William Beckwith, Joseph Norman.
27th February 1760
Reference Numbert17600227-30
VerdictsGuilty > theft under 40s; Not Guilty; Not Guilty; Guilty

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110. 111. (M.) William Beckwith , otherwise Beckington, otherwise Thomas Robinson , carpenter , was indicted for that he, on the 25th of January , about the hour of eight in the night of the same day, the dwelling house of Ralph Griffiths , did break and enter, and four cotton bed curtains, value 5 l. eight cotton curtains, value 4 l. five blankets, value 5 s. one quilt, value 10 s. three looking-glasses, value 3 l. one pair of brass arms, value 2 s. one stuff negligee, value 5 s. one pair of cloth breeches, value 5 s. one hat, value 5 s. one petticoat, value 1 s. one iron trevit, value 6 d. one pewter cullender, one brass warming pan, and one iron fire shovel, the goods of the said Ralph, in the said dwelling house, did steal ; and Joseph Norman for receiving the same, well knowing the same to have been stolen . +

Ralph Griffiths . I have a house at Hackney . I lost some goods out of it on the 25th of January last, which was on a Friday, in the night, but I did not know of it till the Monday following. I went and found it broke open; they had wrenched open the slap of a cellar window.

Q. What sort of a slap was it?

Griffiths. It was a wooden slap chained down; they had cut a way thro' the kitchen door, and so went thro' all the rooms of the house. There I missed the goods mentioned in the indictment ( mentioning them by name.)

Q. Have you ever seen them since?

Griffiths. I have at Mr. Henfield's, a broker in Shoreditch, and at the prisoner Beckwith's house, all but the warming pan; that was never found.

Q. What day was that?

Note, The Remainder of these Proceedings will be published in a few Days.

Old Bailey Proceedings front matter.
27th February 1760
Reference Numbert17600227-30

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THE PROCEEDINGS ON THE King's Commissions of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery FOR THE CITY of LONDON, And also the Gaol Delivery for the County of MIDDLESEX, HELD AT JUSTICE-HALL in the OLD-BAILEY, On Wednesday the 27th, Thursday the 28th, and Friday the 29th of FEBRUARY,

In the Thirty-third Year of His MAJESTY'S Reign. NUMBER III. PART II. for the YEAR 1760. Being the Third SESSIONS in the MAYORALTY of The Right Honble Sir THOMAS CHITTY , Knt. LORD-MAYOR of the CITY of LONDON.


Printed, and sold by G. KEARSLY (Successor to the late Mr. Robinson) at the Golden-Lion, in Ludgate-Street, 1760.

[Price Four-pence.]


King's Commissions of the Peace, and Oyer and Terminer, for the City of LONDON, and at the General Sessions of Gaol Delivery of Newgate, holden for the said City of LONDON, and County of MIDDLESEX, at Justice-Hall in the Old-Bailey, &c.

Griffiths. I Believe it was on the Tuesday or Wednesday following. I know it was one day that week.

Q. When had you seen them last?

Griffiths. We had left them in the house but a very few days before, I had seen them on Christmas Eve; every thing was right then.

Q. Was you before a justice?

Griffiths. I was before justice Fielding, and heard the prisoners examined there. Beckwith there acknowledged, that he in company with one Ruben Dan and another person broke open the house, that the other two broke the door, and he stood at the door and watched, and assisted in carrying the goods off; the other person he called Thomas Robinson , the name he himself went by, as will appear by an evidence here; that they did it by the light of a lanthorn. Norman was not there then, and we took him up afterwards.

Q. Was any body left in the house?

Griffiths. No.

Q. How do you know the day it was broke open?

Griffiths. By Beckwith's own confession.

Isabella Griffiths. After our house was broke open, we had a warrant to search Beckwith's house, where we found a small looking-glass lock'd up in a closet; we found also a fire shovel and trevit.

Q. Where did Backwith live?

I. Griffiths. He lived at Hummerton, and kept a cook's shop.

Q. When was the last time you was at your house at Hackney, before you missed the things?

I. Griffiths. We were there on Christmas Eve.

Q. Can you say upon your oath these goods which you lost were in your house on Christmas Eve?

I. Griffiths. I think I can say all of them were. The house was broke in two places, but in one they met with a beam in their way, and could not proceed there.

