Anne Bennet.
11th July 1759
Reference Numbert17590711-14
VerdictGuilty > lesser offence
SentenceTransportation

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227. (L.) Anne Bennet , spinster , was indicted for stealing one silver watch, value 3 l. 10 s. the property of Joseph Vialls ; privately, and secretly, from his person ; June 28 . ++

Joseph Vialls . I went across Smithfield, to the Rose, to inquire about a waggon that came out of Northamptonshire, last Thursday was se'nnight.

Q. What time of the day was this?

Vialls. This was about ten o'clock in the morning; I met with two countrymen, and I staid there with them 'till about one o'clock; then we went down Chick-lane together; there were three women stood in my way; I said, let us come by; the prisoner took me by my cloaths, and took me up to a private place, a room, where was a bed; I told them, I had not above three-pence, or a groat, about me; the woman of the house said, I must go down; and said, there is no room for such customers as you.

Q. Was any other person along with you?

Vialls. No; none but the prisoner, and myself; the woman desir'd us to walk down again.

Q. Was you sober?

Vialls. I was sensible, but I had been drinking wine; the prisoner took hold of my cloaths; and said, You must go down stairs, come along with me; she took me up a hill, and into a ruinous house; and up one pair of stairs, there was a door, lock'd, and one pannel of it cut out, at the bottom of the door, I imagine, for the purpose; to take others in, as she did me; she said, You must come in here; she got in first, and drew me in afterwards; I had a blue apron on.

Q. What is your business?

Vialls. I am a Scowerer, and Dyer, by trade; I felt under my apron, and felt my watch safe then, in my pocket; she drew me into a little room, and laid herself down, and pull'd me over her; after that, she said she was sleepy, she must needs go to sleep, and would have me to go to sleep also; in about five or six minutes time, I might be a trifle dosing, I turn'd a little sickish; as soon as she found me stir, she said, I must be gone; for somebody wants me below; she went away; as I continued sick, I felt for my watch, and found it was gone; I made the best of my way after her; but, when I came to the bottom, I could not find her.

Q. How came you to find her; at last?

Vialls. I was told, by a countryman, that she would be at the Chequers in Chick-lane, at such an hour at night; for she was always there.

Q. When was this?

Vialls. This was the same night, I went and found her there.

Q. Did you ever see your watch again?

Vialls. No, never; she had a black sattin hat on her head; I look'd at it, and said; I believe you have a piece of my watch on your head; said she, You had but three pence, in your pocket, when you was with me; she had on, when I took her, a pair of new pumps, and new buckles; which she had not on before.

Cross Examination.

Q. What day of the month was this?

Vialls. This was the twenty-eighth of June last, much about one o'clock in the day.

Q. You say she took hold on your cloaths, and she pull'd you; did you chuse to have been from her?

Vialls. I can't say that; but I had as lieve been at liberty, as to have came there.

Q. How near to the Chequers was that house to which she carried you?

Vialls. It was pretty near the Chequers; it is opposite to it in Chick-lane.

Q. Was you obliged to go up stairs with her?

Vialls. She push'd me up; so I was oblig'd to go up.

Q. What sort of a watch was it?

Vialls. It had silver cases, and a silver dial-plate.

Q. Are you sure you had it in your pocket, when you went into the ruinous place?

Vialls. Yes.

Q. How soon did you miss it?

Vialls. I miss'd it as soon as she was gone.

William Saunders . The prosecutor came to my quarters, (I am a Soldier) at Mr Ashby's, the Globe and Dolphin, in Liquorpond-street; he was my landlord's acquaintance; he was complaining to him, how he had lost his watch; and said, he believ'd he could find the person at night, if he had any assistance: my landlord desir'd I would go along with him; I went with him to the Chequers in Chick-lane, there was the prisoner: My girl, said he, I believe you have got some of my watch on your head; I said to him; if he could make it appear, that she was the woman that stole the watch, she was my prisoner: she said, she would not go along with us, without a proper officer; he went for a constable, and left me to take care of her while he was gone; she desir'd me to let her go out to the door; I told her, she should not go, 'till he came; said she, let me go but to the door; I went to the door with her; then I said, the gentleman says, if you will confess where the watch is, if it cost him a guinea, or a guinea and a half, so that he can but get it again, he will not trouble you: she said, the watch is gone, and I do not know the person it is sold to; but she wished she could know the person; we stay'd 'till the prosecutor came back; he could not find a constable, so we took her to the Watch-house, and left her there with the constable.

