7th July 1784
Reference Numbert17840707-104
VerdictGuilty > theft under 40s

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763. THOMAS ORFORD , (a negro) was indicted for burglariously and feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling house of William Woodrow , about the hour of two in the night, on the 8th day of July , and burglariously stealing therein, a man's hat, value 6 d. a sheet, value 10 s. a bed-gown, value 2 s. three shifts, value 6 s. ten shirts, value 4 s. ten handkerchiefs, value 5 s. three children's aprons, value 6 d. his property .


I am a taylor , I live in Fairfax-court, in the Strand ; I keep a house there; on the 18th of July, I lost these things a little after the clock struck two.

Did you miss all the things mentioned in the indictment? - Yes; my wife had been washing a day or two before, and we went to bed a little before twelve, and about two my wife said, that is our yard door that makes a noise, I thought it had been the cat, I was between sleep and awake, it was the one pair of stairs door, one window comes out into the yard, and the other into the passage that comes down into the Strand; I got up and came down and unbolted the back door.

Are you very sure you unbolted the back door, that it was not open? - Yes, and I saw the yard door swing, then I looked round, it was rather dark, I did not observe the window at first, but when I looked round again I saw part of the window was gone off the ground floor.

What do you mean by the window being gone? - It is a small sash, it was taken out and gone.

Are there any window shutters? - No.

Do you know how this window was left the night before? - No, I do not.

Had this window shutter any fastenings? It used in general to be fastened with a nail, I staid in the room sometime, and then my wife called to me, and I found a coat that I pulled off in the night was gone, it was a light coloured cloth, and a hat over it, that was gone too.

Was there light enough to distinguish a man's face? - Yes, my Lord, there was.

If any person came into the house to take away these things do you apprehend that they came in at that window? - Yes.

You do not know any other way by which they could come in? - No.


I am wife to the last witness, on Thursday morning, the 8th of July, I was sitting up in my bed giving my child suck, and I heard the yard door flap to and fro, it frequently does with the wind, I awaked my husband and told him it was our yard door, and desired him to get up, and he went down stairs and stopped some time, and I called him two or three times, and he did not answer me; I was frightened at his staying, thinking somebody had broke in and throttled him by his not speaking, and went down and asked him what made him stay, and he said he had been in the yard and the door was open, I said I am affraid all my things are stole which were on the ironing board, and he said no; but I lighted a candle and looked, and I perceived my wet clothes gone from the line on the ground floor where the window was gone; I missed all the things from the ironing board consisting of shifts and shirts, I had been washing on the Wednesday. I lost the things mentioned in the indictment, (The things deposed to.) I saw them all the night before, I fastened the window myself at nine with a large nail, it has no screw, and I locked the yard door with a padlock, I was the last that went to bed just before twelve.


I am a watchman of St. Martin's parish; last Thursday morning about three or a quarter before as nigh as I can guess, my comrade and me were standing together at the corner of St. Martin's-lane.

How far is that from the court where the prosecutor's house is? - I suppose it is a quarter of a mile; we were standing together and this prisoner came by me, I was standing with my back towards him, he crossed up St. Martin's and went into Newport-street.

Which way did he come? - Down Long Acre, I did not observe him till he was crossed into Newport-street, as soon as I saw him, I saw a bundle in his hand and another under his arm, I went and seized him, and my comrade came to my assistance, I asked him how he came by the bundle, and he spoke in broken English, and said his mistress gave it him to carry into the country to iron; I thought it was a bad story, we took the bundle from him and took him to the watch-house; and when he came there I found two linen handkerchiefs in his pocket, the constable put the things by; at ten o'clock, they were taken to the magistrates, there they were opened, and they have been in my possession ever since.

Are you sure to the prisoner? - Yes.


About a little before three I saw the prisoner come past the end of Long Acre, crossing St. Martin's-lane going into Newport-street, he had two bundles, he said he was going to carry them into the country, and his mistress had given them to him to carry there; we took him to the watch-house, and the prosecutor's wife was there a little past three.


I came from on board ship, and a man gave me a pint of beer to carry these to a house about two o'clock, and they came and took me, the man told me to say these things were to go into the country: no more.

GUILTY. Of stealing to the value of 39 s. but not guilty of the burglary .

Transported for seven years .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. ROSE.

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