Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 22 February 2018), January 1751, trial of James Field (t17510116-5).

James Field, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 16th January 1751.

100. (M.) James Field , was indicted for that he, together with Anthony Whittle , Charles Campbell , Thomas Pendergrast , on the king's highway, on David Woodman did make an assault, putting him in corporal fear and danger of his life. 1 pair of spectacles, val. 2 d. 1 steel tobacco box, val. 2 d. 1 linen handkerchief, val. 2 d. and 13 s. in money numbered, did steal, take and carry away , May 24 . ||

David Woodman . On the 24th of May I was coming home from out of the city with my wife, and in Moorfields , crossing the kennel by Rope-makers alley, we saw four fellows, two of them turned short upon me, and one of them took me by the jaw, which I believe to be the prisoner at the bar. He swore he'd blow my brains out; they down'd with me directly and used me very ill. There was another man, he had trowsers on. They beat me about my head and face: they picked my pockets when I was senseless under their hands. I lost about 13 or 14 s. in silver, and about 4 d. in halfpence, a pair of spectacles in a case and a steel tobacco box. This I believe was about a quarter after eleven o'clock. When I fell I believe my body might lie in two parishes, it being a cross the kennel.

Q. What sort of cloaths had the man on, you take to be the prisoner, at that time?

Woodman. I imagine a lightish sort of a coat, and by his bulk and appearance, I do really believe the prisoner to be the man.

Q. Had you seen him before?

Woodman. Never to my knowledge.

Cross examined.

Q. Was it light at that time?

Woodman. There was no moon, but it was done under the lamps, and light enough to discern.

Q. Did not you, upon the other trial, declare you were robbed by four men, of whom you had no knowledge?

Woodman. Yes I did, but upon seeing the prisoner before justice Fielding, I then recollected, and told him he was the man that laid hold of my jaw.

Mrs. Woodman. The prisoner is the man that laid hold of my husband. I had hold of my husband's arm at the same time; this was the 24th of May. John Ecklin laid hold on me when the prisoner laid hold of my husband, as we were going into Ropemakers alley. I heard my husband say, use me well and you shall have what I have, but they beat him and used him very ill. There was another man passed us in trowsers, which I understand since was Anthony Whittle . They took my pocket; one came cross the road and took it; then when they wanted to search me farther, I said, if they would be easy they should have my other pocket.

Q. Did you ever see the prisoner before?

Mrs. Woodman. No not to my knowledge.

Q. How many did you see?

Mrs. Woodman. I saw but four men?

Q. Was it a light night?

Mrs. Woodman. There was no moon, but it was not dark being just under a lamp. When the man laid hold of me first I thought he was going to kiss me. He took hold round my neck, and held my mouth, and said D - n you you bitch, if you make a noise, I'll blow your brains out.

Cross examined.

Q. Whether or no the person who stop'd your husband did it in the front or behind?

Mrs. Woodman. He came in the front of us.

Q. Who was seized first?

Mrs. Woodman. We were seized both together.

Q. Was not you in a good deal of surprise?

Mrs. Woodman. I was, but was not so much at first as I was afterwards.

Q. Did you see the man in trowsers do any thing?

Mrs. Woodman. I saw him turn back and go to my husband.

Q. What coloured cloaths had the person on who attacked your husband?

Mrs. Woodman. They were lighter coloured than what he has now on. After he was robbed I went and took him up; he was all bloody; he said, they have almost killed me. The man that took my first pocket off ran directly away.

Q. Did you see any weapon?

Mrs. Woodman. No, I did not. This same man was in Anthony Whittle's information, as concerned in this robbery, before justice Fielding.

John Ecklin . The prisoner, Anthony Whittle , Charles Campbel , Pendigrest and myself, were this same night (it was on Allhallows-day ) drinking together at the India Arms in Rag-fair. We all five agreed to come up together to Drury-lane: as we were coming along Moorfields, we saw the prosecutor and his wife before us. Anthony Whittle said to me, there is a stanch cull, i.e. a man worth while, if you will we will touch him. I said, with all my heart. I was the first that came up to the prosecutor. I took hold on his collar, and Anthony Whittle followed me close. I left the prosecutor to Whittle and went to the woman, and took her in my arms, and put my arm round her neck, and her head leaned against my breast. She made as much resistance as could be expected by a woman. I got one of her pockets off, and prevented her crying out, when she began so to do, and she stood very quiet afterwards. I delivered one pocket to the prisoner at the bar, or else Charles Campbel, I cannot swear which. I had no hand in robbing the gentleman; the persons that robbed him were Anthony Whittle , and Pendigrest.

Q. Did the prisoner take hold of the prosecutor?

Ecklin. I cannot say he did, because it was a very dark night. When we do such things we are in a great flutter, thinking how to make our escape, when we have got the goods. We left them and went to the Seven Dials and stop'd a chair, but the watchmen surrounded us, and we escaped as well as we could. The next day we met again at the India Arms about twelve o'clock, and divided the money, which was about 3 s. 6 d. a piece. I saw the prisoner have 2 s. of it. We had some silver lace, which was wrapped up in a piece of blue paper, which they said was taken out of one of the pockets.

On his Cross Examination he said, He was taken up about 12 o'clock, and the next day he made this discovery amongst other robberies. That he had had no conversation with the prosecutor, concerning this robbery since; only being before the justice, when he and the prisoner were there. That he gave the same testimony on the other trial. [See No. 508. in John Blachford's, Esq; mayoralty.] That he did not see it, but was told afterwards, the prosecutor was struck with a pistol. That the prosecutor and his wife were arm in arm, when first they attacked them; and then the woman went to run, and he overtook her. That there were five of them in company.

Prisoner's Defence.

I have nothing to say, please to call my witnesses.

For the Prisoner.

Michael Murrey . I saw Ecklin in Bridewell, but cannot tell the day. I being headborough had business there. He asked me, if my name was not Murrey? I said, yes. He said, don't you know me, saying, we were shipmates once in the Warren Galley ? said I, I cannot say I know you. Do you not know Ecklin, said he? I remember that name, said I; were not you pressed? He said, yes. I asked him what he was there for. He told me, he lay to give evidence against Field; said I, Field is gone out of the way; said he, he is a fool for that, I'd stand his chance for a shilling, for we cannot hurt him I am sure; adding, he was obliged to put him into his information, because Saunders had put him in before, and how can a man be blamed for doing that, to save his own life?

William Harding . I keep a public house, the Spring Gardens at Stepney. The prisoner used to resort to my house, he used to pay me very well; he did belong to the Warren Galley privateer.

Hugh Horne . I have known him a great many years, I never knew any thing bad of him, any more than fighting on the stage.

John Coulter . I have known Field 20 years in the kingdom of Ireland and this country. I saw him at Wolverhampton on Wednesday the market day, at the sign of the Red Cow, I believe the 23d of May, 1749, I travel the country with a licence, I went there to buy some buckles, I have the bill of parcel from one Robert Lilley , now in my pocket, in Gray's-inn-lane, by which I remember the time.

Q. to Ecklin. Do you know this last witness?

Ecklin. No, I don't, my lord.

Corbery Heyling. I saw Field at Wolverhampton, but don't know the day of the month; it was on a Wednesday, in May 1749. I and the other Evidence were buying goods in a Shop and he came by, and we met him on the road afterwards.

Q. Where did you come from to this fair?

Heyling. We came from the fair of Ross, do you think I'll tell you a lye?

Q. How far are these two places a-part?

Heyling. I cannot tell.

Q. What day is the fair of Ross on?

Heyling. I believe it is about the 15th or 16th of May.

Guilty Death .