Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 07 October 2022), May 1725, trial of Thomas Nolson William Nolson (t17250513-27).

Thomas Nolson, William Nolson, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 13th May 1725.

Thomas Nolson , and William Nolson , of Islington , were indicted for assaulting Jonathan Davison on the Highway, putting him in Fear, and taking from him 16 s. 3 d. the Money of John Davison , and a Brown Mare, val. 20 l. the Goods of John Brown , on the 30th of April last.

Jonathan Davison thus deposed: I being a Taylor , and having done some Work for Mr. Brown, he recommended me to a Friend of his at Harrow on the Hill; to which Place we went together; Mr. Brown in a Chaise, and I upon his Mare: We return'd in the Evening; and I being but an indifferent Horseman, Mr. Brown drove too fast for me. However, I came jogging after as well as I could; and about Ten o' Clock came to Holloway , where the two Prisoners pass'd me; one of 'em had a sort of a Budget, and look'd like a Carpenter: They saw that I was tired, and could not very well get my Mare along the Road; whereupon they turn'd about, and cry'd, D - ye, stand and deliver presently, or you're a dead Man, and so they took 16 s. from me, pulled me off the Mare, and mounted themselves, Tom. first, and Will. behind him. It was a Star-light Night, and I saw 'em pretty plainly, especially Tom. who had a dirty white Wastecoat: They rode towards London, and swore that I was a dead Man if I offer'd to follow them. I walk'd along as well as I could in my Boots, and enquired of some Waggoners that I met, if they saw such Men upon such a Mare? But they told me, No. I called at the Queen's-Head at Holloway, but could hear nothing of 'em; from thence I made shift to get to Mr. Grimsted's, at the Angel and Gown in Islington, where I told 'em how I was robbed, and described the Prisoners and the Mare to them; and not long after, the Boy of the House going to the Door, saw two Men coming along agreeable to my Description, and came and told us. The Prisoners stopt, hung the Mare at the Door, and came in; I would have had Mr. Grimsted have secured them; but he was unwilling to do it at that time; and so being glad that I had found the Mare again, I got upon her, and rode home, without taking any farther Notice of 'em. I am positive that Tom. was one of the Men that robb'd me, but cannot be certain that Will. was the other.

William Grimsted thus deposed: Between 10 and 11, Davison came to my House, told the Company that he was robb'd, and described the Persons. Whether he was disordered with the Fright, or the Vexation of being robb'd, or with walking in his Boots from the Place where he lost his Money, which is about a quarter of a Mile from my House, or whether he had been drinking too much, I cannot tell; but certain it is, that not only I, but all that were in my House took him to be fuddled, and that his Mare had only thrown him, and so ran away But in less than a quarter of an Hour after, my Boy comes in and says, Here's two such Men come to the Door. with such a Mare. We went to the Door, and as soon as we saw 'em, we were of the Boy's Mind, for they answer'd the Description that Davison had given of 'em; one of them in particular was in a white dirty Wastecoat. Davison presently said, These are the Men, and this is the Mare. But then we thought that it was only a Drunken Frolick, because if these Men had taken the Mare from him, they would hardly have stopt at a House so near where the Fact was committed. Davison seeing we gave but little Credit to his Account, he got upon the Mare, and rid homewards, and the Prisoners never offer'd to prevent him. I then ask'd 'em where they got the Mare? They said, they found her astray in White Conduit-Feilds, and were going to carry her to Rolf's Pound: Upon farther Enquiry, I found that they did not come the direct Road to the Pound, but went round a Byeway, thro' Mr. Sibban's (the Cow-keeper's) Ground, which is 4 or 5 times farther about than the right Way. This made me begin to suspect'em; for I thought this was the Reason that none of the Carriers that Davison met on the Road, had seen these two Men upon the Mare; and that tho' he walk'd in his Boots, yet he came to my House sooner than they that rid it; and so I sent for a Constable. The Deposition of this Witness was corroborated by Basil Kemp , Jeremy Eustace , and others.

