7th July 1784
Reference Numbert17840707-26
VerdictGuilty; Not Guilty

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686. WILLIAM HOLMES and JOHN MASH were indicted for burglariously and feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling house of Adam Hamilton , about the hour of one in the night, on the 23d of June last, and feloniously stealing therein, seventeen silver tea spoons, value 30 s. one horse pistol, value 3 s. and five table cloths, value 10 s. his property .

The witnesses examined apart at the request of Mr. Peatt, Prisoner's Council.


I keep an Inn at Enfield , on the 23d of June last between one and two, I was awaked by my wife saying she believed there were thieves had broke into the house, from the noise she heard, I immediately got up, I had my night gown on, and took my blunderbuss, and intended to have gone down stairs without shoe or sticking on, but my wife persuaded me to dress myself, and I put on my shoes and stockings, and went down stairs, and found my bar broke open, with my table linen taken out of the drawers and strewed on the floor, the slaps of my writing desk both of them broke open, my bureau and all the fastenings of the bar except one broke open, such as presses and cupboards; the prisoners were gone, I did not see them, I saw nobody

but some of my own people; in a very little time one of the prisoners was brought in, which was the prisoner Holmes, he was pursued and taken by one of my men.

Who was last up in your house the night before? - I cannot say, either myself or my wife, or the chamber-maid, but I rather think it was not myself for this reason, I had some shivering sits on me like an ague, and I went to bed rather soon.

Court. Was it day-light when you was alarmed? - It was light very soon; when the prisoner was brought in to me, I searched him, and found a tinder box, with matches and tinder in it, which box is here, and a pawnbroker's duplicate, but nothing of my property; there was a watch, which I am now in possession of, which was the prisoner's; the next morning when we came to search, we missed about seventeen tea spoons and five table cloths, (which are still missing) and a pistol; that was found again and brought back to me by some of my people who found it in the field, I cannot say which of my people it was.

Mr. Peatt, Council for the Prisoner. You could distinguish one servant from another when you came down by day-light? - I could distinguish the prisoner immediately when he was brought into my house.

But when you first came down stairs was there day-light enough then without candles to distinguish one person from another? - There certainly was sufficient light.

About what o'clock was it? - It was not quite two o'clock.


I am servant to Mr. Hamilton; on the 23d of June I saw two men come into my room where I lay, I had a candle alight in my room, and one of them came in with a candle.

What time in the morning was it? - Between one and two; they looked all round the room, and one of them saw me, then they went out of the room directly.

Did you see them take any thing? - No.

Did they offer any violence to you? - No.

Did you see either of the men so as to know them again? - Yes.

Both of them? - Yes.

Did you ever see them again? - Yes, at Justice Wilmot's Office; the prisoners are the men, there were two candles in the room, and I was in my bed without curtains facing the door; I saw their faces plainly, I am quite sure these are the men.

How long might you have a view of them? - About half a moment, very little more, only just while they looked round the room, I saw them afterwards; as soon as they were gone I got out and went after them, I went softly, I then saw them both in the bar.

What light had you then when you saw them? - They had a large candle, they were breaking the desk open, and pulling out the drawers, and I had the same light to see them; then I went back to my own room, and went out of the window, and called one of my master's sons up, he slept in another house, my window was on the ground floor; when I came back I called one Joseph Roe , and John Smith ; Roe got up first, and went round, and I followed him close behind; Roe went round into the house at the back door, which was open; I met one of the same men after they run out of the house, just by the corner of the house, I did not stop him then, I told him I would, I followed him about three hundred yards, he ran away, and the gardener came up.

What is his name? - I cannot recollect his name.

Not the name of your gardener? - No: we both took him and brought him back, that was the prisoner Holmes; as he was running over the field I saw him throw a pair of silver buckles out of his hand into the ditch, and I saw him throw away a pistol.

Are you sure of that? - I am very sure of it, and the things that he breaks into people's houses with, there was an iron dog, and several other things that I cannot mention, they are here; I picked up the pistol, I do not know who picked up the other

things, my master has the pistol, I gave it him this morning; we sit up with it every night since the robbery, we had but two of them, and the other is broke, I am sure it is the same that the man threw away.


(Produces the pistol.)

It belongs to my master, it is the pistol that the prisoner Holmes threw out of his pocket.

