John Jennings, John Humphreys, Violent Theft > robbery, 2nd July 1746.

Reference Number: t17460702-1
Offence: Violent Theft > robbery
Verdict: Guilty; Not Guilty
Punishment: Death

240. 241. John Jennings and John Humphreys were indicted for assaulting and robbing James Crey in a certain Field, or open Place, near Stepney , and taking from him a Pinchheck Metal Watch, a Cornelian Seal, a Pair of Shoe and a Pair of Knee Buckles , on the 22 d of May .

Q. (to James Crey .) Where was you robb'd, and when?

Crey. The 22 d of May last; my Father-in-Law desir'd me to go to Bow Fair to seek after his Children about Eleven o'Clock at Night; so we went to the Fair and saw nothing of them there; but heard they were stray'd upon the Common; in coming from thence we went into a Booth upon the Common and ask'd for the Children: On the Fields Side of the said Common, near Stepney, a Man pass'd me and bid me good Night; presently after another, and he bid me good Night also; I bid him good Night, and he wish'd me well home: It was Moonlight and I walk'd 'till I got under the Shade of the Trees, when a Man came behind me and snatch'd my Stick out of my Hand; he put a Pistol to my Breast and bid me stand and deliver; immediately another jump'd from behind the Stile and clapp'd his Pistol to my Breast also: They demanded my Money, threatning to blow my Brains one in Case of Refusal; I told them I had none, and begg'd they would not use me ill and I would give them what I had; with that one of them put his Hand into my Fob and took out my Watch.

Q. Do you remember which it was?

Crey. I can't tell, my Lord, but he had a Frock and a Regimental Waistcoat on.

Q. What Watch was it?

Crey. A Pinchheck Metal Watch with a Gold Dial-Plate and a Cornelian Seal set in Gold to it; they search'd my Pockets and took out a Couple of Handkerchiefs, one Silk and the other Linnen; they also took my Pocket-Book: One took out my Watch and another of them my Pocket-Book.

Court . So they both of them were rifling of you?

Crey. Yes, my Lord.

Q. Do you know them?

Crey . I can't say, my Lord, that I know them. I told them my Pocket-Book would be of no Service to them, and desir'd they would return it: They took the Silver Buckles out of my Shoes and

Knead , and then bid me go over the Stile; they sent me towards Limehouse , which was a Mile out of the Way. There were three of them, but only two came up; I saw the other robbing my Father-in-Law.

Q. What is your Father-in-Law's Name?

Crey. His Name is Bitch .

Q. What Business is your Father-in-Law.

Crey. A Perukemaker, Sir.

Q. Did you go the Way they would have sent you?

Crey. No, my Father desir'd I might go with him .

Court. You say one bad on a Footman's Frock and a Regimental Waistcoat?

Crey. Yes.

Q. How were the other apparel'd?

Crey . I could not see any thing of either of them for the Shade of the Trees; only the Man that pass'd me in the Moon-shine, he that stopp'd me first, who had on a Footman's Frock, &c.

Q. Did you observe what kind of Pistols they were?

Crey. I took them to be Holster Pistols ; I could not distinctly see them as they had them in their Hands. I took the Men to be Troopers.

Q. (to Moses Birch .) What do you know of this Matter?

Birch . My Son and I were coming from Bow; in the first Field from the Common I heard the steps of a Man, but could not see him for the high Ridge of Trees that shaded the Moon: I call'd out to the Man to know if he had seen any Children that had lost their Way; I bid him good Night, he said the same to my Son: The Man that bid good Night turn'd about and bid me deliver my Money; he said, give me your Money just now or I will shoot you; I said I had none nor none would I give them; for I was in Confusion and Hurry about my Children. I saw two Men stop my Son and head all that was said; my Son said to them, Gentlemen , don't use me ill, I have nothing valuable about me but my Watch, Shoe-Buckles and Knee-Buckles .

Q. How far was you from him?

Birch. About as far as the Leads . While two were robbing my Son the other was with me, thinking he could cope with me, being a little Man; but I would not be robb'd by him.

Q. I forgot to ask your Son if he met with his Watch again.

Birch. No, my Lord.

Q. (to William Barns .) What do you know in relation to this Matter?

Barns. My Lord, I keep a Goldsmith's Shop upon Ludgate-Hill; there came a young Woman to me to weigh some Buckles.

Q. When was that?

Barns. The 23d of May.