Robin Hughs (the Boy) thus deposed: As I was shutting up the Windows, I saw the Prisoners coming along, one upon the Mare, and the other walking a foot. It It being the last Day of April, I ask'd 'em if they were going a Maying already? And as they came a little nigher, I thought they and the Beast were agreeable to Davison's Account of 'em; and so I ask'd 'em, where they were going with that Mare? Upon which one 'em said, Let's go and see if it's Grimsted's Mare; but the other answer'd, D - ye what need ye mind what he says? They made a little Stop, and I ran in and call'd my Master.

Mr.Brown thus deposed: Mr. Davison went with me to Harrow; he was in my Company all Day, and I saw him drink nothing that was likely to disorder him. We were benighted in returning; and he being but an indifferent Rider, I lost him before we came to Hollaway But he came to my House late that Night, and told me of his being robb'd, and he was then sober.

Thomas Nolson thus made a Defence for himself and his Brother: I and my Brother were in Union Court, opposite to S. Andrew's Church in Holborn, at half an Hour past Ten. From thence we were going to my Mother's, who lives at Lower Hollaway; and by the way, in White-Conduit-Feilds, we saw this Mare saddled, and her Bridle thrown over her Head, and ty'd to a Stile. I was afraid some Rogues had been robbing thereabouts, and so had left her there; but, says my Brothers, Don't be afraid, we'll take the Mare to Town; but we won't go the Road-way, and then we shall be in no Danger of meeting any body. So my Brother got up, and I walked behind him, till we came thro' Sibban's Ground to the Angel and Crown Ale-house. The Boy was at the Door, and ask'd whose Mare that was? And we said, we could not tell; and so he call'd several People out of the House, and one of 'em said to Davison, Is this your Mare? And he said it was. Why then, said I, I am very glad of it. Whereupon, one Mr. Kemp being there, D - this Fellow, (says Mr. Kemp) he's got drunk, and pretends that he has been robb'd, to impose upon People's Charity, and get some Money by it.

John Baily deposed, that he lived in New-street; that he was a Scabbard-Maker, and dealt in Sword Blades; that Tom. had been his Apprentice , and afterwards his Journeyman , and behaved well all the Time that he knew him.

Elizabeth Foster thus deposed: The Prisoner went from my Mother's in Union-Court at half an Hour past Ten, on the last Day of April; and it was then a very bright Moonshine Night.

Thomas Green thus deposed: I was standing at my Door, at the Angel and Crown in Union-Court, and a Neighbour's Girl came to ask me what it was a Clock. I took out my Watch, and it wanted just three Minutes of Ten; and then I saw Tom. Nolson and Betty Foster come out of her Mother's (Mrs. Witby's ) House. But I was afterwards told that she went to Saffron-Hill with him, and he came back again to see her Home. Elizabeth Witby spoke to the same Effect.

Anne Edge , and her Maid Mary Taylor , at the Queen's-Head in Holloway, deposed, that between Nine and Ten, or there-abouts, Davison called at their House, and asked if two Men were lately come in there? for he said he had been robbed of a Mare and two Guineas. The Court, in summing up the Evidence to the Jury, observed, that it was highly improbable that Davison should tie his Mare to a Stile, and walk in his Boots at that Time of Night, so far as to the Angel and Crown, and there describe two Men, that, according to the Evidence given, it was impossible for him to have seen any where that Day, but near the Place where he said he was robbed; because it was proved that he had been out of Town ever since the Morning: And then the Prisoners came to that very House in less than a Quarter of an Hour after Davison. And tho' Davison walked it in his Boots, yet, as the Prisoners came a Bye-Way that was further about, and came but a Foot-Pace neither, (for one of them walked by the Mare's Side) it is no Wonder that Davison got there a little before them. The Jury acquitted them.