10th September 1788
Reference Numbert17880910-1

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497. JOHN THOMAS (a Black ) was indicted for burglariously and feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of George Ashton , about the hour of one in the night, on the first day of September instant, and burglariously stealing therein two brass cocks, value 1 s. his property.

A second Count. For burglariously breaking and entering the said dwelling-house on the same day, with intent to steal his goods.


I keep a public house at Saltpetre Bank ; on the first of September I went to bed at twelve, and was alarmed between one and two that my house was all open; I fastened my house myself; I got up immediately; my doors were wide open, and my liquors all running about; I then made to my street door to see where they got in; I found nobody there; I observed they had broke the cellar window; I went down into the cellar and there was a board laid over; in my fright I did not observe whether it was undone or not; I lost two brass cocks, they were never found again; in the cellar I saw the prisoner lay all along; he was not drunk; I called to my wife to bring me down a blunderbuss; I saw him and another man; he got up and begged for mercy and surrendered himself, the other man made his escape; he was searched at the watch-house, but nothing was found upon him; the brass cocks were in my casks at night, they were fastened to the leather pipes; they had opened the till in the bar, but there was no money there.


I am a watchman; I took charge of the prisoner; I found him within a yard of the bar when the cellar door was broke open.


Gentlemen; this gentleman's is a house that I have used for many years; every time I go to sea, when I come home when I can get work, that gentleman and his wife they get my money till I spend it; I have got myself in liquor many and many a night, and they have trusted me to lay in the house many a night; that night I was very much in liquor, there were three of my shipmates and me drinking all the afternoon in the house till one o'clock; my money was all gone, and the gentleman lent me half a pint of gin on my handkerchief; and there is a passage to go through into the alley and I fell down into the cellar, and my shipmate went back to tell the gentleman and his wife that I was down in the cellar, and in the morning the master said that my shipmate did tell him so.

Court to Prosecutor. Was he drunk when you found him in the cellar? - He was not to say drunk.

Court to Pentelow. What do you say? - He was not drunk.

Prosecutor. He had been drinking an hour or two at our house.

GUILTY , Death .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Baron HOTHAM .

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