BOYS ERRBURRILL, WILLIAM IVES, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 30th May 1781.

Reference Number: t17810530-25
Offence: Violent Theft > highway robbery
Verdict: Guilty > with recommendation
Punishment: Death
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317, 318. BOYS ERRBURRILL and WILLIAM IVES were indicted, for that they, in the King's highway, in and upon Robert Johnson , feloniously did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and stealing from his person two halfpence in monies numbered, the property of the said Robert , May the 6th .

(The witnesses were examined apart, at the request of the prisoners.)


About eleven o'clock at night, on the 6th of May, as I was coming from the Blue-coat Boy, in Islington Town, under the pales of the Jubilee Gardens , three men crossed from the fields. Boyser Burril held a cutlass to me; he blasted me, and struck me with it over my right hand: I thought at first my finger was cut off; I found afterwards it was only bruised. Then he clapped his left hand against my breast, and forced me down upon the ground, against the pales: he then put his left hand into my right-hand pocket, and took some money out. I looked him full in the face. He said, Blast your bloody eyes! I will cut your head off if you look at me: he got from my side, and unbuckled one of my shoes. I told him, they were plated buckles, but he was welcome to them; but begged he would not use me ill. He then came towards me again, with the hanger: they said, he would cut me if I looked at him; and they endeavoured to force my hat over my face, but it only covered my left eye. I kept looking at him; he stood up, towards my left foot, and I saw him receive the cloak from the other prisoner, who had robbed my wife: he clapped it between his knees.

How many of them were there? - At first there were three. The prisoner Boys was the first that came up upon the path to me, and drew the cutlass from his side.

Do you know the other man? - No; I only know the one that came first up to me: it was quite a bright moon-light night; the moon shone directly against the pales where I lay.

How long might they be with you? - Five or six minutes; I cannot say to a minute, but thereabouts.

Had you ever seen the prisoner Errburrill before? - Never, to my knowledge. I gave information the next morning; and he was taken on the Monday evening, the next day. I was with them when they took them; they were taken within 3 or 400 yards from the spot where I was robbed. I pointed out Errburrill to them, and said, he was the man that came up to me with a cutlass.

Who was with you? - Redgrave, Dinmore, and Kipping. There was a ring and some money found upon him. He had a cutlass under his coat; the other had a sword, which he dropped from behind him; the constable clapped his foot on it, and I picked it up. I pointed to Errburrill, and said, he was the person that robbed me, and held the cutlass over me. Errburrill said something about having been in company with some common-councilmen overnight. I heard nothing more.


You had been at different houses? - Only to one. I drank a glass of ale. I was not worse than I am now.

Perhaps better. - I was, perhaps, more in spirits to make a just remark; I was not in liquor; I never was drunk in my life. I cannot say but I was a little in fear at his holding a cutlass over me.

You were not quite so cool as you are now about it? - Yes, I was. I lost about 2 d. out of my right-hand breeches pocket: two or three of the halfpence, I am positive, were good. When he was before Justice Blackborough, he said he found the cutlass.

Where do you live? - At Battle-Bridge. I was going home.

Did you know the other prisoner before? - I have seen him in the neighbourhood before.

Did not you drink with him on the Monday morning, at a public-house? - No; at the time of the robbery I knew nothing of him.

Had you no conversation with these thief-takers? - None at all.

- JOHNSON sworn.

I was with my husband, returning from Islington, on the 6th of May, about eleven o'clock, by the pales of the Jubilee Gardens . We were attacked by three footpads: one of them came up, and pulled out a cutlass from underneath his coat, and held it to my husband; he went to strike my husband over the head, and he lifted up his hand. I cried out, Lord have mercy upon me! twice; and the other man came up to me, and put his hand before my mouth, and said, Blast your eyes! what do you make a noise for?

Who had the cutlass? - Boys Errburrill.

Are you certain to Ives? - Yes, I am, Ives pushed me down against the pales, and put his hand before my mouth.

Did you know either of the prisoners before? - I knew Ives when he was a boy.

Are you sure he was the man? - Yes.

Are you equally sure to the other? - I am clear of it; I saw his face before he came up to my husband: it was a very remarkable light night; the moon shone against the pales . I saw Errburrill come across the road; he came up to my husband, with a stiff attitude. I said, the instant they were gone, I should know their faces again.

What is your husband? - A cabinet maker. I have a family; I begged for my life, on account of my family.

Did you take notice of his clothes? - I cannot justly say; I know they were a dark colour. He had a round hat.

You knew Ives at the time? - I said, as soon as he was gone, I knew his face.

From Ives. Whether she mentioned to her husband, she had any knowledge of me on the Sunday night? - I thought I had knowledge of the face; I did not recollect where I had seen him, but I was clear I should know his face if I saw him again: I mentioned that before we were off the ground.


I am servant to Mr. Edward Button , a bricklayer. On the 6th of May, taking a walk up the road, about eleven at night, I heard a woman's voice cry out, Murder! just against the pales of the bowling green. I walked up, and saw the prosecutor lay upon the ground, and a man with an hanger standing over him, and another alongside of him; one stood off in the road. When I came near, I heard one say, D - n your eyes, you bitch, turn out what you have got! When they saw me coming up, they ran off.

