Joseph Sparrow, Richard Perry, John Taylor.
27th February 1765
Reference Numbert17650227-30
VerdictsGuilty; Not Guilty; Guilty; Guilty
SentencesDeath; Transportation; Transportation

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191, 192, 193. (M.) Joseph Sparrow , Richard Perry , and John Taylor , were indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Hannah Medley , widow , on the 6th of January , in the night, and stealing five brass candlesticks, value 2 s. one brass pestle, value 1 s. one brass mortar, value 1 s. one copper coffee-pot, value 1 s. three copper sauce-pans, value 6 s. one copper panakin, value 1 s. four copper pottage-pots and cover, value 20 s. one pair of copper scales, value 2 s. and six pewter plates, value 4 s. the property of the said Hannah, in her dwelling-house . *

Hannah Medley . I live in North-street, Poplar . I went out on Sunday morning, the 6th of January, about ten o'clock, and about eleven my son came to me for the key. I gave it him; he brought it me again; I went home at night, and went to bed about ten; nobody lives in the house but me: I fastened up the street-door, and I saw the back-door was shut; but when I came down in the morning, about nine, I found the back-door open. I miss'd the things mentioned in the indictment (mentioning them by name). I had seen them all that Sunday morning in the kitchen: I suppose they got in at the kitchen window: there was a pane of glass out of the casement before, by which means a hand might be put in and open it; there is no shutter to the window. On the Monday morning we saw the marks of feet as coming over my neighbour's pales. Last Sunday se'ennight a neighbour came and said, there were seven or eight people to be re-examined before Justice Fielding. I, and several of my neighbours, went on the Monday. I heard it call'd out, Has any body lost any brass or pewter? I said, I had: then I was taken in before Sir John Fielding , and told him what I had lost. Some of the people produced these things: (two copper pottage-pots and

covers, a copper sauce-pan, a copper panakin, one pewter plate marked I. M. and five brass candlesticks, produced in court) these are all my property, and were all taken out of my kitchen that night.

Edward Wright . I am one of Sir John Fieldings people: I was present when this gentlewoman was before Sir John; these are the very goods that were shown to her there: I sealed them up, and opened them yesterday; she swore to them there.

John Medley . I am son to the prosecutrix; I am not out of my time, and my mother finds me in cloaths; I always go home on a Sunday to clean myself: I was there on January the 6th, about eleven o'clock: I got a pan of water out at the back door, and shut the door, and shot the bolt again: to the best of my knowledge the door was fast; but if I do not clap my knee against the door, the bolt, being loose, may miss the place, and not go in; but I am certain the door was latch'd; I know the casement was fastened: after I had cleaned myself, I locked the fore door again, and carried the key to my mother; all these things were in the kitchen when I was there. I can swear to them, and also to some other things that we took out of a man's house in St. Catherine's yesterday, which I have in a bag here. I went with my mother to Sir John Fielding 's, when the men were re-examined: my mother saw and swore to these things there. The other things I had at a man's house named Rasbury; he came to me, and said he had some things, and desired I would come and look at them; I went; there were two sauce-pans and a fish-kettle, a coffee-pot, and a pair of scales.

Edward Wright . There was one Ball first taken he gave evidence against Cook; I went and took Cook in St. Catherine's: I put him in the Poultry Compter that night; he told me where the three prisoners were to be found; that was at Taylor's house, in an alley in St. Catherine's, called Mouse-alley: there I saw a woman who told me her name was Taylor, and said her husband was gone out: Cook said they had been robbing several people, and he was sure we should find some linen there: I searched, and found about two dozen and a half of napkins, and some towels; I brought these things here out of the house; I found them in the lower part of the house, and the prosecutrix came to Sir John Fielding 's and owned them: the prisoners were taken up in Northampton-shire.

John Brock . I live just at the back of Mouse-alley; it is just on this side Wapping: I have seen Perry there backwards and forwards, and Taylor also; and I have seen them both together.

William Callow . I know Taylor lives in Mouse-alley: I have been at his house: we went and found some Sheets there; his wife was at home at the time.

Q. to Wright. Describe the situation of the house.

Wright. The Alley is paved with stones; there is a public house at the corner, at a gateway, and his house is about forty yards distant; there are high steps before you come to it.

