JOSEPH GUYANT, JOSEPH ALLPRESS, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 3rd June 1772.

Reference Number: t17720603-44
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty
Punishment: Death

466, 467. (2d. M.) JOSEPH GUYANT and JOSEPH ALLPRESS, otherwise ALLPRICE were indicted for that they on the king's highway, on Thomas Eversage , did make an assault putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and stealing from his person sixty leather bags, value 20 s. the property of our Sovereign Lord the King , Oct. 13 *

John Webb . I am a clerk in the general post office for the north road. On Saturday the 12th of October, I put up the Stamford, Colsterworth, Grantham, Retford, Durham, Sunderland, New-castle, Marpeth, Alnwick, Berwick, Wisbich, Lincoln, Falkingham, Bourn, Gainsborough, Beverley, Hull, Leeds, Wakefield, Barnsley, Huddersfield, York, Maltone, Thirsk, Scarborough, Richmond, Bedal, Bernard Castle , Penrith, Cockermouth, Whitehaven and Carlisle bags of letters, to go by the north mail. There are five mails that go by the north, two Ferrybridge and Boroughbridge, one Scotland, one London and Huntingdon, and there is another; these six mails contained in the whole threescore lesser bags. I did not make up the mail, only put the letters in the bags.

Charles Colson I am clerk in the post-office; on the 12th of October, I put the Enfield, Ware, Hertford, Royston, Caxton, St. Ives, St. Neots, Huntingdon, Stilton, Newark, Tuxford, Bowtry, Doncaster, Ferrybridge, Witherby, Boroughbridge, Northallerton, Darlington, Bedford, Peterborough, Spalding, Boston, Horncastle, Louth, Hallifax, Bradford, Tadcaster, Gretabridge, Brough and Appelby bags; the letters for Puckeridge and Hartford were put into to the Ware bag. I wax the letters, and put them into the boxes, and then into the bags.

James Hutton . I am a clerk in the general post office; after the letters were put into the bags, I saw them and delivered them to Isaac Beard ; there were four outside mails, besides the Scotch, two were ticketed, Ferrybridge and Boroughbridge.

Isaac Beard . I am an assistant in the post office: I am employed in the north road. On the 10th of October, I received from Mr. Hutton for the north road, six mails, all property sealed; I carried them out of the office, and put them into the cart, and saw it safely locked; it was a round cart, pretty strongly covered over, and plated with iron. I took the key into the office, and acquainted the clerk all was in safety and locked; one key remains at the Post Office, and another with the master of the Post Office to which they go.

Q. Where was the boy to go?

Beard. To Enfield.

Thomas Eversage . I drove the mail on Sunday morning the 13th of October; I took the cart from the Post Office; I drove through Old-street Turnpike; there I met with John Thomas going to Enfield; I took him up; we drove to a place called Onsfield , about seven miles from London; I set out about half after two, and got there about a quarter before four; there a man came up to the horses head; I did not see him at first; I struck the horses, then I heard a man say, stop, d - n your eyes, or I'll blow your brains out! he said, alight; I went to get down; he said, not you, my lad, to the other; then the boy got down, and he bid him go about his business; he said, is the gate ready? another man said, yes.

Q. Who was the other man?

Eversage. Guyant, I believe. Then he bid me turn round, and drive in at the gate. I heard somebody run down the road; presently after that, the man that stopped the cart, and the young fellow came back to me again; I was ordered to drive till I got to the bottom of the field, then into the next field, and to the bottom of that; then the man that stopped the cart, bid me get off, and come along with him; I begged he would not hurt me; he said, he would not hurt a hair of my head, but he should tie my hands and legs; he tied my hands and bid me sit down.

Q. How far were you from the cart when he tied you?

Eversage. Twenty or thirty yards; the other boy was with me; he tied us both, and then went away; he came again almost directly, and asked if I had got a key; I told him, no; he said, he knew very well how to get it open without; then he went away back to the cart, and I heard a great noise, and fire flew at every stroke; the noise continued ten minutes; then the other came, and said, my lads sit still, till

we load our horses, and we will come and release you and give you five guineas to yourselves.