Did you know them? - No.

Did you take notice of them so as to know them again? - Yes: I saw them the next day, before they were taken.

How did you know they were the same men when you saw them the next day? -

Because I had a full view of their faces when they had Mr. Johnson and his wife down. I knew them again when I saw them at Sir John Fielding's office. I know they are two of the three men.

How near did they let you come to them when they were committing the robbery? - About the length of this room.

At that distance, could you see the face of two strangers, at night, so as to know them again? - Yes.

How long did you stand looking at them? - About two minutes.

Did they see you? - I do not know.

(On his cross-examination he said, he only had a side-view of their faces as they crossed the road; that when they were committing the robbery they stood with their backs to him, and their faces to the pales.)

Court. Was Johnson drunk or sober? - Sober.


On the 7th of this month the prosecutor called on me, in the morning, and told me he had been robbed over-night. In the evening two more constables, myself, and Mr. Johnson, took a walk over the fields; we went down what they call the New Cut, that goes across the two roads: the prosecutor was before me some distance; I and Redgrave were together; there was another constable behind us. The two prisoners crossed over to me and the other constable: I passed Errburrill, who was first, and laid hold of Ives; I clapped my hands on his sides, and said, Holloa, young fellow! what have you got here? I felt the handle of this (producing a sword) under his coat; it was drawn; it dropped down by my foot; I put my foot upon it, and after that he dropped this sheath. I called out; they came up, and Redgrave laid hold of Errburrill; the others came up, and we secured them. As soon as the prosecutor came up, he said to Redgrave, that is the man that robbed me last night, and had the cutlass. Redgrave said, he has got a cutlass now, for I felt it under his clothes. The prosecutor came up to me, and took the sword from under my foot, and stood by while they were tied together.


Had Johnson described the clothes the men were in before? - He said, dark-coloured clothes. He said, he should know the person again that stood over him with a cutlass.


I went with the prosecutor, and the other constables, in pursuit of the persons that had robbed him: I saw them first, leaning on the rails; the prosecutor crossed the road, and crossed upon them, and came up to us; I secured Errburrill, and found this cutlass upon him (producing it.) The prosecutor knew Errburrill immediately; he said, that was the man who stood over him with a cutlass: I said, he has one now under his coat.


I went out with the other two constables; we met with the two prisoners in the New Cut, the New Road; I was rather behind; when I came up to them, they had laid hold of each of them. I saw the two instruments they had got. We tied their hands together.

To Kipping. You keep a public-house, I understand? - Yes.

Did Johnson drink at your house that morning? - He called in the morning, and told me he had been robbed.

Was any body in company with him at that time? - Ives was in the house.

Was he drinking at your house with either of the prisoners? - Ives was drinking with some people; I do not know that the prosecutor was with him. There had been fight, and they were come in from the fight.

Did Ives and he speak together? - Not that I know of.

Did they see each other? - Yes, they certainly did. He must see him, I should think, however.

Jury. Have you been acquainted with Johnson any time? - He has called at my house, as he came by, several times; but I never knew his name till after the robbery.

Errburrill. I leave my defence to my counsel.


I have nothing to say.

For Errburrill.


I live in Shoe-lane. My husband is a peruke-maker.

Do you recollect seeing Boys Errburrill at your house? - Yes, on the Sunday night, the day before he was taken up, he came to my house, about half after seven; he did not come in; he asked for my daughter. I told him, she was not at home. He asked, whether she was gone down towards Fleet-street? he said, he would go and try to see her. He returned in five or six minutes; he said, he had not seen her: he went away, and came again exactly as the clock struck eight. The girl was come home, and he came indoors with her, and went out with her a little before nine; and returned, as nigh as I can recollect, about a quarter before ten o'clock. There was a young man sat facing my door, in liquor; he went with him up into Hatton-garden, to assist him home. The prisoner, and a Mr. Roberts, the master of the young man, came back to my door again; he staid then till about three-quarters after ten, or near eleven o'clock; it was past ten when he came in.

Did Roberts stay any time with him? - He went away directly: my daughter was at home all the time.

Which way did he go? - Towards Fleet-street: he lives beside the Fleet-market.


I am daughter of the last witness. I came home a little before eight on the 6th of May; the prisoner met me at the door, as the clock struck eight; he came into the shop, and gave me a nosegay out of his bosom; I put it in water. We went to take a walk, and returned about a quarter before nine; then he went home with this drunken man, to his master's; afterwards he came back, and sat with me, by the fire, till St. Paul's and St. Sepulchre's went three-quarters after ten; I counted them both.

Court. He came frequently to you? - About a fortnight before.

Did you take particular notice of the time he came on the other nights? - No, I did not.

How came you to count the clock that night in particular? - I was sitting at the door; I asked a person, what was o'clock? she said, she did not know; and immediately I heard the clock strike.


