4th April 1779
Reference Numbert17790404-19
VerdictsGuilty > lesser offence; Guilty
SentencesDeath; Imprisonment > hard labour

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107, 108. JOHN BELL and JOSEPH CAMPBELL were indicted for that they in the king's highway, in and upon Sarah the wife of Joseph Holmes , did make an assault, putting her in corporal fear and danger of her life, and stealing from her person an iron snuff-box, value 1 d. a child's linen jamb, value 12 d. a linen apron, value 6 d. and four shillings in monies, numbered, the property of the said Joseph Holmes , January 24th .

(The witnesses were examined apart at the request of the prisoners.)


I was robbed on the 25th of January or February, I cannot say which; it was exactly a month after Christmas-day.

Where was it? - At the Peacock in Islington ; they attacked me and beat me in the house, and dragged me out of the house by main force.

Did they rob you of any thing? - They robbed me after they had knocked me down of a pocket, an apron, four shillings, a child's jamb, and a snuff-box.

Did they produce a pistol? - No; they beat me terribly.

What did they beat you with? - Their hands; they tore off the pocket-apron by force, and left the strings behind; the other things were in my pocket.

Did you know the men before? - I never saw them in my life.

Are you quite sure of their persons? -

Yes. As I was turning round to help myself, when I was down, I saw them coming to strike me, and had a full view of their faces.

Did they say any thing at the time they robbed you? - The blows came so fast, I was hardly sensible; I did not cry out while they were beating me, as I knew my life was in their hands. When I was able to get up, I went into the house, and said, gentlemen, you have robbed me; one of the gentlemen standing by the door showing something to another, said, has the old woman missed it; d - n the bitch, and were going to drive me out, on which I made my escape.

Do you live at Islington? - No; I went to see my sister on the Sabbath-day, the 24th of January, and staid supper; my husband was to come for me; he did not; I set out by myself from my sister's to come to London at eleven o'clock at night. I live just by Drury-lane. I asked the watchman if it was safe for me to go across the fields by myself; he said he did not know, as the moon was very cloudy. I asked him where I could have a house to lie at; as I knew I had a trifle about me, all that I had in the world, I was afraid of loosing that; he said the Peacock would be up at one o'clock, and he would take me safe there; he took me there at one o'clock. I treated him for his kindness; he staid about twenty minutes, and then went away; he left me about half after one o'clock.

Did you intend to lie there? - No; I intended to stay till daylight, in order to be safe.

What time was you robbed? - About three o'clock. These people came about half after two.

Were they drunk? - They did not seem to be drunk - they seemed very roguish.

Was nobody up in the house? - Yes, two watchmen.

Did not they take your part? - No.

Did they see this ill-treatment? - Yes, and the landlord too.

Did not they attempt to assist you? - No.

How did you know they were watchmen?

- I was told they were watchmen; they had great coats and caps on.

What did you do after they had robbed you? - I went and sat down on a bench next door to my sister's, till she got up, then I told her what had happened, and she put me to bed as I was very ill.

Did you ever see the the men afterwards?

- No. I went the next day to Justice Blackborough. I was led by two women there. He sent for one of the men out of prison who was already taken up for house robbing.

Did you know him again? - Yes.

Did he acknowledge any thing? - No.

He seemed thunder-struck, and as he was going out called me an old bitch. and said if he could catch me out what he would do to me.


I live at the Angel-Inn, Islington.

Do you know any thing of this robbery charged on the prisoners? - About three o'clock on Monday morning, Joseph Campbell came to me for some beasts.

Do you know the prisoners? - Yes;

I have known them seven or eight years.

For some beasts? - Yes, bullocks; he is a drover.

Was it the 25th of January? - Yes I went out with him; just as we were coming to the Peacock, he said he was going to have some purl.

Does Campbell live at Islington? - Yes. We went in and found John Bell there; they sat down for a few minutes, and this woman got up; I did not see her till she got up; she went and sat down at the table where there was some purl, and begged they would let her alone.

Did they do any thing to her? - They hit her with their sticks over her arms and shoulders, and she took a pint pot and threw at John Bell after they hit her; then the landlord of the house took her by the arm and desired her to go out. They followed her out; I thought they were going for the beasts. John Bell and Campbell laid hold on her and threw her on the pavement; then they went off; I went back into the house and sat down.

What became of the prisoners? - They came in again in a few minutes, and one of

them had something in his hand. Presently after the woman came in again, and said they had robbed her. And when she could not get the things from them she went to call the watch; they went out, and I went with them, and let them have the beasts: I saw no more of them.


I am a constable. I know nothing of the robbery. I apprehended the prisoners by the warrant of Justice Blackborough. I took Bell first, and Campbell afterwards. I went with Campbell to the hospital for the woman to see him; he said nothing, but Bell brought me into it.

Did he explain himself any further? - No; no further.