Q. Had you observed any horses they had?

Eversage. No; they never came near us any more; we sat there an hour and a half till day light; then Thomas got one of his hands out; I desired him to put it in again, left they should come and shoot us; he put it in again for a quarter of an hour; then it was quite light, and we saw the cart and horses. Thomas got loose and untied me; there was a large hole in the roof of the cart, some of the iron had been cut as if with an ax; there were the St. Ive's bag unopened, and another old bag lay near the cart; we took the reins off the horses, and rode to Mr. Hamilton's, and then came to London.

Q. What sort of a morning was it when they met you?

Eversage. Wet and dark.

Q. Did it grow light enough while they were with you, for you to observe their persons?

Eversage. No; the man that stopped the cart had a light-coloured coat and a flapped hat; the other a dark coat, and a cocked hat; the biggest was about five feet eight inches, and the other about five feet six inches; [nearly the size of the prisoners;] when I heard All press's voice afterwards, I said, it was like the voice I heard in the field.

John Thomas . I am a cock-founder. On the 12th of October, I set off between one and two o'clock, to go a fishing. I was waiting for an acquaintance; he never came; I went on to the Old Street Turnpike; I asked if the mail cart was gone by? the turnpike man said, no; I waited till Eversage came; hollo, Eversage! said I; he said, ah, are you here at this time? we went on to Enfield. There came a man and took hold of the horse's head and held it fast; Eversage gave a cut; then the man said, if you don't stop I'll blow your brains out; he said, dismount! Eversage went to get down; he said not you, then I got down; I said, I was only going a fishing; he said he knew it, and bid me go on; then I heard him ask if the gate was ready, and the other man said, yes, and ordered the boy to drive in at the gate. I was about twenty yards off I believe, and presently I heard a man say, ho! I turned about and saw him just by me; it was Allpress I believe.

Q. How do you know it was Allpress?

Thomas. By his height and voice; which I recollected when I came to Sir John's; he had a lightish coloured coat, and his hat flaped; his coat looked like a surtout coat; he said to me when I was got into the field, halt! I turned about, and he was close on my back; he said, Look the other way, take no notice of me; when I came pretty near the gate, there was a man stood by it, who said go in there; I said in here, Sir? he said, yes, and follow the carriage: by the softness of his voice, he appeared to be the other man Guyant. I had an oil skin over my hat; the wind blew it off; I stooped to pick it up. He then said, don't be afraid; I said, you know I can't help being afraid, being stopped as we are; he said, he would not hurt a hair of my head. They stopped the carriage, and desired me to stand on one side; he then brought Eversage to me, and ordered him to sit down; he tied his hands behind him, and then tied his legs; Eversage desired they would not hurt him, he had a sore leg; he said he would not, and what they were doing was only for their own safety; he took a knife and cut the string, and then tied my legs, which he had a hard matter to do, because I am lame; then he came behind me, and said, put your hands behind you; I did; and he trembled as he tied my hands behind me; then he went away, he returned again, and said, have you got the key? Eversage said, no. The biggest man said, he would find a method to get at it, and away he went. Then I heard him in about a minute, with something like an ax, beating on the carriage, and it struck light several times; then something cracked like the breaking of boards; after the cracking was done; I heard something like a tearing, and I had not heard that long before it was done.

Q. How long was that after the cracking?

Thomas. Three or four minutes; one of them came back, and said, as soon as the other men came into the field, and they had loaded their horses, they would give us five guineas. I said, gentlemen, I hope you will not leave us tied, in this deplorable condition; for I did not know when we should get undone; he said, they would not; about a few minutes after that, I listened, and said to Eversage, I can't hear any noise; we sat a little longer, it grew a little lighter, and he said, there is the grey-faced mare feeding; I looked and thought I saw it too; I directly began to wrench, and got one of my hands out; I told Eversage I had it out; oh, said he, put it in again, for if they come they will shoot us. In about ten minutes I wrenched my hands out, and untied my legs,

and went and got him untied. Then we went to the carriage; the reins seemed to be cut and were loose; the carriage was broke at the roof of it, and there was nothing left in it; there was a little bag I saw near it, with a girt about it and an empty bag. I got up on one mare, and he on the other, and rode to Mr. Hamilton's, at Enfield. When we got into the gate, Mr. Hamilton said, what now? Eversage said, we had been stopped and robbed; he ordered his chaise to be got ready, and came with his chaise, and we followed him. Mr. Hamilton put the bag in the chaise, and we came to London.

