Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 21 October 2020), December 1723, trial of John Ward (t17231204-27).

John Ward, Damage to Property > arson, 4th December 1723.

John Ward , of Great Stanmore , was indicted for feloniously setting Fire to a Barn of Hezekiah Burr , fill'd with Hay, Corn, &c. the 18th of October last. The Prosecutor depos'd, his Barn was burned, with Hay, Corn, Peas, and Beans, and also five Horses were destroyed. Ann Cockburn deposed, That the Prisoner came into the Kitchin in the Evenings, and took out a Watch Light and a Quarter of an Hour after he came and fetch'd a Match, and went out into the Garden where the Barn stood adjoining; and she having occasion to go into the Yard soon after, saw the Barn all in a blaze, and the Prisoner was near it, saw it, and told no body of it. And, that the People seeing the Fire call'd to him, saying to him, Why do not you open the Gates, the Barn is on Fire? That he reply'd, he knew it, and did not open the Gates, but they were broken open Another Evidence confirm'd his not opening the Gate. tho'he had the Keys in his Pocket, which he should not have had, not used to be in the House; and, that he perceived a Hole new broke in the Barn that Day, and the Prisoner was smoking a Pipe near the Place. Another Evidence deposed. That he was in the Inside when the Barn was burning. and had the Keys of the Gate in his Pocket. And three Evidences deposed, he was there, and seemed unconcerned. And one deposed, That when he asked him if he would not help, he walked away and said nothing. The Maid deposed, That there had been some Words between her Mistress and the Prisoner about his staying on an Errand too long, and about a Shilling, and the Prisoner said, D - n her and her Shilling too. One Evidence deposed, That he afterwards said, he could have sav'd the Horses, if he had a Mind to it. The Prisoner deny'd the Fact, and as to the fetching the Candle. It was to light a Fire in the Copper; and as to the fetchings the Match, he fetch'd that because the Candle went out; and that he never had a Word of Difference with Mr. Bar the Owner of the Barn; that as so the Maid, she and he could never agree; that he was a Stranger in the Town, and they were all against him. The Jury acquitted him.