Campbell. When they took me to the hospital there were three of them; two went up to the woman, who was in bed, and said, that is the man who was with Bell.


I apprehended the parties along with Dinmore, the other constable.

Did you hear either of them say any thing? - They were taken to the hospital to the woman; she swore to them both.

Did you hear them confess before the justice or any where that they committed this fact? - No.


On Saturday the 30th of January, Dinmore, I, and the last witness, apprehended the prisoner Campbell coming to the Angel; he asked what was the information against him; I said he would know when he came before the magistrate; then he said, I know what it is, it is through that rogue Bell, he brought me to this. We took him to Justice Blackborough's; I do not remember his saying any thing these. I was not at the examination of Bell on the Monday following.

Did you understand him that Bell had brought him into a scrape by inviting him to partake of the crime, or brought a false charge against him? - No; I thought he meant Bell had invited him to do it. We were informed on Monday, that the woman was like to die; and had an order to take the men to her to the hospital. When we came into the ward, the curtains being drawn round the bed, Dinmore undrew the curtains, and asked if she knew any person in the house. She opened her eyes, and pointed to Campbell, and said she knew him; he said how could she say that, when she was in such a situation; she said I wish I had never seen you, then I should not have been in this situation, nor you in trouble. Her sister came to her and said, sister, you are in a dreadful situation, what will become of you if you should say a false thing against these men. She said if it was the last word she had to say, he was the man, that was with Bell.


When we came to the bedside, Redgrave undrew the curtains, and said, that is the young man in the brown coat that was along with Bell; she said I do not know the man; he said again, that is the man that was with Bell; she then said, I believe it is. I never saw the woman in my life till I saw her in the hospital. I never saw her at the Peacock. I came there about half past one o'clock for some beasts; the landlord of the Peacock (Mr. Baldwin) would not come; they kept him out of the way.


Sir John Fielding 's men got her in the hospital when nothing ailed her, and made her say what they liked, and said they would give her money.

BOTH GUILTY of stealing the goods but not of the robbery .

Tried by the First Middlesex Jury before Mr. DEPUTY RECORDER.

JOHN BELL was indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Christopher Bartholomew , on the 22d of January , about the hour of one in the night, and stealing seven cheeses, value 20 s. a copper tea-kettle, value 6 s. two copper stew-pans, value 4 s. a pewter plate, value 1 s. 6 d. a pewter bason, value 1 s. 6 d. nine pewter spoons, value 1 s. a copper pot-lid,

value 6 d. and a brass ladle, value 1 s. the property of the said Christopher Bartholomew , in his dwelling-house .


I live at the Angel-Inn, Islington .

Do you keep the Angel? - Yes. On the 23d of January my cook came into my bed-chamber before I was up, and told me my house was broke upon and robbed of some cheese and kitchen furniture. I got up and looked, and found they got in at the back-window. I had a suspicion of three persons, John Bell , John Winter , who is not taken, and one Castledine, who is a witness. We recovered all the things; my servant said when they were brought they belonged to me.

In what state was your house when you got up? - There was a window open, a place we call the long larder, it joins to the back kitchen. I was called up between seven and eight o'clock.

Were you windows fast over night? - I cannot speak to that of my own knowledge; the window seemed to have been wrenched open; it was in the yard, therefore we were not so particular as to that fastening; it is a very poor slight fastening, the back kitchen door was open; I missed the cheese; the cook told me there were seven cheeses on the shelf the night before, but I cannot say how many. I missed a very large tea-kettle; I did not see that the night before.


I saw the house all fast at twelve o'clock when my master came home; the windows were all fastened at six o'clock at night.

Bartholomew. I spent the evening at my mother's, who keeps the White-conduit-house; she wanted some beef to make broth; I brought home a servant to take her some. My servant, Mary Thorn, -went backwards to give him the beef.

Thorn. When I got up in the morning I found the back-door open, and the tinder-box, and things lying about; it is a very poor fastening, they might have jostled it out with a pin. There was a bit of glass broke. A plate was found in the field which I never missed till it was brought in. I missed all the things mentioned in the indictment (repeating them).

Do you know any thing of the persons who committed this robbery? - No; I know nothing further.

JOHN CASTLEDINE (the Accomplice) sworn.

Do you know any thing of this burglary committed at Mr. Bartholomew's house, at Islington? - Yes. John Bell , John Winter , and I were drinking at the White-lion at Islington, till our money was all gone:

You went to the Angel-Inn? - Yes.

When was that? - The 23d of January.

The day before this happened, or the day after? - The day before this happened.

What time did you go to the Angel-Inn? - About eleven at night we went into the room fronting the bar, and sat there about two hours. I believe from there John Bell and I got in at the window.

I am not come to that. - Winter said he had got no money. Bell said d - n you, have you got no money?