Q. to Brock. Does he describe it right?

Brock. Yes. That alehouse is the sign of the Golden Anchor; there is such a place as he has mentioned, where they go in under a gateway, and there are steps before we come to Taylor's house; I have seen Taylor go into the house; I have served his wife with coals.

William Marks . On the 24th of January Perry sent for me to take an Inventory of his goods: I am a broker; I was to sell them to the best advantage: there were bed, bedstead, chairs, tables. No linen, nor brass, nor pewter.

Q. Where is his house?

Marks. It is a little house in Mouse-alley. I I went and took an Inventory; but he was gone. (He described the house and way to it, as the others.) Taylor's wife is Perry's daughter.

Thomas Cook . Taylor, Perry, and I, did this Robbery: it was at Poplar, about ten weeks or three months ago, about midnight.

Q. Was it before, or since Christmas?

Cook. Since Christmas, I believe.

Q. What day of the week?

Cook. I don't know. We got over several yards, and the door was upon the latch we went in at. There stood a pot with some water in it; I took and handed that to Taylor, over the pales; it was a larger pot than either of these. I had that at home till I was taken up, and my house-keeper says she sold it to by victuals for the children. That was burst at the sides.

Q. Where abouts did you find that?

Cock. It stood on the left hand of the back-door, by the side of the house, some distance from the house: Perry was in the next garden, and Taylor came over to me: he pulled out his pistol and gave it to me, while he handed the pots and things over the pales; he and I went in, and struck a light; he always carried a tinder-box, candle, and dark lanthorn.

Q. Where did you take the pottage-pots from?

Cook. They were standing edge-ways on a form, and the other things on the mantle-piece: the plates were on a shelf: we took six plates, five candlesticks, four pottage-pots and covers, two sauce-pans, a pestle and mortar, a pair of scales, and a white apron that lay upon a chest of drawers, in the kitchen: after we had handed them to Perry, we took them among us, some in our pockets, and some in bags that we had, and carried them to Perry's house; we got there between two and three o'clock; the prisoners lived all together.

Q. What share did you carry?

Cook. I carried the plates, the large pot and candlesticks: we went first into a field with some fowls we had stole and left there: a few days after we shared them: after that Taylor gave me two sauce-pans for one of my pots. Ball was taken up first, and he impeached me, and I was taken up about a month after the things were shared: he knew nothing of this fact, only we told him of it; Sparrow was not with us in this: I lived about 200 yards from Perry's house, in St. Catherine's Lane.

The prosecutrix was called in, who was sent out of court while Cook gave his evidence.

Q. to prosecutrix. Had you any thing taken from the yard?

Prosecutrix. Yes; a larger pot than any of these was standing in the yard, with rain-water in it; that I never saw since.

Q. how near the back-door did it stand?

Prosecutrix. About six or seven yards; it was burst, and ran out at the ears.

Q. Did you lose any linen?

Prosecutrix. I lost an apron out of the kitchen, but I did not put that in the indictment.

Cook. I was at the Rising-Sun at Hackney, about five weeks ago; Perry, Taylor, and Ball were there: Ball was taken; they said he would impeach them, and they said they would go away.

Q. Where did Ball live?

Cook. He lodged in Sun-Yard, within about a hundred yards of Perry's house.

Perry. He used to bring fowls and things to my house when I was in bed.

Angel Griffith . I keep the Rising-Sun at Hackney; Cook has used my house fourteen or or fifteen years; I remember seeing Perry, Taylor, and Ball, at my house twice; they were there the very night that Ball was taken. The same night that Mr. Callow was robbed, they all went away together, and left the reckoning to pay, saying I had goods of theirs, and they would come on the morrow and pay me; Callow and I drank with them.

Q. What goods were that?

Griffith. It was gun-powder.

William Callow . Last Sunday five weeks, Cook, Ball, Taylor, and Perry, were all at Mr. Griffith's: we drank with them: I have seen Cook and Taylor there three or four times.

Perry's Defence.

I know nothing of these things being in the house, no farther than Cook brought them in.

Taylor's Defence.

