16th July 1794
Reference Numbert17940716-57
VerdictNot Guilty

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440. CHARLES PRITCHARD and JOSEPH SMITH were indicted for stealing, on the 6th of July , eighteen guineas, a half guinea, two hundred shillings, three hundred and twelve copper halfpence, and ninety-six copper farthings; the goods and monies of Charles Turner , in his dwelling house .

The case opened by Mr. Knowlys.


I was the waiter at the Robin Hood at the time of this happening; Mr. Charles Turner keeps that house; this happened on Sunday the 6th of July, to the best of my knowledge, between eight and nine o'clock; I have no perfect knowledge of the prisoners; I saw them that day, they came up stairs, and ordered a jug of ale, there were three in company, they came into the public tap room up stairs. The Robin Hood is at High Hill Ferry, Clapton, near Hackney.

Mr. Knapp objected to the indictment saying, St. John's, at Hackney.

Witness. They called for a jug of ale; I asked if they chose some biscuits? they said, yes, bring three. In consequence I brought three up. When they first came into the room, Pritchard came down stairs, there was a gentleman and three ladies in the room, but they quitted the room half an hour before Pritchard came down stairs.

Q. Do you know where the gentleman and three ladies went to? - No, I never saw them afterwards. Pritchard met me at the bottom of the stairs, and said, you are wanted up stairs, waiter; they want some more ale; with that I went up; they found fault with the ale, and desired to have some milder if there was any; and I brought them up a jug of milder.

Q. Who was the person who asked for the milder? - I believe it was Mr. Smith, but I don't know exactly recollect.

Q. Who were in the room when you went up in consequence of Pritchard's direction? - There were no others in the room then, then these two; the man who is absent, and Mr. Smith. When I brought up the milder ale, Mr. Smith he did not find it better than the last; but Pritchard he tasted it and thought it was very good. After that I went down stairs and walked about the garden, and I came up again about some things that were to be carried down, and I found that one of them was absent from the room

Q. Who were the two that you found in the room then? - Mr. Pritchard and Mr. Smith. I then went down stairs to see if I could find him in the garden, because not knowing their faces, I thought they wanted to cheat me out of my reckoning; I went up stairs looked into the room again, and still he was not there; I believe then Pritchard went down to the bar and had a glass of hollands; Smith remained in the room, but the third person was still missing; I then went out of the room again, and some notion ran into my head that I must look into this passage door, that used to be locked and shut, which leads to all the bed rooms, that used to be kept locked on Sunday and every busy day likewife, except when persons went up for corn; it certainly was locked at this time, because I had been up to get into my own room, but I could not get in; I am now speaking of the door through which the person got that took the money.

Q. Is that door level with the tap room? - No, not quite; it does not open into the tap room.

Q. Does it open on the stair case? - No, it is on further in the passage, about four feet from the tap room door. I went to this door to see if it was opened, and found a rebound against me inside twice or three times; in consequence of that I called who is there? two or three times; nobody answered, but on that Mr. Pritchard and Smith went down stairs out of the room, and immediately the man that I missed out of the company of Pritchard and Smith, came out of that passage door, and went by me and I asked him what he wanted there? he said he thought it was a place of convenience; and he went by me; I said to them, gentlemen, you have not paid your reckoning; and this man ran away, and I ran after him; at last a suspicion arose in my breast, and I hallooed out stop thief! and ran after them.

Q. How did they go down stairs, walk or run? - I could not perceive how they all went; the last man ran down very fast, faster than I could follow him. I ran after them all the way up the lane, and I saw Smith and Pritchard running before, and this third man running as hard as he could, with his hands in his coat pocket; then I kept following them till they got into the field, I ran as hard as I could, hallooing out stop thief! but the third man in company he separated from them in the first field or second. However, I lost sight of him there; he got clear off, and I have never seen him since.

Q. He having got off, did you pursue the other two? - I did; I lost sight of them as they got into the lane, going to Clapton-road, and I hallooed out stop thief! some gentlemen asked me if I was in earnest? I told them, I was; I lost sight of them for about two or three minutes; the people kept running with me, some before and some behind, the people who were raised by my alarm of stop thief! at last they got across Clapton-road; from that time to when I saw the first man Prichard taken, it was not more than five minutes; he was taken in an oat field, across the Clapton-road; I was called over into the oat field to look at him. Smith was taken, I am not certain where, but I found him in custody in the oat field.