Mr. Peatt to Pratt. Was the faces of the prisoners to you all the time? - Yes, I was wide awake when they came in.

Have you as good a recollection of features as you have of names? - Yes.

You could not have seen them I suppose if the candle had not been there? - No.

Was not it day-light enough? - No, not in the house, because the shutters were shut up, these was out of doors.

You was not the least terrified with all this? - No, Sir, no more than I am now.

And you remember their faces as well as you do the name of the gardener, I dare say? - Yes.

What corner was it that you met Holmes at? - Adjoining to my master's house.

Were their faces to you all the time they were in the bar? - Yes.

What then they stood in one posture all the time? - Very nigh, one stood at one place and one at the other.

Stood quite still did they? - Yes.

Had you seen him before? - I saw him once at Endfield.

What state was the back door in, it stood a jar, as usual, I suppose? - I did not take any notice of the door.

You said just now it was open? - Yes; I never saw which way the other went.

What distance was you from him when he threw away the things? - About ten yards.

There were other people about? - No, my Lord; the pistol has been in the bar of days, I am sure I know the pistol.

Joseph Roe called again. When my fellow servant called me up, I went with all the haste I could down the yard to the gate, it was fastened, I went round the farm yard and came to the kitchen door, which was open, and the yard door was open, and there was one of the great candles by my master's writing desk, the backs of the prisoners were turned towards me, one of them turned his head and I thought he saw me, then I said damn your body, what are you a doing there? with that Holmes caught hold of the pistol, and he run at me, damn your body, says he, I will shoot you dead; with that I says, shoot, shoot, and be damned; I had this stick in my hand, I struck at Holmes and missed him, and he knocked me down with the pistol, or with his hand, I am not sure which; away they ran out of the kitchen door down the yard, I followed them as well as I could, but I could not get up just in a minute, one of them was taken before I could get up with them.

What became of the little man? - I cannot say, he was taken afterwards by one of Justice Wilmot's men.

Did you see both the prisoners? - Holmes is the man that swore he would shoot me, and I think, to the best of my knowledge, the other is the man that was with him, but I cannot swear positively to him, I can to Holmes.

What time in the morning was this? - Between one and two.

What fort of a light was there, was there much day-light? - Day was broke.

Court. Broke so that you could discern one man from another? - Yes.

Mr. Peatt. What distance was you from the bar when this conversation ensued? - I had my foot on the threshold of the bar door.

You came up to his nose then? - I was about as far as I am to this gentleman here.

Had you ever seen Holmes before? -

How long was it before he knocked you down? - A very little while.

How long? - I believe it might be about two or three minutes.

Was not you rather confused? - When he came at me in full vengeance I was forced to sight or die else.

Did not you say this is not the man when you first came up and he was taken into custody? - No, I said he was the man.

You cannot swear to Mash positively? - No, I cannot.


I live at Mr. Hamilton's; I am gardener, I was sleeping in bed the 23d of June, and I was alarmed by the noise of the dog in the house, and I came up to the window, and I saw the prisoner running by, and I jumped up and ran after him, me and Pratt, and Smith followed him, that was the prisoner Holmes, I did not see him throw any thing away, I knocked him down, and Pratt and Smith came up to my assistance.

Mr. Peatt. Had you him in your eye all the time? - He was out of my sight about a minute and half, I saw nobody about but those that were alarmed.

Did the last witness express any doubt when he came up about this being the man? - No, Sir, he did not, he said he was the man as soon as ever he came up.


I jumped out of bed and took my gun, and we pursued the prisoner Holmes, he ran down a lane and into a field, I went with Jackson and Pratt and took the prisoner; I did not see him throw any thing away.

Mr. Peatt. How far was he from the house when you first saw him? - I believe about one hundred yards, I did not see him till I got into the field.


When the prisoner Mash was apprehended at Mr. Wilmott's office, which was when Holmes was in custody, he came to see him, I went to search his lodgings, he was apprehended on suspicion, according to the description given of him; there was a young woman that he lived with went with me, and I found Holmes's coat in his lodggings, he told the girl to give us the key, we found nothing else, I found nothing at Mash's lodgings belonging to the prosecutor.

Court. How long after the robbery was this? - About three or four days.

