James Stansbury, Theft > burglary, Theft > burglary, 27th February 1745.

Reference Number: t17450227-12
Offences: Theft > burglary; Theft > burglary
Verdicts: Guilty
Punishments: Death

172. + James Stansbury *, was indicted (together with Daniel Boyers and Abraham Saunshus , not yet taken) for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of John White , in the parish of St. Mary, Whitechapel , in the nighttime, and stealing ten tin canisters, value 30 s. seventy pound weight of tea, value 28 l. a pair of silver knee-buckles, value 2 s. 6 d. a pair of silver shoe-buckles, value 5 s. a silver stock-buckle, value 1 s. five silver tea spoons, value 5 s. two silver spoons, value 15 s. eight holland shirts, value 4 l. six shifts, value 30 s. five aprons, value 5 s. two tablecloths, value 5 s. six napkins, value 6 s. six pair of stockings, value 6 s. a yard and an half of cambrick, value 10 s. a mob, value 2 s. 6 d. &c. and five pounds in money ; the goods and money of John White , Oct. 6 .

* He was tried in September sessions, in the mayoralty of Sir Robert Willimot , with Mary his wife, for assaulting George Morgan , putting him in fear, and taking from him a bat, perriwig, &c. five moidores, &c. in his [Stansbury's] dwelling-house in Hanging-sword-alley in Fleet-street, and acquitted. See September sessions in that mayoralty, number VII. page 250. His wife was capitally convicted for that fact, and is since transported.

John White . In the night between the 6th and 7th of October, my house was broke open - I was called up about seven in the morning, and the goods and money, mentioned in the indictment, were taken away.

Q. Did you perceive there had been any marks of violence on any part of the house?

White. There was a hole cut in the window-shutter of the kitchen, and it was unbarred on the inside. Here is the handle of an instrument which the coopers use in boring, which was found on the outside of the kitchen window. They had let themselves out at the street-door, and taken the key with them; so that we could not get into the street without taking off the lock of the door. We found the key in our own area, and a boy found the drawer, which the money was in, in a neighbour's area.

Jane White . In the morning, about 7 o'clock, I was informed the house was broke open, and that we were robbed of every thing they could come at, which was worth taking away.

Prisoner. I desire they may be examined separately.

Mrs. White. I know what I have to say.

Prisoner. Mr. White ought not to be there.

Jane White . The bureau was broke open: there was a glass case upon the bureau, and in this glass case there was a drawer with money in it, which they took away. I believe there were between five and six pounds. There was in that drawer a small buckle and some pieces of silver. I lost a great deal of linen, but have not heard of any of it since. - I was sure the house was fast when I went to bed, for I always look to it. - I was not the last person up. - There was a hole cut in the kitchen window shutter, through which they put a hand in, turned a screw, and the bar fell down upon some pewter, and that, it seems, made a noise. I did not hear it.

Jane Young . I am servant to Mr. White. The kitchen window was fast when I went to bed, which was about two minutes after my master and mistress went up. I was the last person below stairs. I got up about seven o'clock in the morning, and when I came down into the kitchen, I saw the casement open, and a hole cut in the window shutter, and the bar was down. It was an iron bar, which screwed in the middle: it was unscrewed; half of it was up and half down, and several things were pulled about the kitchen. - I did not hear any noise in the night. The shop was stripped, and the tea taken away. There were about ten canisters with tea taken out of the shop. - The canisters were found in a gardener's ground near Aylosse-street. - The shop is in Little Aylosse-street, Goodmans-fields.

Samuel Mecum . This James Stansbury , Abraham Saunshus , Daniel Boyers , and I, broke open this Shop. One of the Jews told me, about three days before, there was a great deal of tea in it (Saunshus and Boyers are both Jews.) We went there about twelve o'clock at night, and there was a light above stairs; so we went to an ale-house just over against the house, till it was a proper time, and had four or five full pots of beer and some bread and cheese, and staid there till about one.

Q. Did you know the house?

Mecum. I never was in the house before. I saw this young woman in the house then [Mrs. Spring's daughter.] After we had committed the robbery, we went to Stansbury's house: I lodged there at that time.

Q. Where was Stansbury's house?

Mecum. I kept a house in Whitechapel, and he lodged with me there. This tool was broke in breaking into the house [the cooper's tool, mentioned before.]

Q. Who broke the house open?

Mecum. Stansbury did it, for none of us could do it so well as he could. We got down into the area: Stansbury took a pane of glass our, and then fell a boring some holes in the shutter with the iron that belonged to this instrument; then he put his hand in, and the bar fell down upon some pewter. The pewter fell down and made a vast great noise: we stood two or three minutes, to hear if any body came down, but we could not hear any body. Stansbury used to take snuff, and in his snuff-box he had some tinder; we had a flint and a steel, and so struck a light, and then put a bit of candle into a dark lanthorn.