Adam Hamilton . I am post-master at Enfield. On Sunday the 13th of October, I saw the post boy on one horse, and the last witness on another; which surprised me greatly: I thought some accident might have happened by breaking; I asked what was the matter? Eversage said, they had been stopped and robbed; that the cart was broke in two pieces. I immediately ordered the chaise to be got ready, and went to the place and them with me; there I found the cart in the condition the witnesses have described cut with an ax, or something of that sort; there was nothing in the cart. I made the boy look into it; I found the St. Ives bag unopened, and a large bag ticketed

"Ferrybridge;

"I believe there was one letter in that not opened. I ordered the boy to harness the horses, and put them to the cart, and go before me, and I followed them in the past chaise; I put into the chaise the St. Ives bag, the Louth and Ferrybridge bag, and went to the General Post Office. On coming back some people stopped me, and said, they had found a great number of bags. I think there were forty-two; I got out of the chaise, and sent my letter-carrier with them to the office.

John Taylor . I live at Edmonton; in October last, one Sunday morning about seven o'clock, I found a great number of bags of letters in a ditch, near the Cock, in Onsfield.

Q. How many were there?

Taylor. About forty; I brought them and covered them under a rick of hay, and went and called Mr. Harding; he knew what they were, and took his horse, and went to Mr. Hamilton's; it was two fields from where the carriage was broke. Mr. Hamilton was gone to London; he came and bid me take care of them till Hamilton came, and sent them to London.

William Harding . I keep the Cock at Onsfield. I remember the last witness bringing some bags to my house, on a Sunday in last October; Mr. Hamilton took them from there to London; about three weeks after, another bag was brought to my house; the waggoner's boy picked it up and brought it to me. There was a great many lottery tickets, and half bank note. After Guyant was taken up; I asked him how that bag came to my door; he said, he and Allpress brought it there.

Q. Had you seen him at your house the night of the robbery?

Harding. No; I never saw them together there in my life.

George Farrow . I live at Edmonton. I remember the robbery; I found thirteen bags in a field, not half a mile from where the mail was robbed; I believe it was on the 13th of November; I will not be certain, some had letters in them, and some were empty; I carried them to the Post Office.

Ann Farrow . I saw the bags after they were found; there were thirteen; one was empty, the rest had papers and letters in them; they had all been opened; they were ticketed. I took an account of the tickets, they were as follows, Wakeford, Hertford, Ware, Hallifax, Wishich, Nerith, Alten, Huddersfield, Louth, St. Neots, Horncastle, Boston and Soalding. I saw the bags in my brother's possession.

John Silverthorn I live at Edmonton. I found two parcels in which were contained news papers and letters, hid in a hole of a bank, in a field behind Guyant's house; and on the Sunday after, I found another parcel of letters stuck against a manager in the same field; I don't know how long it was after the robbery; the first I carried to Mr. Hamilton, the other to London.

- Davis. On the 19th of February I found some letters in a bag, about three-quarters of a mile from where the mail was robbed. I carried them to the Post Office, being late I could get nothing for my trouble. I went again on the 22d. and at the Change saw a great many persons; I went up to them, and saw Guyant and Allpress; when they saw me, Guyant went out at the door I went in at; and they went towards the Mansion House; when I came to the Post Office, a half guinea had been given to the man at the Penny Post, so I had to go to Throgmorton-street; then in the Change I saw them sitting on a bench, talking; when they saw me they went away.

Thomas Ingle . I am a labouring man at Edmonton; on the 20th of October I went into the field for my master's mare. I saw Guyant and Allpress leaning over a gate and talking; at last I heard Allpress say, d - n it we are safe; I know we are safe; Guyant made a motion to Allpress that he saw me, and they went away. I saw no more of them.

William Gosling . I am a waggoner at Earith, in Huntingdonshire. I know Guyant; I saw him the 11th of March.

