JOHN D'OYLE, John Valline, Theft > housebreaking, 18th October 1769.

Reference Number: t17691018-22
Offence: Theft > housebreaking
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

573, 574. (M.) JOHN D'OYLE and John Valline were indicted for that they, with force and arms, feloniously did break into the house of Thomas Poor , with intent to cut and destroy a certain quantity of silk manufactory in a loom, and also with intent to cut and destroy a loom, with other tackle used in the weaving trade. It was laid for entering by force, and cutting and destroying a hundred yards of bombazeen, the property of Thomas Horton , in the dwelling house of Thomas Poor , August 7 . *

The witnesses were examined apart.

Thomas Poor . I did live in the parish of Shoreditch , and did keep seven looms of my own in my house. I was obliged to pay six-pence a week to these people the cutters for each loom, that is, three shillings and six-pence a week. I was ordered to send it to the house where they used, by which means I thought myself safe. About the beginning of August, I believe it was between the 7th and 9th, about half an hour after eleven at night, there came a great body of them to the door. I was in my bed. They rapped and tore at my door with a gross voice, You b - h of a w - e! You son of a w - e! Let us in, or we will cut down your door. My wife desired me to lie still, and said they would be more merciful to a woman than a man. She was obliged to open the door in her shift. They came in, and made a great noise. I got up after they got into the shop, and looked out of my chamber and heard the weight stones fall about the house. After they had done there, and was looking out, I saw a great number of them. I saw the two prisoners among them. They came and shook hands with my wife. I knew them before. The shop is thirty-six feet long. I saw them by the light of the window. I had no candle. That they would have put out first, if I had had one.

Q. What had they in their hands?

Poor. I saw nothing in their hands. When they went away, after they got down into the alley, they said, Are you all out? Then they fired a shot, and quitted the place. Then I struck a light and went into the shop. They had cut the cane. There was a piece of silk in the loom, they cut it, and cut the rest of the things; and bent the reed double, and twisted it like a worm. They destroyed the silk, and the tackling of the loom. I have gone to the

committee at the Duke of Northumberland's Head where they held it. I did not see the prisoners there before. I have seen them at the committee since. I have been there three or four times, begging my life of them.

Q. Can you fix upon any time when you went?

Poor. No, I cannot. They came a second time, on the last day of August, and cut all my goods again.

Q. Were the prisoners among them?

Poor. I cannot tell whether they were or not. I was not at home then.

Q. Did you at any time see any of the prisoners?

Poor. I never was among them since the last day of August. I saw the two prisoners once in the committee house. When I went to beg my life, they would say, You dog, you scoundrel. These were in the tap-room, not in the committee-room.

Q. Did you ever speak to the prisoners about the mischief done you?

Poor. No, I never did. One night Valline was at the Pewter-platter, (that was after we were cut) and he desired to have the money given to him. I used to carry my money at six-pence a week, and I continued to pay it after I was cut. I said to Valline, You shall not have a penny of it. He offered to give me a receipt for it. After this mischief was done, we continued to dwell in the house by day, but very little by night.

Q. What silk did they cut?

Poor. It was a bombazeen cane.

Q. What do you mean by a cane?

Poor. That is a piece. A cane is the silk, put in the reed to work. There was about a yard of it made, which was all cut.

Q. What do you mean by weight stones?

Poor. They are to keep it tight. The reed is all steel. They cut that.

Q. Whose property were the looms?

Poor. They were my property. The silk was the property of Mr. Horton.

Q. Had they your consent to destroy the looms?

Poor. They had not. I knew nothing of their coming: I was in bed.

Cross-Examination.

Q. What time of the night was this injury done?

Poor. I think it was about half an hour after eleven.

Q. How many of them came in?

Poor. There were I believe five or six of them. They went out one after another. I was in a great flurry, to be sure.

Q. Were any of them masked?

Poor. No, none, as I saw. I know the whole of the other people very well. I know their names. If they were to alter their voice, I should know them by their voice. I have known them these four years. We were forced to give money to them, in regard to the Defiance, as they called themselves.

Q. Did you see neither of the prisoners up in the committee-room?

Poor. No.

Q. When did you make information in regard to these people?

Poor. Three weeks ago.

Q. How came you not to make it sooner?

Poor. If I had, I should have been in danger of being shot like a dog in the street.

