Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 21 December 2014), September 1795, trial of PETER HOUGH (t17950916-46).

PETER HOUGH, Theft > burglary, 16th September 1795.

417. PETER HOUGH was indicted for that he, on the 12th of August , about the hour of two in the night, being in the dwelling house of John Alcock and John Berry , in the same dwelling house feloniously did steal, five silver table spoons, value 4l. 10s. ten silver desert spoons, value 11. two silver boat ladles, value 4s. twenty-four silver tea spoons, value 24s. a silver strainer, value 4s. ten silver bottle ladles, value 11. and seven pounds in monies numbered, the goods and monies of John Alcock and John Berry ; and a ten pounds bank note their property; and having done and committed the said felony, afterwards, about the hour of two, the said dwelling house, feloniously did break to get out of the same .

JOHN BERRY sworn.

I keep St. Paul's Coffee house, in St. Paul's Church-yard .

Q. Have you any partner? - John Alcock . I cannot say to the breaking open the house. On the 12th of August, Wednesday, I fastened the bar fast at two o'clock in the morning, the bar enclosed in the coffee house, in a till where we keep our money was deposited a ten pounds bank note, No. 1330; four guineas in gold, and near three pounds in silver; this drawer was locked; in another drawer unlocked were ten desert spoons, five table, and about a dozen of tea spoons, and two boat ladles in the bar; and a silver strainer and ten bottle ladles and a dozen tea spoons taken out of another drawer which was outside of the bar; I see them myself on Wednesday morning; our house was exceedingly full on Tuesday evening, and I was under the necessity of carrying in them things myself. After locking up this drawer where the money and bank note was, I then locked the outside door that fastens the bar, as I do not live in the house; we both of us have private houses.

Q. You have servants that lay there? - Yes. Going out of the back door which leads into Dean's-court, just at two o'clock, the same morning, I found a back parlour window open, having had company in there, and they staid very late, they had left the window then; I had two servants up, and I called them both, and I waited till I see them make that window fast, and likewise the back door. About half after six the same morning, I was called on by one of my servants to inform me that the house had been robbed. I came to the coffee house immediately, went into the bar, and I found all that property gone, and I believe much more, only that is what I can swear to; I examined the bar, and found the lock taken off the bar door, the lower shelf taken down inside the bar, where the drawer runs upon, and the grove that the drawer runs upon, broke off, or unscrewed, I cannot rightly tell which. I waited till I could go to Mr. Alcock, to know what to do in the business, as he was very poorly, and he then sent for Mr. Hunt, who is a constable; we waited till about nine o'clock before we sent for a constable, and likewise I sent to the police office, and one Mr. Miller came down; he examined all the servants; afterwards Mr. Miller looked outside of the club room window and saw somebody had been over that wall; I observed the print of a hand over a door that leads into a club room; this might be between ten and eleven; this led me to a suspicion that it was Peter Hough . He had been a servant about five years. he had been gone about a year and a half. I went to seek after him, and could not get any intelligence, and afterwards Hough was taken up.

Q. In what way do you suppose that the person got in or got out of your houses Were any of the outer fastenings of the house broke? - None, I believe.

Q. Have you any circumstances that will lead us to a conclusion whether the person broke into the house, or broke out of it? - None.

Q. You say this print of the hand was over the door; was the door open? - It was close by the window, almost inside. The windows looks on leads over the parlour.

Q. Was that window open? - Yes. This is the window that it is supposed the person got in at.

Q. I thought you said you ordered some window to be shut? - That was the lower back parlour window. This window that I am now speaking of belongs to the club room.

Q. Is there a room over the parlour? - No, nothing but leads; then even with these leads are the windows belonging to the club room. I rather think they got in there.

Q. Do you think they returned the same way? - No; we suppose they opened the back door; my servant found the back door open.

