James Shepherd.
11th July 1750
Reference Numbert17500711-31
VerdictNot Guilty

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452. James Shepherd , was indicted for that he, together with 20 other persons unknown, being armed with fire-arms and other offensive weapons, from and after the 24th of July, 1746, (that is to say on the 19th of October, 1746 ,) were feloniously assembled at Broom hill in Sussex, in order to be aiding in the running uncustomed goods, which were liable to pay the duties, and which had not been paid, or secured to be paid, to the diminution of his Majesty's revenue, against his Majesty's peace, and against the statute in that behalf made and provided .

Humphry Hatton. I know the prisoner. In October, 1746, I lived hostler at the George at Lydd, I remember a gang of smugglers coming there, about 30 or 40 of them lodged at our house (as many as we could get stables for) the town was full of them; there were some in Broomhill-house, those people that were at the George I had seen there before, they were called by the name of the Hawkhurst gang.

Q. Did they tarry there any time?

Hatton. They were there three or four days waiting for a cutter coming in. They came the 14th of October, and staid till the 19th. They had advice of a cutter being arrived while they were at our house; then they got the horses out as fast as they could. I did not go along with them, but I was forced to follow them; I was compelled so to do by Thomas Dixon , otherwise shoemaker Tom. He asked my master to let me go to assist him, and he gave me leave. I refused to go; then Dixon took me several blows over my head with the great end of his whip, so I followed them alone. The cutter was come into a place called the Jew's Gutt, in Sussex, five miles from Lydd. When I got there, the first man who came up to me was the prisoner at the bar, with his horse in his hand; there was a saddle and a pair of pistols in the holsters on the horse. This was on the Beech, in the evening about 7 or 8 o'clock; the moon shun very bright.

Q. Did you ever see the prisoner before?

Hatton. I have at the George; he had been there before several times with the same company.

Q. Had he been at the George that time?

Hatton. No, he had not. When I met him leading his horse, I asked him whether he had seen shoemaker Tom; he said no, he believed he was not there, he had not seen him.

Q. Do you know John Pelham ?

Hatton. Yes, I do: he was there when I called out for shoemaker Tom. He said he was there, but he had not seen him. The goods were all on shore when I came there, the tea was in oil-skin bags. I carried away five half anchors of brandy on my own horse. I saw the prisoner go away towards Rye with two bags of tea.

Q. Were any of them armed?

Hatton. Yes, a great many of them were armed, some with pistols before them, some with carbines slung to their shoulders, some with hangers, and some had a hanger, carbine, and pistol too.

Q. Had they many horses ?

Hatton. There were a great many more horses than men. They all went from Lydd to the Jew's Gutt.

Cross examined.

Q. What time was this you saw the prisoner at Jew's Gutt?

Hatton. It was on the 19th of October, 1746.

Q. Where do you live?

Hatton. I live at Lydd, that is in Romney parish, about three little miles from New Romney.

Q. What county is Lydd in?

Hatton. In the county of Kent.

Q. How far is Broom-hill house from Lydd ?

Hatton. It is about five miles.

Q. Have you ever been at Winchester ?

Hatton. Yes, I have.

Q. How far is that from Lydd ?

Hatton. It is computed to be about 72 miles from hence.

Q. How many miles was it from where you was then landing these goods?

Hatton. I do not know.

Q. How long have you know the prisoner?

Hatton. These five or six years.

Q. Do you know where he lived?

Hatton. He lived sometimes at one place, and sometimes at another.

Q. Do you know that he resided some time at Winchester?

Hatton. I don't know that he did.

Q. Do you know that he has a large family there?

Hatton. I don't know that he has; I have seen him at Winchester in person.

Q. How long is that ago?

Hatton. I don't know how long ago.

Q. Do you know that he has served any Officer in Winchester?

Hatton. I don't know that he hath.

Q. Was it light enough when you was at the Jew's Gutt for you to distinguish one person's face from another?

Hatton. Yes, it was.

