20th February 1793
Reference Numbert17930220-47
VerdictNot Guilty

Related Material

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

241. WILLIAM HITCHINS and ELIZABETH HITCHINS was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 8th of January a four post bedstead with cotton tester headcloth, curtains and valance, value 1 l. a press bedstead, value 10 s. two feather beds, value 4 l. two bolsters, value 2 s. mahogany bureau, value 1 l. mahogany drawers, value 12 s. six mahogany chairs with horse hair bottoms, value 1 l. 16 s. six other chairs value 6 s. two pictures, value 2 s. two prints, value 2 s. two elbow chairs, with horse hair seats value 10 s. a looking glass, value 6 s. another looking glass, value 15 s. a mahogany night stool, value 4 s. three mahogany tables, value 1 l. a large Kidderminster carpet, value 8 s. two bedside carpets, value 2 s. two iron stoves, value 10 s. two iron shovels, value 1 s. a pair of iron tongs, value 4 s. two iron pokers, value 1 s. an iron fender, value 3 s. two woollen blankets, value 10 s. one rug, value 2 s. a mahogany side board value 1 s. 6 d. a watch, value 1 l. a cotton window curtain, value 3 s. six china plates, value 2 s. a mahogany tray, value 2 s. a wooden tea tray, value 1 s. a picture, value 2 s. three canvas window blinds, value 1 s. a picture, value 2 s. a canvas window blind, value 1 s. a linen curtain, value 1 s. three pair of linen sheets, value 13 s. six linen towels, value 2 s. four linen table cloths value 2 s. the goods of Hannah Fisher , widow , in the dwelling house of Benjamin Lay .


I live in - street, I keep a house in this street; I have a house to myself; I let lodgings; I paid the rent of the house at that time, it is No. 6.

Q. What have you to say to the loss of this inventory of furniture? - I could wish to have it back again.

Q. What have you to say? tell your story? - They had no right to steal it.

Q. Give what evidence you have of the fact of stealing of it? - They took them away by night in a cart.

Q. What night was it you lost your furniture, or any part of it? - I forgot the day of the month.

Q. What month was it? how long ago? - I really forget how long it is ago, a month or six weeks; Mr. Hitchins came with a cart and took all the property away; I was ill in bed.

Q. How do you know it was Hitchins came with a cart? - I was informed so afterwards.

Q. Did you see either of the prisoners? - They were in my room and took my bed and all the furniture out of the room early in the morning.

Q. Who came into the room? - The beadle, the constable and Mr. Hitchins whilst I was in bed, they forced the door of my room, they said, they came to take my goods out.

Q. What did they tell you they took your goods for? - To go into the cart to the broker's.

Q. Did they tell you why? - They did not.

Q. Did you ask them why? - I did; they said, they were going to sell them; they said, it was their property.

Q. How had they become their property? - Not by my orders.

Q. Did you ask them how they became their property? - I cannot recollect I did; I know they were my property.

Q. Do you know what their claim was? - I do not; I had no notion what foundation there was for any pretence or claim of theirs to the property of the goods, they had no right to them at all.

Q. Did you know Hitchins? - Yes.

Q. What was Hitchins? - He is an hair dresser.

Q. Where did he live at this time? - In the same house.

Q. How long had he lived in this house? - Several years, ten or a dozen.

Q. Before this forcing of your door by the beadle, constable and Hitchins, you had no notion of any claim set up by Hitchins to these goods you call your's? - No, I never had; they had no right to them.

Q. Well now what did they do after having come for these goods? - The things where all moved out, soon afterwards they obliged me to get up and took the bed and every thing, they took down the bedstead and furniture, they moved them all away in a cart; I saw them go out, I was up in my room and saw them take them down stairs; they took all the things at one time; the cart came but once.

Q. Did they take any thing more than the bedstead and furniture? - They took the sheets, blankets and every thing, they carried away all the articles mentioned in the indictment and many more besides, furniture, china and articles of that description.

Q. Where was the watch taken from? - From me.

Q. From your person? - Out of the house.

Q. How do you know they took the watch? - I think it was taken out of the parlour; Mr. Hitchins had it from me and I never had it back again, some months back; I don't rightly recollect when; it was not at this time, but all the other articles were carried away at that time by Hitchins, some went before in trunks and boxes before the cart came.

Q. When did this other part go? - Some days before.

Q. Who came then? - Nobody particularly came then; Mr. Hitchins took them away himself.

Q. What did he take away? - A table cloth, and towels, and china and glass

Q. What did he say? - He claimed them as his property, but I knew they were mine.

Q. Under what pretence did he claim them? - I don't rightly know.

Q. Then he never told you how he claimed them? - No.

Q. Now this having happened some days before and you knowing he had no claim or pretence of claim, how came you to take no steps against him relating to these things? - I did as far as I could; I kept myself locked in my room.

Q. Why not go to a magistrate on that subject? - I had no thought to go.

Q. How came you to have no thoughts of it if he had taken them without the least colour of a claim? - Some days before they came and swept the house.

Q. How came you to submit to that? I was very ill in bed.

Q. No thought of going to a magistrate? Hitchins continued to live in the house? - Not full and wholly, he was away some times several nights.

Q. Did he continue in the house after he took these things first? - He did; he came there and had lodging, he sleeped there now and then, when he thought proper.

Q. Did you use endeavours to prevent all this? it took up a great deal of time I suppose loading the cart with this furniture of every description? - They had a constable with them.