Q. As you was pursuing these people, did you perceive any thing particular? - Yes.

Q. Did you find any thing afterwards? - Not I, I did not find any thing.

Q. With regard to the third man, did you perceive him do any thing as you was pursuing? - I did; I observed him put his hand into his pocket and pull it out again, and appeared to throw away some thing, but I could not perceive what that was, in the lane, about twenty five yards from our house, before he had separated

from the other two, before he got to the first field.

Q. Did you afterwards search near the spot where you observed this man throw something away? - I did not; it was quite dark; I returned home again.

Q. Were there any persons running up this lane which led to the first field, besides yourself? - There were many pursuing.

Mr. Knapp. Pritchard it was that came down to ask for some milder ale; and when it was taken up he said it was as good as he would have it; you went then down into the garden, to walk about, when you came up Pritchard went down the second time, and during the time that you was down stairs it was that you found the door in the situation that you described? - No, it was when he came back again.

Q. The ladies that were in the room, two, went off by themselves, and one was left with the gentleman; you had not the curiosity to see how the door was left at that time? - I had not.

Q. The man that escaped you have not heard of since? - No, I have not.

Q. He is the man that you described as throwing away something? - It was.

Q. These men you never see inside of the door? - Never.

Mr. Knowlys. With respect to these three ladies and gentlemen, they paid their reckoning regularly as you expected? - They did.

Mr. Knapp. Do you know a person of the name of Elizabeth Whitchart ? - Not to my knowledge.

Q. You never said that your master had bribed you to say what you have now said? - Never.

Q. You have been a waiter at the Crown and Anchor, have not you? - I have waited there busy days.

Q. Was you employed there constantly on busy days? - No.

Q. How came they to leave off employing you there? - I never heard any reason, but I thought it was strange in my ownself.


I am sole master of the Robin Hood. On Sunday the 6th of July, I lost thirty pounds sixteen shillings, in gold and silver, and halfpence; eighteen guineas and a half in a silk purse, in gold; the silver was in a canvas bag, and fifteen shillings of halfpence, tied up in five shilling parcels.

Q. In what part of the house was this money kept in? - In my own bed room, in the top drawer of a chest of drawers. I never see the prisoners in the house during the time they were drinking; I never saw them till they were taken and brought into the house.

Q. How do you get to this bed room? - By a passage, a room door.

Q. How far is that passage room door from the door of the long tea room? - About four or five yards.

Q. Is your bed room immediately inside of that door? - It is the next room on the left hand side going in, and my servant's is on the right hand side; the door of my room was left locked, I locked it myself.

Q. How lately had you been there before you was alarmed of having lost your money? - Some four or five hours. My direction is that the passage door should be double locked if any of my servants go there; I locked it when I went to my bed room four or five hours before this happened.

Q. After these men were brought to your house after this robbery, were there any keys found or produced to you by any body? - Not that night, but there was the next morning, some pick lock keys.

Q. Did you or not try these pick lock

keys to the passage door and bed room door? - Yes, I did.

Q. Was you able by these pick lock keys to open these two doors? - I was able both to lock and unlock.

Mr. Knapp. You have never had the good fortune to find any of this property? - No, I have not.

Q. The keys of this room door and the passage door, I believe, hang up in your bar? - They do.

Q. How lately before, are you sure now, that you saw the property that you have described? - In the morning, between twelve and one, or about twelve o'clock.

Q. Who produced these pick lock keys to you? - Richard Edwards and John Clarke . When I went up stairs on the Sunday morning I put twenty shillings of halfpence in my drawer, the money was there then.

Q. How did you find your drawers after this alarm? - I found my drawers open, my books open, and my bed room door was unlocked and shut, and the passage door was unlocked likewise; they were all locked in the morning, I had the keys of these drawers in my own pocket.

Q. At the first examination I understand that you stated that you had not seen them since Saturday? - I had not untied the purse since Saturday night.

Q. I believe your house is pretty much frequented on a Sunday? - Sometimes.

Q. How much company might you have in the course of that day? - We had not many that day.

Q. Thirty or forty or fifty people perhaps? - Yes, a hundred or more.

Q. The keys of the back room and passage hanging in the bar, of course your servants had access to them? - Not without my leave; they could not take them without, because Mrs. Turner or I in the bar.

Mr. Knowlys. Had this circumstance occurred to you, before in the day, that any of your customers had ran away without paying the reckoning? - No.

