WILLIAM KNOWLAND, WILLIAM GRAY.
11th September 1776
Reference Numbert17760911-41
VerdictGuilty; Not Guilty
SentenceDeath

Related Material

ActionsCite this text | Print-friendly version | Report an error
Navigation< Previous text (trial account) | Next text (trial account) >

662, 663. WILLIAM KNOWLAND and WILLIAM GRAY were indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling house of James Waller , Esq; on the 20th of August, about the hour of one in the night, and stealing a pair of silver salts, value 40 s. a silver pint mug, value 40 s. two silver sauce spoons, value 20 s. a silver soup ladle, value 20 s. a silver marrow spoon, value 10 s. twenty-one silver table spoons, value 10 l. twelve silver desert spoons, value 5 l. a silver cup, value 40 s. a silver saucepan, value 40 s. a silver coffee-pot, value 5 l. a silver stand and lamp, value 30 s. a pint silver mug, value 40 s. a cruet stand, value 40 s. a sugar caster, value 20 s. two silver pepper casters, value 40 s. a silver candlestick, value 10 s. and another silver salt, value 10 s. the property of the said James in his dwelling house .

JAMES WALLER , Esq ; sworn.

I live in Great Queen-street, Lincoln's Inn Fields : on the 20th of August last, when I got up in the morning about six o'clock, I was informed by my servants that the house had been broke open, and a great deal of plate stolen; I have read over the articles contained in the indictment; I lost all those things.

JOHN BARKER sworn.

I am a servant to Mr. Waller, and have the care of his plate: I made the house fast over night; we went to bed between ten and eleven; I got up at half an hour past five o'clock, I found the locks broke and the doors all open; it appeared they had got in at the window in the area facing the street by breaking a pane of glass; that window came into an old kitchen, then they broke open another door and got into the back kitchen, and from thence they had free access to the rest of the house.

Was the parlour door locked? - No.

Have you seen the list of the things mentioned in the indictment? - Yes; they were all lost out of my master's house.

To Mr. WALLER. What was the value of what you lost? - They are put at less than their value in the indictment.

ROBERT NIGHTINGAL sworn.

I am a servant to Mr. Waller: on the 20th of August last I was informed by my fellow servant that the house had been broke open.

What time was you up? - Between five and six.

It must then have been day-light for some time? - Yes; my fellow servant had not been down then; I went down and found they had got in at the back kitchen window; it appeared to me that they had broke a pane of glass, then they unscrewed the window and let it down, and then they undid the inside shutter; there was a candle in the hall by the clock that I had left in the pantry.

JURY. Do you think they had made use of that? - They had, it was removed into the hall.

How much of the candle appeared to have been burnt after you left it? - I take it, about two inches.

JOHN BROOKSBY sworn.

I am a constable of St. Andrew, Holborn: on the 20th of August it was my night to sit up as officer of the night; at about three o'clock, Gilbert Stevens , Benjamin Lisson , and one Morris Swiney told me, they had taken a man that had stole some plate: they had secured Knowland, Knowland threw his bundle away from him, and he ran away; that then Swiney immediately seized him, and Stevens and Lisson came to his assistance; in the interim Knowland defended himself with a pint mug, which he cut Swiney the watchman over the forehead with; upon this, when they told me that there was another that threw away the bundle, and having this pint mug, I desired Stevens and Swiney and Lisson to do their endeavour to take Gray; I told them not to take so great regard of the bundle, but particularly first to try to get the man, expecting that the man would come to that bundle himself, which was the case: he was coming to that bundle again, and then they took him to the watch-house. While they were taking Gray I searched Knowland; in his pocket I found the plate which was first produced, excepting the pint mug, that was not in his pocket; he had a knife, and a tobacco box with tinder in it, afterwards a bag was brought in, in which there were other quantities of plate, and a dark lantern found by the watchman; then the bag was brought and I likewise examined this Gray; they were sealed up before the justice and they have never been unsealed since; this dark lantern, (producing it) was found by the watchman in the

street; this tobacco box (producing it) which has tinder in it, was found in Knowland's pocket; Knowland had that plate in his pocket; this was in the bag which I was told Gray threw from him; I was not present.

MORRIS SWINEY sworn.