Q. What colour was this horse the person was leading?

Hatton. It was a grey horse.

Q. Where did he go to afterwards?

Hatton. I don't know that, but he went off towards Rye.

John Pelham . I know the prisoner. At this time there were three gangs met together. About the 16th of October. I believe there were 300 horses, they staid at Lydd till the cutter came, which was on the 19th, at Jew's Gutt ; then they loaded the goods, and carried them away. I help'd them to load myself.

Q. Did you see the prisoner there?

Pelham. I did; I saw him help get the goods out of the boat, and was very busy among the people.

Q. How was he clothed?

Pelham. I think he had a black cap and a frock on.

Q. What coloured horse had he?

Pelham. He had a grey horse, with holsters before on the saddle.

Q. Was there any thing in them?

Pelham. I cannot tell what were in them.

Q. Did you see Humphry Hatton?

Pelham. I did, and I heard him call out for shoemaker Tom; the prisoner came to him, and said, he thought he was not there; said I, he is yonder on the other side.

Q. What time of the night was this?

Pelham. This was about eleven at night.

Q. Was it a light night ?

Pelham. It was a moonshiny very bright night.

Q. What time did the gang go away?

Pelham. Not till twelve o'clock.

Q. Were there any of them armed?

Pelham. Most of them were armed; I believe there were 15 or 20 armed.

Cross examined.

Q. Had you any acquaintance with the prisoner at the bar?

Pelham. I had no acquaintance with him, only seeing him among the smugglers.

Q. Where did he live?

Pelham. He lived at Winchester, by the report of people.

Q. What day of the week was this?

Pelham. I cannot tell, I only reckon the day of the month, which I took notice of, fearing I myself should come into trouble.

Prisoner's Defence. 'Tis now, my lord, near 11 months since I was apprehended, during all which time I have been confined in goal, treated as a felon, and loaded with irons. I have undergone the peril of my life, and the loss of the greatest part of my substance, to the almost entire ruin of myself, my wife, and five children. The first seven months I was in Winchester goal without knowing my accuser; and from thence I was removed to Newgate, and now appear before your lordship to take my trial for my life; not, my lord, for the fact I was committed for; for what reason I know not, but for another I am equally innocent of. I had, my lord, above 20 persons of great repute and character from Winchester, and other remote parts of the country attending here last April sessions, at a very great expence, in order to have testified my innocence at my trial, besides the very favourable circumstance of the mayor of Winchester's being then in London; that worthy gentleman, from love of truth and justice (for nothing else could have invited him) would also have appeared for me; but, my lord, my trial was then put off, upon an: affidavit that Pelham, one of the witnesses now against me, was taken ill, and could not attend; whether, my lord, he was really ill or not, and how unable to attend, himself only knows. If the wisest and worthiest of men may be imposed upon as to the matter in question, my lord, I am intirely innocent of it, I was never at Broomhill in my life, and know not, but by information, where it lies ; and as to the two witnesses, Pelham and Hatton, I never, to my knowledge, saw them before. These witnesses, my lord, have sworn the facts to such a charge, supported by positive testimony; what defence, my lord, can even innocence itself make? - 'Tis fortunate, very fully and very positively against me; fortunate, my lord, that from a variety of remarkable incidents happening about that time, incidents that may not attend another man's case of equal innocence, I have been able to recollect, and prove, that I was then at Winchester, about 100 miles from Broomhill. Besides which, my lords, I shall be able to discredit the testimony of Pelham and Hatton, from the evidence of several gentlemen of fortune and distinction, who, tho' strangers to me, have, for the service of the community (with great inconvenience to themselves) kindly come thus far to testify on my behalf. I am sorry, my lords, upon this occasion to add, that there is at the bottom of this prosecution a scene of unheard of malice and cruelty ; such, my lords, as is too tedious for me, at this juncture, to relate; but time, the grand discoverer of all things, will, I hope, bring it to light,

and shew the gentlemen who are concerned for the crown how grosly, and by what a cloud of darkness they themselves have been imposed upon. I shall, at this time, trouble your lordships no farther, but call my witnesses, and prove my innocence, and shall rely upon that and the known justice and integrity of your lordships and the jury for my acquittal.