Q. Is it a dwelling house?

I. Griffiths. Yes, Mr. Griffiths and I go there sometimes. I was all over the house on Christmas Eve.

Q. Did you go with your husband on the Monday he has mentioned?

I. Griffiths. I did, but at that time we were sure the other things were at Mr. Henfield's the broker. I found the same goods missing that my husband spoke of.

Thomas Henfield . I am a broker, and know the two prisoners at the bar. I think it was on the 26th of January Beckwith came to me (be then wrote his name Robinson.)

Q. Did you know him before?

Henfield. I had seen him before pass by my door. He brought a letter and said he had brought some goods from some relation at Ware, and wanted to know if I would buy them. I told him I would see them first, and away he went; and in about three quarters of an hour after he came again with another man.

Q. What man was that?

Henfield. It was one that is not here. They brought the goods, and I looked them over. I said I did not care to buy them, except he could produce the owner.

Q. What goods did they bring?

Henfield. They brought the bed furniture, a quilt, blankets and two glasses, tied up in a coarse cloath, and a letter, saying the goods came from such a person at Ware, that was in distress. I said,

except I knew you, and where you live, I shall not buy them. Said Beckwith you may go to where we live, we liveright against the Plough, at Hummerton. I and my brother set out to go with them to their houses: Going along the New Road, one of them said here is Cayton's cart, he serves us with meat, he knows us. We look'd about to see if we could find him. We found him in a public house, I took him out and asked him the character of the two men; he said he had served them with meat, and they paid him very honestly. Then we turned into the public house, and Ruben Dan (which was the other man along with the prisoner) got up and said to Cayton, what do you know of my character, he answered, I have served you with meat, and you paid me honestly. Then I went home, saying. I did not care to buy the goods till I saw the person that owns them; then they said let us have the goods away. I said no, I shall not part with the goods till I have seen farther. Then they said they would go and fetch the waggoner that brought them up from Ware. They were gone about half an hour. I had still the goods in my possession. I went to be shaved, in order to go to Mr. Fielding's, to give him intelligence of them. Then my brother came and said the men are come back again about the goods, and had brought the waggoner. I found the prisoner Norman standing by the fire side. I said to him, what say you; he said, I am come about some goods that I brought up from Ware. I said, what are they, he said one of them is a flat parcel, which they bid him take care of, because there was glass; I said, do you know who you had them of; he said he knew them by sight, the man lives within a few doors of my master; my master's name is Fugan, and mine is Norman. I asked where I might find him, he said either at the Cherry-Tree or Black-Horse, in Kingsland-Road. Then I said to Beckwith, as you appear to be an honest man I will pay you for your goods.

Q. What did you give him for them?

Henfield. I gave him 5 l. 13 s. Dan said to the waggoner, take notice of the money we take, for you are to carry it down: very well said Norman. (The goods produced in court and deposed to by the prosecuter.)

Q. to Henfield. Had you a receipt of Beckwith?

Henfield. I had; he signed his name Robinson in the receipt.

Q. Was you present before justice Fielding when, Beckwith was examined there?

Henfield. I was; I think he said he was in Mr. Griffiths's yard when Dan and Robinson broke into the house; that he was set there to watch, (he used some word which I took to be watch, which I do not understand.) He said they wrench'd open a shutter.

Q. Are you sure he said he was set there to watch?

Henfield. I am sure he said that.