Q. Why did not you indict the constable? had you no idea why the constable and beadle came? - They were in the house the best part of the night, but I did not know that till the morning, they were partly packed up in the evening, so that the noise was not so much heard.

Q. Did not you know that evening what they were about? - Why I thought that they were going to move the things away.

Q. Did not you know what they came for the evening before? - I did not, I had some suspicion.

Q. Who lived in the house besides you? - No lodgers but them at that time.

Q. How long ago might this be? - About six weeks or better, they were there in the evening and they were packing up the things all night.

Q. Did you see the cart go away? - I did.

Q. It only came once? - They carried some things in their hands.

Q. And you never in any way applied to your neighbours to have this stopped? - They kept me a prisoner up stairs; I was kept a prisoner in the room.

Q. When was you a prisoner there? - A week, I believe.

Q. Before or after? - Before.

Q. By whom was you kept a week a prisoner in this room before this? - By Mr. Hitchins and that woman; I was not suffered to come down stairs or to have any body come up to speak to me, almost starved to death whilst I was there; they did not lock me in, but I durst not go down.

Q. How came you not to dare to go down stairs at that time? - They threatened to turn me out into the street, and I thought I had better stay where I was.

Q. What were they to turn you out in the street for? - I don't know; it was their intention to do it

Q. How long did you stay in this manner up stairs? - A fortnight, I think.

Q. Pray how long had you been possessed of this property, these goods and things? - Ten or eleven years.

Q. Do you know what became of them afterwards? - I got some of them again afterwards.

Q. When? - I cannot recollect the day of the month, about a fortnight since

Q. What did you do immediately? - I do not rightly recollect; immediately I went to the justice to get the property back again, I cannot recollect what day; it was not that day; I don't know how many days after.

Q.Can you give any reason for not going or sending immediately after this robbery? - No.

Q. Do you know what is become of the remainder of your things; you say you have got some of them back again? - I got them from the place where they where carried to from Mr

Hitchins's lodgings; I went there with a search warrant.

Q. You swear you don't know the claim that he set up? - I don't rightly understand you; I had not at this time any idea of his claim to the goods; he had no right to them; I had no notion of his claim.

Prisoner's Counsel. Mrs Fisher, how long have you gone by the name of Fisher? - That is my name.

Q. Any other name lately? - Some people have called me Hitchins,

Q You have called yourself perhaps Mrs. Hitchins? - I don't know.

Q. Upon your oath have you not? - I believe I have.

Q. What did you mean by saying no, the very moment before? - How long have you gone by the name of Hitchins? - Seven or eight years.

Q.How long before you thought proper to take this young man up was he married? - I don't know.

Q.Was it a fortnight or three weeks you knew he was married? - I never knew that he was married.

Q Upon your oath have you not heard that he was married? - I have heard it, but I did not know that it was true.

Q. How long? - About a fortnight before the taking up.

Q. Your husband died about ten or twelve years ago? - He did.

Q. Was this house furnished at that time? - It was part of it.

Q. Did your husband die insolvent? who paid his debts? - There were very few debts to pay.

Q Was there not a distress on your goods and furniture immediately after he died? - Soon after.

Q. What was the whole property sold at? - I really forget.

Q. On your oath was it one farthing more than 12 l. will you swear it was more? - I will not swear it was.

Q. Who has maintained you for this last ten years, and your family and children? - A journeyman and Mr. Hitchins together; he carried on the business of a hair dresser, his trade.

Q. Who paid for the maintenance and support of the family? - The customers found money.

Q. Who was the master of the shop? - I was the mistress, there was no master.

Q. Who paid the rent of the house for the last nine years? - I paid it sometimes.

Q. Who gave you the money? - I received it of my customers.

Q. Pray what part of the house did you sleep in immediately after your husband's death? - The top of the house, two pair of stairs.

Q. Any body else sleep there? - The children.

Q Nobody else? - Not at that time.

Q I am not asking you on the night of your husband's death. Did not you go to that young man and fetch him back immediately on your husband's death? - Not immediately.

Q. How soon? - Two months afterwards I sent for him to come and take care of the business.

Q. Why this furniture it is worth about 200 l. I understand? - No, sir.

Q. How much less? will you give me the name of any one person living that you ever bought any one of these articles of? - I trusted Mr. Hitchins to buy for me; he had the money that he earned.

Q. Who fitted your son out to America? - Mr. Townsend, who took him.

Q. Did you go by the name of Hitchins then? - Not at the time my son went to America.

Q. How soon afterwards? how was this linen marked that you have spoken

of? - Some was W. H. H. and some of it was marked otherwise T. H. F.

Q. Is any of it here that is marked T. H. F? - Not that I know; I don't rightly understand you.

Q. I ask you how the linen was marked that was taken off? - Some was marked with both of these marks.

Q. Of whom did you ever purchase any of this table linen? - I bought some at one place and some at another.

Q. State me the name of any man that you bought any one article of? - I bought some at the corner of Arundell-street, in Coventry-street.

Q. Was there any part of this furniture that you had in the life time of your husband? - Part of them was.

Q. Was there any part of this furniture in the inventory at the time the distress was made? - That four post bedstead belonged to me the four post bedstead that was taken away was bought with my father's money about four years ago.

Q. You went by the name of Hitchins then? - I did, and Mr. Hitchins was at the transaction when it was bought.


Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. Baron THOMPSON .

View as XML