Q. Were the keys missing from your bar when the alarm was given? - They were not.

Jury to Davis. How long was it between the time of these persons first coming into the room, to the time of their quitting the house? - About three quarters of an hour, it may be more.


I live at Stamford hill; I was near this spot; on the alarm of stop thief! I pursued in consequence, and apprehended the shortest of the two, Pritchard.

Q. Did you see Davis pursuing? - I did not; it was about nine o'clock in the evening; a lady had been up dining with my daughter, the lady and one of my sons, and as I came near this lane, I heard the cry of stop thieves! shortly after two men came up, turned short round by the watch box, and jumped into the ditch.

Q. How far was this from the Robin Hood ? - I cannot say that, three or four fields, better than a quarter of a mile. Hearing the cry of stop thieves from several voices, when I got into the lane I see several people running up this lane, and still crying stop thief! I concluded they might be drinking or joking; I said, are you joking or in earnest in calling out stop thief? the answer was, sir, we are in earnest, they have robbed my master's house. Immediately these two prisoners jumped out of the ditch, went through the sence, and ran into the corn field; one of them, Pritchard, attempted to pass me, and I said, you cannot pass me, I must secure you till the people come up; sir, says he, I am no thief, don't touch me; says I, if you are no thief, why don't you stand? after

some little altercation I endeavoured to lay hold of him, I secured him, and in the course of three or four minutes some of the pursuers came up, Davis came up and said, that is one of the men; and I said, there he is for you; and he was taken back to the Robin Hood .


I live at Upper Clapton; I took Smith, the tallest of the two, about nine o'clock last Sunday week, I saw several people collected together, and they said they were going to search a pond; and I asked what was the matter? and they said, there was a house robbed; and I asked them which were the thieves? and they said captain Locke had taken one, and the other two were gone; the waiter and several others went round, and could not find them. After pausing about five minutes I went into the field myself, and I saw a remarkable track, not made by a person's walking, but as if a person had been crawling; when I got into that track I began to be alarmed; I went back again, in coming out of this track there I perceived Smith crouching in the hedge with his hands and feet; I then immediately pursued him and gave the alarm; he recovered himself and ran across a garden ground as fast as ever he could, and went through another hedge; he then was pursued there, and he bolts back again, and a man, by my giving the alarm, pursued him with me, and we got hold of him, we had not taken him four minutes, and were leading him back, when the waiter came up and says, this is one, and I will swear to you, you had a watch; yes, says Smith, and I have lost it. I then delivered him up, and went home to my own apartment.


I am a working man. On Monday morning, about twenty minutes before six, I found a pick lock key, about twenty yards from Mr. Turner's gate, in the road way, just by the side of a ditch; I kept it till Mr. Turner got up, and gave it to him; that was the same morning that I found it, the day after the robbery was committed.

Turner. This is the key.

Mr. Knapp. Who threw them there you know nothing at all about? - I do not.


I found two false keys, between three and four o'clock in the afternoon of last Wednesday week, the Wednesday after Mr. Turner's house had been robbed.

Q. Where abouts did you find them? - About five and twenty yards from Mr. Turner's house in a garden; I was gathering some peas, and I picked up one of the keys first, and then I picked up another. This garden is close by the lane that leads to Mr. Turner's house; I found them in the hedge next to the lane that leads from Mr. Turner's house to the fields; I carried them directly to Mr. Turner.


I am a labouring man; I found one key last Monday was a week, in the morning, the Monday after this robbery was committed; it is a double key; this is it; I found it in the horse road, pretty near the Robin Hood , about twenty-eight or twenty-nine yards; directly as I picked it up Mr. Turner's man was rolling a walk in the garden, I gave it him; Mr. Turner had it that morning; I see Mr. Turner have it afterwards.

Q. What is the name of the road? - It is a little bit of a lane that leads from the Robin Hood , into the fields, into Clapton.

Mr. Knapp. Whereabouts in the road

did you find it? - Next the hedge by the side of the road.

Q. What is there on the other side of the hedge? - Gardens.

Court to Davis. What do you call this lane? - It is a coach road that leads up to Clapton.

Q. Is there a garden by the side of that road? - Yes, a garden belonging to my master.

Q. Which way did he throw the keys from him? - By the left hand side.

Q. Is there any garden on the left hand side going from the Robin Hood ? - Yes, there is.

Q. How is that garden separated from the lane? - By an hedge and ditch.

Q. To Perry. Which side of the road was it you found the key? - The left hand side going from the Robin Hood .

Mr. Knapp to Davis. The pick lock keys were thrown by the man that escaped? - Yes.