Mary Poor . I am wife to Thomas Poor . In the month of August, I cannot tell the day of the month; I remember the night very well; I live up in a long alley; we were between sleeping and waking, and my husband said, Here are the cutters. I said, Make your self easy. I was told they would not meddle with me, and they might hurt him. They came to the door and cut at it with their swords, or what they had in their hands. They were cutting and hacking. I got up, and said, Gentlemen, don't cut the door; let me put my petticoat on, and I'll let you in. They still kept cutting. I went and opened the door. The first man that entered my door was John D'Oyle , with a pistol in one hand, and a sword in the other. There were seven of them came in. I pushed the sword from my stomach, that D'Oyle held. The other went up to the room. They said, Get out, you old w - e; get out of the shop. I said, You know I know you all very well, I will not go out. I was in my shift all the time. Valline cut the work, the property of Mr. Horton; and D'Oyle had a pistol standing along side me at the time. D'Oyle was a neighbour of mine; he lived within three doors of me. I said to Valline, You are known in this alley, why do you come here? I am sure they were there, as I am sure I am alive. Valline came into my own bed-chamber, and shook hands with me. He asked for Mr. Horton's shoot. I said I had none (this was at their first coming). They said I lied, like an old w - e.

Q. What is the shoot?

M. Poor. That is the bombazeen; what they put in the shuttle. I was obliged to comply. I would have taken my shift off and given it them, if that would appease them.

William Poor . I am son to Thomas Poor . I live with my father, and lie in the shop. There were seven looms in the shop. One night, about the beginning of August, (we hear since it was the 9th) I was in bed when they came into the shop: there came John D'Oyle , John Valline , and four more. John Valline was the man that cut down the work, and John D'Oyle had a sword and a pistol in his hands: he held them to my mother's breast. One of the men went to the loom my father works in, and asked whose work that was. I said, Do not cut that, it is Mr. Campion's. It was bombazeen. They destroyed the tackling and work.

Q. How long have you known the prisoners?

Poor. I have known them three or four years.

Q. Did you see them afterwards?

Poor. I saw them the next day, and after that I and some constables went and took Valline at Highgate; (he is a militia man,) he had soldiers clothes on. I knew him then, though in a different dress, and told the constables that he was the man. They came again the last of August, at night. I saw John D'Oyle among them. I cannot say I saw Valline. They then destroyed all the utensils, and all the household goods and shuttles. One of them was going to cut me, but I cried out for mercy. My father and mother were not at home then. There was John Davis then lying in the bed with me.

Cross-Examination.

Q. Was John Davis in bed with you the 9th of August?

Poor. No, he was not.

D'Oyle's defence.

This woman knew me, and had seen me often the very afternoon before I was taken. I met that wicked woman, and a man stopped me to tell me she had served a warrant upon a relation or friend of her's. I then did say a b - h of a w - e. She heard me. She began to call us a parcel of thieves, robbers, and cutters. I took a warrant for her, and had her before the justice. She wanted a warrant against me, but the justice would not grant one. I never was in her house before I was taken up, neither was I there with this man that night, (meaning Valline). He was a tenant of mine. I am in the whole silk way. I had worked for no body for four weeks. When the justice committed me, he said he believed she was a bad woman, for he had her here too often. If I was to be out of wor twelve months, I could live by my wife's business. She is a hair-sieve-maker.

Valline's defence.

Poor said I offered to give him a receipt at the Pewter-Platter for the money, and I can neither write nor read. She has said I got three or four guineas, by cutting. If that was true, I never should have gone for a militia man. I entered the 14th of April last. I can give an account how I get my living. I worked for Mr. Ham. I got between fifteen and sixteen shillings a week. The militia were drawn out the 19th of September last. I have had thirty-eight shillings and six-pence of my sister since I have been out of work.

For the Prisoners.

Thomas Riley . I was in bed at Mr. Poor's shop, where the looms are, on the 8th of August. I heard people come in. I did not see them. I covered myself up with the bed-clothes, fearing they would do me an injury. In about a quarter of an hour after they were gone, I saw it was impossible for me or any body else to distinguish any man, it was so dark.

Q. Had you been asleep?

Riley. No, I had not.

Counsel. Mr. Poor said he could distinguish them from his room door.

Riley. I could not do it that was in the shop. In the shop there is a window five yards long.

Cross-Examination.

Q. How long have you known the two prisoners?

Riley. I have seen both the gentlemen, but my acquaintance with them is but slender. I have known Valline about four months. I have not been much longer from Ireland.

Q. Why could you not perceive them?

Riley. Because I did not make it my business.