Joseph Smith . I am a relation to Mr. Henfield. I live in the country, but happened to be at his house when the prisoner Beckwith came to him with a letter, and said he had some goods come up from a relation of his at Ware, and asked him if he would buy them; Mr. Henfield said he could not tell till he saw them; then Beckwith said they were at the Black-Horse, in Kingsland-Road; he went and came back with another man, and brought them: Then Mr. Henfield told them he should not buy them without seeing the person that owned them. Then they told us where they lived, and he and I were going to their houses. to inquire how they came by the goods, and whether they came from Ware, as they had said. We happened to see one Cayton's cart stand in the road, and they inquired for him and found him in a public house, of whom Mr. Henfield inquired their characters; he said they were honest men as far as he knew, for he had sold them meat several times, and they paid him; then we came home, but he said he should not chuse to buy the goods without he saw the right owner; they said the right owner could not be seen, for he was in the hands of a bailiff; but they could bring the waggoner, who brought them up from Ware; and while Mr. Henfield went to be shaved, in order to go to justice Fielding, Joseph Norman , the other prisoner, came to his house, and said he brought the goods up from a gentleman at Ware. Mr. Henfield asked him if he knew the gentleman, he said he did not know his name, but he knew him by fight, and that he lived but a few doors from his master's house. Then Mr. Henfield asked him his master's name, and took it down, which he said was Edward Fugan ; that he came sometimes to the Black-Horse in Kingsland-Road, and sometimes to the Cherry-Tree, and that he was the carrier at Ware; he said the team stood at the Cherry-Tree then, and he could not stay. As soon as Mr. Henfield paid them the money, he desired me to go after them to see if the team stood at the Cherry-Tree, I followed them down, they were all three together, and went in at the Cherry-tree, and the waggon stood at the door, with the master's name on it, which he had mentioned to Mr. Henfield.

Q. Was you before Mr. Fielding when Beckwith was examined?

Smith. I was. He there said he was in the yard and stood watch while Robinson and Dan went into the house and took the goods.

Q. Did you hear Norman examined?

Smith. No, he was not examined at the same time the other was.

John Blackwell . I am the person that found out where the goods were, and sent word to Mr. Griffiths; I was at Mr. Fielding's when both the prisoners were examined. Beckwith said two men, Robinson and Dan, were along with him; that they two broke the house open, by the light of a lanthorn, and he was in the garden and watched; they handed the goods out to him, and he carried them out into the fields, where they pack'd them up, and then he did not know what became of them. I asked him whether they had a dark lanthorn or another; he said it was a large horn lanthorn, with a candle in it. I was present at Hummerton when the goods were found at Beckwith's house, and heard Mr. Griffiths swear to them.

Q. Do you know any thing of Norman?

Blackwell. I have known him some time, his master is the stage waggoner at Ware. He has come to my shop with goods sometimes. I told Mr. Fielding I would send a letter down to his master to send him up. I thought it was to be an evidence. He sent him up, and I went along with him to the justice; there he said two men came to the inn where he was baiting his horses, on the 26th of January, at the Cherry-tree, and told him they had some goods come out of the country by another person, that they would give him a crown, if he would go and say they came up by him, and he took the crown and went and did say so. I do not think he would be guilty of such an action, had he known the goods to have been stolen.

Thomas Taylor . I heard the prisoner Beckwith confess before Mr. Fielding, that he was set to watch in a field or garden, while Dan and Robinson broke into the house; and he helped to aid and assist in taking the goods out and carrying them into the fields, and packing them up. When the search warrant was brought to me, in order to search Beckwith's house, we found a trivet, an iron fire shovel, a dressing-glass, and a man's hat, ( producing one.) This hat Mr. Griffiths owned at that time. Beckwith and Dan were partners together in a cook's shop.

Prosecutor. This hat I think is a hat that I gave to a servant of mine; the glass and fire shovel I know to be mine.

John Reed . I was at justice Fielding's when the two prisoners were under examination, but did not much regard what was done there. I took Beckwith in a coach to goal. I asked him if there were any others concerned in breaking the house, he said there were no others but Rubea Dan and himself. This was on the fourth of February. When I went for him, in order to carry him to be examined again, then he told me one Robinson was concerned, and that he stood and watched while they broke the house and took the goods out. The first time he told me Dan and he took the goods out over night, and hid them in the fields, and went afterwards and took them away.

Beckwith's Defence.

The gentlemen have said what I said before the justice. I told the truth, and I could tell no other. I was present when Dan and Robinson broke the house, and I took the goods from them, and handed them out. This is the first scrape that ever I was in, in my life.

Norman's Defence.

