John Guest, Thomas Smith, Theft > burglary, Theft > burglary, 27th February 1760.

Reference Number: t17600227-20
Offences: Theft > burglary; Theft > burglary
Verdicts: Guilty > pleaded guilty; Guilty; Guilty > pleaded guilty
Punishments: Death; Death

98, 99. (L.) John Guest , and Thomas Smith , were indicted for that they, on the 2d of February , about the hour of five in the night of the same day, the dwelling house of William Howes did break and enter, and steal out from thence thirty pair of silver shoe-buckles, value 16 l. six pair of knee buckles, value 24 s. and four silver stock buckles, value 10 s. the goods of the said William, *

Smith pleaded guilty , and was taken from the bar.

William Howes . I am a silver-smith , and live in Fleet Street, between the two Temple gates, facing Chancery Lane . About five in the morning, on the 2d of this instant, I heard a noise in my house. When I came down, I found the window shutter of my shop was taken down, and I saw a hand picking out my buckles at the end of the window.

Q. Was it light or dark?

Howes. It was very moon-light.

Q. Was your shop secure at going to bed?

Howes. It was bar'd up with an iron bar, and a staple; the end shutter goes in first, and they are key'd secure with a bar; but, upon examining it, they had bent the bar into a triangle, just enough to clear the end shutter, which they had taken down and carried three or four doors off, where I found it. I had no opportunity of laying hold of the hand, the window being glased on the inside as well as without. I called up to my wife, and desired her to open the dining-room window, and call the watch, which she did. She told me she saw a man run away up Chancery Lane. When I came to look over my things, I found I had lost more than I have laid in the indictment, but am sure I lost what are laid. The loss of the whole is to the amount of twenty guineas. I advertised it in the Monday's paper, with a reward of five guineas.

Q. Where was the watch at that time?

Howes. That was the first morning of the watch going off sooner than usual for the winter, so they were just gone off. On the Monday there came a messenger from Mr. Welch, and desired I would step to him, for they apprehended they had got the man that rob'd my shop. I went, and there was the prisoner Guest, whom they had searched before I came: I was shewed some silver buckles broke all to pieces, so that it was impossible to know how many pair there were; but I saw by the marks and patterns that they were mine. I have some odd buckles, which they left behind, that are fellows to some of them. (Producing some.)

There Guest acknowledged he had been concerned with one Smith in several robberies besides mine: He also declared in what manner he opened my shop, and told us where he had sold some of my buckles, upon which the justice sent a search warrant. I went there (it was to one Mrs. Montgomery's) and found some of my buckles. After I was come home, I had another messenger from Houndsditch, from Mr. Thomas Smith : I went there, and he had taken the prisoner Smith, who has confessed the indictment, in offering some of my buckles to sale.

Q. Is your shop part of your dwelling house?

Howes. It is.

Joseph Gofton . The prisoner Guest came to offer a coat to sell at my master's, a salesman, in Monmouth Street. We heard that Mr. Lee had had his house broke open, and lost an alapeen coat; the prisoner offered such a one, and asked nine shillings for it. I asked him how long he had had it. He said it had been in pawn nine months, and that it was made for him; I observed it was not near big enough for him. I took hold of him, sent for Mr. Lee, and kept him in our shop till Mr. Lee came. Then we took him before justice Welch. I finding he had something in one of his pockets, felt in it, and found some chases of buckles, and the constable took out some broken silver buckles from another pocket. Then I told him he had broke the gentleman's shop open in Fleet Street, which I had seen in the Advertiser. He acknowledged he did break it open, in company with one Smith. Then the justice sent for Mr. Howes, who came, and we found the very same marks on the buckles as he had advertised; he swore to them. We found in the prisoner's pocket such a tool as the brewers coopers make use of to take out the bungs of their vessels. The prisoner said they used that first to bore with, then they took down a shutter, and he put on his glove and broke a pane of glass.

Mrs. Montgomery. I am a silversmith, and live in Cambridge Street. I bought some buckles, broke all to pieces, of the prisoner at the bar, I did not know whether they were new or old; there were about four ounces of them.

Q. What did you give for them?

Mrs. Montgomery. I gave 19 s. for them.

Prisoner's Defence.

Thomas Smith broke the shop open, but indeed I was with him. The watch went off at five, and it was six o'clock when we did it. The justice told me he would admit me an evidence, if I would tell all.

Guilty , Death .

They were a second time indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Sarah Stafford , and stealing from thence two linen shirts, value 4 s. nine handkerchiefs, and one piece of Irish linen , the goods of the said Sarah, Jan. 23 . and Mary Middleton , not yet taken, for receiving the same, knowing them to have been stolen.

To which Smith and Guest pleaded guilty , Death .

There were two other indictments against Guest and Smith, and also many detainers lodged against them upon the kalendar.


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