I am a watchman: I watch at Baldwin's Gardens; at three o'clock it was my hour to go off the watch; I came through Tash Street out of Baldwin's Gardens into Gray's Inn Lane; I came some distance down Gray's Inn Lane, facing almost Gray's Inn Gate; I saw Gray pass by me, to the best of my opinion, he is the man, he had a bundle under his left arm; I thought to give him the wall, but he would go of the outside of me, I supposed that I might not see his bundle; seeing him at that time of the morning, I was very suspicious of him, I turned round upon my heel to look at him, and he turned round to look at me; he stood there, and I went down to the corner of Spread Eagle Court, I stood there about two minutes, and saw Knowland go across the way facing a court called Bell Court, opposite the rails; Knowland threw down or laid down a bundle, and kicked it, it intangled with his foot or his hand; he came across from there again to the foot path; I hid my lantern coming to the corner of Spread Eagle Court; as soon as I saw him coming out with a bulk in his pocket, I seized him on the breast, then he struck me with that pint pot; he knocked me off the way into the channel, but did not knock me down; I kept hold of him, then I turned my rattle and made as much haste as possibly I could; he made several turns to twist from me, but he could not get from me till we came to a place called Fox Court; turning the corner of Fox Court shortly, I gave him a blow with my staff, he staggered, and seeing he could not readily get from me, he turned about and took up a handful of the spoons, which are there, and threw them at me; I had not hold of him then, he staggered, and ran on again; I did not wait to look at the spoons, I followed him closely then, and going out of the narrow passage, there is a bit of a cross going out of Gravel Street into this Fox Court, and he turned round and threw the pint pot at me that he had in his hand; then he ran towards Brook's Market; Gilbert Stevens was coming out of White-hart Yard calling the hour; he seeing Stevens, turned back again short upon me; he went across the way for about ten yards, and then stood close up to a door; he was putting his hands in his pockets, I ran in upon him, and took hold of him; upon that, Stevens came up, then he said, Don't use any violence, I will go very quietly with you; he was striving to throw the rest of the spoons out of his pocket, but we would not let him: a watchman in Middle Row hearing the rattle, came into Fox Court, and as we went back with the prisoner, we picked up the pint pot and the spoons that lay on the ground and brought them to the watch-house, the remainder of the plate that he did not throw away, was taken out of his pocket in the watch-house; there is another bundle, said I to Mr. Brooks by the constable, that is not taken up yet; we hastened to the place where I thought I should find them, and they found it; when I came from the watch-house, I met Gray a coming over along the road where these things were lost; this was after the bundle was taken up; he was about twenty yards from the place where the bundle was taken up at; as soon as I came near him, I said to the patrols, That is the man that passed me with the first bundle; they laid hold of him, this was near four o'clock; he said he could prove where he lay the last night, he said it was in Bloomsbury; we took him to the watch-house, the constable asked him several questions, but he would give no satisfactory answer; he asked him where he lived in Bloomsbury, but he would not tell.

JURY. Are you sure that the bundle you see here, is the bundle that he had under his arm? - No, I cannot be positive as to him; Gray was searched, but nothing remarkable was found upon him; Knowland was taken down to Bridewell before Gray came up.

GILBERT STEVENS sworn.

I am a watchman: I was present at the taking of Knowland.

You have heard the account Swiney has given, is all true that he has said of what passed after you came up? - Yes, every word; I picked up the pint pot in the narrow passage.

BENJAMIN LISSON sworn.

I am a watchman: I heard Swiney give the rattle, I answered it, and went into Fox Court; they said they had secured the man, and sent me back to pick up the plate; I took my

lantern and picked up all the spoons; I saw him take two or three out and throw them down; then they would not let him put his hand into his pocket any more.

ROBERT DURHAM sworn.

I am one of the patrols: I was coming down Holborn and met Morris, Swiney, and Stevens with the prisoner Knowland; I went up to the watch-house with them, and saw a quantity of plate taken out of his pocket; Swiney said, there was another man that was in company with him that had a large bundle under his arm; we were ordered down Gray's Inn Lane in pursuit of him, I picked up the bundle a little way from Gray's Inn Gate in Gray's Inn Lane; there was a great quantity of plate in a bag, I carried it to the watch-house; the constable examined it, and it proved to be the same arms upon it with that taken out of Knowland's pocket.

JOHN REID sworn.

I was with Durham at the same time; I can say no more than he has said.

ROBERT TILLEY sworn.

I am a watchman in Gray's Inn Lane; after I had called the hour of three, I picked up this cutlass, this salt, and a dark lantern, (producing them.)

KNOWLAND's DEFENCE.

I sat drinking with an acquaintance late at night; coming down Gray's Inn Lane I saw two men on the other side of the way; I stop, presently they went away; I crossed over directly, and there I found these things; I am a coachman .

GRAY's DEFENCE.

I lodged in Gilbert Court, Bloomsbury, with one Mr. Jones; I was up early in the morning, and about three o'clock, I had been very unwell for several days, coming along the watchmen laid hold of me, and asked me where I was going? I said, into Holborn, into the Fleet Market, to buy some flowers.

[The several pieces of plate were produced in Court, and deposed to by the prosecutor.]

WALTER BUTLER sworn.

On the 20th of August, going through Gray's Inn Lane at near four in the morning, I had the watchman belonging to that beat along with me, I am one of the patrole; very near Tash Street we met the prisoner Gray; we looked at him, and he looked at us, the watchman said, that was the man that had the bundle or bag under his arm, that went away when he apprehended Knowland; I said, if he was sure of that, we would take him in custody; I asked him where he lodged? he said, in Bloomsbury; when we took him to the watch-house, the constable examined him, and asked him where he lodged in Bloomsbury? he said, he would tell that when he came before the Justice; when he came before the Justice, he told the place where he lodged, and the constable and I went; I think he said it was Gilbert Court, he mentioned the man's name, I think it was Jones, and described particularly the house; the constable and I went there, and the constable made all the enquiry he could, we found no such person lodged there; he was taken about half an hour after Swiney had taken Knowland.

Another Witness. It was about two hundred yards further up the street from where Knowland was taken that we took Gray; and in two or three yards of that spot we found the cutlass, salt, and dark lantern.

You did not hear any thing drop? - No.

JURY. How long after Gray was taken was it that these things were found? - About half an hour.

KNOWLAND GUILTY . Death .

GRAY NOT GUILTY .

Tried by the First Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice ASHHURST.


View as XML