30th August 1786
Reference Numbert17860830-26
VerdictsGuilty > lesser offence; Not Guilty

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686. ESTHER HARWOOD, otherwise HOWARD was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 14th day of August , one silver watch, value 20 s. two iron keys, value 1 s. one half guinea, and two shillings in monies numbered, the property of James Potter , privily from his person :

And JAMES WETHERICK was indicted for feloniously receiving the said watch, knowing it to be stolen .


On Wednesday, the 9th of August last, I lost a watch at the Wheatsheaf, in Tothill street, Westminster ; I was in company with the prisoner; I first met with her in the house, about ten in the morning; I cannot say that any body else was in company with me, other people were there; it was in the publick tap room; we had been there a considerable time; I staid there till night; she was not with me all the time, but we were five or six hours together in the tap room all the time; we sat in a box; I had no knowledge of her before; when she had left me sometime, I missed my watch; I might stay after her, half an hour or an hour; I lodge in the neighbourhood; the woman went out of the house; it was a silver watch; I had drank rather more than I should do; when I missed my watch; the next day I got a warrant for the woman, and she was taken; the pawnbroker has my watch; I had the watch out several times whilst I was in her company, to see the hour; I am sure I put it up again, but I did not know when I lost it.

How many times had you it out? - Three or four times.

Was you not so overcome in liquor, that you do not know what you did? - I recollect very well about the watch.

But after she was gone, did you see your watch? - No.

Did you see the prisoner Wetherick in company? - No.


Did you see the prisoner Esther Harwood, and James Potter together? - Yes, I lived in the publick house a servant girl.

How long did you see these prisoners and Potter together? - They came in about ten.

How long did they stay together? - Mr. Potter went away between nine and ten.

The woman did not stay there all the time? - No, she went away at a different time.

Did you see Potter pull out a watch at any time? - Yes, I saw him pull it out once to see what o'clock it was.

Did you see this woman do any thing? - Yes, my Lord, between five and six, James Potter went into the vault, and this Esther Harwood came after him about five or six minutes after; I was in the kitchen, and she came into the vault to him, and she bid him get up, and she felt about his breeches, and said that the watch fell into the vault, and she felt again, and said it did not; and I saw her take his watch out of his breeches pocket, and she said she would take care of it for him, and she wrapped it up in paper.

Was Potter in liquor at the time? - Yes, he was.

What time of day might this be? - Between five and six in the evening.

Did they come into the house again? - Yes, and she staid half an hour, and she held the watch in her hand, wrapped up in paper.

Did she offer to give the watch to Potter? - No.

Why did not you tell him of it? - He was so much in liquor, it was to no purpose to tell him of it.

Did you go to the vault? - No, I looked through the kitchen where a pane was broke, and the vault door open.

She had the watch in her hand publickly? - Yes.

Was there a good many people there? - No, not many, there was a few.

Did you see her take the watch from the breeches, or was the watch dropped down, and she took it up? - No, my Lord, she took it out of the breeches.

Did the people that were there, see any thing of it? - No, they did not.

Why did not you tell some of the people of it? - I told my mistress of it.

Prisoner to Jane Ferguson . Did not the man go to the vault and pull off the man that was on the vault, and say he would sh - t in his lap, saving your presence, and I told him not to use the man ill for he was very much in liquor? - Yes, Sir, there was a soldier.

What did he go in for? - I did not see what he went in for.

Was he in the vault when this woman went in? - Yes.

Did you know this woman before? - Yes.

Did she use to come to your house? - Yes.

What pretty often? - Yes, the soldier and her went in together.

What was the soldier's name? - I cannot rightly say his name.


On Thursday the 10th of August the woman prisoner brought a silver watch to our shop in Tothil-street, Westminster, and asked for three shillings on it; I told her that I had no objection to it, provided she would tell me whose it was, for I knew it was not her's; she stood confused for two or three minutes, and then said, she would go and fetch the person who sent her with it.

Did she go away? - Yes, and in four or five minutes she returned with the prisoner; I knew the woman prisoner, and I had seen the man before; the man came and said it was his; I kept the watch; the man said, he had borrowed a shilling since, and did not want to pledge it, and I then delivered the watch to him; I thought he had a right to it; it was between ten and eleven; they both went away together.


This is the watch the prosecutor swears to; I am a pawnbroker in Bridge-street, Westminster; that is about a quarter of a mile from Tothil-street; the man prisoner brought the watch to me and asked a half a guinea on it, on the 10th of August; I lent it him, and he left the watch.

Did he go away? - Yes, immediately; on the day after the constable came; this is the watch I received from the man prisoner.

Fleming. This is the same watch I received

from the woman prisoner, and which I delivered to the man.

Prosecutor. This is my watch; I have had it about a year; there is a circle round the inside case; the chain has been broke, and the seal has the impression of the free mason's arms on one side, and a man's head on the other.

How long has the chain been broke? - I believe two or three months.

(The watch shewn to the Jury.)


I had been at Billingsgate; I went into a public house where the gentleman was; he asked me to drink, and he gave me a shilling to go to get something to eat; he drank there a considerable time; I went round with my oysters, and he asked me to drink; he pulled out his money all round the place; he had a half a crown, and half a guinea, and he changed the half guinea; I went round again with my oysters; he had eight penny worth of oysters and never paid me for them; he asked me to drink again; he went to the vault and set upon the vault, and this soldier followed him out; he dragged him out; he said, he would do what he had in his lap; he gave that little girl some silver; she was aside the soldier washing her pots; I went round again with my oysters; when I came round again at ten he was gone; I went to the vault, and I put my hand to feel whether it was dirty, and there lay the watch in the corner and the key.


I am a servant to John Housely ; on the 10th of August I went to the Wheatsheaf; the man credits me, and I pay him; this woman came after me; she said, she wanted to speak to me; I went to the corner of St. Giles's passage, and this woman came to me and told me she had found a watch, and the pawnbroker would not let have any thing without she had a man; I said, did you come b it honestly; she said, she pawned it, I gave her the half guinea.

The prisoner called one witness to his character.

ESTHER HARWOOD , GUILTY, But not privily .

To be transported for seven years .


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

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