Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 24 April 2014), January 1721, trial of William Spigget alias Spiggot Thomas Phillips alias Cross William Heater (t17210113-43).

William Spigget, Thomas Phillips, William Heater, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Theft > receiving, 13th January 1721.

William Spigget alias Spiggot , and Thomas Phillips alias Cross , having had several Bills of Indictment for Robbing on the High Way, found against them by the Grand Jury, were brought to the Bar to be Arraigned and take their Trials, but they stood Mute, and refused to Plead till they should have the Money, Horses, Accoutrements, and other things which were taken from them when they were Apprehended returned to them; But the Court told them that could not be granted, and for their Satisfaction order'd a Clause in an Act of Parliament made in the 4th and 5th Years of the Reign of King William and Queen Mary, intituled An Act for Encouraging the Apprehending of Highway Men, to be read unto them, which is as follows:

` And it is hereby further Enacted, That all and ` every Person or Persons who shall so Take, Apprehend, Prosecute, or Committ such Robber or Robbers, as aforesaid, as a further Reward shall have and enjoy to his and their proper use and behoof the Horse, Furniture and Arms, Money, or other Goods of the said Robber or Robbers that shall be taken with him or them; Any their Majesties Right or Title, Bodies Politick of Corporate, or the Right or Title thereunto of the Lord of any Manor, Liberty or Franchise, or of him or them Lending or Letting the same to Hire to any such Robber or Robbers in any wise notwithstanding.

Provided always, that this Clause, or any thing therein contained shall not be Construed to Extend to take away the Right of any Person or Persons to such Horses, Furniture and Arms, Money or other Goods from whom the same were before feloniously taken.

But they still refusing to plead, the Court acquainted them with the Ill Consequences of their Refusal, and what a heavy Judgement they would draw down upon themselves if they persisted in their Obstinacy; and the more effectually to convince them of their Folly and Error, ordered the Judgement to be read to them, which if they continued Mute must be Pronounced against them, and put in Execution, which Judgment was to the Effect following,

That the Prisoner shall be sent to the Prison from whence he came, and put into a mean House, Stopped from Light, and there shall be laid upon the bare Ground without any Litter, Straw or other Covering, and without any Garment about him, saving something to cover his Privy Members and that he shall lie upon his Back, and his Head shall be covered, and his Feet bare, and that one of his ` Arms shall be drawn with a Cord to one side of the House, and the other Arm to the other side, and that his Legs shall be used in the same manner, and that upon his Body shall be laid so much Iron and Stone as he can bear, and more, and that the first Day after he shall have three Morsels of Barley Bread, without any Drink, and the second Day he shall drink so much as he can three times of the Wa`ter which is next the Prison Door, saving running Water, without any Bread: and this shall be his Diet until be die. And he against whom this Judgment shall be given, forfeits to the King his Goods.

All this having no Effect upon them, the Executioner was called and ordered to tye their Thumbs, as usual in such Cases; but all being in vain, and they still peremptorily refusing, and declaring that they would not Plead notwithstanding all the Admonition that could be given them; the Court proceeded to pass Sentence against them to be prest to Death, as the Law directs. Whereupon they were carried back to Newgate in order to undergo that Judgment the Law had inflicted on them; but when they came to the Press, Thomas Phillips alias Cross desired to be carried again to the Bar, saying he would Plead; and Spiggot continuing still Resolute, was put into the Press according to his Sentence, where after he had been some time, he also desired that he might be carried to the Bar again, to Plead which being Granted, they were indicted by the Names of William Spigget alias Spiggot and Thomas Philips alias Cross, for Assaulting John Watkins on the High Way, on the 12th of November last, putting him in Fearand taking from him a Silver Watch, a Holland Gown, a pair of Stays, a Scarlet Riding-Hood lined with Silk, with divers other Goods, and 5 l. in Money, in all to the value of 200l .

They were again indicted with William Heater ; Spiggot and Phillips for Assaulting John Turner on the High Way, on the 1st of November last, putting him in Fear, and taking from him 5 Guineas, the Money of the said John Turner, and 1 Box, a Gold Watch, 12 Holland Shirts, 2 pair of Lace Ruffles, 2 Cambrick Bosoms. 2 Lawn, Turnovers, 2 Muslin Turnovers, 2 pair of Stockings, a Hat, a Perriwig, &c. and 12 Guineas , the Goods and Money of Neal Sheldon , Esq ; and Hater as Accessory in Harbouring them, and receiving the said Goods knowing them to be stole .

John Watkins deposed, that as he was going to Monmouth with his Pack-Horses, between Brentford and Smallberry-Green, he observed Phillips to follow and watch him; that when he came to Bishops-Grove on Hounslow-Heath , Spiggot, Phillips and another rode up to him; that Spiggot clapt a Pistol to his Breast, bid him stand, took his Watch and 5 l. from him and said if he wou'd not tell him what Horse the Money was on they would kill them all. Phillips stopt the Ostler who was with him and took one of his Pack-Horses with the Goods, and the other Person secur'd his Man; that he lost above 200 l. in all. That he was sure Spiggot and Phillips were two of the three who robb'd him; that he knew Spiggot a great many Years ago, and had seen him in Monmouth Goal.

