26th June 1793
Reference Numbert17930626-44
VerdictGuilty; Guilty
SentenceImprisonment > newgate; Miscellaneous > fine

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540. THOMAS TRIMBLE and ROBERT MARTIN were indicted for stealing, on the 24th of June , a live tame swan, value 10 s. the goods of his Grace the Duke of Northumberland .

JOHN BELL sworn.

I had the care of his Grace the Duke of Northumberland's swans; they are kept in the Canal, at Sion , in his Grace's parks; this swan was sitting on her eggs very near her month, I secured her with

hurdles near the water edge to prevent dogs or cattle doing any injury. On Sunday night last she was sitting on her eggs, on Monday morning she was gone, eggs and all; Sunday was the 23d, on the morning of the 24th I missed her; I knew no more of the swan till it was discovered by this other witness.

Q. Pray what security was about this swan? - It was hurdles seven or eight feet high, and the swan was pinioned there that she could not get over; I had her marked on the bill D. N. on one side, and Sion on the other.


On Monday morning I was returning to Isleworth, I met the two prisoners in Isleworth-lane, in the high turnpike road, I went up to them, and bid them good morning, I asked them what they had got in that handkerchief? I see they had something in the handkerchief, Martin had it, I asked him what he had got there? the other made reply, here is the egg of it; immediately John Lumsdale took it in his hand and examined it, John Lumsdale said it is a swan's egg, and then John Lumsdale took hold of the neck of the swan, and pulled it out of the handkerchief, it was dead; immediately I made answer this is a rum thing.

Court to Bell. What is a single swan worth? - About a guinea; sometimes we give two or three guineas for a pair.


On the 24th of June, I was along with this man John Taylor ; I met with both the prisoners in the same place where the man mentioned before, I went to them, and the drummer, Martin had an handkerchief in his hand; we asked what he had there? the other man replied here is the egg of it; Martin had the swan, and Trimble had the egg; I took the egg into my hand immediately, I made a reply to this man, that it was a swan's egg; with that I went up to the drummer and looked in the handkerchief, I had hold of the neck of the swan, and said that it was a swan, then the serjeant, Mr. Taylor, made reply, how that it was a rum thing the private man Trimble said, that if he had been in America that was nothing at all to what he had done? then we returned the egg and parted.

Q. How came you to return it if you thought it was a rum thing? - The serjeant was along with me, and I thought it did not belong to me.


I am the serjeant to the party of these two men; I was quartered at the Rising Sun, in New Brentford. When the constable and the serjeant of the late hours, brought Martin in as a prisoner, I asked what he was a prisoner for? he made answer, if I would go out he would shew me; the reward was twenty guineas; I asked who was concerned with him? he said, Thomas Trimbell .

Q. Was Trimbell present when this past? - No, he gave himself up as soon as he heard of it. I then went to Trimbell's quarters, and found the swan, and brought it down, and delivered it into the constable's hands, that is all I have got to say.

Q. Did you happen to see the bill of that swan? - I did.

Q. Is there any letters on it? - I did not take much notice, there is some appearance.

Q. What was the colour of the swan? - White,


I was in the Rising Sun, at New Brentford, this serjeant went up to the plow and brought down the swan, and delivered it into my hands after I had taken the drummer. I am a constable.

Q Did you examine it and look at the bill? - I did; there is a mark, I suppose it may have been letters, but I cannot distinguish it for my own part.

Court to Bell. Have you seen the swan since it was recovered? - Yes,

it is here. (Produced and deposed to.)

Prisoner Trimbell. We were sent to Hounslow after a deserter; we went on the road very nigh to Windsor, then we got no account of him there; coming home, in the morning, I cannot tell rightly, I was intoxicated in liqour, I saw something laying down on the hedge side, I had the drummer along side of me, I took it up, and the drummer came up to me, and took it up, and took it home, and did not know the consequence; as soon as I heard that a person was after me, I went and delivered myself up.

The prisoners called serjeant Fletcher who gave them a very excellent character, Martin having been a drummer seventeen years; and Trimble a soldier for fifteen years.

Thomas Trimbel , GUILTY . (Aged 27.)

Robert Martin , GUILTY . (Aged 27.)

Imprisoned three months in Newgate and fined 1 s.

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before the Lord CHIEF BARON.

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