27th February 1788
Reference Numbert17880227-8
VerdictGuilty > lesser offence

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161. RICH HOLLINGSWORTH was indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Hector Essex , on the 30th of January , about the hour of two in the night, and stealing a silver watch, value 3 l. another silver watch, value 3 l. another silver watch, value 40 s. another silver watch, value 40 s. another silver watch, value 40 s. another silver watch, value 40 s. another silver watch, value 40 s. another silver watch, value 40 s. another silver watch, value 40 s. another silver watch, value 30 s. another silver watch, value 30 s. another silver watch, value 30 s. another silver watch, value 30 s. another silver watch, value 20 s. another silver watch, value 20 s. another silver watch, with a silver dial plate, value 20 s. another silver watch, gilt with gold, value 40 s. another silver watch, value 20 s. another silver watch, value 15 s. another silver watch with a gold case, value 5 l. another silver watch, value 20 s. another silver watch, value 20 s. a base metal watch, gilt, value 20 s. another base metal watch, value 10 s. a silver watch with the inside case of base metal, value 3 l. a base-metal watch capped and jewelled, value 3 l. another base-metal watch, capped and jewelled, value 3 l another base metal watch, capped and jewelled, value 3 l. another base metal watch, value 40 s. a silver watch, value 40 s. another silver watch with the inside case of base metal, and the outside case of tortoiseshell, value 30 s. another silver watch, value 15 s. a base metal gilt watch, value 30 s. another base metal watch, value 20 s. a silver watch-case, value 2 s. a woman's watch-case, value 5 s. two pair of stone ear-rings, value 3 s. two stone seals, value 1 s. a composition seal, value 6 d. two stone stock-buckles, value 6 s. a stone stock-buckle, value 1 s. twelve steel hat-buckles, value 2 s. ten hat-buckles, value 2 s. four pair of base-metal knee-buckles, value 2 s. seven plain steel buckles, value 7 d. four base-metal beaded girdle buckles, value 3 s. two steel buckles, value 1 s. two steel buckles, value 1 s. and two tortoiseshell hair-sliders, value 1 s. the property of Hugh Davidson and Hector Essex , in the said dwelling-house .


I am servant to Mr. Hector Essex , who is a watch-dealer in the Strand .

Do you remember the morning of your master's house being broke open? - Yes; I went to bed about one o'clock the night before, which was the 30th of January; I generally secure the back part of the house, I did that night, and I locked the shop door and gave the key to my master; I was alarmed between three and four in the morning; I heard a noise; I lay some time to listen if I could distinguish what it was; I lie in a room even with the shop: then I struck a light, and then the noise ceased, and I went to bed again.


I am a dealer in watches, and live in the Strand.

Have you any partner? - Yes, Hugh Davidson .

Who pays the rent of the house where you live? - I myself; on the morning of the 31st of January, the watchman alarmed me about four o'clock; he called out, the front door is open; I saw that door secured over night; I came down stairs, and went into the parlor, and found the parlor door that goes into the shop open, which very much alarmed me, for I had the key of that door in my pocket, and knew it was locked; I did not lock it myself, but I always look at the doors; I looked round the parlor; we have a large desk and a small one in the parlor, both of them were fast; I went into the shop and looked at the window, but missed nothing there; I then looked round the shop again, and

saw a glass case was out of its place, and I found it on the ground near the parlor door, with the back upwards, and the lock broke open, and one watch left in it; there were thirty-five watches in it the night before, it was the case we kept the watches in that we can warrant, and that want repairing; I sent my boy to Kennington to acquaint Mr. Davidson of the situation we were in; I went to Bow-street about seven o'clock, and gave information of what I had lost, and printed hand-bills.

Did you observe any part of the house where any body had got in? - On going down stairs, I found a sky-light over the kitchen dresser broke, big enough for a man to get through, there were two panes broke, they were feather panes, one over the other, and nothing between; there were some pieces of glass on the dresser, and the mark of a foot: about nine o'clock, Mr. Littler, who is servant to Mr. Jones pawnbroker, in Fleet-street, came to me; I went with him to Mr. Jones's, where I was shewn a watch; I did not immediately recollect it, it being a watch that had been left with me, and not my own; I recollected the string and the key, but upon looking further at it, I recollected the watch; the prisoner was there; I got a constable and secured him; he was taken into the parlor and searched; I observed he had something in his hand be wanted to get rid of; I secured his hand and found these ear-rings in it, which are mine, I took them out of the prisoner's hand myself; there were some other things found upon him by the constable in my presence; the inside case of a watch, and a French beuded buckle, and a duplicate of a watch which was pawned at Mr. Fleming's, in Holborn; a person was sent for that watch to Mr. Fleming's, and brought it to Mr. Jones's; some of my property was in Kent-street-road, near the turnpike.

On his cross examination, it appeared that the partner had never slept in the house, but that the rent and taxes, with the servants wages, were paid out of the joint-stock; on which accounts, the Court were of opinion, that the burglary should have been laid to be a breaking open of the dwelling-house of both the partners, and that not being so laid, the indictment was not sufficient to support that part of the charge.