Was this at the Angel? - No; at the White-Lion. John Bell called Winter and me out into the street, and said he knew where he could get plenty of pewter; he went and got a sack, a chissel, and a tinder box; he came to the house. We went from the White-Lion about eleven o'clock, and went to the Angel, and got into a little room fronting the bar, and staid there two hours; we staid till about one, or rather better. We went from thence and got in at the window. John Bell turned the bolt round, and shook the pin out of the window, got the shutter open, broke a pane of glass, opened the window, got in, struck a light, and took a lantern off the shelf; we packed up seven cheeses and a half, some pewter spoons, and a great tea-kettle; I believe that was all we had. We went away about three o'clock; it was rather better than three o'clock.

Was this committed between two and three? - About a little after one, I believe.

What did you do with the goods? - John Winter took the sack on his back;

I took some on my arm; we went out of the back door over Mr. Bartholomew's hay-stack, and went to my mother's yard, and left them there for a while. We took some bread out of the Angel, and went over to the White-Lyon, and eat it; we then went to John Green's, a wheelwright, at Islington. Bell called him up to let us in, and asked him to let us put some things in his lost. He let us put them in his lost. Bell went to my mother's, got the sack, and put it in the lost, and Green put some straw over it. When we came the next night to take them out, and Green's son let us have them, Winter took the sack on his back, and I took some under my arm. Winter let the sack fall in the road, and Mr. Burrow's servant, I believe, stood with a lantern in the road; he came up, and Winter ran away. Mr. Burrow's servant took up the property.


They were all three in company at the White-Lyon the night of the robbery. I saw Casteldine with a sack. They asked Mr. Bryant, who keeps the White-Lyon, for a tinder-box.

Did you see them after the robbery? - No.

Did you see any of the goods of Mr. Bartholomew in their possession? - No.

All you saw was their preparation for the robbery? - Yes; that was all I saw. They went out of the White-Lyon about half after nine o'clock, but I do not know where they went to afterwards.

Have you seen the tinder-box that the maid found in Mr. Bartholomew's house? - No; I have not seen the box.

Should you know it? - No; they did not borrow one that night at the White-Lyon, they only asked for one.


I live at the Angel-inn. I saw them between nine and ten o'clock the 23d of January; they came from the room across the yard. I saw John Bell and another. I cannot say I know the other. John Bell spoke to me. I turned round, went into the tap-room, and went out into the road. I saw no more of them afterwards. They went out at the front gate.


I am a wheeler. I live at Islington. John Green, who is my son, lives with me. I heard he borrowed the sack, before this happened, to carry home a lamb. I know nothing of the affair; but coming home, in Sadler's-wells fields, I heard something thrown away, and saw the light of a lantern; this was seven in the evening, the day after the robbery was committed. Coming along the field I looked by the side of the foot-path and saw a bundle; I went and kicked it; it was coppers and pans, and a tea-kettle, in a woman's apron; my wife took up the tea-kettle, and I took up the other things, and carried them to the Angel. Winter came by me just at the time with a blue apron about him, and there was a man, Casteldine I believe, was just by.

Did some of them come and desire to hide things at your house? - Not to my knowledge. Casteldine is well acquainted with my ground; he has worked for me, and knows the way to every part of my ground.

Did he never desire to hide something at your house? - Not to my knowledge; if he had I should have stopped them.

To Casteldine. Did not you say you asked leave of John Green, the wheeler, to hide some of your things there? - John Bell went, and asked John Green, the son of this witness, to put some things there.

Was the father by at the time? - He was not.


I am the wife of Thomas Green. I do not know any thing of the robbery. The 23d of January, my husband and I coming by Sadler's-wells fields, about five yards from the Wells, we heard something fall. He said there were thieves. I said it was nothing but milk-pails. I thought it was milk-pails. Immediately two men run by us; I do not know who they were; coming further I saw a bundle, and picked it up. I told my husband I had got a tea-kettle; he picked up another bundle with several other things; it was dark; it was seven in the evening. There were two men just by, one of them ran against me, but I do not know who they were.


I was going home about seven in the evening on the 23d of January, and having a lantern and a candle in it, I saw somebody stop in a light waistcoat. I held my candle, and saw him move gently into the field. I held up my candle again, made towards him, and he ran away. I did not know who he was. I turned round, saw a sack, and found there was cheese in it. A man coming up, I asked him to help me to carry it to the Angel. There were seven cheeses and a half, a chissel, and a brass ladle in it with Mr. Bartholomew's name on it. I heard something rattle. I thought I had run against a milk-pail myself as I came over the field. (The things were produced in court, and deposed to by the prosecutor.)

Prisoner. I have nothing to say in my defence.

Mr. Bartholomew. This tinder-box was found in the house, it was not mine.

GUILTY Death .

Tried by the First Middlesex Jury before Mr. DEPUTY RECORDER.

[Imprisonment. See summary.]

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