4th April 1779
Reference Numbert17790404-6
VerdictsGuilty > theft under 1s; Not Guilty; Guilty

Related Material

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

190, 191, 192. JOHN HARRIS , JOSEPH FOSTER , and MARY the wife of William POTTEN , were indicted for stealing seven yards of carpetting, value 30 s. a mahogany tea-chest, value 2 s. and an inlaid writing box, value 20 s. the property of William Brissenden , in his dwelling-house , January 30th .


I am an upholsterer , in High Holbourn . On the latter end of January, I cannot tell the day, about six in the evening, a pane of glass was cut out of my shop window, and I lost about seven yards, or seven yards and a half of carpeting, a writing box, and a tea-chest, they are valued in the indictment at less than their real value. I was sent for to the Rotation-office, and saw the tea-chest and writing box; the writing box was in the possession of a pawnbroker, who I understood brought it there. The tea-chest I understood was found in Harris's lodgings.


I am a pawnbroker in Bishopsgate street. On the fourth of February, a little writing desk was pawned at my shop, by one Henry Barnard . I never saw the prisoners till they were at the Rotation-Office.

(The writing box was produced in Court and deposed to by the prosecutor.)


I was concerned with the three prisoners in this and several other robberies. I have been connected with them four months. We went out of days to see if we could find any places where we were likely to get any thing. We saw this upholsterer's window broke, and Harris said we could get something there; we all went at night. Harris

and Foster went, and Harris took the glass out of the window, piece after piece, till he had taken the whole out. Potten and I stood on the opposite side of the way. Harris brought the carpeting to us, and then the writing desk and then the tea-chest. He could not reach any thing else. We took them to my house.

Where do you live? - In Windmill-street, Tottenham-court-road. They fetched all the things away the next morning except the box which was left at my house. I did not think it was safe to have it there. I carried it to a neighbour; when it had been there a little while, I desired him to pawn it which he did for six shillings. Potten and Foster boarded with me at the time. They lodged at a different house in the neighbourhood, to which I recommended them.

What day was this? - I cannot tell; it was some time in January.

Do you know Henry Barnard , who pawned this writing box? - Yes, he is my brother; he had the box from me, I desired him to pawn it, I told him I bought it at a sale. The tea-chest was found at Harris's lodging by the constable.

Cross Examination.

You go by the name of Lyons? - Yes.

Did you ever go by any other name than Lyons? - Yes; when I had another husband I went by his name.

What is his name? - Fillman.

How long has he been dead? - He is not dead.

Yet you go by the name of Lyons? - Yes; I have a right to assume the name.

Is Barnard your brother? - Yes. I gave him the things to pawn for me.


By the information of Lyons I and another officer went to Harris's longing; we could not find him; as we were coming out of the court we saw him coming home in a coach, and secured him, and took him to his lodging. I searched his lodging, and found a tea-chest. I asked him where he got it; he said he bought it. Lyons carried us to Foster's lodgings; we took Foster and Potten together: they both lodged in the same room. I searched the room, but found nothing in it. Harris took us to a house in Petticoat-lane, under a pretence to show us some other people who were concerned with him, and when he had got us into a room among a number of people, he ran away and left us.

From Harris to Lyons. Whether I did not buy the tea-chest and a coffee-pot of your brother Barnard? - He did not.

M'Donald. Harris wanted to turn evidence at the Rotation-Office, and again before the Lord Mayor; he said he would fill a person's hat full of diamonds if he might turn evidence respecting a robbery in the city.


Harris, after he had made his escape, came and offered himself to me at the Mansion-House, and said he knew of a number of robberies commited in the city of London, and knew where to find the property, and if they would admit him an evidence he would discover all that he knew. When the magistrates knew that he had made his escape, they would not admit him an evidence.

Did he mention this robbery in particular? No; he mentioned no robbery in particular.

Had you seen Harris before? - Yes; I knew him.

To M'Donald. Foster did not make any resistance when you took him? - No; he behaved very civil.


I bought the tea-chest of Barnard the brother of Lyons.

Harris called a witness who deposed that Barnard called upon her the latter end of February, or the beginning of March, and told her that he had sold a tea-chest to Harris the week before, which had lost a foot, but that she never had seen the tea-chest; and six other witnesses, who gave him a good character.

The other two were not not put on their defence.

HARRIS GUILTY of stealing to the value of 10 d .

The other two NOT GUILTY .

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

JOHN HARRIS was indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of William Prior , on the 22d of February , about the hour of seven in the night, and stealing twelve china tea cups, value 6 s. twelve china saucers, value 6 s. a china teapot value 4 s. three china coffee cups, value 3 s. and a china milk pot and cover, value 2 s. the property of the said William Prior , and one William Hussey .


I live in Coventry-street, St. James's, near the top of the Hay-market ; I deal in china and glass . I lost the things mentioned in the indictment, the latter end of February, I think it was on Monday night. I did not miss them till the next morning.

