James Chapman, Richard Forsir, James Ward, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 18th May 1763.

Reference Number: t17630518-21
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

220, 221, 222. (M.) James Chapman , otherwise Lilley , Richard Forsir , and James Ward were indicted for that they, in a certain field and open place near the king's highway, on Samuel Corin did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and stealing from his person one pair of leather shoes, val. 2 s. one pair of iron buckles plated with silver, value 6 d. one hat, val. 1 s. one perriwig, val. 5 s. one half guinea, and 2 s. 6 d. in money numbered, the property of the said Samuel, against his will , May 10 . *

Samuel Corin . I live in Water-lane, Fleet-street, I am a waiter belonging to Marybone gardens. Having company to attend, we were obliged to stay on Tuesday morning, the 10th of May, between 12 and 1; there were three of us, Tibbutts, Lambert, and myself, we begged a bit of a link of the landlord at the Rose to light us over the fields; we got about twenty yards on this side of the posts, there three men or more met us, the first came up to me and said, give me the link; I said, what would you do with the link? The second came up and d - d my eyes, and said, give me the link; and immediately took it out of my hand and put it out, and two of them knocked or shoved me down.

Q. Before the link was put out, did you observe the faces of any of them?

Corin. All I know is the second man had a striped waistcoat. I know nothing of the faces of either of them. One of them held me, while the other riffled my pockets, after that they took my hat and wig; I got up, they said, d - n your eyes, if you don't go that way, we will blow your brains out. I walked a little way, and hearing people talk, I could not tell my way, I cam e again in the midst of them.

Q. What money did you loose?

Corin. I had five single six-pences and half a guinea in my pocket; I had none when I came to the light. When I came to them again, they swore at me in the same manner, and said, they would blow my brains out, if I came there again. Another said, d - n his eyes, he has got silver buckles, we will have them.

Q. Are you sure they were the same men?

Corin. I was in such confusion, I can't tell. Two of them seized me and held up my legs, one at a time, and took shoes and all; then I did not know them; when I left them, I durst not for some time make a noise. At last I saw my companions at the corner of Cavendish-square, I was calling out, I did not know where I was, till a light came, they came to me with two watchmen. At my getting up from the ground I found a cap, which we thought to be a light horse-man's cap, that I left with Justice Fielding, we went there the same day. The prisoners were taken before Justice Pell, I went there; the Justice asked me, if I could swear to

either of them? I said, I could not; there was also Smith the evidence. All I knew of them was, the man that took the link out of my hand had a striped waistcoat on, (the evidence had such a one) and he declared, he took the link out of my hand, and that Chapman and he were the persons that robbed me; and he said, Chapman had then my shoes on, I saw them, but do not swear to them.

Q. Did you get any of your things again?

Corin. No, I have not.

William Smith . I came from sea last Christmas, having been there about seven years. I have been acquainted with the three prisoners about five weeks; I became first acquainted with them in St. Giles's, at one Mr. Porter's, the King's Arms, a public house, they are all sailors; we just went out upon a frolick together that night.

Q. What time did you meet that night?

Smith. We met there between 9 and 19 accidentally; we said, we would go out together to see what we could do.

Q. Do, what?

Smith. Rob the first we came a-thort, as soon as we came out of the house we declared this. Lilley and Forsit had each a stick: we went to the New Road, there we robbed two country-carts. Then we went into Church-street, near Maynard-street, and had half a pint of gin, this might be about 11 o'clock. Then we went to Marybone fields, and met with these three waiters, between 12 and 1 o'clock. Lilley was the foremost man, he ran to the man with the link in his hand, and said, give me the link; the other said, what will you do with the link? then I said, d - n your eyes, give me the link; he made no resistance, but gave it me. I gave him a shove and hove him down, I took half a crown out of his pocket and gave it to Forsit, they were sixpences I believe, I took his hat, after that Lilley and I took both his shoes; the others were busy with the other two waiters; Forsit took his wig, and had the hat too from my head; Forsit got his buckles, and Lilley his shoes. After we had done this, we all went to Holborn together to the George, a night-house, I never was there before in my life; we staid there better than an hour drinking, and went from thence to the house of one Cowman, I don't know the sign, just by the Tower-goal, we got there about 5 o'clock in the morning, we staid there pretty near an hour; then they all went out of the house but me. Lilley left his stick behind, the landlord took notice of its being bloody, and took me in custody, I was carried to prison; when I came before Justice Pell, then I told who the others were.

Richard Porter . I live in Maynard-street, St. Giles's, at the King's Arms. I know all the prisoners and the evidence, they all drank at times at my house. I have seen them at sundry times for six weeks past, sometimes they have drank together and sometimes at separate boxes; they are sailors. I cannot charge my memory with the day, but I think last Tuesday was son-night, in the evening, or thereabouts, was the last time I saw them. Ward is a musician, he has used to play on the violin. I remember the evidence wore a striped jacket. Chapman and Smith used to be often together. Ward lodged facing me; I can't say I ever saw him in their company any farther than playing them a tune.