Court to Turner. What do you call the parish? - St. John's, Hackney.

Q. Is it commonly called so? - Yes.

Mr. Knapp. Have you ever heard it called St. John's, at Hackney? - I don't know that ever I did to my knowledge.

Court to Edwards. How long have you lived at Hackney? - About thirty years.

Q. What do they call the parish? - St. John's, Hackney; I never heard any other name for it.

Q. To Lockewood. What do they call the parish? - I have heard it called both, St. John's, Hackney, and St. John's, at Hackney.

Old Bailey Proceedings front matter.
16th July 1794
Reference Numbert17940716-57

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THE WHOLE PROCEEDINGS ON THE KING's Commission of the Peace Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery for the City of LONDON; AND ALSO The Gaol Delivery for the County of Middlesex; HELD AT JUSTICE HALL in the OLD BAILEY, On Wednesday the 16th of July 1794, and the following Days; Being the SIXTH SESSION in the Mayoralty of The Right Hon. PAUL LE MESURIER , Esq. LORD MAYOR OF THE CITY OF LONDON.

TAKEN IN SHORT-HAND BY MANOAH SIBLY, PROFESSOR OF SHORT-HAND, No. 35, Goswell-Street, And Published by Authority.


LONDON: Printed and published by HENRY FENWICK , No. 63, Snow Hill. PRICE ONE SHILLING and FOUR-PENCE.

THE WHOLE PROCEEDINGS ON THE KING's Commission of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery for the CITY of LONDON, &c.

The Continuation of the Trial of CHARLES PRITCHARD and JOSEPH SMITH .

Prisoner Pritchard. Sunday evening, about four o'clock, I went from home, and went out with an intent to get a few gooseberries for my children, at Hackney, at my aunt's, and I was there rather too soon, and I thought I would take a walk a little further; I went as far as Lee Bridge, I met with this gentleman that is here; says he, will you have a drop of ale, and we walked down towards this house, by the river side, and we met another man; he comes up, and he says, gentlemen, how do you do? we went into a house near this house where the gentleman says the robbery was done, and we had a glass of peppermint a piece, as near as I can recollect; afterwards we came out, and says they, will you take a drop of ale together? says I, I want to get home; and says the man, this is as near a way for you to go as any, Mr. Smith said, no, and we went up to the Robin Hood, and we had a pot of ale; says he, where shall we sit? and we went up stairs; after drinking of this pot of ale, we did not drink it all out, somebody found fault with it, and said it was rather too stale; I went down and ordered a jug that was milder; I went up stairs, and the waiter went up with a jug that was milder; Mr. Smith said, he did not think that was better then the last; and I told him that I thought it was as good as ever I talled, to my opinion. I went down stairs and got a glass of hollands at the bar, and changed six

pence for it, and paid for it; after that I was looking at my halfpence, long before I went out of the house; I went out of the house, going up this lane, that was nearest to my aunt's; I had not been out of the house above a minute or two before I heard the cry of stop thief! I was alarmed at hearing the cry, I set out a run, and a great many others set out a run, and I ran across two fields or three; in running across they said, there he goes, there he goes; and I runs across and runs into this hedge; the gentleman that was there to take me, says, don't run so fast; I says, I am no thief, I keep as good a house over my head as you. I stopped till a good many people came up; and the waiter and two or three more takes me and hauls me along ever so far, and a gentleman, a constable, came and took hold of me; they asked me who I was? I said, I was Mr. Pritchard, at the Three Compasses, in Dog-row, Bethnall-green; they told me I was not the man that kept the Compasses, for the man was a good deal bigger than me; and a gentleman comes up and pulls out a staff within a minute or two, and that gentleman laid hold of me, and they searched me, and found nothing but fourpence in halfpence, and some few more; I went down to the Robin Hood, and they kept me in the parlour some time; says a gentleman there, you had better take a candle and go up stairs, and see if any thing is lost, and then you will be sure; and the landlord went up stairs, and came down again, and says, secure that man till the waiter comes, for I know nothing at all of him; and when he came down stairs, he said, he had lost thirty pounds or more; and there I was kept till they brought this other gentleman in, I don't know how long after. That is all I have got to say; and I am as innocent as a child unborn.

