JAMES HENRY.
28th June 1780
Reference Numbert17800628-21
VerdictGuilty
SentenceDeath

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310. JAMES HENRY was indicted for that he, with a hundred others and more, did, unlawfully, riotously, and tumultuously, assemble to the disturbance of the public peace, and did begin to demolish and pull down the dwelling-house of Thomas Langdale , against the form of statute, &c. June 7th .

WILLIAM CORNER sworn.

I am clerk to Mr. Langdale, distiller , at Holbourn Bridge .

Was you at Mr. Langdale's house on the 7th of June last? - I was there at about six o'clock in the evening.

In what state was the house then? - In a very disorderly state.

Was any mob collected about it at that time? - There were a great many hundreds.

Did you see the prisoner among the mob? - The first time I saw the prisoner was upon the leads.

Were the mob armed? - Some of them were armed with large iron bars; the prisoner had one in his hand.

Where did you first see the prisoner? - I was in the street and saw him upon the ledge above the shop window, about a quarter of a yard below the one pair of stairs window; at that time I was serving people with the spirits in the street; seeing the prisoner there I went immediately up into the room and spoke out of the window to him; at that time he had an iron bar in his hand. I desired him peaceably to depart, either the way he came or to come in and take a draught of gin and go out down stairs; he replied no, and swore a vehement oath.

Repeat the expression he made use of? - D - n his soul if he would. I then earnestly begged of him to go down; he then lifted up the bar and struck it against the window, which broke several panes. I put my leg out at the window upon the ledge where he was standing and desired him to come in; upon that he pointed his iron bar to my mouth and swore he would run me through with it if I did not go in. I then related to him what horrid consequences would attend it, provided he offered to come in and set fire to the house or attempted to destroy it.

Had he threatened to set fire to it? - When he struck against the window he swore the house should come down. I warned him of the dreadful consequence that might attend it if that house in particular was set fire to, on account of the quantity of spirits; he then again pointed the bar to my breast and mouth and positively swore he would run me through if I did not go in; he repeated that threat three or four times and pointed at my mouth and breast. I expostulated with him further on the consequence that might attend setting the house on fire; he then lifted up the bar and struck against the window a second time. Finding what I said had no effect upon him I came away and saw no more of him to my knowledge.

You came away and left him there? - Yes. When I was coming away I observed him handing a person up.

Was this low enough to enable a person to get up from the street? - Yes; a person that was tall might lay his hand upon the ledge where he was standing; I did not see any thing more of the prisoner afterwards.

For how long time did you first see him on the leads? - I believe, about half an hour or more.

How long after was it before the house was set on fire? - It was set on fire between eight and nine I think; when I came down I found the mob rushing in below and going up stairs.

What was the consequence of their so breaking in? - The consequence was their turning the cocks, letting the liquor run

out, and the mob taking away five gallon casks and two gallon casks of liquor, besides what they could in their hats. I staid sometime in the shop; in about a quarter of an hour after they came in they began pulling down the things in the shop.

How long after was it before the house was set fire to? - It was set fire to about half after eight; this was about half after seven o'clock.

They demolished part of the house before they set fire to it? - Yes; I can give you a reason why I think he was the only person that was for setting the house on fire; there was no one person seemed for burning the house but himself; when I was up stairs there was a man in the one pair of stairs room, dressed like a gentleman, speaking to Henry, he seemed to be equally as much set on pulling down the house as Henry. He said to Henry, D - n it pull it down. I then told him that Mr. Langdale had been upwards of thirty years in business, that he always maintained a fair character which had never been impeached. I said, it was exceeding hard to have his house demolished; not only his house but many houses joining. What I said had some effect upon the person I was then speaking to; when I found that, I desired he would be so obliging as to speak to this Henry to see if his persuasion would have any effect upon him; he went to the window along with me and spoke to Henry to desist; when he first spoke to Henry, Henry paused for about a minute; after that, instantly almost, he lifted up the bar and d - n'd his soul, that it should come down at all events. I came away and saw no more of it.

Are you sure the prisoner is the man you have been speaking of? - I am very clear of it.

Did you ever see him before? - No; but being so near him, I am very clear of it. On the Friday following, going by Newgate, I saw him; I took him to the tradesman's shop and desired them to keep him till I got a guard of soldiers.

JAMES TROUTBECK sworn.

I live with my brother-in-law at No. 75, Holbourn-Bridge, opposite Mr. Langdale's house.

Do you remember a number of people coming round Mr. Langdale's house on the 7th of June in the evening? - Yes, about six o'clock.

Did you see t he prisoner there? - Yes, particularly so more than any one else.

When you first saw the prisoner what was he doing? - I saw him about six in the evenning upon the leads at Mr. Langdale's house; he had an iron crow, with which he broke the windows of Mr. Langdale's house. I had my eye upon him above an hour, while I was looking out of our dining-room window.

Did you hear him say any thing? - No.

How long after this was it before the rest of the mob broke in? - Not above half an hour, I suppose.

Where was the prisoner when they broke in? - He was up stairs; but where, in particular, I cannot say; I saw him lift a man up by the lamp-iron. He said, my lad give me hold of your hand; and he lifted him up on the leads.

WILLIAM ROBINSON sworn.

I live opposite Mr. Langdale.

Did you observe any thing that was doing at Mr. Langdale's house? - Yes; every particular that was done there, I saw as far as possible.

When did the mob come there? - Early in the afternoon, but they did not begin doing any mischief till six o'clock. Liquor had been given away to them for two or three hours before. I took particular notice of the prisoner as one of the most active amongst them. It was, I believe, near six in the afternoon when I first saw him; he was upon the leads for, I believe, an hour and an half or more; he appeared to be encouraging the mob to come on; he lifted one or two upon the leads by the lamp-iron with his hand.

Did he say any thing? - He was speaking all the time. One of Mr. Langdale's men went up to him to bid him desist, as I thought. I saw the prisoner point the crow at him, as if he was going to knock his brains out. When the prisoner got two or three more up with him, he knocked the windows to pieces. Then they went into

the house and began to throw the furniture and the wainscoting out directly. They knocked the window frames and glass all to pieces, and knocked down two of the piers between the windows, and left only the middle to support the house.

Was the prisoner with them at this time? - I saw him in the room.

That you are sure of? - I am. He was the beginner of it as far as I could see. They set fire to the house soon after. Then I shut up my dining-room windows, and we removed our property.

PRISONER's DEFENCE.

I was not there; I am quite innocent of the charge they have laid to me; I was at Marybone all that day. I have no witnesses here.

GUILTY ( Death .)

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


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