Q. What were those Buckles?

Barns. They were two Pair of Shoe-Buckles and Knee-Buckles; they were brought by a Servant, who said said she came from her Mistress in Fleet-Lane to know the Value of them; I look'd upon them and weigh'd them, and as I had a Warning from the Goldsmiths Company to stop two Pair of Shoe-Buckles and a Pair of Knee-Buckles , and these Things answering the Description in the warning, I told the Maid I would go along with her; I took the Warning in my Pocket, and call'd upon one Mr. Johnson, a Constable, to go with me; and desir'd him not to go directly into the House, but stay a little; so I went in and there were two or three Women and a Man there.

Q. Where was this?

Barns. In Fleet-Lane. When I came into the House I enquir'd who the Buckles belong'd to; the Woman of the House said they were a Man's who had left them there; I ask'd when he would return, and she said she was not certain as to the Time of his Return : I desir'd to know whether it would be a Week or a Fortnight, and enquir'd who the Gentleman was that sat by her; she said it was her Brother ; so with that I pull'd this Warning out of my Pocket and read it; as soon as ever I had done she got up and went into a Place backward and I follow'd her; a Soldier was sitting in a Chair there and I ask'd him if they were his Buckles; he said yes, and that he bought them in Covent-Garden.

Q. Was the Man either of these?

Barns. Yes, Humphrys one of the Prisoners at the Bar.

Court. Then those were the two Pair of Buckles, and the Knee-Buckles.

Barns. Yes, my Lord, and he said he had bought them at Covent-Garden, and gave Half a Guinea for them.

Q. What did he mean Half a Guinea for all the Buckles?

Barns. Yes, for all of them. Then I told the Constable he must carry him before my Lord Mayor, and we went there, but my Lord was not within; then I ask'd for the Beadle of Goldsmith's-Hall , to give Information to the Gentleman that gave this Warning out, &c.

Q. (to Crey ) Are these your Buckles, the Buckles that you were robb'd of?

Crey. Yes, my Lord.

Q. Have you any Mark upon these Buckles?

Crey. They are foreign Make; there is no Mark upon them; I had them made in Barbadoes.

Q. (to Johnson, the Constable) What do you know of this Affair?

Johnson. Mr. Barns call'd upon me on Friday the 23d of May; I went with him to the House in Fleet-Lane; I stood at the Door at first, that no Body might go out of the House; after Mr. Barns had some Talk with the Woman, I went in; the Woman, she seem'd to be in some Confusion: I said good Woman, these Buckles have been stolen and if you don't bring the Person that owns them we must charge you. With that she went backward, and beckon'd with her Hand for Mr. Barns and I to follow her; when we came backward, there sat Humphry's, one of the Prisoners.

Q. What Cloaths had he on?

Johnson. It seem'd to be the Cloaths he has on now, tho' I won't be sure, but I know his Face.

Court. You say you follow'd the Woman and there you found this Man.

Johnson. Yes my Lord. I said there had been a Robbery committed and these Buckles answer'd the Description of the Advertisement, and I said I was fearful he was the Thief. He said he had the Foul Disease upon him, that his Sister gave him Half a Guinea yesterday and he bought these Buckles with it; I said if he could give me no better Account of it I should take him Prisoner before my Lord Mayor; so I took him to the Compter as my Lord Mayor was not within; the next Morning I went to him again and I ask'd him about the Buckles, then he said he bought them on Friday, and before he said he bought them on Thursday.

Q. (to the Prisoner) Will you ask this Witness any Questions?

Prisoner. Do you know me Sir?

Johnson . Yes, very well.

Q. (to William Bray , the Accomplice) What have you to say against the Prisoners at the Bar with relation to the robbing of one James Crey ? Was you at the Robbery?

Bray. Yes, please you my Lord.

Court. Tell us when it was, as near as you can guess.

Bray . My Lord it was about the 22d of May.

Q. What Time of the Night or the Day?

Bray. It might be about Twelve o'Clock at Night, as near as I can guess.

Q. Where was it?

Bray. It was, please you my Lord, between Bow and Stepney.

Q. Who was you with?

Bray. There was John Jennings and John Humphrys .

Court. Will you describe the Manner of it?

Bray. Please you my Lord, I goes and sees how many there might be in Company; I went first and gave a Signal to them that they might come up. I passed this Gentleman (Mr. Crey) and I met this Gentleman, his Father (Mr. Birch) and I demanded his Money.

Q. Where was your Company then?

Bray. Then two (the Prisoners) were with this Gentleman (Mr. Crey ) When I demanded Mr. Birch's Money he tristed a little with me; with that I gave him a knock into the Ditch and took from him 18 d. and by that Time they had robb'd this Gentleman (Mr. Crey.) John Jennings and John Humphrys took from him a Pinchbeck Watch and Buckles.