Mr. Cowman. I keep the Horns and Horseshoe, a public house in Rosemary-lane. The three prisoners and evidence were all together in my house, between 5 and 6 in the morning, on Wednesday was se'nnight; I never knew any thing of them before, they called for a pot of purl; Lilley called for a pint of beer by himself in a different box, and seemed to be in a passion with the other two prisoners, he paid me for his beer at his coming in; Forsit had a hat in his hand, which he offered to a man to sell; he asked 6 s. for it; he and that man sat together four or five minutes; the man and he went out together, and I believe were gone near a quarter of an hour; he came back again; I did not see the hat after that; they staid about an hour in my house; he paid for the purl; they went away and Smith staid alone, he would not go with them; they staid wrangling at the door; I begged of him to go along with his company, he would not go, but called me names, and said I had robbed him. Forsit hit Smith with his stick across his back, and wanted him to come along; still he would not, but said I had robbed him; I said of what? he said I want my stick; some people shov'd him out at the door; he said he would not go, he would have his revenge of me, I had robbed him of a halfpenny; I said, if you will not go, I'll charge an officer with you, I do not half like you; he shov'd in again, then I sent for an officer, and gave him in charge. Lilley left his stick in the box, it was split a good way down, and it then seemed to me as if there was blood upon it. (Producing a large stick.) I took Smith before Justice Pell; he said, he worked in the brick-field, he could not tell his master's name for a good while. The Justice

was going to commit him, and said, if you know of any thing that has been bad, or of any body that has been robbed, or if you have been in company where any ill is done, I'll admit you an evidence. Smith began to open directly; he told the Justice, he and the others left Maynard-street about 9 or 10 o'clock over night, and went all four together somewhere by Tyburn-road, he could not tell the place; that they met three men with two carts, one was riding in one, the other driving, they took from one 3 farthings, and from another 7 s. and after that they met with three men coming over the fields, one of them had a link in his han, they looked upon them to be gentlemen's servants, that he took the link out of the man's hand, and shov'd him down and robbed him of half a crown; he told the names of the three prisoners. I saw Lilley come by my door about noon that day, he was secured soon after, and the others were taken the next day.

Daniel Tibbuts . I was along with Corin when he was robbed coming from Marybone; they came and knocked me down I lay sometime on the ground senseless; (he shewed a wound in his head) this they gave me, this was just after the link was out, I do not remember any of the people; I lost hat, wig, buckles, shoes, and all the money I had in my pocket, which was some silver and halfpence, I cannot be positive how much; they wanted to strip me naked, I struggled for my coat; I don't know what they did to Lambert and Corin: I saw the prisoners before the Justices, they denied it.

Zepheniah Lambert. I was one of the three waiters, we had borrowed a link, and were coming home, and were got about twenty yards into the fields, about three or four men met us; one of them came up and said, d - n your eyes, give me the link, to Corin; then another came with a striped waistcoat on, and said, d - n your eyes, give us the link, and snatched it out of his hand, and put it out. I had a large stick in my hand, I struck at him, upon which, another of them knocked me down; they being busy upon my other two companions, and it being dark I made off from them, they took nothing from me; I cannot swear to any of them; I saw the prisoners before Justice Pell, where they denied it.

Samuel Clark . A young man came to Justice Fielding from Justice Pell last Tuesday was se'nnight, about 11 in the forenoon, with a paper, and three mens names upon it, Lilley, Ward, and Forsit; at that time Sir John was busy with the waiters, who came to give an account how they had been robbed. Justice Pell sent word that Ward and Forsit were at the King's arms in Maynard-street, or just by; Newton and I went to see if we could see them, the waiters went along with us; we took Ward in his lodgings before he had got his cloaths on; we brought him to Justice Fielding, there he owned that he, Lilley, Smith, and Forsit, were all together in Marybone fields last night, and robbed three men there. The cap was produced to him, he was asked if that cap was not lost in the fields; he said. yes, and that it belonged to Lilley. After that I took the keeper of Bridewell, and the other man that knew Forsit, and went to the King's arms again; the man that knew him pointed to him, saying, that was the man. He was sitting with a pint of beer before him, I laid hold of him directly; he was very resolute at first, and said he knew nothing of the matter; we found a will and powers in his pocket that belongs to one Williams on board a man of war. We brought him to Sir John Fielding , he committed one to the Gatehouse, and the other to Clerkenwell Bridewell.

Mr. Newton confirmed the account given by Clark.

James Grief . I am a prisoner detained to give evidence against some persons. I was out after some of them. I knew Chapman by a mark that Smith the evidence had mentioned to me in prison; I found Chapman at the Horse and Groom, Whitechapel; they secured him, and took him before Justice Pell, he was charged with this robbery, but he denied it.

Chapman's Defence.

I am innocent of the matter.

Forsit's Defence.

I do not know the man that is evidence against me, no farther than he may have come into the house where I have been; he may have committed the robbery himself, and other people with him, and so swear innocent peoples lives away.

Ward's Defence.

I never had any conversation with the evidence in my life. Mr. Porter can give me a character.

Richard Porter . I have known Ward better than three months, I never heard any thing of him but that of a very sober man.

Peter Cavenaugh , Richard Johnson, William Pindor , and Catherine Lynford , who also had known Ward about two months, spoke well of him.

All three Guilty . Death .

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