Mr. Peatt. Then your principal reason for apprehending Mash was, because he came to see the other? - We had information, and we thought he was the man.

Court to Hamilton. Was any part of your property, except the pistol, ever found? - No, my Lord.


I was coming from Hoddesdon that night, I had been down into Lincolnshire, it was very hot, and I chose to walk in the night, and just as I came by there was a great skirmish, and so they chose to take me.

Court to Pratt. Who found the little dog and things? - I do no not know who.

Court to Holmes. Have you any witnesses? - I am a countryman, my Lord, I know no more of Mash than a child, I know no more of him than your Lordship knows of him, equally the same.


My husband is a brewer's servant, I live in Webb Square, Shorditch; I know the prisoner Mash by living with me as a neighbour.

(The other witnesses for the prisoner ordered to withdraw.)

Do you know where he was on the 23d of June? - Yes, I had my child in my arms.

What time of the day was that when you saw him? - I saw him at night, just as the watchman went past one, out of my window, with a lighted candle in his hand, I saw him go in at his own door, he lives right facing me, I saw no more.

Court. What night was this? - I do not know justly what night it was.

Why you answered that gentleman readily what night it was? - I do not know whether it was a Tuesday or Wednesday, but I think it was he 23d of June.

Jury. What time does your husband leave work at night? - Now the work at the brewhouses is dead he works in Newgate-market, he works all night, I was up, because I had two children very ill, and was obliged to be up.

Court. She does not fix the night.


I am a windster by trade, a weaver by rights, only I have no work to do; I am a married woman, I live in Webb Square, Shoreditch, in the lower apartments.

Did you see the prisoner Mash at any t ime on the 23d of June? - Yes, he came to my door at half after twelve, and asked me for a light, I was undressed, and did not open the door immediately, I put on my petticoat and went to the door, then it might be something later; I am very sure it was the 23d of June, because it was the Wednesday, and the Friday was the 25th, and I had a little trifle to pay; I saw him go in with the light to the next door.

Court. Was there any thing extraordinary in this man's calling that night? - He was taken up the 25th.

Did you say this then? - I did not know he was there.

Where was your husband? - He was down at Paul's Wharf, he is a porter, bringing up goods to market, I was obliged to sit up till that time of night to call him, sometimes one and sometimes two, as soon as the tide serves.

Was he in bed? - I called him out of bed, he went to work a little after eight.

How came he to be in bed so soon? - He goes to bed sometimes at twelve or one o'clock in the day time, I called him at eight, he came home as near as I can guess the next day between one and two.

If you called him at eight in the evening, how came you not to be in bed? - I sat up to finish my work, I was winding Spanish engine work.


My husband is a carpenter, I go out of washing, I live right opposite the prisoner Mash, in Webb Square; I was washing at one on the 23d of June, and the prisoner Mash knocked at my door, I said who is there, he said if you please I want a light, I opened the door and I said, yes, Sir, I will give you a light, and the watchman came past one, and I wished him good night.

Court. How came you to remember the night? - Because I was washing some things to go to the Excise Office, this is the night I had the man's things to wash, dry, and iron.

Was it the night before this or the night after this that you was to carry the things? - It was the night after this, this was on the Tuesday night that I was a washing.

Jury to Pratt. I think you say there were two candles in the room when they entered the room? - Yes.

You are sure to the two men? - I am very sure.

Court. Who held the candle? - Holmes, and the other looked over his shoulder, stood a tip toe, I was as wide awake as I am now.

Are you quite sure of the other two men? - I am.

Jury. I think you say you saw the same two men in the bar again? - Yes, the same two men.

Court to Roe. Had you any full view of the face of the other man besides Holmes? Yes, when they came out both together, but I cannot swear positively to him, I can swear positively to Holmes.

Prisoner Holmes. As to this man I am sensible is as innocent as a child, and that man has swore false, and he knows it to be true; I dare say Shakeshaft thinks it to be the same.

(The Jury withdrew sometime, and returned.)

Jury to Prosecutor. Was the bar broke open?

Mr. Peatt, Prisoner's Council. I submit to your Lordship that you will not permit a

witness to bolster up what he said before in this manner, I am persuaded the Court will never receive evidence against the prisoner after the evidence for the Crown is closed, and the charge given to the Jury.

Court. Certainly not.



Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

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