I keep a coal-shed, in Shoe-lane. Our man was sitting drunk on the steps; we took him to Hatton-garden, and the prisoner and I came back together to Mr. Collet's door; that was after ten o'clock.


I am a watchman; my stand is in Shoe-lane, the corner of the White Swan. On Sunday, the 6th of May, when I called ten o'clock, I opened my box, and heard the half-hour chimes at St. Paul's; I went into Collet's shop; the young man was sitting on one side of the fire, and Nancy Collet on the other side; I staid there six or eight minutes, and left him there, and saw no more of him.

Do you know the New Cut made from Battle-bridge to White Conduit-house? - I can't say I know much about that.

How far may it be from Shoe-lane? - It may be best part of a mile; I cannot pretend to be a judge.

Jury. It is about a mile and an half.

- MAY sworn.

My husband is a watch-maker; he is Errburrill's master. I let him in on the Sunday night before he was taken up, at about a quarter before eleven, I believe; we generally go to bed about eleven. I bid him go to bed. I locked the door, and took the key; I chained the door, and bolted the windows; just after, I heard St. Paul's strike eleven. I had the watch in my hand, and looked to see if it was right, before I hung it up.

Was your husband at home at the time? - Yes, he was.

BOYS MAY sworn.

I am a watch-maker; Boys is my apprentice; he was christened after me. On the 6th of May he came in before eleven. Mrs.

May had a watch in her hand; she said, the clock was striking eleven. I was smoking a pipe; I put it down, and went to bed immediately. He has lived with me five years last April. He is very honest; I have trusted him to take large sums. I always found him very honest.

Prosecutor. Before Justice Blackborough, this witness said he knew nothing of his coming home; that he went to bed at half after eleven. - [May. I said no such thing. On the Monday night he had staid out all night; on the Tuesday morning, going by Clerkenwell-church, I saw my boy, with a parcel of men, that, I supposed, had taken him up. I was greatly surprised, and very much flurried. I went with them before the justice, who asked me if I could say what time he came home? I said, I could not tell whether it was eleven, or half after eleven; but my wife let him in, and could tell particularly. I was so flurried, I could not tell what I said, or did. I had not had any intimation that he was taken up.

Kipping. When he saw the lad, he said, This is no wonder at all; I told you what you would come to, when you lay-out four or five nights at a time: now he says, he never knew any thing amiss of him.

Counsel. I ask you again, was he an honest boy? - Yes; I would trust him with untold gold, if I had him home now.


I am a fellow-apprentice to Boys; I remember his coming home that night: he spoke to me as he came up stairs; after that the clock struck eleven.

(Errburrill called six other witnesses, who gave him a good character.)

For Ives.


On the 6th of May I was all day in his apartment, in Cow-cross; where we had a fillet of veal and summer cabbages for dinner. I dined with him, drank tea, and supped with him; we supped about half after eight; I staid till past ten, and then he and his wife went out with me, to my brother's; she went out for a pot of beer, and it was about half after ten when she came in.

Where did they go with you to? - To my brother's, James Roberts , three doors from their own house. The watchman went by, half after ten, as we were drinking a pot of beer; and they staid some time after.

You are sure his wife went for the beer? - Yes.

How long did he stay after drinking the pot of beer? - I cannot say to five or six minutes; he staid some time after drinking the beer.

Was any other person in company? - Nobody, but my brother and his wife. My brother came in, and staid till half past ten; and then we went all together to his house.


I live at No. 52, Cow-Cross street. Ives lives about three doors off; I called at his house on the 6th of May, twenty-five minutes before nine, and was in his house till the watch went ten; then I came out. When I went in, he said, it was nine o'clock; I said, no; I pulled out my watch, and said, it wanted twenty-five minutes of it.

What time did his wife come in? - She was in there when I went in.

Was any body else there? - Yes, my brother and his wife.

At what time did your brother and his wife go home? - They lay at my house all night. I asked Ives to go home with them to my house, to sup with me; he insisted upon having a pot of beer.

Did your brother and sister go to sup with you? - Yes.

What time did you sup? - At a little better than half past ten.

How long did they stay after supper? - Perhaps an hour, or more; perhaps not quite so much.

Did you sit till half past eleven? - My brother and his wife, and my wife and I did: Ives went about half after ten; he had supped before, on salmon, at his own apartment. Ives's wife sent for a pot of beer, to drink, before they went. I have known Ives three or four years.

What is his character? - As to his character, I can say nothing of it.


I live in the same house with Ives. My husband is a shoe-maker. Ives belongs to the watch business. On the 6th of May, I was there, from dinner time till the watch went eleven at night; he was not twenty minutes out of my company all the time; then he went to a neighbour's house.

At what time did he come from the neighbour's house? - At about half after ten.

What time did they go there? - After the watch went ten; I cannot say to a few minutes.

What became of Ives after they came home? - His wife and he went to bed: when I saw them both in bed, I heard the watch go eleven.

(Ives called three other witnesses; who gave him a good character.)

BOTH GUILTY ( Death .)

(They were humbly recommended, by the jury, to his Majesty's mercy.)

Tried by the First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. RECORDER.

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