Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
103. (M.) John Ward was indicted (together with Francis Atoway , not taken) for that they, on the King's highway, on Edward Williams did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and violently taking from his person one metal watch, value 40 s. and one hat, value 5 s. the property of the said Edward, January 10 . ||
Edward Williams . I am a master perriwig-maker , and live near Fenchurch-street On Thursday, the 10th of January instant, I had been to a relation's: returning home, I went in at the White Hart, a public-house, the corner of Bunhill-row, about 11 at night, and called for a pint of beer; there was the prisoner and Atoway in company, with some other persons singing: after some time, the prisoner called for a pewter dish, to shew a knack of trundling it on the table, which induced me to stay. I staid there till almost one o'clock: when I was coming away, I said I was going into the city; the prisoner and the other offered their service to go along with me: one said, he lived in the city, by Fenchurch street; and the other said he lived in Filpot-lane, and had an uncle there: we walked down Bunhill-row, talking about this knack of the pewter dish, and other things, till we came to Chiswell-street: when we came to the end which opens into Moorfields , I would have turned and gone by the houses, to Moorgate, but they persuaded me to go over the fields, saying, I should be very safe. We walked talking in the fields, till we came about the middle of the walk; when, all on a sudden, with a most violent motion, I was knocked down, and one of them lay upon me, while the other drew my watch (a metal watch) out of my pocket, and my hat from my head: I can't pretend to say which lay on me, or which took my watch and hat; but I am sure no creature was near me, but them two.
Q. Did you know the prisoner before?
Williams. I never saw him before that night, to my knowledge. I went the next morning to that alehouse, but the landlord was not up; so I went away, and came there again, about twelve o'clock. I enquired of the landlord, if he knew them two men that went out with me last night; he told me he had seen them but a few times in his house, but he said he knew a man that knew them very well, and directed me to him. By that man, I found the prisoner lived by Old-street-square, and the other likewise: I went and found the prisoner at the sign of the Angler, just by Old-street-square: I got a constable, and charged him with the prisoner; I sent for a coach to the house, in order to carry him to New Prison, for the constable's security, till I could be heard before a magistrate. On taking him out of the coach, he made his escape: upon this, I went to Sir John Fielding , and gave information of him, and took a warrant out: I heard no more of him, till Sunday, after church time: then we had word sent he was on Puddle-dock-hill: the constable took a man with him, as the prisoner was reputed to be a bruiser: there they seized him, and the constable sent for a cord, and tied him, and brought him to Newgate, till the next day: he was taken before Sir Robert Kite , on the Monday, at Guildhall.
Williams. No, I never did.
Q. from prisoner. Whether I was the identical person that knocked you down, or took any thing from you?
I came out of this alehouse, about 11 o'clock at night; a young man was with me; he said he was going as far as Filpot-lane: we went together, and said we would have a tankard of beer in going along; we went to see this gentleman home; we said, you may as well go cross the fields, there is no danger: we went on; there came two men, one ran up to me, and said, d - n your eyes, where are you going? and hit me in the face as hard as he could; I turned round, and made the best of my way towards Chiswell street, and never saw any thing that was acted in any case: I know nothing what became of the other young man.
Q. to prosecutor. Did you see or hear any other person speak besides the prisoner and his companion?
Prosecutor. No, there was no other creature near us: I was suddenly knocked down. I said, what are you about? and called out murder; they held my mouth, and I was beat very much.
For the Prisoner.
Q. What is he?
Walsham. He is a gause-weaver; he lived in our neighbourhood, and worked to maintain his family.
Q. How has he lived this last twelvemonth?
Walsham. I do not know; he used the same public-house I did.
Q. What is his general character?
Walsham. I never heard a bad character of him before this time.
Q. Has he a good character?
Walsingham. As far as I know, he has.
Q. Has he a good or a bad one?
Walsingham. He never robbed me; and I never heard of his robbing any body else, before this time.
Guilty . Death .