Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 10 May 2021), April 1741, trial of George Lancaster (t17410405-1).

George Lancaster, Theft > theft from a specified place, 5th April 1741.

1. George Lancaster , of St. Andrew-Holbourn , was indicted, (with Thomas Fernley , not taken) for stealing 16 Thirty-six Shilling Pieces, the Money of Samuel Rash , in his Mansion-house , Feb. 13 .

Mr. Rash . On the 22d of February last, the Prisoner confess'd to me, that one Thomas Fernley came up to my Chambers in Furnival's-Inn, and looked into a Closet with Glass Doors, which is in the Dining-Room, and saw a little Chest; that he asked the Prisoner what it was, and he told him my Servant Simon Kidder said there was Money in it; on which Fernley said he would have some of it; the Prisoner then threatned to inform me of it, if he persisted in his Intention. Fernley not regarding that, went up to the Bureau, and whether it was locked or not, I can't say, but he took out of it 2 Keys, with which he endeavoured to open the Glass Doors, but could not. Upon that he pulled out of his Pocket a Piece of Wire, and the Prisoner again said he would tell me of it, and accordingly went half down the Stain, pretending to come to me, hoping by that Mean to frighten Feruley and make him desist from his Design. When the Prisoner came up again he found the Glass Doors open, and saw Feruley take out of his Pocket a Nail with a wooden Handle with which he endeavoured to open the Chest, but could not; and at last looking about he found the Key of the Chest in a China Bason, but having bent the Pipe of the Lock he could not get the Key in 'till he had straiten'd it. He then opened the Chest, and the Prisoner again ran down Stairs, threatning to inform me, but returned, and then saw that Feruley had taken out of the Chest a Canvass-bag, and was telling the Money over on a green Table. The Prisoner desired him to desist, but he would not, and desired the Prisoner to partake of the Money, and threatned him hard on his Refusal. At last through many Persuasions he was prevailed upon to take 7 or 8 Thirty-six Shilling Pieces, one 6 s. and 9 d. and a 13 s. and 6 d. The Prisoner then desired to put the Money into the Bag again, fearing he should be discovered by a Medal which he had taken as Part of his Share, and therefore designed to put it into the Bag again, but instead of that, in his Hurry he put in a Brass Porte-Bells Pocket-piece . A few Minutes after this, perceiving his Mistake, he took out the Pocket-piece, and put the Medal into the Bag. The Prisoner likewise confessed, that this Money was to be lodged with one James Freeman , in whose Hands I found 2 Hangers, 3 Thirty-six Shilling Pieces, and a Guinea, which was all that remained unspent.

Q. Was the Prisoner Servant to you?

Mr. Rash. I employed him as a Hackney-writer , and during the Time he was in my Service, he behaved very well.

John Child . Mr. Rash informing me that he had been robbed, I made an Enquiry, and found that the Prisoner and another had been very lavish in spending their Money at Furnival's-Inn-Cellar, and this giving us sufficient Reason to suspect him, he was apprehended, and I heard him make this Confession of which Mr. Rash has given an Account.

James Freeman . Some Time in last February, the Prisoner and Fernley left about 20 l. in my Hands, with some of this Money they bought each of them Watches and Hangers, and used to leave them with me every Night, and fetch them again in the Morning. I have here 3 Thirty-six Shilling Pieces and a Guinea which they left with me, but the last Time they were together, the Prisoner laid down his Watch on the Table, and Fernley took it up and went off with it.

DEFENCE. Mary Sharew . I have known the Prisoner a long Time, and always took him to be an honest Lad.

Richard Clark . The Prisoner is now about 14 Years of Age, and I have known him ever since he was born. I never heard that he wronged any Body, nor ever saw him fuddled or concerned in Liquor in my Life.

Jacob Harbin . I have known him 8 Years. As to his Character, I always heard that he was a sober Lad both to himself and his Parents. His Father was as honest a Man, and his Mother as ever was born.

Thomas Peele . I have known him above a Year, and never heard no Ill of him in my Life.

John Mayes . I have known him about three Months. I was Fellow-Clerk with him, and he behaved himself exceeding well as far as I know. Acquitted .