Beckwith, the prisoner, and another man, came to me at the Cherry-Tree; they told me they had some things come up out of the country, from a person at Ware, who lived near the Bull, which is near to my master's, and they desired me to say, I brought them up.

Beckwith Guilty. 39 s.

Acquitted of burglary.

Norman Acquitted .

(M.) Beckwith was a second time indicted, by the same names, for that he, in a certain lane or open place, near the king's highway, on Aaron Govas Decoster did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life, and taking from his person one cloth coat, value 40 s. two handkerchiefs, value 1 s. and nine-pence half-penny in money number'd , his property, January 26 . ++

Aaron Govas Decoster . I was coming home on Saturday night, the 26th of January, between six and seven o'clock.

Q. Where do you live?

Decoster. At Hackney . Just before I came to my own door a couple of fellows stop'd me; the short one took out a pistol, and the tall one had a knife. They demanded my watch and money, or they would shoot me; I said I had no watch with me, and as to money, I could give them no more then I had. They took from me a furtout coat,

three handkerchiefs, and nine-pence half-penny.

Q. Do you know the prisoner at the bar?

Decoster. I do not know him any farther than coming in a stage coach once with him; that was since I was rob'd, coming from London. There were in the coach a gentlewoman and the prisoner, and a companion of his, as appear'd to me. The gentlewoman was set down at a distiller's, by Shoreditch Church; after that, we in the coach fell into discourse about robbing. I told them I had been rob'd just by my own house; they asked me how they used me; I said a couple of fellows stop'd and rob'd me of my coat and three handkerchiefs. They asked me a great many questions, and wanted to get out of the coach several times. I then did not like them, so instead of being set down at the Shoulder of Mutton Field, I chose to go farther in the coach.

Q. Do you know any thing against the prisoner at the bar?

Decoster. No, I was so frighted when I was rob'd, that I cannot swear to the man; but when the prisoner's house was searched for other people's goods there were two handkerchiefs found there, my property, and of which I was rob'd that night.

Thomas Taylor . I am the constable that searched Beckwith's house for Mr. Griffiths's goods, where we found two handkerchiefs, in the custody of Dan and the prisoner (produced in court and deposed to.) They were delivered to me by their two wives, saying, they did not belong to them, and said they were afraid they were stolen. Beckwith was then taken, but Dan had made off. The prosecutor came to my house afterwards and described the marks on them at the corners, and after that he swore, before justice Norris, they were his property, which he lost at that time.

Prisoner's Defence.

I am innocent of the affair, and so I am of all the others but one.

Acquitted .

(M.) He was a third time indicted by the same names for stealing one cloth coat, value 20 s. two pair of linen sheet, value 5 s. one silk handkerchief, value 2 s. three pewter dishes, value 3 s. twelve pewter plates, four pewter porringers, three linen handkerchiefs, one cambrick handkerchief, five linen napkins, one shagreen instrument case, five lancets, two pair of stone buttons, one pistol, one peruke, one hat, three linen shirts, three linen shifts, one linen tablecloth, and 5 l. in money; the money and goods of John More , in the dwelling-house of the said John , January 19 . +

Isabella More. Last Saturday was five weeks two men came to our door. My husband was just gone to London.

Q. Where do you live?

I. More. We live at Hackney . They came over a gate that was lock'd, to come to the door, and said where is your master; I said, I do not know of any master that I have here. They came in at the door, and turn'd again and bolted it; I said what do you bolt my door for; they asked me where the key was; I said the key was lost; then they went to a little room where my husband and I lay; the first thing they laid hold of was a pistol; they said this is a pretty thing, this will do for us. Then they tore a drawer out, and said we will take none of your wearing apparel, we want money. They found and took some old money. Then they said where is your husband's money; I said we have some to be sure in the house (my husband had said to me, if your landlord-should come by call him in and give him a quarter's rent, which is twenty-five shillings, and told me he had put it behind the door, but no landlord came.) They rifled and jostled me about and bid me not talk, and took three-half pence and four farthings out of my pocket. I had in my left-hand pocket a half-crown, and three or four new shillings; they took them, and hit me a blow on the side of my head; I thought they had beat my brains out. I said don't use me ill, I am old enough to be your grandmother. [The prosecutor and his wife were a remarkable ancient couple.]

