day, for I, Morris, and Billingsly had heard that one Edward Young * was taken up for a robbery, and we were sent for to endeavour to get him away.

* He was indicted last October Sessions for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Thomas Burn in the day time, no person being therein, and received sentence of Transportion. Page 228. Trial 429.

Q. Did they always send for you upon these occasions?

Harper. They always helped one another, if they knew them.

Q. Suppose you did not know them, would you do it then?

Harper. If we met a man with a Constable in the Street, though we did not know him, we went to rescue him. The same night Billingsly went to the Horns in Gutter Lane, and called for a glass of brandy, and seeing a silver spoon he broke it in two, and that he kept to himself; we went to Holbourn Bridge, and there we met Page, Brister and Lippy; then we saw Joseph Field and two or three more, we told them about rescuing Young, and they said they would not get themselves into a broil for any body: when we got to the end of Woodstreet we met Henry Gadd , and Jack the Sailor - some of them had hangers.

Q. What could Gadd do to rescue any body?

Harper. He could do as much mischief as anybody.

Q. How did they carry their hangers?

Harper. At their belts under their coats, they did not mind who saw them.

Q. Did Gadd carry a hanger?

Harper. Yes.

Q. Did he carry his under his coat?

Harper. His was one that was broke and ground down, and as it was shorter than the others, it would be hid pretty well under his coat. Jack Potbury and Gadd had got a watch in Wood-street, and they wanted to keep it: then we went up Wood-street, and in Cheapside we met two men, and Jack the Sailor took a watch from one of them.

Q. What time of night was it?

Harper. It was about eight o'clock.

Q. Was it not dark then?

Harper. It was just dusk.

Hind. I was robbed between Wood-street and Gutter-lane.

Harper. It was about thirty yards on this side Wood-street; after that we went all in a body down Newgate-street, and then they were wrangling and quarrelling as they went along the street, who had a right to what they had got that day; and Billingsly said to Watson, that he should have nothing, and that Page should have nothing, and

that Roberts should have nothing; but Tho. Watson stuck to it, and went to the Brown Bear in Seacole Lane.

Q. Was Page with you at this robbery?

Harper. Yes.

Q. What did he do?

Harper. We all assisted alike - Page had no part of the money, nor Roberts neither; and The. had no other part but what Brister gave him, for they went out picking of pockets together, and Brister said, he should have part of it.

Brister. Mr. Broomer impressed me, and I was sent down to Tilbury Fort.

He was impressed upon Ludgate-hill, and sent away the impress before last. James Page , acquitted ; Brister, Roberts, Watson, Potbury, Gadd and Billingsly, guilty Death .


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