15th January 1794
Reference Numbert17940115-28

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96. JOHN CHAPPEL was indicted for stealing on the 7th of January , seventy-two half round files, value 15s. seven hundred and twenty-three square files, value 15s. the goods of William Hurst .


I am a manufacturer of sawyers and carpenters files , I have been robbed at different times for this four months back, the prisoner lived servant with me, he was a kind of a porter, to clean out the files, pack them up and mark them, with the name on them. On the 6th of January I was out of town, at the time there was a person gave information at my house that this Chappel had these files in his possession, which he supposed to be of my making, as he knew I had been robbed, word was sent down to me, and consequently I came to town the morning after, and I went and looked in a drawer where there was a parcel of files, on the 7th of January, and I found a parcel missing, I suppose there were twenty dozen in a drawer; they were half round files, and three square files that I missed.

Q. Where was this drawer kept? - In the shop.

Q. Have you ever been able to find them again? - Yes, I see them at the justice's office, in Hatton-garden.

Q. What time did you see them? - On the 9th, between twelve and one; the three square files were taken out of a cupboard in the house, and the half round files out of a cupboard in the shop.


I am a constable belonging to Hatton-garden office. On Monday the 6th of January there was a search warrant granted at our office, and I went and searched the prisoner's lodgings, he told me himself they were rooms where he slept, I found these files in a tub, under his bed's head, I took the files and brought the prisoner to the office, I have had the care of the files ever since.

Q. How came he to tell you they were in his rooms? - He said he bought the files in Rag Fair.

Q. How came he to tell you they were in his rooms? - He did not tell me they were in his rooms, we were talking as we were going to the office about something or other, that was the way it came out; here are six files which I found in a box of his, which are finished files.

Court to Prosecutor. Are those six files found in the box in the indictment? - Yes, they are all in the indictment, they are half round files, on the half round files I put a single H. on the tang of them, the letter is struck on the steel.

Q. Does that appear on all these half round files? - No, not on all, about half a dozen of them, the others I know from the work.

Q. The three square files what do you say to them, are any of them marked? - None of them are marked, none of these were finished, I know them by the particular make, they are cut particular to any other, I am the original maker of them in this form.

Q. Do you believe them to be your's from the work? - I do, I have no doubt at all.

Prisoner. I was going one day to buy a coat and waistcoat, and I saw these files laying on the ground, and I asked the gentleman the price of them, and he asked me ten shillings; I went to buy me a coat and waistcoat in Rag Fair, I bought them of him, I had them in my possession a considerable time; some time after that I hired a shop in Play House-yard, to harden these files, they were unhardened when I brought them; I observed the prosecutor say that the files were taken away in January, there is sufficient proof in the house where I lodge that I have had them a considerable time before that time.

Prosecutor. I do not say that I lost them in January; I missed them in January, but I have lost files several times before this.

Q. Did you miss any that were finished files? - Yes, I have.

Q. Had you missed six? - I had missed a great many.

Q. When he was taken up he was then in your service? - No, he had left me about a week.

GUILTY . (Aged 20.)

Transported for seven years .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

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