Q. Do you know Allpress?

Gosling. Yes; he was employed in fishing for me in March, in the isle of Ely.

Q. How long had he been employed by you before this?

Gosling. The Monday before, this was Wednesday.

Q. Do you know what became of Allpress from October to the March you speak of?

Gosling. He came to me several times at Earith. On the 11th of March Guyant came to me with a letter, and desired me to give it to Allpress; Stanbridge was present; he had a suspicion of his robbing the mail. I broke the letter open; (the letter shown him.)

Q. You know that letter?

Gosling. Yes; that is the letter.

John Aldredge . I have been a servant to Guyant nine years.

Q. Look at that letter; is that his hand writing?

Aldridge. Yes; I have seen him write several times. (The letter read.)

Wansday the 11 of March 1772 To Joseph Allprise this Cums with my kind Love and Respackts to you and your wife and hope you are wall I Desier you wont think it a miss as I Did not Rite to you Bee fore I have been a Deail of trubel a Bout over a feare But to satisfie you and I wont rong you of one penny - that day as you and I was waiting for Nixon Stanbradge See us on Chang and the Next Mundy arsket me whan you want Doun in the Cuntray I told him on Friday bee said that was a Damd Ly for bee See us Both on Chaing a Satarday & Corsed a great Deail of Confushon I was sent for to Jorneses to know my Bisness on Change & told I wanted to see Nixon & Bee told them Bee avoid me two pds & 12 shillings But virs not on Chang that Day so there is Jornes & Ball & Holt & Stanbradg & Stogbel all at work against us you make your slefe Easey & will work through it all Leave it to me I would a sent a Later Butt Stanbridge has been to the post office & to the whaggon & make all the sarch they Can & how more subspishon than Eaver Leave its all to me & I will send you things in a weaks time or tow Leave that to mee the Later you sent wors Lost att ponders Eaud & alldradg had itt Bee fore me & sends Charndler told Abel you owd him twenty three shillgs & want a way in Det to Aterny old mother tru mon Been with me a Bont the gun Rite me a Later I have gun throug a great Deail of trubel. But Leave itt to me & I Neaver will Bleu you Nor Des Cour any thing Left me sufer whatt I wil & my Hand is witness to this I bow Ben a Borv ten times att London & bolt bars wochet me away time & the waggons Stysing att ouer house But I make Slite of you to them you shall have money and all your thinge as same as I thing proper to send them for the Best and so my Love to you & you wife and send me a Later Lont Left she man Leave itt att Pondrs and Leave itt in the night att my house.

Joseph Guyant

Q. What distance does Guyant live from where the waggon was stopped?

Aldridge. About a quarter of a mile.

Edward Smith . I am a waggoner to Mr. Gosling. I know Allpress; I saw him at Earith 17th of February; he gave me a letter to give to Guyant, and desired me to leave it with him, the night at a shop where I saw him, but being a wet night I left it at Ponder's End, wit Mr. Hogan's. I called before I want down at Guyant's for an answer, but it was not ready; when I went back, Allpress asked me when I saw his master? I told him, when I came down I did not see him, when I went up; he said, no! what did you do with the letter? I told him, I left it at Ponder's End; he said, why did I do for I told him, I could not stop in a wet night with my horses, half an hour to call his master up; he seemed very angry about it, and bid me never leave any more there; that if I tied it at the top of my whip, and taped at the window, he would rise and take it in.

Q. Did you hear Guyant say he had received that letter?

Smith. Yes; the night I went down.

John Phips . I worked journey work to Guyant at the time of the robbery. Allpress was often at my master's house; they used to go out together by day and night, commonly of a night; I don't know what about; they were together the night before the mail was robbed, between seven and eight o'clock; Guyant went to bed a little after seven; when I came down the next morning, between seven and eight, I saw them in

the yard: Allpress was to and fro all that day.

John Noaks . I am a constable in the Liberty of Westminster; I go with Sir John Fielding 's people; Mr. Bond and I went with a warrant to Guyant's at Edmondton; he was not at home; we went to a publick house, and left word that somebody wanted to speak to him; in a little time he came to us; I left him with Mr. Bond, and went and searched the house. I brought away what papers I found in to house; while I was gone, Mr. Bond took out of his pocket these papers, I gave to the gentleman of the Post Office. I saw the note that was in the pocket book.

