John Robinson, John Rouson, Anne Clark, Theft > burglary, Theft > receiving, Theft > burglary, 16th January 1765.

Reference Number: t17650116-37
Offences: Theft > burglary; Theft > receiving; Theft > burglary
Verdicts: Not Guilty; Guilty; Not Guilty; Guilty
Punishments: Death; Death

140, 141, 142. (M.) John Robinson and John Rouson were indicted, for that they, on the 12th of January, about the hour of two in the night, the dwelling-house of Anne Bennet , widow , did break and enter, and stealing six linen shirts, value 6 l. thirty shifts, value 3 l. seventy yards of linen cloth, value 3 l. forty yards of camblet, twenty pair of stays, thirty-seven linen handkerchiefs, and six linen aprons , the property of the said Anne; and Anne Clark , for receiving part of the said goods, well knowing them to have been stolen . ++

Anne Bennet . I keep a cloaths-shop, in Chick-lane, and deal in linen . My house was all made fast last Saturday night; and on the Sunday morning, my sister that lives servant with me, found it broke open. My son came and told me; I got up, and found my two doors open: one opens into the street, the other does not: one is a store-cellar door, under my shop; the pannel of the door was split, and the hinges had given way; they cannot draw up their butts without coming into my shop: I missed the things mentioned in the indictment, and more (mentioning them); Rouson was taken up on suspicion, on the Monday night; he is a shoemaker: I believe the prisoners both lodged in Black-boy-alley. He said, if I would let him and his wife go to one prison, he would be a friend to me, and I should be no great loser: she was taken up also. When we came before Justice Fielding, he said to me, Mrs. Bennet, do you propose to clear my girl? I said, yes: he then said, Jack Robinson and he had sold my things in the Butcher-row, next door to a farrier's shop, in East Smithfield, and that they had had but a guinea: he said, a person was to come and fetch them away at night. My son went with him to the Butcher-row, and I went also. I found thirty-one shirts, two red handkerchiefs, I believe six or eight of the kenting ones, and about forty yards of my new cloth; they told me it was at the house of Mary

Clark (produced in court, and deposed to); Robinson was taken up that night: I know nothing against him, but what Rouson told me.

Mary Barker . I am sister to Anne Bennet . I was the first up, on Sunday morning, which was about half an hour after 7 o'clock: I found the shop was stripped, and the bolts and locks all broke; all were fast before we went to-bed.

John Clarkson . I am son to the prosecutrix. On Sunday morning last, my sister told me the shop was robbed: I got up, and found it so: it soon got about the neighbourhood, and people suspected the two prisoners; we searched their lodgings, but found nothing. On the Monday night, we were told they were both seen to go out three times with things on their shoulders from their lodgings: Rouson was taken, and on the Tuesday morning, carried before Justice Keeling. Going along, he was asked how he got in? he said, he pulled the lock, and it came off very easy; he confessed nothing before the justice; he said he would speak to Mrs. Bennet and the constable by themselves: we went down to Clark's house, in the Butcher-row, and found some things under the bed, and some upon it; we put them all in a tub: by that time, my mother came; I asked him whether there were any stays? he said, he knew nothing about stays. Robinson was taken the same day I believe, about three o'clock, in an alley, in Barbican.

Joseph Adgett . I am constable. I went with a search-warrant, and searched all about Black-boy-alley, where the prisoner lived, but found nothing. Mrs. Clarkson and I took Rouson, when he came home; he said, if I would come into the room with Mrs. Bennet, he would tell us something. Then he said he had robbed Mrs. Bennet's shop.

Q. Had you said any thing to him, to induce him to confess?

Adgett. I said he had better confess, least some body should say something against him, and do him harm. Then he said he had robbed Mrs. Bennet's shop, between three and five o'clock; and that the things were by the Maypole, East-Smithfield; that he had received a guinea earnest: he said, there was a woman with him in the robbery: then Clark was taken up, as she was coming home to her house, with a child in her arms; as we were coming back, he said, we shall find Robinson at Barbican, with his girl: we went there, and found him. I said to him, my friend, I believe you will be hanged; he said, for what? I said, for housebreaking: he made me no answer at all.

William Haliburton . Rouson was in custody before I heard any thing of the matter. He said, come with me, and you shall see the things, and the man that was concerned with him in the robbery. I was with them in East Smithfield, where we found some of the things under the bed, some upon it, and some in drawers.

Henry Wright . At half an hour after twelve, on the Tuesday, Rouson was committed to New Prison. I said to the keeper of Bridewell, we will go down and see if we can find the things; we got down before the others. I asked the prisoner how he did the robbery? he said, first Robinson and he broke open a shoemaker's shop, in Holborn.

Court. That is not in this indictment.

Wright. We found all these things in Clark's house, some under the bed, some upon it, and some in drawers. Coming back, we met Mrs. Clark; I asked Rouson if it was she? he said it was. As we came up Grub-street, we went into two or three houses to see for Robinson; at last we found him in Barbican. He was taken before Sir John Fielding ; Sir John said, take Rouson out, and let the other come in. When Robinson was in, Sir John said, what do you know? said Robinson, admit me an evidence, and I'll tell you: then he said, the first robbery was at a shoemaker's shop, and that they carried the things home; then they went and broke open Mrs. Bennet's shop.

Q. Did Sir John tell him he would admit him an evidence?

Wright. No, he did not: this was on the Tuesday night, about five o'clock.

Q. What is the woman at the bar?

Wright. She deals in Rag-fair.

Robinson's Defence.