Cook came on a Monday morning, and asked me leave to let the goods be at our house; he said he bought them at a sale, and that he owed his landlord a little money, and begged me to let them be there. I came from Staffordshire, and am 25 years of age.

Perry and Taylor, Guilty . Death .

Sparrow, Acquitted .

There were four other indictments against Perry.

(M.) John Taylor was a second time indicted for stealing 150 pounds weight of gunpowder, value 6 l. the property of Charles Digby the elder, and Charles Digby the younger, September 28 . *

Robert Evans . I did live with Mr. Charles Digby ; he and his father are partners; they are ship-chandlers ; there was some gun powder lost from a little house in a field near Wapping Church . I am not certain to the quantity lost; it was about an hundred and fifty pounds weight, it might be more or less.

Q. Can you be certain to a hundred weight?

Evans. I am sure there was that quantity missing.

Q. When was it missing?

Evans. About the 28th of September last.

Q. When had you seen it last?

Evans. I had seen it three days before it was missing; it was a vessel about the size of a firkin; that is, half a barrel, or 50 lb. there were two of them lost, and more besides; the door was locked, and I found it locked again.

Q. How do you think they got in?

Evans. The lock might be picked; there was no window at all, only a door.

William Callow . About four months ago I saw the prisoner, with about five or six pounds weight of gunpowder, in a paper bag, at the Rising Sun at Hackney: there were old Perry and Samuel Atkins with him; they proffered it for sale: I bought some of it; it was large and small together.

Q. What is Taylor?

Callow. Taylor is a taylor by trade.

Q. to Evans. What sort of powder was that which you miss'd?

Evans. The two half barrels were what they call single M. that is pretty small; there is smaller and there is larger: we miss'd some very small and some very large, and some middling.

Q. to Callow. What did you give a pound for it?

Callow. I gave three shillings for five or six pounds: I can't be a judge what it was worth; I never weighed it.

Q. to Evans. What was the powder worth a pound, that was missing?

Evans. The fine was worth about 14 d. per pound, the other a shilling.

Callow. On the 20th of January they brought more powder, and asked the landlord and others to buy it: and on the 21st the prisoner, Ball, Cook and Perry, came with a canvass bag of powder. I believe it to be about 30 lb. weight in all; nobody would buy any of it.

Thomas Cook . Taylor and I went and fetched four barrels of powder away one Saturday night, in the month of August, about nine at night, from a place called Jones's field, near Wapping chapel.

Q. How did you get in?

Cook. Taylor had a key that unlocked the door; we took it out of the powder-house in that field; they were what they call half barrels, fifty pounds each: Taylor had a bundle of keys. The head of one of the barrels was out, it was not quite full; there were two tubs of it glazed powder, very small; one tub was mixed, it was small and large powder: we carried two tubs to the top of the field, and set them down, and went back again and fetched two more, and locked the door: then we carried them to Taylor's house; we were stopped by two custom-house officers, and I told them what it was, and they let us go: we disposed of three tubs to a man at Wandsworth, either on the Monday or Tuesday after; we took it on the Saturday: we carried it in two butter firkins to Queenhithe, and sent it up; and we went up and met it: we had agreed for 8 d. per pound before: when we came there the man said, if we would not take two guineas for it we might take it back again; so we took the two guineas for it.

Q. How much was there of it?

Cook. There was about an hundred and half of it; some we sold to other people: that we did not sell was not glazed, it was a small sort of powder.

Q. Where did you sell the mixed powder?

Cook. That went to Wandsworth: I was in company with the prisoner at the Rising Sun, at Hackney.

Q. Who went with you to Wandsworth?

Cook. Taylor did; he was with me at Hackney: we had some in little bags, and sold some to chandlers-shops, and to two or three people about: we had sold some at the Rising Sun two or three times; the last time we were there we left about 20 lb. weight with the landlord, that was too large for shooting.

Q. Who was there at that time?

Cook. There were Ball, Taylor, Perry, and I. Last Monday it was five weeks ago since we went there first.

Angel Griffith . There were Taylor, Ball, Perry, Cook and Callow, at my house; they left some powder at my house that time: I remember Taylor bringing powder twice, and desiring me to put it by; they said I had enough in my hands for the reckoning, and said they would come again and take it away.