John Turner deposed. that he was robb'd on the 1st of November about 2 in the Morning, by 5 Men, 4 of them on Horseback, the other on Foot, near Tyburn ; that they took Mr. Sheldon's Box out of his Waggon and carried it away, and he following of them they knockt him down; that they went into his Waggon again, but took nothing else out of it; that they took a Mare from him; and that they were masqued and disguised.

Neal Sheldon deposed, that about the 29th of October he was coming out of Buckinghamshire, and thinking his Portmantua too heavy for his Man, he sent it up John Turner the Wendover Carrier, and that the Perriwig he had then in his Hand was his Perriwig and part of the Goods that were in the Box (or Portmanteau)which he deliver'd to Turner.

Mr. Bryan deposed, that he went with Mr. Merrit to Search Spiggot's Lodgings, and there found the Wig which was produced in Court.

Mr. Merrit Confirmed the same; and farther deposed, that they found several other things, some taken out of the Portsmouth Waggon, and others taken from Persons under Tybourn.

Edward Plummer deposed that the Wig produced was Mr. Sheldon's Wig, that he knew it well, having altered it for him.

John Merrit deposed that Mr. Watkins came to him and told him that he was ruin'd; that 3 Highway Men had robb'd him on Hounslow-Heath, and took his Money, Watch, Goods, and a Pack-Horse from him: that he (this Evidence) enquiring after the Prisoners, sound where they had hired Horses, and desired the Person to stop them if they came to Hire any more, and he would reward them; that he dogg'd Heater with the Horses from Finsbury, to the George in Long-Acre, and thence to the Broadway in Westminster; that he (with the others that took them) planted themselves in a House over against the Inn where their Horses were in Westminster; but after some Consultstion they believing Mr. Rowlet the Inn-Keeper to be an honest Man, went to his House and acquainted him with their Business, who told them they should be welcome to set up there, and he would assist them; that Heater was the Porter who brought the Horses and put Sacks under the Saddles; that the next Morning about 10 a Clock, they came and went into the Stable, where Mr. Rowlet was before by Appointment, and they followed and took them: that Spiggot had the Landlord Rowlet down, but he (this Evidence) went to his Assistance.

John Rowlet confirmed Heater's bringing the Horses to his Inn, and the taking of the Prisoners in his Stable, and farther deposed, that as Mr. Bryan came into the Stable Phillips flash'd a Pistol at him, and he (this Evidence) followed Spiggot, threw up his Heels and Scuffled with him about half an Hour; that Spiggot shot him through the Left Shoulder, but at last offer'd him his Sword, saying he had done, and others came in and took him off.

Mr. Hill (the Constable) deposed that Mr. Merrit came to him with the Recorder's Warrant, that he went with him to Mr. Burton's then over to Mr. Rowlet's; that about 8 in the Morning Lindsey came in, and some were for securing him, but others said, no, that would prevent their taking the others, so they agreed to stay till they could meet with them together; that about 10 all three of them came in together and went into the Stable, and they followed and took them; that Phillips snapt a Musquetoon loaded with 3 Bullets at him (this Evidence) but it flash'd in the Pan only.

Mr. Bryan deposed that he went with Mr. Merri to Finsbury, and dogg'd Heater with the Horses to Westminster; confirm'd the Prisoners coming to the Inn and being taken in the Stable; that Spiggot flash'd a Pistol at him (this Evidence) and he (this Evidence) was knock'd down; that he seeing Mr. Rowles wounded and upon Spiggot, whose Sword was half drawn, he took it up with a design to stick Spiggot, but instead of doing so, ran it into a Butchers Leg: And that Spiggot swore he would kill a Thousand before he would be taken.

Murrel (the Boy who dogg'd Heater and the Horses from Finsbury to Long-Acre with two Horses, where he took another and carryed them to Westminster) confirmed the former Evidences.

Joseph Lindsey deposed, that Spiggot, Pbillips, Coltis and Tyson broke open the Box; and that Heater used to hire Horses and carry them backward and forward for them. but not for this Robbery: that he (Heater) received some Buttons and Mohair which he knew to be stole, but was not mentioned in this Indictment.

Richard Burton deposed that Spiggot bought a Horse of him, that then Heater was with him and said he was his Servant; but when he took him he denied that he belong'd to them.

Patrick Deveny confirmed Burton's Evidence.

John Pritchard deposed that Mr. Merrit came to him with the Recorder's Warrant to execute on the Prisoners; that they took a Blunderbuss out of Phillip's Hand, who flasht a Pistol at them, but it did not go off; that Spiggot fired 2 Pistols and Wounded Mr. Rowlet.

James Leaton deposed, that Spiggot, Phillips and Lindsey came to take Horse in Westminster, that Heater came with them; that Phillips flasht a Pistol, but Lindsey surrender'd himself to this Evidence.

Autbony Merrit deposed that Heater has had Phillips's Horse to look after several times, and used to fetch Sacks and put them under the Saddles, and have the Goods sold from his House.

The Prisoners Spiggot and Phillips, both declared that Heater was innocent of the Matter, and only acted as a Porter in fetching and carrying their Horses.

The Evidence not being sufficient against Heater, the Jury Acquitted him, and found Spiggot, and Phillips alias Cross Guilty of these Indictments, who had also several other Indictments found against them . Death .