Q. Where had you the candle?

Mecum. We never were without it when we went to do such things, we always carried it in our pockets. Then Stansbury and I accordingly got in, and let the other two in at the street door. There was a great latch and a screw over the latch. of the door, which we unscreweed; the key was in the street door. Then we went directly to the tea canisters, took about six or seven of them off the shelves, and put them on the counter. Then we saw a thing like a scrutore (there was an ink bottle in it, and that we threw down.) We took out a drawer, and there was a little white canvas bag with some gold and silver in it; afterwards we went to the till, and took about seven or eight shillings out of it, chiefly in half-pence: there were some drawers underneath the scrutore, which we broke open, and there were ruffled shirts, handkerchiefs, aprons, and several other things of wearing apparel - I believe there might be eight or nine shirts (we sold them in a hurry for fear of having the house searched:) then we took to the best of my knowledge six canisters of tea, and two bundles of linen (there were two pair of bran new pumps) which we carried home: when we carried them home we locked the street door, and took the key away with us; we came back again, and then we took away about four canisters of tea. There was some silver which was not brought to light; I know nothing of that; and they broke something, I believe it was a pair of tea tongs: then we locked the street door, and somebody threw the key down the area, and said, D - n them, let them find the key.

Q. Where did you carry these things?

Mecum. To my house in White Chapel; Boyers, (for he used to buy stolen goods as well as go a thieving) gave us 3 l. for the clothes - what silver there was he had with the clothes for that money - we moved the tea to Boyer's house in Houndsditch, and he moved it to an empty room that he had in Houndsditch: we emptied the tea before we moved it, and put it into different parcels, because we would not mix it, and threw the canisters into a garden near a dunghill as you go from London to Stepney.

Prisoner. I desire the witnesses who have given their evidence may be put out of Court, because I have some questions to ask him about some pieces of coin. [At the Prisoner's desire the witnesses were ordered to withdraw.]

Prisoner. He was pleased to say there was gold in the bag. I desire to know what coin it was?

Mecum. To the best of my knowledge there were two guineas, half a guinea, half a moidore, and the rest was in silver. I had a guinea, and nine pence in half pence for my share of the money. I had not done these things if you had not persuaded me to it. When your wife was under sentence of transportation, you came to my house to get money this way in order to save her - He lay there upon the account of going out with me.

Prisoner. I desire to know whether he has any body to prove this, for he will say any thing to save himself, as this sort of people do. Have not you been tried for theft in this Court before?

Mecum. Yes; and I was acquitted.

Prisoner. He says I made him go a thieving with me.

Mecum. You asked me the question, Mr. Stansbury.

[After Mr. Stansbury had asked the Evidence what questions he thought proper, the witnesses were called into Court again.]

Q. to Mrs. White. You was mentioning that there were some pieces of money in a drawer in a bureau: what were they put in?

White. In a linen bag - a canvas bag, I think with red strings to it.

Q. What money was there in the bag?

White. There were three guineas, a half guinea, and half a moidore in gold; I believe I put in that night about twenty five shillings in silver, and there was a half crown and some six pences in it before I put the other silver in.

Q. What did you do with the street door key when you fastened the door?

White. I left it in the lock.

Q. How was the door fastened?

White. There is a bolt and a latch which screws down.

Q. Is the screw over the latch?

White. The screw is in the latch.

Elizabeth Spring . I live in Aylosse Street; my mother keeps a publick house; our house is almost opposite to Mr. White's.

Q. Have you seen the Prisoner before?

Spring. I think I have.

Q. In what month did you see the Prisoner?

Spring. It was in October - the sixth day of October.

Q. Do you know the day of the week?

Spring. Yes; very well - it was on a Saturday evening.

Q. Look at that man [Mecum.]

Spring. I do.

Q. Was he with the Prisoner at that time?

Spring. I believe he was - I think there were six of them - they came in between ten and eleven at night, and staid I believe till nigh twelve, and they all went out together - they did not come back again - they had only three tankards of beer.

Prisoner. How came you to take such particular notice of me?

Spring. Because the people in the house took notice of you, and did not like any of you; the gentlemen thought you were slippery rogues.

Prisoner. What clothes had I on?

Spring. I believe you had that coat and that wig you have now, and you sat and slept with your head against a pair of bellows by the chimney corner.

Prisoner to Mr. White. Has not there been two of the persons taken up on this account, and one now in custody?

