Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 20 October 2018), December 1746, trial of John Davis (t17461205-6).

John Davis, Theft > theft from a specified place, 5th December 1746.

8. + John Davis was indicted for stealing one Silver Tankard, value 8 l. the Goods of Henry Francis , out of the Dwelling-house of the said Henry Francis , of Bow-lane , the 14th of November .

Henry Francis . The Prisoner at the Bar came into my House this Day three Weeks, about nine o'Clock at Night, and he pushed himself into the Bar with Mr Rigby, otherwise I should not have admitted him into the Bar, on the Account of his mean Appearance. After he had been there a little while, Mr Rigby said he must go Home, and left a Shilling to pay the Reckoning: about a Quarter of an Hour afterwards, the Prisoner bid the Gentlemen good Night in the Bar, and took me by the Hand, and bid me good Night; as he was going not knowing the Stairs, he fell down the Cellar Stairs, I went down to him, and found the Tankard upon him.

Q. Did you see him take the Tankard?

Francis. No, my Lord; but there was some Gentlemen see me take it from him; he concealed it in his Hand.

Court. He could not conceal it, when he tumbled headlong?

Francis. He had it in his Hand when I was under the Stairs.

Q. How long was it before, that you had seen the Tankard?

Francis. My Lord, we had several Tankards in the Bar, several drinking there. He was upon his Backside, sitting upon the Stairs when I took him.

Q. to the Prisoner. Will you ask the Witness any Questions?

Prisoner. My Lord, I was very fuddled.

John Rigby . The Prisoner at the Bar made a great Noise at my Door, the 14th Day of November at Night. I live the very next Door to this Gentleman, the Witness. My Boy heard some-body make a Noise at the Door; he went down and opened the Door, and the Prisoner asked if Mr Rigby was at Home, the Boy answered yes; he said, call him down then, then my Boy called me down, as I was coming down Stairs, the Prisoner said, Is not your Name Mr Rigby, says he, I am come to be taken Measure of by you for a Suit of Cloaths; I said, where do you lodge? he said, I lodge at the next Door, meaning the Prosecutor's House; I said, have you got the Cloth to make the Cloaths? he said no, but he should have it by nine o'Clock in the Morning; I said it would be Time enough to measure him then, but he would not let me rest till I had done it; he said he would send the Cloth to that Gentleman's at the Tavern, at nine o'Clock in the Morning, but he would not let me rest till I had measured him, and then he would not let me rest unless I would take a Tankard of Beer with him at the next Door, so I went into the Gentleman's House, and would have sat down in the Kitchen, but he would not sit there, but forced himself into the Bar; so the Gentlemen were talking about foreign Coin, &c. and he talked with them while we were drinking the Tankard of Beer. I thought it long, it was my Bed-time, and I would go home. I left him in the Bar with the four Gentlemen; about half an Hour after I was gone to Bed, either this Gentleman came himself, or sent some of his Servants to my Door, and said I had brought a Man there that stole his Tankard. True, I did go in with the Man, but he said he lodged there. I never saw him before he knocked at the Door. I imagined that my Neighbour had sent me a Customer.

Elias Falmoth . I was in the House drinking, and saw Mr Francis take the Tankard from under the Prisoner's Coat.

Philip Scriwen . I am a Peruke-maker, my Lord, the Prisoner came into my Shop, my Servant called me up (I was below Stairs); the Prisoner said he wanted to bespeak a Wig of me. I looked at the Man, and I did not think he was a Person that wanted a Wig. He said he belonged to a Privateer, that he was just come home, and he was going to receive 70 l. behind the Exchange; but seeing the Man so shabby, and I thought a little in Liquor, I did not regard what he said, but wanted to get rid of him, and looked to see that he should not take any Thing from me. At last he says, I will speak with you; he said, it is a sad Thing for a Man to be in Distress; I said it was impossible that he should be in Distress, that was going to receive so much Money so soon. He desired me to lend him a Couple of Shillings; he pressed me very much, but I let him have nothing. I asked him his Name, and he gave me his Name in Writing, that it was Captain James Brown .

To the Prisoner. What do you say for yourself?

Prisoner. My Lord, I have several People to speak for me, that I could send to, but I did not know my Trial would come on. - The only Defence the Prisoner made, was, that he was very much in Liquor.

Guilty, value 39 s.

[Transportation. See summary.]