Jonathan Wigmore, Breaking Peace > wounding, 10th September 1755.

Reference Number: t17550910-3
Offence: Breaking Peace > wounding
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

301. (M.) Jonathan Wigmore was indicted for that he a certain pistol loaded with gunpowder and a leaden bullet, did wilfully and maliciously shoot off at Duncan Robertson , May 7 . +

Duncan Robertson . On the 7th of May last, I went out from London with the York coach. I was sitting on the box with the coachman, going over Finchly-Common . There came a man on a

bright bay horse, with a small swish tail ; he had on a fustian frock, with a pair of greasy breeches, and his face covered with a black mask, a slouch'd hat, and a black peruke.

Q. Did he overtake or meet you?

Robertson . He overtook the coach , and rode up to the coachman on the off-side, and immediately, with a great oath, ordered him to stop, or he'd blow his brains out. The ladies in the coach seeing him pass the window, with a pistol in his hand, and a mask on his face, said one to the other there comes a collector, get your money ready.

Q. How many passengers were there in the coach?

Robertson. There were five gentlewomen, and a gentleman of about 50 years of age. The coach stopped. He immediately order'd the ladies to pull down the coach windows , or he'd blow their brains out. One of the gentlewomen said, have a little patience, and we'll give you our money directly. He, with a great oath, said, my business is haste . There was a servant belonging to capt. Paterson asleep in the basket. The robber thought he had got fire-arms about him, and said to him, if you don't come out I'll blow your brains out. I had a pistol in my pocket, being quite new; I took it out; he did not then perceive me; I could not fire it off; I return'd it near my eye to see whether I had got my finger on the guard or the trigger; then he perceived me. Upon seeing it, he said, you rascal come down, or I'll blow your brains out. He rode round the coach, fearing he should shoot the coachman. I said to the coachman, for God's sake get down; which he did. The robber rode round the coach, and swore he'd blow my brains out; and I ordered the robber, as he came round, to fire at me.

Q. Why did you order him to fire?

Robertson. I thought I should have the better chance to fire last. He would not fire. Immediately I fired at him; and he directly fired at the same time. I did say I hit him; but I can't be certain; I suppose I did. His ball went thro' the right shoulder of my coat and waistcoat, and just graz'd, my shoulder. (He shew'd the hole in his coat, having it on.) Immediately I jump'd from the box, on the near side; and he jump'd his horse over the ditch by the road-side, and turned his horse's head about towards the coach again; I ran round the horses, and attack'd him on the other side, and pull'd out my other pistol; I talk'd much to him; he did not say much; then he shot at me a second time; his ball went just by my body, as I was between him and the coach, and swore he should not rob the coach. That ball graz'd under the coach wheel. Then I said I am your master now; you have got no more powder and ball.

Q. How near was he at that time to you?

Robertson . He was about ten yards from the coach, and I was between that and him. Immediately he pull'd out a third pistol, and shot at me a third time. That ball fell into a little puddle of water, and, thanks to God, did not hit me. Then immediately he rode off, and I call'd him many names as he rode. Then I got up on the coach-box, and we went on; and I can give no farther account.

Cross examination.

Q. Did you know the man that fired at you?

Robertson. I can't say the prisoner is the man; for I did not see his face.

Thomas Cogdel . There came a gentleman riding after the prisoner, and call'd, Stop highwayman.

Q. Where was this?

Cogdel. This was at East-Barnet . I followed the prisoner to Enfield-Chase . I went up to him, and bid him throw his pistols away; he said, he would not. I bid him throw them away three or four times; at last he said, young man come and take them. I was going up to him; he said, young man stop before you come any further; I did; then he said, will you not hurt me? I said, no; then I was going up to him; he said, stop before you come any further; and added, will you not let any of the others hurt me? I said they should not if I could help it; then he said, come and take them; which I did; there were three of them. (Produced in court, three horse pistols .) We took him to Barnet, to the justice's, and from thence to the sign of the Swan; there he lay all night.

Q. from the prisoner. What time of the day did you take me?

Cogdel. This was in the forenoon; I can't justly tell the time.

James Lockey . On the 7th of May I was, among others in pursuit of the prisoner from, East-Barnet to Enfield-Chase , where we took him.

Q. About what time did you take him?

Lockey. I believe it was about eight in the morning. We carried him to High-Barnet , before

the justice. I did not see him examined there, being obliged to go and get my cloaths I had pulled off in the pursuit. Then I returned, and went to the prisoner at the Swan; there I saw his thigh cut in order to take out a ball.

Q. What ball?

Lockey . I shot him before he would be taken, in the pursuit. I saw Mr. Robertson before justice Fielding, and saw him shew the hole in his coat, where he said the highwayman shot him.