Q. You had ordered that back door to shut? - I had.

Q. Could the person who was inside open that door without any difficulty? - Very easily, without any difficulty at all.

Q. How did you find that back door? - Open; my servant had been in before that, Esther Sadler .

Mr. Alley. When was it you found this indictment? - On Thursday.

Q. Who was it advised you to lay this indictment for a burglary? - Upon my word I am an utter stranger to the business.

Q. How many servants do you keep? - Eight.

Q. Pray have not you a servant of the name of King? - Yes; I believe he is here.

Q. Who did you first apprehended on this business? - Charles King ; because I left him in possession. It appeared to me that Charles King and the prisoner were both connected.

Q. Do you mean to say that your first suspicion fell on the prisoner at the bar? - No, not till the circumstances came out.

Q. Pray, how long was it after your suspicion fell on King that you took up the prisoner? - I went from the Lord Mayor to Union Hall, and got a warrant to go after Peter Hough. Charles King told me that he had him in the house, he denied at first that he was in the house, and afterwards he acknowledged that he was in the house; and that was what I was was going to explain by the print of the hand.

Q. Pray, how long was it after you apprehended Mr. Hough? - It may be within the hour.

Q. Pray. where did you find him? -At his lodgings; we were there before he came in.

Q. Did any body go in company with you to the prisoner's lodgings? - Yes, one Hunt, a constable. I left him there while I went round to several pawnbrokers, for half an hour.

Court. He was then in custody when you returned? - He was.

Q. You have told us of a bank note and the number of it. Did the number of that note come to your knowledge previous to the apprehension of the prisoner or since? I did not know the number of the note before the prisoner was apprehended; I applied to the gentleman whom I took the note of, and he said it was either 30, 31, or 32; and I endorsed the note with Mr. Clark's name on it.

Q. Was that before you locked it up in your drawer? - Yes.

Mr. Alley. I believe captain Clark was a customer of your's? - Yes.

Q. We all know that on account of the late forgeries it is customary for people to put their name on notes, therefore Mr. Clark might have passed fifty notes to fifty different persons, and put his name on them.

Court. Has any of your property ever been traced? - None but the ten pounds note, that was the next day, on Thursday; I did not see it myself; I sent a person for it to Mr. Hardy's house, in Tavistock-street, some time in the afternoon.

CHARLES KING sworn.

Q. Were you a servant to Mr. Berry at the time of the robbery? - Yes.

Q. Did you sleep in the coffee house? - Yes. About a quarter after one in the morning I was setting the book belonging to the club, and I heard a noise in the street; I went out to see what it was and they were dispersed, and the prisoner at the bar accosted me, and I did not know him; he accosted me at the end of the court.

Q. Had not he formerly lived with Mr. Berry the time you did? - Yes. I asked him who he wanted, and what he wanted? he made no answer.

Q. Was he with the other people in the street? - No, by himself. I asked him if he wanted any body there? his answer was, d-mn it, don't you know me? I then said, Peter, how do you do? I asked him where he had been so long that I had never seen him? he said he had been cut down lately, that his uncle had behaved very ill to him, and that he meant now to go into the country. I put my hand into my pocket and found that I had the key of the cellar, and I asked him to go in with me to drink a glass of wine; and he said, no; I said, there was nobody up but myself, if he would go in and drink a glass with me, he went in with me, and I fastened the door, and we went down stairs into the cellar, and we drank two or three glasses of wine together.

Q. What hour was this? - It was about three o'clock, as nigh as I can guess when I parted with him.

Q. How was it then, light or dark? - I could not discern any person, not to my knowledge.

Q. Could you distinguish any person's face so as to know him again? - I could a few yards. I fastened him out, and went to bed about three, as nigh as I could guess.

Q. Were you the last person that went to bed? - The last.

Q. When he went in with you, there were none of the servants up? - They were not.

Q. How many servants are there in the house? - There are ten in the whole men and women.

Q. Did you go to the back door? - I fastened the back door. At half after six in the morning I was called up by the porter's boy, William Leech.