Prisoner's Defence.

I never saw either of these gentlemen in my life, before they came and took me up; the prosecutor took hold of three or four women, before he took hold of me; and said, I do not know who is the woman; one of the women that he laid hold of, said, what do you want with me? said he, you are the woman that took my watch; she said, are not you ashamed of yourself? then he went to another, and said, I believe this is she: then he laid hold of me; and said, he would swear to me; he carried me to the Watch-house directly; I was very willing to go along with him; the soldier drew out a naked sword upon me, and from the Watch-house, I was committed to the Counter.

For the Prisoner.

Hannah Armstead . Last Thursday was se'nnight, the Prisoner at the bar, had her mother's hat on: her mother said to me, I wish you would be so good as to call upon my Hannah, and ask her for my hat. I went to the Chequers, and she was not there; a young woman there, said she was at such a house.

Q. What time was this?

Armstead. This was at ten in the morning: I went to her, and said, where is your mother's hat? said she, it is at the Chequers; said she, if I had money, I'd treat you with a pint of beer; I said, I have money: I told her, I was

going to Shoreditch, to tell my mistress I could not bring home any work 'till next week, and I would come back for the hat: then I went into Shoreditch, and came back again, at about half an hour after eleven; I staid with her, 'till within a quarter of four, and had four pints of beer.

Q. Where was this ?

Armstead. This was at the Chequers in Chick-lane: she never was out of my company, but only once, to go out into the yard to make water, (excuse me) all that time.

Q. What are you ? how do you get your livelihood?

Armstead. My husband is a Tinman; he works in Fleet-street, at Mr Monkland's.

Q. Where do you live?

Armstead. I live in Stonecutter-street, in the New-market, at Mrs Graham's, a Mantua-maker; we dined together at that house in Chick-lane, that time.

Q. Where was your husband?

Armstead. He was at work.

Q. Where does he dine?

Armstead. He goes to an Ale-house commonly, every day, to dine.

Q. How came you to go to an ale-house in Chick-lane?

Armstead. I went there for her mother's hat; and she said, I'll be with my mother at four o'clock, and bring it; the next morning, I heard she was in trouble; as for the hat, I can bring proof where that was bought.

Q. What had you for dinner ?

Armstead. We had a piece of boiled buttock of bee f, and cabbage; and the people of the house had beans and pickled pork.

Q. to Prosecutor. Can you swear the prisoner at the bar, is the same woman that was with you in that empty house?

Vialls. She is the same woman.

Q. About what time can you say, it was, that you missed your watch?

Vialls. It was much about one o'clock.

Q. Did you see this evidence that day?

Vialls. No; I never saw her, 'till I saw her in the Counter, the next morning, with the prisoner.

Q. to Armstead. Who saw you together at that time?

Armstead. The people of the house.

Q. Where are they? are they here?

Armstead. They are none of them here. [A messenger is sent to fetch the man and woman, that keep the Chequer Ale-house; they soon came into court.]

Thomas Freeman . I have known the prisoner, I believe, ten years, and more.

Q. What is her character?

Freeman. It is that of an honest, industrious woman.

Q. What does she get her living by?

Freeman. She gets her living about the streets, by buying and selling old cloaths; I never heard any thing dishonest of her, 'till this; and it was so great a shock to me, when I heard it, that I could hardly contain myself; I was with the prosecutor to-day, and he said she was a very wicked creature; I ask'd him how he came to want to make it up with her, if she was wicked ?

Q. How do you know he wanted to make it up?

Freeman. Her mother told me so.

Prosecutor. This witness I never saw 'till today; he told me he was own brother to the prisoner.