James Swale . On the 7th of May, about six in the morning, I was at work just by where the York coach was stopp'd on Finchley-Common . I heard a gun go off, and somewhat of a noise with it. I stepped about a yard or two, and look'd over some pales , and saw a man attacking the coach. I heard Mr. Roberson say to the man on horseback, sirrah , you rogue, you villain, you want to rob the coach, and you shall not. You are a highwayman, a thief. I saw Robertson fire once, and the prisoner two times.

Q. How do you know it was the prisoner?

Swale . The man that was taken was on the same horse, and I saw him upon the pursuit.

Q. Did you observe whether the man's face was cover'd?

Swale. I could not; I believe I was 200 yards from him.

Q. Which way did he make off?

Swale. He rode towards Brown's-Wells-Hill , coming towards London.

Q. Describe the horse he rode upon, and his cloaths.

Swale . It was a bright bay lame horse, and he seemed to be in a darkish sort of a frock, with a hat not cock'd up, and a black wig. I went to my master, and call'd out, there is a man will rob, or has robb'd the coach.

Q. Did you ever see him after that?

Swale . I did in about a quarter of an hour, upon Finchley-Common , making up to a wood.

Q. Are you sure that man was the man that had left the coach?

Swale. I am sure he was the same. He went into the wood, and so did I. There were so many people about it, that he was obliged to forsake it, and I met him again on the side of the wood, the same man, and the same horse; then he made away for East-Barnet and Enfield-Chase . I could not run so fast as he rode. Two men on horseback began to follow him from the man hanging in chains on Finchley-Common , and I and the two witnesses that have been examined followed so far as Coney-hatch , and then went back again to my work.

Cross examination.

Q. How near was you to the man when he came round the wood?

Swale . I was not 200 yards from him; I once was within 50 yards of him.

Q. Who were the persons that followed the man?

Swale . One is William Taylor , the other John Newil ; I could see them; he kept galloping , and they after him.

William Taylor . I was facing the man hanging in chains on Finchley-Common , and was shew'd the prisoner, and pursued him to the place where he was taken. There were a great many people round the wood; the man was described to me that had stopped the coach in another sort of a dress than the prisoner had on. He had on a loose brown great-coat , and a whitish wig; he was on a bayish sort of a horse.

Q. to Swale. Had the man you saw a great-coat on?

Swale. No; he had not when he left the coach; but when he came out of the wood he had a light loose great-coat on, and a light wig.

Q. How do you know that this was the same man you saw before?

Swale. It was the same horse, and the same size of a man, as nigh as I could guess.

Q. Did you ever see the man's face?

Swale. I did, when he went from the wood; he had no mask on then.

Q. Had you ever seen him before that day?

Swale . No; I never did to my knowledge.

Q. How old are you?

Swale . I am in the 74th year of my age.

Q. By what do you know the horse?

Swale. The horse had a little swish or wisk tail; a bay horse, and lame; the same that the man rode who attacked the coach.

Taylor continues. I pursued the prisoner from that place to the place where he was taken. His horse broke his leg at East-Barnet , and we took him on Enfield-Chase . We carried him before a justice at Barnet; after that he was carried to the Swan at Barnet, and had his wound dressed.

Q. In what part was he wounded?

Taylor. He was wounded through the hand, and into the thigh.

John Newil . On the 7th of May I got up about six in the morning ; I was told there was a highwayman in the wood ; the man was described to me; I got my horse, and went.

Q. How was the man described?

Newil. To have a lightish sort of a coat on, and a horse with a swish tail. I went into the wood, but could see nothing of him. After I had been there some time, out came the prisoner . I was within sixty yards of him; he was dressed in a loose horseman's coat; he had the frock underneath it, as was described to me, as I imagined , and a grey wig on. I said to William Taylor , that must be the man; we will follow him ; he turned about, and took out a pistol and swore if we followed him he'd blow our brains out. Then we turned back a little way , and followed him again, and went on to a place called Coney-hatch , then through a large wood; and as he was riding up a hill at East-Barnet, his horse broke his leg short in two. I rode and catched hold of his horse, and he jump'd off, and ran down a lane; I rode down after him; I was near him when he was taken. In the whole I believe I was six or seven miles after him; sometimes within an hundred yards of him, and sometimes less.

George Gardner . I was at work upon the Common that day, and was told a man had been firing at a coach. I was hewing of timber, and did not hear it. I saw his horse went lame. We pursued, and could track him by a bar-shoe. I also saw the prisoner's horse after he was dead, and he had a bar-shoe on.

Kinga Brebrook . I saw the man attack the coach, and fire when he left it. I followed him to the wood.