I am servant to Mrs. Jones, pawnbroker in Fleet-street; on the 31st of January, between ten and eleven o'clock, the prisoner came to our house with intent to pledge a watch; he asked five guineas upon it; I took it to the window, and found it was only metal gilt; I went and returned it to him, and asked him, what should make it so valuable; he said, it was gold; having before received an information from Mr. Essex, I pretended to go out for money, and went to Mr. Essex; he came immediately, and I shewed him the watch, he said, it was his watch; I had fixed Mr. Essex at the door of the box where the prisoner was, to keep him from running away; and went and fetched Thompson, the constable, and we took the prisoner immediately; the watch (producing it) has been in my custody ever since.

How came he to stay in the box while you went for Mr. Essex? - I told him I was going for the money; I was not above four minutes gone for Mr. Essex; I ran all the way; Mr. Essex seized him by the collar, and asked him, where he got the watch; he said, he found it.

These boxes are made in such a manner, that persons may come from the street into them, and go out again, without going through the shop? - Yes; the box opens into a court.


I am a constable; Littler came for me, and I went with him to Mr. Jones's; Mr. Essex was waiting at the door of the box where the prisoner was; I took charge of him, and took him into a back parlour and searched him; in the right hand fob of his breeches, I found a duplicate of a silver watch; upon loosing his breeches, the

inside case of a silver watch fell out; I am of the trade; we call it an inside box; I asked him who the watch belonged to that that was the duplicate of; he said, it belonged to him; I do not recollect what he said about the box; I found this girdle-buckle in his breeches pocket; at the instant that I was searching him, Mr. Essex observed one of his hands clenched; he mentioned it; we examined, and found an ear-ring in it.


Look at that watch, do you know any thing of it? - Yes; I cleaned it for Mr. Essex, on the 26th of January, and sent it home on the 29th.

Are you sure that is the watch you had from him to clean, and returned on the 29th of January at night? - I am quite sure of it.

Mr. Silvester. You are a watch-cleaner? - A watch-maker and cleaner.

You clean a great many watches for Mr. Essex? - I clean a few; I took home two at that time.

What was the name of the other watch? - It was Duchene, or some such name.

Do you remember the number of it? - I do not.

The way in which you remember watches, is, you enter the name and number in a book? - Yes, but I remember that watch perfectly.

What is the name of this watch? - A. Harris.

What is the number? - I cannot remember.

Court. You keep a book in which you enter the maker's name, and number of every watch you clean, and for whom done? - Yes.

Have you the book here? - No.

(The witness was sent for the book.)

JOHN DAY sworn.

I am servant to Mr. Fleming, pawnbroker, in High Holborn. On the 31st of January, about half an hour after eight in the morning, the prisoner came to my master's shop, and offered a silver watch to pawn; I lent him a guinea upon it; I made out a duplicate of it myself, and gave it him; this, (looking at it) is the duplicate.

Are you sure the prisoner is the man? - Yes; he is the same man; the Monday before he left a coat, and redeemed it when he brought the watch. (The watch shewn the witness.)

This is the watch; I just now opened it; the screw being loose, the top sell off.

What are the words after Hollingsworth in the duplicate? - Drury-lane; he said he lived at White-horse-yard, in Drury-lane.

Mr. Essex. That watch is mine and Mr. Davidson's property; the chain has a link of it broke; I have a clear recollection, that I observed that watch among the rest, the night before they were lost; was put there as it wanted repairing.

Look at the gilt metal watch; do you know that? - Yes, by the key and string; it belongs to a gentleman we do business for; not being my own, I was at a loss for the name and number, and did not specify them as I did the rest.

Do you know the ear-ring? - Yes; I can swear to it; I have had it a long time in my possession.

Is there any mark upon it? - We never mark our goods particularly, farther than from observation.

Is there any mark upon it? - I don't know it but from occular demonstration, as I know one man from another.

Do you mean that rings are to be distinguished from one another, as much as men are? - Much more so.

Can you identify that buckle? - I cannot, they are more common than rings are.

Court. What are these ear-rings? - Garnet coloured.

What stone is it? - I don't think it is any stone; I believe it is composition.

To Littler. Had you ever seen the prisoner before? - I saw him the very morning

he came to our shop between eight and nine o'clock, in the road leading from the Obelisk to Black Friars Bridge; I took particular notice of it; I thought, at first, he had been a person I knew, who is shop-man to Mr. Davidson, in the Borough, and was going to speak to him; upon his coming to our shop, I said to myself, this is the very man I met, and mistook this morning.


You found some property that was afterwards owned by Mr. Essex? - Yes; in a hay-stack of Mr. Hennet's, on the side of the Kent-street-road, three weeks ago, last Saturday.

What day of the month was it? - I cannot say, I am no scholar; it is all here.

James Steward again (produces his book)

Court. How do you know by these entries for whom you clean these watches? - By the numbers; it goes on, No. 1, 2, and so on.

Then these following numbers are all let to Mr. Essex's account? - Yes, there are other names before and after; I keep a day book for chance customers.

What are these figures in the margin; there is a 6 and an 8? - The days of the month; the 6th and the 8th of February; I had cleaned none for Mr. Essex, from the 26th of January, to the 6th of February.

In the former entries the month is put to all the figures; how came you to omit it in these latter numbers, in February? - I can give no other reason but neglect in me.

Prisoner. I leave my defence to my counsel.

The prisoner called six witnesses who gave him a good character.

GUILTY. Of stealing the goods, but not guilty of breaking and entering the dwelling-house .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

[Transportation. See summary.]

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