Freeman. I said she is my sister-in-law.

Mary Lee . I am the prisoner's mother.

Q. Do you know any thing of the prosecutor?

Lee. I never saw him in my life. I never knew my daughter to behave amiss, or wrong man, woman, or child, in my life.

Q. How does she get her livelihood?

Lee. She buys and sells old cloaths.

Mary Waters . The prisoner and I were children together; I am no relation; I never heard any body say any thing amiss of her in my life; she buys and sells old cloaths, and bears the character of an honest woman.

Q. Do you know any thing of the prosecutor?

Waters. I never saw him in my life.

Nathaniel Armstead . I have known the prisoner about two years and a half.

Q. What is her general character?

Armstead. I never heard any thing amiss of her in my life before this time; I have been a shop-mate with her father-in-law this two years.

For the crown.

James Carden . I keep the Chequer-Alehouse in Chick-lane.

Q. Do you know Hannah Armstead ?

Carden. I do.

Q. Can you recollect what company you had at your house last Thursday was se'nnight ?

Carden. I have great reason to remember that day, for if it had not been for me the prisoner had been rescued; she was taken up at my house.

Q. When did the prisoner at the bar come into your house first that day ?

Carden. She first came in about nine o'clock at night: I know the prosecutor took her before the Watch was set, and she refused to go along with him; I told him he himself was a proper officer to take up a thief wherever he found her; and if he wanted any assistance I would assist him; at last she got out at the door; there the soldier stood over her while the prosecutor went for an officer; in a minute's time I heard a mob about the door; I ran out to the soldier for him to make use of his sword; and said, if he did not very smartly, they would rescue her. I assisted him from the door all the way up the court, and there I left him.

Q. Had the prisoner ever used to dine at your house?

Carden. She has come into my tap-room.

Q. Do you recollect her dining at your house that day?

Carden. I do not recollect her coming into my house that day, 'till the men came in and charged her.

Q. Was she not in your house in the forenoon?

Carden. I cannot be positive that she was; to the best of my knowledge she came into my house first, about a quarter of an hour before the prosecutor came in and took her.

Q. Look well at the evidence Hannah Armstead ; was she in your house that day?

Carden. I really cannot be sure.

Q. If the prisoner and she had come into your house, and dined on a piece of boiled beef that day, and staid between four and five hours together, should not you have remembered it?

Carden. Yes, I should: but I do not remember the prisoner being in my house that day, 'till about a quarter of an hour before she was taken up by the prosecutor.

Q. What had you for dinner that day?

Carden. I cannot tell.

Q. Had you boiled beef ?

Carden. I think I had not: the season is partly over for boiled beef.

Q. Are you sure you had not a buttock of beef ?

Carden. I have not had a buttock of beef in my house this twelve months.

[Mrs Carden having been put out of court the time her husband was giving his evidence, was called in and sworn.]

Mrs Carden. The prisoner at the bar was taken up at my house.

Q. Was you at home all that day?

Mrs Carden. I was.

Q. Did any body besides your own family dine at your house that day?

Mrs Carden. No, not to my own knowledge.

Q. If the prisoner had dined at your house that day, and spent about four hours there, do you think you should not remember it?

Mrs Carden. The prisoner never in her life dined in my house except on bread and cheese.

Q. Do you remember Hannah Armstead being at your house?

Mrs Carden. Yes.

Q. Do you remember she and the prisoner at the bar dined that day at your house?

Mrs Carden. That I cannot say: I can't remember whether she did or not, I have too many in my family.

Q. Was the prisoner in your house from one o'clock that day 'till she was taken up?

Mrs Carden. No, I am positive she was not.

Q. Was you at home from one o'clock 'till night?

Mrs Carden. I was.

Q. How long do you think she had been in your house before she was taken up?

Mrs Carden. I believe she could not have been in our house above a quarter of an hour before: she was taken up about nine o'clock.

Guilty of stealing, but not privately from his person .

The evidence Hannah Armstead was committed for perjury, &c.

[Transportation. See summary.]


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