Richard Bond . I went with this warrant. On the 13th of March Sir John Fielding sent for me; he said, he believed the people would be soon apprehended if I would be dexterous; I got the warrant and went to Edmonton, with Noaks. I ordered the post boy to drive beyond Guyant's house; I got out of the chaise and walked to the house, and enquired for him; I left word with his wife, that somebody wanted him to come to the public house; he came and I took him. I searched him and found this pocket book; (producing it) I did not at first find the bank note in the pocket book, nor till I came home; then I gave it to Mr. Leigh; it was in a memorandum book in the pocket; it was opened in my presence. I saw the note, this is it. When we brought him to Sir John's, Sir John said to him, here is one of the notes found on you, what have you done with the rest? Guyant said, he had but one more, that he passed away to Mr. Brown, a butcher in Shoreditch. Afterward I went down and found a pistol in a shed, by Guyant's direction. Guyant said before the Justice that pistol was his own making.

John Leigh . I am clerk to Sir John Fielding . I found this note in the pocket book that was found on Guyant. On Saturday before Sir John Fielding , Guyant acknowledged the fact, and told where the pistol was to be found; I took it in writing from him; there were some notes found buried in Guyant's house.

Henry Wright . On the 13th of March last, Guyant was brought to Tothil-fields Bridewell; on Saturday morning the 14th, I went with him to Sir John's from our gaol; there he confessed that he and Allpress committed the robbery, and mentioned some particulars; that Allpress tied the two boys together. After he had been examined, he was committed again to our prison; as we were going back, he said, Mr. Wright, I forgot to tell Sir John where the pistol was; I ordered the coach to turn round, and go to Sir John's again; when we came to Sir John's, he was just going to Brompton; I told him what Guyant said; he said, take him in, and let Mr. Leigh take it down; Mr. Leigh took it down; he said it was in a gutter on the top of a shed. I took him to gaol; on Tuesday morning by his desire, I went down with him to Edmonton; he said, he had some notes there, and he would restore them for the good of the publick; when he came there, he told his man to take the pick ax and dig under the grindstone; accordingly we dug a long while; it was very hard; we dug one of the posts up, and under the post there was this bag; (producing it;) it was very wet; I doubled it up, and put it in a handkerchief; there was nothing in it; he desired me to go into a field behind the house, and there I should find some notes wrapped up in a piece of canvas by mistake. I went to the wrong field and came back, and said, he had a mind to play the fool with me; he said, no; you went to the wrong field, and told me to go to the second, and by the post I should find it; I went and found this pocket, and in it these notes; (producing one 20 l. bank note, two twenty guinea draughts and a 10 l. draught.

Q. He carried you on purpose to show you the notes he had robbed the mail of?

Wright. Yes; (the notes read.)

Q. from Guyant to Bond. He asked if I had any papers in my pocket; I gave him my pocket-book; he looked it over half an hour; it is clear there was no bank note in it at that time; he said, there is nothing here affecting you, but a letter about notes becoming due the same night. After he got to Sir John's office; he said there was a 20 l. note in it.

Q. Did you on his delivering up his pocket book look it over leaf by leaf?

Bond. I did look over the pocket book, but not over the memorandum book; (the pocket book produced.)

Q. to Aldredge. Look on the leaves of this book, and see if you see any of Mr. Guyant's hand writing; can you tell whose hand writing is on that leaf?

Aldredge. I believe this to be Guyant's at the bottom.

Martha Brown . (The note shewn her.)

Q. Did you ever see that note before?

Brown. I think I have; it is like the note Guyant gave to me.

Q. Do you know who wrote the writing on it?

Brown. Yes, I wrote it; Guyant gave it to my husband.

John Brown. I gave a 20 l. note to my wife.

Q. Is that your wife's writing?

Brown. I believe it is; I had it from Guyant.