Q. Pray, what could induce you to go out at that time of the night to speak to this young man? - I did not know he was there. I went out on account of the noise in the street; nor I did not know him when he accosted me.

Mr. Alley. You say you are a waiter in this house? - Yes; first and last going on of nine years; the last time between three and four years.

Q. Where have you been in the interim? - I lived at the Six Bells, Dove-court, Lombard-street, three months.

Q. A short time! What time of the morning was it you went out? - About a quarter after two.

Q. You went out because you heard mob? - Yes.

Q. You was the last up in the house? - I was.

Q. And you went out and left all the doors open when there was a mob at the door? - I did go out.

Q. You did not recollect your old friend when you met him. He had been a servant in the same house? - He had; but it was so late in the night that I did not know him; he never spoke till I spoke, who he was, and what he wanted, or whether he wanted any body there or no?

Q. Did you think he was an hobgoblin that you should accost him in that kind of way? - He standing before me, and looking me full in the face, that was my reason for asking him.

Q. Upon your oath, did not you say just now, that when the prisoner accosted you, you said you did not know him? - I did not know him; he accosted me.

Q. You took him into the cellar to drink, though he had been such a stranger to you. Honest Isaac is an honest man indeed. How much did you drink in the cellar? - Two or three glasses, I cannot say which.

Q. Did you shut him outside the door? - I did.

Q. Pray, what distance did you go from this house to where the mob was? - Only to the top of the court.

JOSHUA HUNT sworn.

I am constable of Castlehaynard Ward. I was sent for by the prosecutor, on the 13th of August, Thursday, the day after the robbery, he told me he had reason to suspect the prisoner at the bar; on which I went with the prosecutor to obtain a warrant, and went to the prisoner's apartment, the prosecutor went with me; on our first going, he was not at home; I made search in the apartment, I found nothing. By the time I had searched the apartment, the prisoner came, when he came into his room I shut the door and told him my business; on which I searched the prisoner, and found no property on him; he had a new pair of boots on, I asked him where he got them? he said, of Mr. Hardy; I asked him what he paid for them? he said, eight and twenty shillings.

Q. Where did he say Mr. Hardy lived? - I did not ask him, because I knew where he lived. I asked him how long he had them? he said, about five days. The prosecutor was absent he came in by the time I had done searching him, and I told him what I had done, and that now we must take him before a magistrate.

Q. The boots are not the prosecutor's? - No, they are the prisoner's by purchasing them at Mr. Hardy's, though not paid for them.

Mr. Alley. I believe this poor boy was two or three times examined? - Yes.

Q. You did not keep him in custody, he was let go for two or three hours? - I let him go on the wish of the prosecutor till the sitting magistrates met at Union Hall, and finding no property about him.

Q. How long was he absent? - About three or four hours.

Q. And he gave you the meeting before the sitting magistrate? - He came voluntary and gave us the meeting.

THOMAS WILLEY sworn.

I am foreman to Mr. Hardy, boot and shoe-maker, in Tavistock-street. On the evening of the 12th of August, Wednesday, the prisoner came into the shop desiring to purchase a pair of boots; I sold him a pair of boots; he paid me one pound eight shillings, he gave me a Bank of England note of ten pounds to change; he left the house immediately and took the boots in his hand On Friday a person came into the shop, whom I understoodto be a servant of Mr. Berry's, to enquire whether I had sold a pair of boots to a young man, who gave me a ten pounds bank note; I told him I had.

Q. Have you kept the bank note? - No. I sent it to the Bank of England, for cash, after I understood it was stolen.

Q. Is the person here that took it to the Bank? - No, he is not; I took a memorandum of it; the number is 1,330, and the name of captain Clarke on the back of it, and the 11th of August.

WILLIAM CHRISTMAS sworn.

