John John Watlin Peters, Royal Offences > tax offences, 5th December 1750.

Reference Number: t17501205-37
Offence: Royal Offences > tax offences
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

48. (M.) John Watlin , otherwise John

Peters , otherwise Peters Jack , late of Horsey in Norfolk , was indicted for aiding and assisting, with divers other persons, in landing and running goods, liable to pay duty, &c . March 11, 1746 . +

John Lacket . I liv'd at Horsey , in the year 1746, and know the prisoner by the name of Peters Jack ; he us'd to frequent Mrs. Susanna Peirce 's house, where I liv'd, in company with others, which we there call riders, or smugglers; they us'd to come ten, twelve, or fourteen in company. On the 10th of March 1746, he was at our house, he came on horseback, with a brass piece, either a carbine or a blunderbuss; he went away on the 11th. On that day the cutter came with the goods, then they went all away together.

Q. How many were there of them at that time?

Lacket. I believe there were 12 or 14 of them.

Q. Did you see them go away?

Lacket. I did; they went all on horseback, some had, and some had not arms; he had that brass gun when he went out of our house; I did not see him return.

Abraham Bailey . I knew the prisoner on the 10th of March, in the year 1746; I went down to Horsey to see an acquaintance, one William Manning ; when I came into the town, I met one Cosines, who is since sled; he said to me, Bailey, what do you do here? adding, the town was full of smugglers, and perhaps you will not be safe: I was once a watchman in the customs, but was not at this time; after we parted, and I was at Manning's house, several people came to the door, and said, one wanted to speak with me at Mrs. Peirce's; I return'd for answer, I knew no body here but Dick Cosines , and if he wants me, I should be glad to drink a tiff of punch with him; Mr. Manning said, here is such a gang of smugglers they will do you a mischief; after this a message was brought, they had an intent to take me; there were eleven of them came to the door arm'd, the prisoner was one of them, they broke the door open; I sled to the barn, and set my self down in some barley; the prisoner came in and found me, then they all hollow'd, as gentlemen do when they catch a fox; there was one Chapman, who is since executed: after they had beat me, to whom I said, this is very hard, they oblig'd me to go with them to Mrs. Peirce's; then one Cockeye great his hand, rub'd it on the chimney, and black'd his face; after this they put a gun betwixt my legs, and rode me round the room, saying, I should be their member of parliament; then Cock-eye beat me with a leather thong; afterwards they let me go to the farmer's house about eight or nine o'clock, and I went to bed about ten, and lay with a servant of Mr. Manning's ; then they came and took me out of bed without giving me time to put on my cloaths; one of them took a line that was in the garret, and carried me into a field and whipp'd me with their whips till the skin was all off my fingers; I begged and prayed for mercy; then they carried me into the churchyard, one of them took out a long knife, which was as long as a hanger, and offered it to my throat, and obliged me to answer such questions as they asked me concerning the reasons of my coming down ; after this they took the piece of cord and tied my arms round me very hard, and put a cord about my neck and held me up upon a tree; they held me up some time; after that they let me down, and forced me to unbutton my breeches, and made me swear damnation to my soul if ever I revealed it, and asked me very immodest questions; then I went to Mr. Manning's house; the next morning Chapman called me up; said he, I know you have been used ill, but if I could have got to them you should not have been used so; then I went to Mrs. Peirce's house again about eight o'clock, and about 11 or 12 they had a very good spying glass; I took it up and looked, and said, there is your cutter, which I was glad to see, for they swore I should not go till she came in; I went down and lay concealed, I saw them go down, to the number of 34 or 35 men; I saw the cutter unloaded, the tea was in oilskin bags that held about 27 pounds, a great number of them, and casks called half anchors of brandy; they had 45 horses; I saw them load and go off from sea; the prisoner rode by me returning from the Beach, they rode two and two; they went to a place called Summerton, then I lost fight of them.

Q. Did you see the prisoner assist in loading the horses?

Bailey. Yes sir, I did; the boat came on shore from the cutter five times.

On his cross-examination he said, he then kept a coffee house at Yarmouth in Norfolk, which is about 10 miles from Horsey, that he was positive it was on the 11th day, because he knows it was the 10th on which he went out from home, being the day before that he gave the same account on the trial of Smith, only could not be positive Smith was armed, &c. (No. 631 in Sir Samuel Pennant 's Mayoralty.) I did swear he was armed on the 10th, but could not that he was on the 11th, when he was upon the Beach.

John Rial . I am a farmer. I saw the prisoner at my own house at Horsey, either March 10 or 11, 1746, but never saw him with any arms ; he came in company with the rest of the people; I did not see him go away; he came to my house to see another party.

To his Character.

Lucy Price . I have known the Prisoner 7 years; he has lodged in my house in the town of Budsdale in Suffolk.

Q. What is his name?

Price. His name is John Watling .

Q. Did you ever hear him called by any other name?

Price. No. I never did, sir; he is one of a very good character.

Q. Did you never hear he was deemed a smuggler ?

Price. No, never, sir, to my knowledge; he followed husbandry work.

Nicholas Trapp . I live at the same town the last witness does; I have known the prisoner six or seven years; I never knew him go by any other name than that of John Watling ; he never had the character of a smuggler.

Q. Did you ever hear him called Peters Jack ? or John Peters ?

Trapp. No, never, sir.

Elizabeth Marsh . I live in Yelverton in Norfolk ; I lived with one Peter Goldsmith , he had a man who went by the name of John Fustin ; and I have often heard him called Peters Jack and Jack Peters .

Q. Was that the prisoner at the bar?

Marsh. No, sir, that man's right name was John Doe , he was executed at Tyburn; I never saw the prisoner before now in my life, to the best of my knowledge.

Guilty Death .


View as XML