Q. How was he dressed when he attacked the coach?

Brebrook. I don't know. He was upon a bright bay horse, with a sort of a swish tail. When I lost sight of him I track'd him by a bar-shoe the horse had. When he came out of the wood again I was standing at the place where he went in.

Q. How long did he stay in the wood?

Brebrook . He came out I believe in about half an hour. I was in the path-way. I saw his face. He drew out one of his pistols, and carried it in his left-hand. I got out of the path to let him go by.

Q. Was it the same man that you had seen before?

Brebrook. I can't say it was the same man, but it was the same horse that went into the wood. I followed him as far as Coney-hatch, but was not present when he was taken.

Prisoner's defence.

They have got another witness to call, that the coachman that drove the coach, and the constable.

Court. Then you may call him, if you please

Prisoner. Call John Pooley ; he will tell the court the horse the man rode had a cut tail.

John Pooley . I drove the York stage when it was stopp'd, as has been mentioned.

C. Describe the horse the man rode on.

Pooley. He was on a brown bay horse, with a swish tail.

Richard Doubleday . I am a constable. Some time after the prisoner was committed we had an affair to settle with the overseers of Enfield parish. As my brother constable and I went there, while we were going along, I said we will call and see Jonathan's horse. We call'd at the sign of the Cat; the horse was in the stable there; he was a bayish gelding, with a black mane and tail, and to the best of my remembrance a cut tail.

Q. Did you look at his shoes?

Doubleday. No; I did not.

Q. Do you know how long the tail had been cut?

Doubleday . I don't.

Q. Was you acquainted with the circumstance of the bar-shoe then?

Doubleday. No; I was not.

Humphry Buckle. My brother constable and I going towards Enfield, we called at East-Barnet on purpose to take the marks and colour of the horse.

Q. When was this?

Buckle. This was about seven days after the prisoner was taken.

Q. Was it before the horse was kill'd?

Buckle. It was. I saw him; it was a bay horse, with a cut black tail.

Q. Are you sure it was cut?

Buckle . I suppose it was cut.

Q. Was it or was it not cut?

Buckle . It was, but not that day.

Q. How do you know that?

Buckle. I know that; it had been cut some time before.

Q. How long before?

Buckle. Some time.

Q. Had it been cut a week?

Buckle. Above a week, or a fortnight, or a

month either . Here has been many people examined here that don't know a horse from a cow, except by the horns. I get my bread by buying and selling horses.

Q. Where do you live?

Buckle. I keep a publick house; my character is fairish .

Q. Did you examine about the bar shoe?

Buckle. I know nothing of that.

James Lockey . This can't be true. We killed the horse in three days after the prisoner was taken.

Prisoner. That man shot me in the hand, and in the thigh, both at one time.

The prosecutor looked at the three pistols. I will swear these are the three pistols that were shot off at me.

Thomas Palmer . I have known the prisoner five or six years; he once kept a publick house in Fleet-lane.

Q. What is his general character ?

Palmer. He has so good a character, that was he out now, I would lend him a hundred pounds. I never thought him capable of doing such an act as he is charged with.

William Megers . I have known him ten or twelve years; he has a very good character as ever I heard a man have in my life. I never heard anything bad of him. He has dealt with me for many a pound. He lived in Fleet-lane. I used to look upon him as a man of substance.

Q. What are you?

Megers . I am a butcher.

Mr. Porter . I have known him about nine years; he was a very good neighbour, and bore the character of an honest man; I don't believe he would be guilty of shooting at a man; neither will any of my neighbours.

Thomas Rawlinson . I have known him nine or ten years; he always bore a very good character as ever I heard in my life. I looked upon him to be a man of substance.

Thomas Holding . I have known him about five years; he bears a very good character. I have earned many a pound of him; I don't think him guilty of this fact.

Q. Did you know him when he kept a publick house?

Holding. No; he has not kept a publick house this five years.

Q. What business has he followed within these five years?

Holding . I can't say what business he follow'd this last five years; he is a very honest man.

Q. to Palmer. What became of the prisoner when he left the alehouse?

Palmer. When he left the alehouse he married a widow, and she and her mother lived together. They had an estate, and lived on their substance . Since that, he used the Bull-and-Gatter in Fleet-market.

Q. What was that estate per year?

Palmer . I have heard it was about 40 l. per year. I know he sold some of it.

Q. Did you ever hear he was employed in any other way?

Palmer. No; I never heard what else he was employed in?

Q. to Holding. In what business have you earn'd many a pound of the prisoner?

Holding. I earned 20 l. of him in my way.

Q. In what?

Holding. In scouring cloaths for him.

Cornelius Molear . I have known him about four years last past; he lived in Bell-savage-yard.

Q. Had he a house there?

Molear. He was a lodger, I believe. I was pretty frequently in his company. I look'd upon him to be a man of a good character.

Guilty , Death .

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