William Duncan . I know the notes again, from the numbers, the writing and the body of them; I put them in a letter, on Saturday night the 12th of October, and put that letter in the Post Office; it was directed to Mr. Larkey, at Pukeridge.

Charles Landers . I am clerk to the sollicitor of the Post Office; Mr. Stanbridge came to our office with a letter that has been produced; I went with him to Sir John Fielding 's; then we went to apprehend Allpress; he was on the Fens (the banks of a river) fishing. When we apprehended him, I charged him with robbing the mail; he said, Guyant and himself robbed the mail; we brought him to Sir John Fielding's, and there he said the same; he said, he had a watch which Guyant had purchased with a note he had taken out of the mail. I went to Sir John's with him, and there he confessed in more particular terms.

Q. You said nothing to induce him to make this confession?

Landers. No; Sir John told him not to flatter himself with hopes of being admitted an evidence, for he would not admit him.

Q. Was Allpress asked any thing about the ax?

Landers. No.

Q. Did he say any thing about it?

Land ers. No, not that I know of.

Mr. Leigh. I heard him on his examination, before Sir John, say where the ax was; he described it, and said, it was made use of in the robbery.

- Gosden. I went to search Allpress's house in the country; I was told there was an ax there, that was broke and rivetted in the eye with two rivets; his wife said it was at his father's; I went there, he had lent it to another person; I went to that person and got it; this is the ax (producing it.)

Q. Is it tempered for cutting iron?

Gosden. Yes.

Q. to Aldredge. Do you remember the hole for the grindstone being dug?

Aldredge. Yes.

Q. What time of the year was it, was it after the 13th of October?

Aldredge. Yes.

Q. Who dug it?

Aldredge. Allpress; I did not see him.

- Summering. This bag is about the size of the bags at the Post Office; it is sowed in the manner they are generally are, with a welt up one side and at the bottom.

John Wright . The manner of inserting tickets is at one corner of the bag with a bodkin.

Q. Is there any mark to suppose that bag has had a ticket inserted?

Wright. Yes.

Guyant's Defence.

I desire the mercy of the court.

Allpress's Defence.

I know nothing about it.

For Allpress.

Thomas Chandlier . I live at Edmonton; I have known Allpress twelvemonths; he worked in the same town.

Q. What character has he bore?

Chandler. I don't know I have heard many things against him; not that I know any thing.

Mrs. Wing. I know Allpress; I live with him.

Q. Where was he the 12th of October at night?

Wing. I cannot say.

Q. Where was he the night the mail was robbed?

Wing. A bed with me.

Q. What time did he go to bed?

Wing. Between seven and eight o'clock.

Q. What time did he get up?

Wing. Between eight and nine, to the best of my knowledge and as near as I can tell.

Q. Was he out any part of the night?

Wing. Not at all that I know of.

Q. Should you have known if he had?

Wing. Yes, to be sure.

Q. Are you sure he was not out at two o'clock?

Wing. Yes, to the best of my knowledge he was not out.

Q. He was not out then at two?

Wing. No.

Q. Nor three.

Wing. No.

Q. Nor four, five, six nor seven.

Wing. No.

Q. Did you never say to any body that you slept all night?

Wing. No.

Q. You never said to Mr. Cox that you slept all night?

Wing. No.

Q. Was you awake at three o'clock?

Wing. I believe I was.

Q. How came you to take particular notice of that night?

Wing. I did not take particular notice.

Elizabeth Chandler . Allpress came to lodge with me in May, 1771. I never heard any ill of him; he lodged with me till January; he kept as good hours as any man; he never stayed out after dusk so far as I know; for the general part he was in before dusk.

Q. Was he at home on Saturday the 12th of October?

Chandler. He was at home in the afternoon; I cannot say to night. I heard him in his room about seven the next morning; I did not see him.

Mrs. Coel. Allpress lodged in the house where I lodged; I never heard any thing amiss of him.

Q. What is his character in the neighbourhood?

Coel. I cannot say as to that; some people give him an ill one, and some a good one, as they do other people. The night the mail was robbed I saw him in bed, between nine and ten; I was in his room.

Q. How came you to pitch on this particular night?

Coel. I was sitting up waiting for my husband.

Both Guilty . Death .


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