You cannot recollect the day of the month? - No, I cannot; it was about the 22d or 23d of February. The goods were lost out of the shop window; the shop was open. It appeared to me that by some instrument the pane of glass had been snapped off at the corner, and a hole made big enough to put a person's arm in. I knew the pane of glass was whole. The door was shut, it has a spring latch; and the candles were lighted. I was in the back shop with my partner; the servants were both out.

What time in the evening were they lost? - Between the hours of six and seven.

You cannot tell how long after six it was? - I believe about half after six; I heard some glass rattle; I went and searched, but did not perceive any pane broke at that time, nor any china gone from the window. I did not look so particularly as I should have done. The next morning, the man taking down the shutters, saw the glass lying down under the place; I was by at the time.

Who is the man? - John Bradall ; he is not here.

What kind of hole did you perceive? - A large hole, big enough for a person to put his doubled hand in. When I looked the things over, I found all the things mentioned in the indictment missing. I am certain they were there the day before; I saw them in the morning about ten or eleven o'clock; I had occasion to go to that corner for some glass tumblers.

Who is Mr. Hussey, is he your partner? - Yes.

Did you ever see the things again? - I went in the morning, after I had missed them, to Sir John Fielding 's, and had them advertised with a guinea reward. I saw them afterwards at Litchfield-street.

What did you see at Litchfield-street? - A pattern of the cups and saucers which the pawnbroker, Crawford, brought with him; he only brought a pattern; they are the large size, and a remarkable pattern; the gilder says that is the only set he ever gilt in that manner.

There are more gilders than one? - Only one principal one; there are none that gild equal to him.


Are you acquainted with Harris? - Yes, I have been acquainted with him from about a week after Christmas. We have been out a great many times together, and got a great many things with other people. We went by this china shop in the day; at night we went again, and he had a knife which he always cut glass with.

Was you with him? - I was.

What time in the night was it when you went out? - About five o'clock.

Did you go immediately to this house? - No; we went to a publick-house, drank something, and staid till after six o'clock, before we went to this shop; when we went from the public-house, we walked about the street to see if we could get an opportunity to cut the glass out.

Was it quite dark then? - Yes. We came to this shop, he had a little knife in his hand, he put it into the putty, and cracked the glass; it made a report, and the gentleman of the shop came out and looked all round the shop-window, but not perceiving a ny thing, he went backwards again, quite to the back part of the shop; then Harris put the knife in again, and loosened the glass.

You concealed yourselves at the time? - We went on the other side of the way till he went in. After this we crossed the way again to the shop. He put his knife in again and loosened the glass, and took it out piece by piece, till he could get his hand in,

and then he put his hand in and took out the china mentioned in the indictment (repeating it) and gave them to me, putting them into my apron as he took them out. Then we went home with them to my house in Windmill-street, Tottenham-court-road. He said the china would fetch a guinea, and he gave me half a guinea. As to the three chocolate cups, I said he might keep them himself; he came the next day and took them from my house. I gave information against Harris on Friday night, and he was taken up. I saw the cups and saucers, and chocolate cups at the Rotation-office. Harris told me the next day, that he had taken them to my brother and he had pawned them.

Prisoner. She only wants to hang me to save her brother. Ask her if I did not give her brother eighteen-pence for the three cups? - It is a falsity; I did not desire any thing for the cups.


I am a constable. I took Mrs. Lyons up for another affair; she said she would tell me where there were a great many things, and took me to Harris's lodging; he was not at home, but as we were coming out of the court, we met him coming home in a coach, and secured him, and took him to his lodging. In his lodging I found these three cups (they were produced in court, and deposed to by the prosecutor); he said he bought them at a sale for eighteen-pence; he told us afterwards that he would take us to some persons that were concerned with him, and when we were in Petticoat-lane, he made his escape from us; he went afterwards to the Mansion-house, and wanted to be made an evidence, but his lordship finding he had escaped from us, would not admit him.

Who did he want to be an evidence against? - He did not say. He would not confess any thing till he was sworn in.

Prisoner. Whether I did not say I bought them of Henry Barnard ? - No; he said he bought them at a sale; we went to Barnard's room; I asked him if Barnard was concerned with him; he said, no.


I am a pawnbroker, and live at No. 150 in Bishopsgate-street. On the 23d of February I took in twelve cups and saucers, a tea-pot and stand, a milk-pot and cover, of Henry Barnard , a Jew dealer. I lent him twenty-six shillings upon them; he said they were his own, that he bought them among other things. (They were produced in court, and deposed to by the prosecutor.)

To Lyons. Is Barnard your brother. - Yes, he is.


Barnard came to me one morning; he said he had bought a set of china at one Mr. Greenwood's sale, in the Haymarket, and offered to sell me three coffee-cups. He said he would sell them me cheap; he asked two shillings for them. I said I thought that too much for a poor person to give for such things. I gave him eighteen-pence for them; he had the tea-chest in his hand that I have been charged with. They have a spite and spleen against me, and want to swear my life away.

GUILTY Death .

Tried by the Second Middlesex Jury before Mr. JUSTICE BLACKSTONE.

View as XML