Q. What time did they come to your house?

I. More. They were in my house between one and two o'clock.

Q. What did they take?

I. More. They took twelve pewter plates, three pewter dishes and four pewter porringers. My husband had also lost 3 l. 15 s. in the house, that also they took, as well as the 25 s. for rent, two pair of sheets and a table cloth, near four yards long, and eight handkerchiefs, one of which was silk and another cambrick; one was my husband's, the rest mine, and an old laced pillow case, which I believe had been my grand-mother's.

Q. Did you see them take the money?

I. More. They took one half-crown and gave me again; then they took it away again and made me sit down on the bed, and then, before my eyes, they took the 3 l. 15 s. away, and 20 s. and two half-crowns.

Q. Did you see which took your money?

I. More. I believe Dan took it; I saw him take my box and put it on the table, and take the money out. Some time after this I heard of a robbery in our neighbourhood, and the people were searching for their goods. My husband said he would bring his old woman, and he did not doubt but he should find some of his goods; I went, and amongst the things at Dan's house I found two pair of sheets, a table-cloth four yards long, two handkerchiefs, one silk, the other cambrick; a laced pillow case and a Russia one, within a nail of a yard long; two rags and a white handkerchief; the prisoner and Dan then lived both in a house, and kept a cook's shop.

Q. Did you lose all the money you have mentioned?

I. More. I did; there was not a farthing left.

Q. Did you see them take the money?

I. More. I saw them take the things out, and fumbling about and putting things into their pockets.

John More . I was rob'd on the 19th of January last. I put 3 l. 15 s. into an old ticken shoe, because we live in a single house alone, and went to market. I put 1 l. 5 s. by, for my wife to pay our rent to the landlord; when I returned I found the money gone. As to the linen, my wife knows that best; I know nothing of that, except a spotted handkerchief and two napkins; there was also a case of instruments missing; the case was found, with three of my lancets in it, in the prisoner's house. They have been in my house twelve years. I bled a person with one of them but the Sunday before.

Thomas Taylor . I am the constable that searched the house of the prisoner and Dan for Mr. Griffiths's goods. I found four sheets, a long table cloth, two pillowbiers (one of them laced in the middle) three handkerchiefs and two napkins. When I went to search again I found one handkerchief, a lancet-case and three lancets, which the prosecutor and his wife swore to be their property before justice Norris. There were many other things found in the prisoner's house which are not owned yet, besides what the prisoner has been tried for. (The goods produced in court and deposed to.)

John Reed . I was at the searching Beckwith's house, and saw all these things found there. Beckwith lay in the garret where the things were found; Dan lay on the ground floor. The prosecutor's wife swore to every thing particularly before she saw them.

Prisoner's Defence.

I know nothing of this robbery.

Guilty , Death .

Old Bailey Proceedings front matter.
27th February 1760
Reference Numbert17600227-30

Related Material

ActionsCite this text | Print-friendly version | Report an error

THE PROCEEDINGS ON THE King's Commissions of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery FOR THE CITY of LONDON, And also the Gaol Delivery for the County of MIDDLESEX, HELD AT JUSTICE-HALL in the OLD-BAILEY, On Wednesday the 27th, Thursday the 28th, and Friday the 29th of FEBRUARY,

In the Thirty-third Year of His MAJESTY'S Reign. NUMBER III. PART II. for the YEAR 1760. Being the Third SESSIONS in the MAYORALTY of The Right Honble Sir THOMAS CHITTY , Knt. LORD-MAYOR of the CITY of LONDON.


Printed, and sold by G. KEARSLY (Successor to the late Mr. Robinson) at the Golden-Lion, in Ludgate-Street, 1760.

[Price Four-pence.]


King's Commissions of the Peace, and Oyer and Terminer, for the City of LONDON, and at the General Sessions of Gaol Delivery of Newgate, holden for the said City of LONDON, and County of MIDDLESEX, at Justice-Hall in the Old-Bailey, &c.

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