I belong to the Bank of England; I have the note with me; by the books which are regularly transmitted to me, it appears to be paid on the 15th of August, Saturday; I have had it in my custody ever since.

Q. Who did you get it of? - Anderson, Hart-street. Covent-garden.

Mr. Alley. I wish to understand whether you speak to the note of your own knowledge, or from the books alone? - We cannot identify any one single note, because on an average we receive from eight to ten thousand every morning; I received this on Saturday afternoon; it came in on Saturday; I am confident it could not be paid either before or after, because the tellers are obliged to make up their accounts with me before they leave the house.

Court. Can you recollect yourself any thing in receiving this note? - No, only by the face of the books.

Q. Independent of the books, can you say that that note was handed to you on Saturday, the 15th of August? - Yes, because ever since it has been in my custody.

Mr. Alley. The night before it comes to your hands, it goes through several hands in the Bank? - It does.

Q. Therefore the first knowledge of the note is from your books? - Yes; and at the time we receive the books, we receive the notes to compare with the books.

MICHAEL GARMANSWAY sworn.

I am a carpenter.

Q. Where do you live? - In Lambethwalk.

Q. Hough was a lodger with you? - Yes, about three months; he came into my house at half past four in the morning, on the 12th of August.(The note deposed to by the prosecutor.)

Q. To Willey. Is that the note you received of the prisoner? - Yes, it is, by the hand writing of my fellow servant.

Prisoner. I am convinced I am clear and innocent of every thing that is aliedged against me. When I came home I was told there was a constable up stairs, searching my house, and that they were waiting up stairs for me, they also desired me to make my escape over the wall, and they would bring out a table to help me to get over; I would not, I said I had done nothing wrong; I went up stairs; the constable said, how do you do Peter; says he, so and so has been robbed, and it is alledged to you; says he, I must search you, and he searched my pockets and every thing, and see my new boots, and asked me where I bought them? I told him; Mr. Berry came up soon afterwards, and said a few words, and looked over the things that were about me; he then asked me to get my dinner, I did, and then asked me to go to Union Hall; the magistrates were not sitting; they asked me to meet them at half after six, or seven in the evening, I told them I would, and which I did, I was there before Mr. Berry came, waiting for him.

On the morning of the 12th of August I was returning from the Woolpack in Jewin-street, home; I went home through St. Paul's Church-yard, and I saw King, and I halted, and stood sometime before I spoke to him, at last, says he, we will go in and get a glass of wine together; says I, I shall not go in with you; says he, there is nobody up in the house but myself; and so we went in, and went down into the cellar, and drank together; he asked me where I lived? I told him, and I came up stairs and wrote my directions in a small book that I had got; this was on Wednesday, between one and two o'clock when I first see him; when we came out of the cellar I suppose it might be near three o'clock; I gave him my direction, and desired him to call when he pleased on me; which he put in his pocket, and walked out of the house, and I locked the door; and it was four by that time that I got home; it was nearly three before I got out of the cellar, and twenty minutes after three before I got out of the house, so it was four in the morning before I got home; afterwards I went about seven o'clock, and coming up Carter-lane, at the end of Dean's-court, I picked up a ten pounds note, it was wrapped up, quite screwed up, this was the same morning, the 12th of August; the landlord will inform you I was out by that time in the morning.

JANE MACKENZIE sworn.

I am a married woman, I lodged in the same house with the prisoner, at the time he was taken up.

Q. Do you recollect at this day any constable coming to apprehend him? - Yes, I do; he went up to the prisoner's apartment; he came in in about half an hour afterwards; I was in Mrs. Garmansway's apartment when he come in, and I told him that the constable was in his apartment, and I begged he would make his escape, because I thought it was for debt; he said he owed nobody any thing, he did nobody any harm, and he would go up into his apartment, he would be da-ed if he would not.

The prisoner called two witnesses who gave him a good character.

Not GUILTY .

Tried by the London Jury before Mr. RECORDER.