The first of seeing Rouson that night, was meeting him at the Hog in Armour, in Field-lane: when they shut up the house, I said, we will go and have a pint of beer at the night-house, in Holborn, near the bars; we went, and staid there till half an hour after two. Coming down Holborn, by the shoemaker's shop, we saw the door open; I there saw a bag of leather; I took and handed it out.

Court. You are not call'd upon to accuse yourself.

Robinson. I have no more to say.

Rouson's Defence.

When I was first taken, I came home, and went up stairs: a neighbour next door was beating his wife, and I went down to take her part: Mrs. Bennet's son made a blow at me with a cutlass, and knocked my hat off; then a pistol was presented to

my head, and they carried me to the watch-house: they took my wife in custody: they sent me to New Prison, and my wife to Clerkenwell Bridewell. The next day, they carried me before Sir John Fielding : I denied the thing strongly: upon that, Sir John ordered me to New Prison. They took me to the Blackeney's head, by Sir John's, and gave me liquor plenty, and persuaded me to confess; and when I went to Sir John to be made an evidence, Sir John turned me out. After that, I went in again; Sir John then said he would admit me an evidence, if I would declare all I knew. And now I am come here, the door was open, I ll assure you; I broke no locks.

Q. to Constable. Did you make the prisoner drunk?

Constabl e. There were only two pots of beer among us all; he was sober when he made his confession.

Clark's Defence.

I happened to be out on the Monday night, and when I came home, there was my husband, and two men, his shop-mates; I sent for a pot of beer; I know no farther about it: as I was going into Whitechapel; to buy a bit of meat, they took me up.

Rouson. This is the very woman that measured the cloth; she measured from her nose end to her finger's end for a yard.

Robinson, Acquitted .

Rouson, Guilty . Death .

Clark, Acquitted .

(L.) Robinson and Rouson were a second time indicted, for that they, on the first of January, about the hour of three in the night, the dwelling-house of Jane Victoire , widow , and Richard Day , did break and enter, and stealing forty-eight pieces of leather, cut for soles, and twenty pieces of leather, cut for heels of shoes, value 5 s. the property of the said Jane and Richard, in their dwelling-house . ++

Richard Day . Mrs. Victoire and I live in one house, at Holborn-bridge ; we are partners: the rent is paid out of the partnership-stock: we carry on the business of shoemaking . Last Sunday morning, about three o'clock, we were alarmed by the watchman knocking at the door; I came down, and found the cellar window broke open: I went into the cellar with the watchman; there I missed some leather soles and heel-pieces.

Q. Was the cellar window broke?

Day. One of the bolts was forced off; the other was easily wrench'd off: the window is under the shop, and there is a way up into the house.

Q. Was it fast over night?

Day. I am very positive it was.

Q. What time did you go to bed?

Day. We went to bed between twelve and one in the morning. On the Tuesday following, in the evening, one of Sir John Fielding 's men called at our house, and told me they had the thieves and some leather; I went to Sir John's, and found the leather, the same as is described in the indictment, our property; some of it is marked with chalk: they asked me if I could swear to it? I said, I could, and did. I heard Robinson say, that Rouson came into the cellar, but that he did not: that Rouson gave him the leather out: several people heard this besides me: this was at the Blackeney's Head, hard by, after we had been at Sir John's.

Q. What did you say to him before he declar'd this?

Day. I asked him what he did with the leather that he took out of the cellar? he said, he sold it to somebody for half a guinea. Robinson said Rouson took the leather of him; and then Robinson took and carried it to his lodgings, in Black-boy alley. I asked him what he did with it afterwards? then he made me that answer, he sold it for half a guinea.

Q. Did you see Rouson there?

Day. No, I did not; to know it was him: I missed more leather than we found again.

William Haliburton . The first of my seeing this leather was at the house of Clark, in the Butcher-row, East-Smithfield: I went there, by Rouson's directions; that was in a large flasket: we went, intending to find things belonging to Mrs. Bennet; Rouson was taken up on Mrs. Bennet's affair; Robinson was not then taken up: I was watching Mrs. Bennet's things, at a public house: I had seen the leather lying about at Clark's, but it was brought to me in a flasket; this was, I think, in a street called Queen-street: we brought the leather to Sir John Fielding 's, in the coach along with Mrs. Bennet's things; there was a lad there that heard this shop was broke open; so we called upon Mr. Day, and told him there was some leather found, and desired him to come up to Sir John Fielding 's, for we had two people taken up, which we suspected had stole the leather: when we came to Sir John's, I heard Robinson say, they had half a guinea of Clark, but did not hear them examined on this affair.

Joseph Adgett . I am a headborough: I saw the leather lying about, when I went to Clark's about Mrs. Bennet's things; one of Mr. Fielding's men

took it in a flasket, up to the alehouse; when we came to Mr. Fielding, he gave it me in charge; this is it; (produced and deposed to by Mr. Day) I asked Rouson what was become of the rest of Mr. Day's leather? I believe he said, he brought it all there, but what was become of it he could not tell: I did not hear them examined before Sir John.

Robinson's Defence.

When Rouson gave me the leather into my hands, I carried it home; and when I was at home, he went to Mrs. Bennet's, and opened the door, and came and told me he had opened it; said he, will you go and see if there is any thing? I said, I did not care if I did; I went down, and he gave me hold of a bag of linen first; we carried that home, and went back again; then he gave me another bag of linen, and we carried that home.

Rouson's Defence.

I beg the mercy of the court.

Both Guilty . Death .


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