Q. How do you know they took this Watch and Buckles?

Bray. One of the Tongs of the Buckles was broke which they took from Mr. Crey. Then, when they had robb'd the Gentleman, they came to me, and ask'd me whether I had look'd upon his Shoe-buckles and Knee-Buckles, which I had not; for after I had knock'd this Gentleman down into the Ditch, he took out an Instrument, and said, I might have that if it would be of any Service; I told him it would be of no Use of me, he might keep it and be d - d.

Q. What Instrument was it?

Bray. I don't know but it was an Instrument to draw Teeth with. Then John Humphrys went into the Ditch, and took his Shoe-Buckles, which were mark'd G. B. and a Pair of Knee-buckles.

Q. What then?

Bray. Then one of them went to go one Way, and the other another; I said, I desire you may go together, which they did, towards Bow.

Q. What became of this Watch and Buckles?

Bray. Please you, my Lord. I carried the Watch and the Buckles to one Mr. - in the Old-Baily. After I had carried them there, that Man, John Humphrys (the Prisoner) said, I believe you have cheated me, and I desire you may go and fetch the Buckles again; and I told him, if he went to make away with them it should be the worse for him: So I fetch'd them back again.

Q. Did you give them to Humphrys?

Bray. Yes, my Lord.

Q. Do you know what became of them afterterwards?

Bray. Please you, my Lord, he went some where to have them valued, and had them stopp'd.

Q. Do you know what became of him afterwards, where he frequented, or where he lodg'd?

Bray. He lodg'd at the same House that I lodg'd in at that Time.

Q. Where was that?

Bray. In Ice-Alley in Westminster.

Q. Was you ever in Fleet-Lane?

Bray. Yes, my Lord: The first of my going there was with John Jennings and John Stephens , and some more unknown to me; they had got some Streak Iron; so they desir'd of me to tell them where they could sell it. I goes into Black-Boy-Alley in Fleet-Lane, at the Black-Boy, and she bought it, and they shar'd it among them.

Q. Was this the House that Humphrys and you frequented in Fleet-Lane?

Bray. I have gone to the Black-Boy and drank there.

Q. (to Mr. Barns) Mr. Barns, Was it the Black-Boy?

Barns. I can't tell the Sign; they sell old Cloaths.

Q. (to Johnson the Constable) Was it the Black-Boy?

Johnson. Yes, my Lord.

Q. (to the Prisoner Humphrys) What have you to say for yourself by way of Defence?

Prisoner. Please you, my Lord, I bought these Buckles in Covent-Garden, with the Half-Guinea my Sister gave me.

Q. Can you call any Witnesses of it?

Prisoner. No, my Lord.

Q. (to Jennings the Prisoner) What have you to say by way of Defence?

Jennings. Please you, my Lord, I never was in the Evidence's Company. He charges me with being present and assisting in this Robbery; I never was in Company with him, but as I have met him in Fleet-Street, and drank a Mug of Beer with him, or the like.

Q. (to Mr. Birch ) Was you knock'd down ?

Birch. He hit me a Blow which made me draw back and support myself with the Bank .

Q. Had you any Instruments about you?

Birch . That he might not think that I had a great deal of Money, I said, What can you have of a poor Barber? Will you have this Instrument? and he said, D - n you, no.*

*Bray, the Accomplice, was kept out of the Court during the Time the other Witnesses were examin'd ; and the Reason of this last Question being put to Birch now was, that he had not mention'd the Circumstance in his former Evidence of his being knock'd down, which Bray had aken Notice of.

Q. (to Mary Randal ) Who do you appear for?

Randal. For John Humphrys .

Q. Are you his Sister?

Randal. Yes, please you, my Lord; and I let him have Half a Guinea.

Q. Where do you live?

Randal. At Mrs. Due's at Chelsea.

Q. When was it you let him have Half a Guinea?

Randal. My Lord, to the best of my Remembrance, it was the 17th or 18th of May last. Please you, my Lord, he told me that this Half Guinea was to buy Buckles.

Q. Does he deal in Buckles?

Randal. I don't know, my Lord.

Q. (to - Martingal) How long have you known the Prisoner John Jennings ?

Martingal. I have known him from his Infancy, and never heard but he was a good honest Man. I have nothing more to say.

John Humphrys Guilty . Death .

- John Jennings , Not guilty .


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