Prisoner's Defence.

This Thomas Cook brought powder to our house three times, and asked me to let him leave it; the fourth time is about a month or six weeks ago: he said his brother was to bring him some more from on board, and that it was old stores; and said he would give me a little money for houseroom: I would not let him leave it; then he carried it to Charles Hutchens 's, a painter. On a Sunday Cook and Ball came to our house; each had a bundle under his arm: I asked where they were going: they said to the Rising Sun, at Hackney, and asked me if I would take a walk with them; they said they would pay us for our trouble: we went with them to Hackney; I never was at this little house in Jones's-field in my life.

Guilty . T .

There were eight other indictments against him.

(M.) Joseph Sparrow was a second time indicted for stealing five live turkeys, value 10 s. the property of Daniel Farmer , January 10 . *

Daniel Farmer the younger. My father is named Daniel, he lives at Bethnal-green ; I live with him: either the first or second Thursday in January we found our lower gate broke open, the staples were wrenched out; we keep four large dogs; one of the dogs and a live turkey were on the outside the gate, in the morning: we keep such a number of turkeys, that we cannot tell what we lost, or whether we lost any; we could not miss a score, we have so many.

Q. Was that turkey yours that was out at the gate?

Farmer. That certainly belonged to us.

Cook is put out of the court while Ball is examined.

William Ball . I have known the prisoner twelve months, or better; there was he, Thomas Cook , and I, at Mr. Farmer's house, and Sparrow's mate.

Q. Who is he?

Ball. Sparrow is a sawyer : I do not know his mate's name.

Q. When was this?

Ball. This was the beginning of January: I think either on a Thursday or Friday night; we drew the staple of the door, at coming into the fields.

Q. How did you do it?

Ball. We all three did it with our hands; we went in and fetched out five turkeys: a dog catch'd at Sparrow's heels, as he stood at the door: he threw a live turkey at him, as he was jumping and making a noise about him; the dog bit him very much, between his calf and his heel.

Q. Did you see the wound?

Ball. No, I never did; there were three or four large dogs about him; he was a long time lame: he said it was between the calf and heel that the dog bit him: when we had got the turkeys we went across the fields, into the road: we took them on the other side the water, and sold them the day after: he was so lame he could not stir out of his room.

Q. Where did he live?

Ball. He lodged at John Taylor 's, in Mouse-alley.

Q. How long did he keep within doors?

Ball. He might stay within three weeks, or thereabouts.

Q. When did you first discover this matter?

Ball. I was taken up at Hackney, the 26th of January, at Mr. Callow's, and carried before Justice Fielding the 27th: that day I made a discovery of these turkeys, to Sir John's clerk.

Q. What did you do with them?

Ball. We carried them over the water.

Q. What day did you carry them over the water?

Ball. I know it was Sunday morning, when we came back.

Q. Where did you lie on the Saturday night?

Ball. We were at a public house on the other side the water.

Q. What time of the night did you take these turkeys?

Ball. We took them between eleven and twelve at night.

Q. Where did you go after you stole them?

Ball. The prisoner went to Mouse-alley, and I lay at Thomas Cook 's house, and lay with him all night: I got up betwixt eight and nine in the morning, and we went to John Taylor 's, and then we cross'd the water. (Cook was called in and Ball put out.)

Thomas Cook . I have known Sparrow about a year and a half; he is a sawyer.

Q. Do you know Mr. Farmer?

Cook. Yes; he is a goose-feeder: I was in his field and his yard, about two months, or better, ago.

Q. Was it before Christmas or after?

Cook. It was since Christmas: I know the prisoner did not come home from Twittenham till Christmas-eve; and it was after he came home.

Q. What can a sawyer get a week?

Cook. They can get sixteen or seventeen shillings a week.

Q. Who was with you, when you was in Mr. Farmer's yard?

Cook. There were Sparrow and his mate: I do not know his name, any farther than we called him Thomas, and Ball; Sparrow and Ball broke the gate open, with a wrench they had, and pulled it open together.