For the Prisoner.

Mary Sly . I live at Chichester. The prisoner is my brother-in-law, he keeps a grocer's shop in Winchester; I have known him live there these seven years; I came to my sister's on the 31st of August, 1746, to be at her lying-in, and continued there till Sunday the 19th of October, and between 10 and 11 on that day, in the forenoon, I set out and returned to Chichester; one Mr. Heath of Chichester was with me, and Richard Norman set out thence the day before, whom I overtook a little way out of Winchester on Sunday. My brother the Prisoner breakfasted with me the morning I set out. I called him up myself between 7 and 8 in the morning, and took horse at my brother's stable door near his house; I met Mr. Fletcher upon the road, about 10 miles from Winchester.

Q. How far is it from Winchester to Chichester ?

M. Sly. About 28 miles.

Q. What time did you get to Chichester?

M. Sly. I got home about ten or eleven at night; I did not see my brother again till about a year and a quarter after this. I received a letter he wrote me the Tuesday after I left him, to tell me who I should get to buy him a horse, he gave me eight guineas for that purpose; I am sure he was at home from the fourth of September to the time I set out to go back to Chichester. I cannot recollect he was three hours from home in that time. My sister was brought to bed on the 4th of September, and Monday, the 13th of October, the fair was; I saw my brother in bed every night ; there was a favourite child which was not well, and it lay with its father every night.

Cross examined.

Q. When had you been at Winchester before?

M. Sly. About two years before that; he lived there then, and was always at home to the best of my knowledge.

Q. What business did he carry on then?

M. Sly. He lett out riding-horses, and sold salt-butter then.

Q. How many riding-horses had he then?

M. Sly. He had about five or six.

Q. Did he not sell tea ?

M. Sly. I never saw him sell tea?

Q. Did he not keep an open shop then?

M. Sly. He did not.

Q. Had he any servants to look after those horses ?

M. Sly. He had nobody but himself to do that; only sometimes he had a little boy to ride them out to water.

Q. How came your brother not to go part of the way with you home?

M. Sly. There was a gentleman to bear me company, who came to tell me my mother had been ill, which was Mr. Heath.

Q. Who did you meet with upon the road?

M. Sly. I met Mr. Fletcher.

Q. You speak of circumstances that happened a great while ago: what reason have you to take particular notice of the day you came from Winchester?

M. Sly. I came home with trades-people who had been to the fair; and my going home was upon the account of my mother's being ill. The fair was on Monday the 13th of October, and I went back the Sunday after.

Q. Are there not more people who live by letting out horses in Winchester, than your brother?

M. Sly. Yes, there are. There were gentlemen who used to come constantly to my brother to hire horses, and would call them by their names.

Q. Did none of these gentlemen use to make you presents?

M. Sly. I never received none from any of them.

Q. Where did you buy your tea?

M. Sly. I never bought any tea; I never went far out all the time I was there.

Q. Had not your brother a gray horse?

M. Sly. I don't remember I ever saw a gray horse among them.

Q. What colour were they?

M. Sly. There were some of a reddish colour.

Q. How far is Winchester from Chichester?

M. Sly. About twenty eight miles.

Mr. Heath. I live at Chichester, I sell ready made cloaths; I was at Winchester in October, 1746. I went along with Mr. Norman to see Winchester, the Prisoner lived there at that time.

