George Norton.
24th April 1745
Reference Numbert17450424-19
VerdictsGuilty > theft under 40s; Guilty

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210. + George Norton , of St. Alban Wood-street London , was indicted for stealing 100 yards of woollen cloth, value 25 l. the goods of William Bragg , in the dwelling house of Thomas Whaley , Feb. 27 .

William Bragg . I sent these goods from Bristol fair the 26th of July, to the Three Cups in Bread street , to be left there till called for by me.

Q. Who keeps that house?

Bragg. One Roberts, and I found my clothes in the shop of Mr. Samuel Foster , about a week before Lady-Day.

Q. How came they to Mr. Whaley's house?

Bragg. How they came to Mr. Whaley's, I know not.

Samuel Foster . I live in Monmouth Street, I deal in clothes; I was coming from the barber's between 9 and 10 in the morning - about five or six weeks ago; and Mr. Fraser (one who keeps an oil shop, and a man of as good a character as any man in the parish) called to me, and said, Mr. Foster will you buy any cloth (this is the cloth that I bought of the prisoner at the bar) said I, this is the wrong season of the year for such cloths as these (they are kerseys or narrow cloths) but I bought them of the prisoner outright; for Mr Fraser is his brother-in-law. He said he was a book-keeper 13 or 14 years at the Green Dragon in Bishopsgate street; and 3 or 4 years a ticket-porter. Just as he had told me the price of the cloths, Mr. Lamb came in, and said, don't buy those cloths, for I have had the price of them already, and I am willing to have them, as they are come honestly by. This made some words between Mr. Lamb and I, but we agreed to divide them, he had two pieces, and I two pieces.

Q. Was not there another man in the shop who owned that the cloths were his?

Bragg. There was another man in the shop, whether he was with him or not, I cannot say, but he did not say any thing about the cloths. I thought I bought them as fair as ever I bought any thing in my life.

Q. Did the prisoner say how he came by them?

Foster. He said he bought them of an hostler at an inn (I believe it was the Three Cups in Bread street) but it was the inn he said he was porter at.

Alexander Fraser . The prisoner came to my house with these cloths, and asked me how I did; I said, pretty well. He laid the cloths down upon the counter, and said he wanted to sell them for a person who had a friend dead in the country; and they were sent up to sell to raise a sum of money. And he wanted to sell them that afternoon. I sent for Mr. Lamb, and he looked at them. Mr. Foster came by the door at the same time. Said I, you may look upon these cloths, for you are a good judge of cloths; so Mr. Foster and Mr. Lamb bought them, and had each of them 2 pieces. He was a porter at the Green Dragon in Bishopsgate gate street.

Q. Has not he been thought for some time past to be out of his senses?

Fraser . Yes, he has, he has been at my house till 12 o'clock at night, and I could not ge t him out, and he would ramble into a parcel of nonsense. He has wandered up and down, and the watchmen have taken him to be a sort of a thief.

Q. Did you at any time when he came to your house, take him to be out of his senses?

Fraser. He has gone backward and forward with his words, that there was no notice to be taken of him.

Q. If you had thought him disordered in his senses at that time he brought these cloths to your house, would you have advised these gentlemen to have bought them?

Fraser . No. But at that time he spoke very well. And if I had thought they had been stolen, I would not have advised them to have bought them.

Mr. Lamb. I was sent for by Mr. Fraser , and he told me the prisoner was a brother-in-law of his, and had got 4 pieces of cloth to sell. The prisoner said the maker was dead in the country; and that they were sent up to be sold, because they wanted money, and he was to sell them for half a crown a yard, for ready money [exactly half the price they are laid at in the indictment] I took a pattern to show to a friend who is a very large dealer in cloths, to know whether they were a bargain or not, which I found they were. When I came back, Mr. Foster was there; I said, I was the first person spoke to about them: but Mr. Foster insisting upon part, he had two, and I two. I sold my two pieces in a day or two, for six pence a yard profit.

Tho Whaley . I keep the Bell Inn in Woodstreet. I ordered my chamberlain to go to the Three Cups in Bread street, for a truss that was directed by Mr. Bragg, the maker of these cloths, to be left there till called for. And the cloths were brought to my house; they were sent to one Mr. Jarvis, who is agent for Mr. Bragg, and puts up his goods there. The truss was missing, and I enquired after it; my chamberlain told me the prisoner had taken it away: said I, what business has he to take it away? The prisoner was then absent; but he returned again in about ten days time. Said I, George, let me speak to you; what have you done with the little truss of cloth that was here? said he, the right owner came for it, and I have given it to the right owner. He said, the man that brought it, ordered him to carry it away; and he met with a carter who took it quite away. Said I, sure it must be carried to some inn: he said, he could not tell where it was carried to.

Q. How long has he done business at your house?

Whaley . He has been a porter at my house about three years. He was porter to most of the ironmongers. When he came before the Justice, he said that he took the truss to Temple Bar, and then went to Monmouth street to sell it: that he disposed of it there, and had half a crown for his labour.

Q. Is not he apt to be disordered in his senses, and he absent from his business sometimes?

Whaley . I believe he would get now and then drunk with gin; and then he would absent him self two or three days, and say he was ill, and had got the cholick and gripes.

Samuel Richards . On the 27th of February the prisoner at the bar came up into the gallery at the Bell Inn in Woodstreet; went into one of the rooms in the gallery, and took out a truss of cloth.

Q. Is the gallery any ways locked up with the house?

Richards . No, it is quite open to the yard.

Q. Where was this cloth lodged?

Richards . It was lodged in one of the rooms in the gallery, which has been a lodging room. He said, Mr. Richards, I should be obliged to you if you would help me up with this cloth. I asked him where he was going to take it; he told me he was taking it to the right owner's in the Strand. I helped it upon his knott, and saw him take it down stairs, and carry it down the yard.