Q. Did you hear stones fall from the looms?

Riley. Upon my word I do not remember any thing in particular. There were a great many bricks made use of instead of stones.

Q. Did you hear Mrs. Poor's voice?

Riley. I know it extraordinary well. I heard it that night before she came out of her own room, and I heard her when in the shop. She was close to my bed.

Q. What did you hear her say that night?

Riley. She said, Wait a little, and you shall have admittance; so she got up in her shift, and opened the door, and they came in. They asked if there was any work of Mr. Horton's in the house; she said there is one loom, which was just at the door they came in at. They went to the other side, and stood by another loom and asked whose work that was; she replied it was Thompson's. Then they said they would cut none of Thompson's work that night. A man then past me, and went to a loom where her husband worked, and said, Whose work is this? The woman was storied: I suppose she wanted to say some other master; but the little boy being rather wittier than she, said it was Champion's. They said they would cut none of Champion's work that night

Q. Did you hear her desire mercy?

Riley. I heard her say a great many things, which I cannot recollect. I am lately come out of a fit of illness, and am deprived of a great part of my memory.

Q. Did you hear her say anything about putting in her petticoat?

Riley. I do not recollect it. I am sure and certain she did not call any body there by the name of D'Oyle, she mentioned the name of a man that put his arm round her, and wanted a kiss.

Q. Did not you hear D'Oyle's voice?

Riley. I do not know the voice of D'Oyle. I believe I could distinguish Valline's voice in company. I could not distinguish any body's voice that night, upon the virtue of my oath. I had no suspicion of either of the prisoners?

Q. Did you see D'Oyle before this happened?

Riley. I did.

Q. Was you at any of the committees at the Duk of Northumberland's Head?

Riley. I have no connections with them. I never heard Mrs. Poor mention D'Oyle's name, either before or after. The work that was cut was M. Horton's.

Q. Did you know any that were there?

Riley. Upon the virtue of my oath, I know none of them.

Q. Did you ever hear Mrs. Poor mention Valline's name?

Riley. I have heard her say that gentleman did belong to them, but not that he cut the work in her apartment.

Q. What did she mean by belonging to them?

Riley. She might mean that he transacted in both businesses, that is, cutting, and the committee also.

Dennis Donavan . I have heard Mrs. Poor talk of this transaction. I heard her say she knew the men in particular, but did not hear her say who they were. I never heard her mention the name D'Oyle. She said there were some of her friends there, and no body there that would hurt her.

Cross-Examination.

Q. Where do you live?

Donavan. I lodge in Poor's house. This thing was transacted on the 8th of August, and she remained in her house till the 31st, when she told me in the afternoon she was going to Limehouse, and would leave the journeymen to take care of the house. Some people came and broke some chairs and things in the house that night.

Q. Was you in the house when they came?

Donavan. No, I was not.

John Porter . Valline served his time to me; he behaved middling. He used to work very hard while with me. He has left me about four years.

Q. Did you attend this committee?

Potter. No. I never did.

Thomas Foot . I have known Valline almost twelve months. He has a very good character.

Q. Who did he work with last summer?

Foot. I cannot tell. The time he worked with me, he had his goods cut and destroyed; but I was in bed and asleep. That was the 28th of June was twelvemonths.

Mary Barnet Valline is my brother. He is a weaver, a hard-working man, and has a good character.

James Martin . I have known Valline eight or nine months. When he had work, he used to work. He has a good character.

Grace Curtain . At the time Mrs. Poor and her husband were at Limehouse, she said if her goods were broke, she would have life. She said my goods were broke, and desired me to come home and swear as well as herself; but when I came home, my goods were not broke.

Q. How came you to go to Limehouse?

G. Curtain. She persuaded me to go. I have

known Valline about five years, I never knew any ill of him. As for D'Oyle, I never saw him but three or four times.

John Davis . I cannot say I knew either of the prisoners. The night Mr. Poor's things were broke, the 31st of August, I was asleep in bed with the son. I heard a great noise, I covered up my head, and never saw any body.

For the Prosecution.

Peter Traquan . I am a weaver, and live in Crispin-street, Spitalfields.

Q. What are the characters of the prisoners at the bar?

Traquan. I have heard D'Oyle was one of the cutters. I never heard that he was a working, industrious man. As to Valline, he is certainly riotous.

Mr. Dumoissur. I know Valline. His general character is that of a rioter.

John Chavuet . I know Valline. He is of a riotous disposition.

Both guilty . Death .


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