Q. What day was you there in October?

Heath. I was there the 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19th of October. Winchester-fair began on the Monday, I went on the Tuesday and staid there all the week; I paid some money for Mr. Norman, who was arrested on the 17th day for

the sum of 2 l. 12 s. one Joseph Barr arrested him. I had a note given me for it, the Prisoner was privy to some part of the transaction; I have kept the receipt ever since. When Richard Norman was arrested, I sent for Mr. Shepherd the Prisoner, he advised me not to pay the money; the note produced in court was dated the 19th of Oct. the money was paid the 17th, the day he was arrested, it was made up the 18th and dated the 19th, but there was a mistake in the date to be sure. Mr. Shepherd witnessed this note; I staid there the next day, which was Sunday; then between 10 and 11 o'clock Mr. Shepherd's wife's sister and I set out for Chichester; I saw the Prisoner just as we mounted our horses, he wished us a good journey, and we parted with him at the door. Mr. Fletcher met us on the road after we had made up Norman's affair; I sent him out of town fearing another action, and he staid for us about 6 or 7 miles out of the town of Winchester, where we found him and returned to Chichester together that night; we got in about 9 or 10 o'clock.

Joseph Barr . I had an action against Norman and I arrested him, and it was settled at the Black Swan at Winchester, by Mr. Shepherd and the last witness; Mr. Heath paid the money for him, it was some days after the fair; I am not sure to the day; but it was in the fair week.

Henry Sole . I examined this action with the town clerk himself at Winchester, the account from Robert Clark town clerk, was produced in court, answering to the time, sued out for Joseph Barr against Richard Norman for the sum specified.

Richard Norman . I went to Winchester the 14th of October in the year 1746, along with farmer Heath from Chichester ; I was arrested by Joseph Barr of Winchester, on Friday the 17th. Mr. Shepherd and farmer Heath came to me, Mr. Heath lent me the money to discharge the writ, and it was discharged the next day.

Q. Why do you call him farmer?

Norman. He was a farmer before he came to Chichester, now he sells ready made cloaths. Mr. Shepherd wrote the note and witnessed it, and they did not think proper I should be discharged till I got out of the town of Winchester; so the officer went along with me to the West Gate, and from thence I went to Milbury and lay there that night; the next day farmer Heath and Mr. Shepherd's wife's sister called upon me, and I proceeded with them to Chichester, and going on the road we met John Fletcher a corn-factor, going to Winchester.

Cross examined.

Q. What was your business at Winchester?

Norman. I went to see my mother and some children I had there, I had lived at Winchester; I went away from thence in 1744.

Q. What is your business?

Norman. I am a rough rider and farrier, I break horses, &c.

John Fletcher . I cannot tell the day of the month, but I met with these three people on the road coming from Winchester; it was on a Sunday about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, we came all to Chichester together.

Matthew Imber . I know the Prisoner perfectly well; either on a Friday or Saturday in the year 1746 in Oct. he came to me as soon as church was over; Oct. 19 he told me he had sold my horse, he paid me the money; then I said, what shall I give you for a horse for a twelvemonth, as I shall need one? He said, I will not let you have him so long; he had sold mine for 4 l. 19 s. he asked me twelve guineas for half a year for his horse, I had him ten pounds. I made an agreement with him, and have it now in my pocket; it has been in my custody ever since; it was produced in court, with his and the Prisoner's signing to it, signed 19 Oct. 1746. at 11 o'clock; the body of the writing is my own, this was made at the Vine Inn, Winchester.

William Temple , Esq; I live at Lydd, I am in the commission of the peace at Lydd, and have been there upwards of twenty years. I know John Pelham and Humphry Hatton ; their characters are very indifferent; they live idle sort of lives, and their oaths would not be credited where they came from.

Q. What business is Hatton of?

Temple. We can give no account at Lydd how he lives, being in no visible business to get a maintenance.

Q. Does not Pelham live at Lydd ?

Temple. Yes, he does.

Q. What business does he follow?

Temple. He has followed no sort of business of late, he was bred to a blacksmith, but I think did not serve his time out; he sometimes has done a little in the blacksmith way, and sometimes fishing, but of late he does little or no business.

Q. How far do you compute Lydd to be off from Winchester?

Temple. It is upwards of one hundred and ten miles.