Prisoner Smith. On Sunday evening, about six o'clock, I believe it might be, I was coming from Lee bridge road, and met with Mr. Pritchard; I asked him how he did? and he said, he was going down to the river side, in order to get something to drink, and we met with the third man, who accosted us with how do you do, gentlemen? he then said, landlord, I have catched you, now you shall stand treat; seeming to know Mr. Pritchard, as if he had been a customer in his house before; Pritchard then said, he had no objection, and he asked us what we would drink? and we said, we would drink some ale, if he was agreeable. We then proceeded to this house, and there we went in, and had a quart of ale and three biscuits; the quart of ale being drank, the ale, I thought, was rather too stale; I then desired the waiter to bring me a tankard that was rather milder; he then brought a tankard of ale up, and I poured out some part into the glass and tasted it, and told him, I believed it was the same fort as before; in answer, Mr. Pritchard said, it was very good, and rather better than the other. The waiter then left the room, and Mr. Pritchard went down to get a glass of hollands, and then came up stairs; then the waiter returned and came up stairs again, and in a few minutes after he came into the room, the waiter cried out stop thief! with that alarm we ran down stairs, and running down stairs there was a number of people that seemed to be all running in pursuit of the thief, there might be a score, or less, or more, some went one way and some the other; when we got about half a mile from the house, as near as I can guess, somebody comes up and took hold of Mr. Pritchard, who it was I cannot exactly say; Mr. Pritchard was taken back to the Robin Hood , and I

followed, as I had been given to understand the parties pursued were gone across the oat field, Pritchard was taken back at the time, and the alarm was that the parties were gone into the oat field; I then pursued across the oat field, and two or three more, and was there in search near the half hour I dare say; in returning back into the oat field, I heard the second cry, there he is, there he goes; I then pursued, and in running my watch chain catched in a bush, or bramble, and pulled it out of my pocket, I stopped then feeling for it in the nettles, a gentleman came up to me, and said, you are the thief, you are endeavouring to hide yourself in the hedge; which I says to him, sir, if you suppose me to be the thief, I am very willing to go any where you will take me, which I desired they would, and I would walk without any pulling or carrying, only telling me which way they wished to go, they immediately let me go, every one of them, except one man, and he just held hold of my coat, and desired me to walk on quietly, which I did, and they took me down to this Robin Hood; there then came a gentleman forward, and they all surrounded me again the second time, one pulling me one way, and another another; I told them all my clothes would be all pulled off my back, I de- sired them to shut the windows down, and to search me, which they did, and found two guineas, and nine or nine and six pence in silver, they then took me away to Hackney watch-house, with the prisoner Pritchard, I asked them there if they had found my watch? they replied no, but they perfectly recollected, the waiter and all, that I had one; I have no more to say, only that I am entirely innocent of the crime, that is laid to my charge.

The prisoner Pritchard called twelve witnesses, and the prisoner Smith two, who gave them very good characters.


I am the vestry clerk of this parish, by the parish books it is called St. John's, at Hackney.

Court. Then the name by which this Church is consecrated, is merely St. John, and it may be called St. John's, at Hackney, merely to distinguish it from St. John at some other village or hamlet? - It may for what I know, it was formerly called St. Augustine.

Q. When did it change its name? - I don't know exactly.


Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice LAWRENCE.

Old Bailey Proceedings front matter.
16th July 1794
Reference Numbert17940716-57

Related Material

ActionsCite this text | Print-friendly version | Report an error

THE WHOLE PROCEEDINGS ON THE KING's Commission of the Peace Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery for the City of LONDON; AND ALSO The Gaol Delivery for the County of Middlesex; HELD AT JUSTICE HALL in the OLD BAILEY, On Wednesday the 16th of July 1794, and the following Days; Being the SIXTH SESSION in the Mayoralty of The Right Hon. PAUL LE MESURIER , Esq. LORD MAYOR OF THE CITY OF LONDON.

TAKEN IN SHORT-HAND BY MANOAH SIBLY, PROFESSOR OF SHORT-HAND, No. 35, Goswell-Street, And Published by Authority.


LONDON: Printed and published by HENRY FENWICK , No. 63, Snow Hill. PRICE ONE SHILLING and FOUR-PENCE.

THE WHOLE PROCEEDINGS ON THE KING's Commission of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery for the CITY of LONDON, &c.

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