Q. What sort of a truss was it? how much do you think it weighed?

Richards. It might be about an hundred weight.

Q. Do you know what was in it?

Richards. I never saw the inside of the wrapper; but he told me it was cloth.

John Harrison . I bought two pieces of cloth of Mr. Lamb. They were a couple of crested plains, the same kind of these; but I have cut them up.

Mary Brook , And please you, my lord, I am come to speak in my neighbour's behalf. The prisoner at the bar at times is not in his senses, he has been forced to be confined in his bed, and sometimes he has been absent from his family for a week or fortnight together.

- Patrick. I have known the prisoner a great many years; and as to his lunacy, he has been so six or seven years. Sometimes I was afraid he would go out of his senses. I think it was occasioned by the fire at the White Swan, at Holborn bridge. Some goods were lost there, which was the occasion of his brains being turned.

Jury, to Mr. Fraser. You say you have seen him to be disordered in his senses sometimes?

Fraser. He has been so in my sister's time, and has not gone home for a whole eight days.

Q. What was your opinion as to the condition he was in when he was at your house with the cloths?

Fraser. I did not look in his face, but he spoke very well.

Jury. Mr. Lamb, how was he when you bought the goods of him?

Lamb. I don't think he appeared any ways delirious ; he was as well as he is now.

Jury. Mr. Whaley, how is he in general?

Whaley. Pretty well.

Jury. Is he delirious sometimes ?

Whaley. I never saw any thing of it. Guilty 39 s.

211. + George Norton , of St. Alban, Woodstreet , was indicted for stealing a cloth coat, value 30 s. two cloth waistcoat, value 30 s. a velvet waistcoat, value 40 s. a velvet pair of breeches, value 5 s. a pair of shag breeches, value 20 s. ten holland shirts, value 3 l. a hair trunk, value 10 s. a pair of steel buckles, value 6 d. and a book of accounts, called a ledger, value 6 d. the goods of Tho Fox , in the dwelling house of Thomas Whaley , March 12th .

Thomas Fox . I lay at Mr. Whaley's at the Bell Inn in Woodstreet , when I am in town (I live at Woolverhampton , and have a warehouse at Mr. Whaley's) When I went out of town I left a trunk with my clothes in it in my room. I got a search warrant, and found part of my clothes at Mr. Smith's, a salesman in Monmouth street. There was a cloth coat, a cloth waistcoat, a velvet waistcoat, and two shirts. These are the clothes, the remainder of the things Mr. Smith had sold; but he could not tell who he had sold them to, for he had sold them to different people, who came to his shop. Mr. Smith had taken the ruffles off these two shirts, because he intended them for his own use.

Q. Do you know any thing of the prisoner?

Fox. He had been porter to me about two or three years, at the Bell inn. And about a fortnight before this, I had turned him off.

Jury. Did you doubt his honesty when you turned him away?

Fox. No; but he was given to drinking, so that he would be absent for three or four days together, and would get so drunk that they would turn him out of gin shops at three or four in the morning. He confessed before Justice Poulson, that he sold the clothes, and was employed by a person unknown to sell them. That he was employed to carry them into Holborn, and the next day to carry them into Monmouth street to sell them. When he was before the Justice, there was a paper of accounts, and a pair of knee-buckles found upon him, which I could swear were in the trunk.

John Elton . I am servant to Mr. Thomas Fox ; he is an ironmonger ; I look after his business in town, and have a room at the Bell, in Woodstreet. I went into the lodging room at eight o'clock at night, to see if every thing was safe.

Q. Did you mind whether his trunk was safe?

Elton. It was safe .

Q. Did you lock the door?

Elton. I turned the key, but I can't pretend to say the door was locked. When I came up stairs between nine and ten in order to go to bed, I found the door unlockt, which surprised me very much. I asked the chamberlain if any body had been there, he said no body at all; I told him Mr. Fox's room, (the room which I was in possessession of,) was broke open. The prisoner gave such a slender account of the cloths which he had sold before, that I suspected him; I went on Wednesday night to take him, but could not; and on Thursday about six o'clock in the morning, I took him in bed, he broke from us in Chiswell street, and we took him again, and carried him before Justice Poulson . There was found upon him this pair of steel knee-buckles, which I believe are Mr. Fox's , and this paper of accounts, which is my hand writing.

Fox . These are my knee-buckles, this is my paper, which was in the box, and his receipt is upon it which he gave me, when I paid him off.

Q. Do you know whether the prisoner had been about the house that night?

Elton . I saw him at six o'clock in the evening, I did not see him afterwards.

Mr. Smith. On Wednesday the 13th or 14th of March, the prisoner brought some wearing apparel into my shop; and said, he had got some to sell: they were in a box tied round with a rope, I took them out of the box, and asked him how he came by them; he said, they belonged to a young gentleman that was dead, and the old gentleman the father was willing to sell them, and desired him to take them away, for they made him cry when he saw them: he said, he had been three weeks selling cloths and shalloons for the old gentleman, and these were the last of the things; upon which I bought them and paid him for them?

Q. What did you pay him for them?

Smith. I paid him 4 l. 8 s. I believe I paid him 4 l. 12 s. but I am positive to 4 l. 8 s.

Q. Are you sure the prisoner's the person you bought them of?

Smith. I am sure the prisoner is the man.

Prisoner. I met a tallish man with them upon his shoulder, and he asked me what I must have to carry them into Holborn; and he gave me a shilling to carry them to the Crooked Fish in Holborn; he bid me come again, and then he ordered me to sell them for what I could get. Guilty Death .

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