White. There were three persons taken up on suspicion, but I do not know what became of them, they were not taken up on my account: I had a warrant to take up Mecum, Stansbury, and Saunshus.

Prisoner. What was it that induced you to take out a warrant a gainst these persons and me?

White. There is a person that pretends to be a thieftaker informed me of these three men.

Prisoner. I think the gentleman who is aggrieved, says, that his house was broke open the eighth or ninth of October.

Mecum. It was in the night between the sixth and seventh of October.

Eleanor Mecum . I am the wife of Samuel Mecum .

Q. Where did your husband and you live in last October?

Mecum. We lived in Whitechapel.

Q. Where did the Prisoner live?

Mecum. He lodged at my house.

Q. Do you know any thing of the breaking open Mr. White's house?

Mecum. I do not know what day of the month it was done; I remember their going out and bringing things in.

Q. Do you know what month it was in?

Mecum. I did not take any account of it; I remember they came home on a Saturday night about one o'clock; Stansbury came in first with a white bundle and other things, then my husband came and the other two came after him - I believe my husband brought in some canisters of tea.

Q. Who were there besides?

Mecum. Boyers and Saunshus - there were two bundles brought.

Q. Did they bring them at once?

Mecum. No; at twice - The bundles came in first and some canisters, and then the other canisters.

Prisoner. How long have you been the wife of this Mecum?

Mecum. Five years last Borough Fair.

Prisoner. Has not he got another wife; [the question was not answered:] a man cannot have two wives at one time.

The Prisoner desired that Mecum might be asked, whether he has not a son twelve years of age: [that question was not asked.]

Prisoner. She is not his wife, she is only his whore or mistress, which you will please to call her. I think she cannot be a witness, for she ought to have been indicted as an accessary.

Mary Sanders . The Prisoner lodged in my house from last June to November; I believe it was the latter end of June last that he came there.

Q. Was he at any time absent from your house?

Sanders. Not one whole day, nor one night.

Q. Was you always at home?

Sanders. I never was out a whole night or a whole day.

Q. Do you remember any thing of his being absent one night the beginning of October last?

Sanders. He never was absent one night, from the time of his coming into my house to the time he left it.

Prisoner. I am a clock-maker. I lodged there, and work'd in the garret.

William Walpole . I am a watch-maker: the Prisoner is a clock-maker: he used to work for me when I had clock-work to do, and I have work'd for him in the watch way.

Prisoner. My father was a clock-maker, and he left me his tools.

Walpole. I have known him these twenty years, when he was quite a young lad. - It is not above

three or four years that I have dealt with him.

Q. What character had he?

Walpole. He always had a good character in my way of business - I never heard any thing amiss of him. I wanted him to do something for me, and enquiring after him, I heard he was in goal on the other side of the water.

Q. Did you never hear any harm of him till he was taken up?

Walpole. I never heard any harm of him ill then.

Prisoner. He has entrusted me with clocks of value.

Walpole. I would trust him with any thing in the way of business. I have trusted him with a spring-clock, or table-clock, of 14, 15, or 20 l. value. He is a very good hand at spring work.

Jury to Mary Sanders . Where do you live?

Sanders. I live at the sign of the Raven in Golden-lane, opposite to Mr. Lloyd's, the Sun brew-house.

Samuel Mecum . Her husband lived in Whitecross-street; he is as great a pick-pocket as any in England.

Francis Martin . I am a journeyman pastrycook. I live at the corner of Popping's-alley in Fleet-street. I have known the Prisoner about five years. When I knew him first, I lived with Mr. Evans, a pastrycook by Clerkenwell Bridewell; his father made my master a clock; and by that I came acquainted with him; and since I have lived in Fleet-street, I have seen him frequently about his business, and he always behaved well.

Jury to Walpole. Where did he live when you used to send work to him?

Walpole. He lived at Sander's house: she sold second-hand clothes.

Q. How long is it ago since you employed him?

Walpole. About three months, or between three and four months. I believe he has been taken up two months. - I employed him about a month before he was taken up. - A little after Lord Mayor's day was the last time that I employed him. Guilty Death .

James Stansbury was (a second time) indicted (together with Daniel Boyers and Abraham Saunshus , not yet taken) for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Jemima Hawker , in the parish of St. Mary, Whitechapel , about the hour of two in the night, and stealing a considerable quantity of china, some linen, a hood, scarf, and two cloth cloaks , Oct. 4 .

He was (a third time) indicted for stealing two pieces of beaver coating, value 8 l. the goods of - Gray, Mary Foster , and Richard Foster , Nov. 23 .

There was another indictment against him for a burglary in London; but he was not tried upon either of these indictments.


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