Q. How long have you lived in Lydd ?

Temple. About twenty years.

Q. Was the town of Lydd much pestered with gangs of smugglers about Oct. 1746?

Temple. It was; I have often been afraid of them, and shunned them often.

Q. Can you recollect seeing such a gang of smugglers being there in Oct. 1746?

Temple. I cannot give any account in particular, their associates were the low sort of people.

Q. Is not Pelham called a fisherman?

Temple. He may any where but at home; these people are reputed to get their living no other way but by attending at this place.

Q. Do you think these persons are not to be credited upon oath?

Temple. I am afraid, my Lord, they are capable of giving false evidence here.

John Lee . I live at Lydd in the commission of the peace.

Q. What are the general characters of Hatton and Pelham?

Lee. Their general characters are, they do nothing for a livelihood, except attending at this place.

Q. Don't you reckon them people to be credited upon oath?

Lee. I do not indeed; in their own country they would not have any credit given them were they to give evidence there. Pelham served part of his time to a blacksmith, the other is of no business; he once acted as an hostler at one of the inns there.

Q. Do you remember a gang coming there in Oct. 1746.

Lee. I cannot charge my memory as to the time; there were gangs coming there very frequently.

Hen. Hatton. I live at Lydd, and have lived there eighteen years next Michaelmas-day.

Q. What are you?

Hatton. I am a schoolmaster and parish clerk, and collect the land-lax.

Q. Do you know this Pelham and Hatton?

Hatton. I know them both very well.

Q. What business do they follow?

Hatton. I cannot tell that; I taught Pelham to write.

Q. What are their general received characters ?

Hatton. Their characters are that of idle dissolute fellows; was I a juryman in any part of the world, I would not give credit to them.

Charles Harding . I live at Winchester, I keep the Vine-Inn there. I remember Pelham and Hatton coming to my house the 8th of March last, between 8 and 9 in the morning. Shepherd was then in custody ; I talked with them concerning the Prisoner. There were three men rode up to my door, two of them were these two witnesses, they alighted from their horses; Pelham gave me a pair of pistols and desired me to put them by; being ill-looking shabby fellows, having on striped cotton shirts and coloured handkerchiefs about their necks, I imagined they were seafaring men ; I put their pistols by. They asked for something for breakfast; my servant being busy I waited on them myself. I wanted to know their business, I looked very hard at one of them; said I, I think I know you, are not you a Dover pilot? No, said Pelham; but we live in that part of the country; said I, do you know one Jonas Hive ? they said they did, he was gone for a dragoon; I said, there was a neighbour had sworn against Shepherd for smuggling, they declared they did not know the man; they asked for the collector, he was in town, being the sitting time. They said they never were at Winchester before, and asked me to let my hostler go up with them to the Excise-office; I sent my servant, he was absent about an hour and a half; when they came back they said, they had been to our goal; said I, did you see Shepherd and Cousens? they said they did not remember they had ever seen Shepherd before; they seemed very much confused, as though they had met with a disappointment. They called for their horses, and I took my leave of them at the door.

John Tolmage . I have known the Prisoner about sixteen years, he has a universal good character; he carried on a fair trade.

Mr. Cook. I am very well acquainted with the Prisoner, he has a very good character; I have dealt with him some years; he is one I would give great credit to.

Q. What is your business?

Cook. I am a distiller.

Robert Fordor , Esq; I have known the Prisoner these ten years, he has a general good character; he is a very industrious man, he married a relation of mine, a first cousin.

Q. to Cook. Did you never hear he was a smuggler?

Cook. I never knew that he was; I believe him to be as honest a man as any in the world.

Q. Did you never hear he was a smuggler?

Cook. Since this I have heard people talk; but of my own knowledge, I know no such thing.

[There were other evidences for the Prisoner ; but the council for the prosecution finding Hatton and Pelham's characters so very bad, declined giving the court any farther trouble.

Acquitted .


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