Q. What do you mean by a wrench?

Cook. It is a thing that was made to screw the breech of a gun with; they always carried it with them: I fancy Ball had his hands to the gate, and Sparrow had the wrench: then Ball, I, and Sparrow's man went in: that door was about the middle of the place where the turkeys were, between the field and the yard: the prisoner stood at the door, with the broken end of a screw-gun; it screwed in three place: he had lost the piece that belonged to the shoulder; so the muzzle end of the barrel was left at home. The piece he had, had the lock and breech of the barrel on it.

Q. Was the gun charged?

Cook. It was; I brought out two turkeys: as soon as I came out I heard a dog bark; Sparrow's man came next, with three; the dog flew at him, and he threw a turkey at him: then Ball came out with two turkeys, and the dog flew at Sparrow, and catched him by the heel: I, seeing the dog at him, ran away with my two turkeys, and saw no more of them, but went home by myself, and lay at my own house: I got home between one and two, and went to bed directly.

Q. Did you see any of them that night after?

Cook. No, I did not; only my four children, that lay with me in the same bed.

Q. Did not Ball lie with you that night?

Cook. No: Ball did lie with me one night; when we got some fowls, but that was before Christmas; he lay a-cross the bed's feet: the next morning I saw either Ball or Sparrow's man; they told me Sparrow was bit: then we went over the water, and sold the turkeys that day.

Q. What day was that you carried them over the water?

Cook. It was either Friday or Saturday.

Q. How many turkeys had you in all?

Cook. We had six; we sold five on the other side the water and one on this side: the next morning I went to see Sparrow; he was in bed at Perry's house, in Mouse-alley: he wanted me to get him some beer-dregs, to make a poultice to put to his leg; I went and got some the next day.

Q. How long was he confined with this lameness?

Cook. He was confined three weeks, or better: he never went out with us afterwards.

Q. Where was he taken?

Cook. I don't know: I was in prison when he was taken.

Q. Where abouts was his wound?

Cook. He was bit very much behind, just below the calf; the dog's teeth came through.

Q. from prisoner. I desire to know what man that was which you call mine?

Cook. It was a man they called Thomas, which the prisoner brought from Twittenham; he knew of a place where were then fowls, at Twittenham; and Sparrow, he, and I, went there and fetched them by night.

Ball called in again.

Q. to Ball. Do you know any thing of a wrench?

Ball. I have one.

Q. Had you that with you when you took the turkeys?

Ball. To the best of my knowledge we had not that with us that night.

Q. How did you get the door open?

Ball. To the best of my knowledge we pulled it open with our hands?

Q. Are you sure you lay at Cook's the remainder part of that night, along with him?

Ball. I am sure I did.

Q. Who else were in bed at the time?

Ball. There were three children with him: I lay on the side of the bed: I did not strip.

Q. How many turkeys did Cook take?

Ball. He took two.

Q. Who went home with him?

Ball. He was gone away before I came out with the turkeys.

Q. to Cook. You see how you two differ in this circumstance.

Cook. To the best of my knowledge he did not lie there that night.

William Callow . I am a watchman, and dig the graves at Hackney: I went to Mouse-alley two or three times, in order to take Perry.

Q. Did you see Sparrow there?

Callow. No; but I saw his wife there.

Joseph Chidley . I live at Towcester, in Northamptonshire, and am a staymaker; the prisoner was taken there one Sunday morning, five weeks ago to-morrow, for having stole some things: I saw him searched; there was the part of a gun found upon him that contains the lock, and breech of the barrel, it was in his side pocket: he had also a cannister, with a great deal of gunpowder in it. I came up to town with him. (The part of a gun produced in court.)

Cook. This is the part of a gun that the prisoner stood with at the door.

Ball. I know this to belong to the prisoner.

Q. to Chidley. Was the prisoner lame?

Chidley. He was lame of one leg: I saw the wound the morning just before he set out to go to Northampton gaol; it looked very much as if it had been shot through with a ball; he said it was cut with an ax; it was near the calf.

Edward Wright . I found this piece of a gun (producing the muzzle part of a barrel) in a chest in Taylor's house. He screwed it on to the other piece, found on the prisoner; it exactly fitted.

Prisoner's Defence.

I took a room in that house of a woman, till I could suit myself better: I went for business into

the country; that gun was given me to take down to Birmingham, in order to sell it.

Guilty . T .

He had four other indictments against him.

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