Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 15 December 2019), December 1763, trial of John Edinburgh (t17631207-20).

John Edinburgh, Theft > animal theft, 7th December 1763.

22. (M.) John Edinburgh was indicted for stealing a brown gelding, value 8 l. the property of Elizabeth Yates , widow . Nov. 1 *

Jonathan Cook . Mrs. Yates lives at Hadly, by Barnet; I am her son-in-law. We turned a brown horse out upon the common, on the 28th of Oct. and we miss'd him about 8 the next morning.

Q. Describe the Gelding.

Cook. He has a white spot on the saddle-mark, about as big as a half crown, on the off side. I went about the country, and not finding him, I advertised him on the 1st of Nov. On the same day, I was told there was some reason to suspect the prisoner; he came down that very day fortnight I lost the horse.

Q. Did you know the prisoner before?

Cook. I did. He had lived with Mr. Thomas Seers , at Barnet; I saw him at the sign of the Harrow, and asked him where he lived now? he said, in Kent, and that he was just come out of Northamptonshire, and we knew that he was in London all the week before. I got a warrant and took him up, and on talking to him, he told us where the horse was sold in Kent, at a place called Chipset at the Cock, within 2 miles of Seven-oaks: he did not know the man's name. I went down, and upon enquiring, found that the man that bought the horse, was come up to London with him. I found the horse in a field by Kent-street road, in the possession of Mr. Lutham: this was a fortnight and 3 days after we had lost him. I told Mr. Lutham it was my horse: he said if it was, I might have him. The prisoner after that, told us, he drove the horse up against our field gate, and catched him, and sold him to that man between seven and eight in the evening. This was in my hearing, before Justice Hassel.

Cross Examination.

Q. How long might the prisoner live with Mr. Seers at Barnet?

Cook. Five or six years, I believe.

Q. What was Mr. Seers?

Cook. He was a distiller.

Q. Do you know where he went to live afterwards?

Cook. I believe he went to live with captain Seers, Mr. Seers's brother.

Q Were there any promises made the prisoner in order to this confession?

Cook. No, none at all.

Philip Davis . I live at Hadley; I took a ride with Mr. Cook to Chipset, we found the horse by Kent-street road.

Q. Whose horse is it?

Davis. It is the property of Mrs. Yates, a Baker at Hadley.

John Lutham . I set out from the Borough to go to Chipset, on Friday the 28th of October, at 5 in the morning, with another person. The prisoner kept us company all the way. We lay at a place called Lock's-bottom; there I bought this gelding of the prisoner; it was the horse he rode on.

Q. How far is that place from London?

Lutham. It is about 12 miles and a half from London; the prisoner said he was going to Tunbridge. He said the horse cost him five guineas, that he bought him to go a smuggling with, but he was going into place again, and was willing to sell him.

Q. What did you give for him?

Lutham. He ask'd 5 guineas; at last we agreed for 2 guineas and a half, and paid for him at the Cock at Chipset: the same horse Mr. Cook came and own'd in the field by Kent-street road. After I paid for the horse, the prisoner gave me this receipt; he said his name was Williams; he could not write, but made his mark by that name.

Cross Examination.

Q. What is your business?

Lutham. I buy and sell apples.

Q. Did you know the prisoner before?

Lutham. I never saw him before to my knowledge?

Q. Is he the same man you bought the horse of, are you certain? ( The prisoner is a black.)

Lutham. I believe him to be the same man; I know I bought him of a blackamoor.

Prisoner's Defence.

I do not know any thing of it.

To his Character.

Samuel Seers , Esq; I have known the prisoner about 12 years; he was servant to my brother about six years, or rather better, at Barnet; he left my brother's service about five years ago, and came to me; he lived with me about six months, till I went abroad, and I left him behind. I always had an extreme good character of him, as a very honest fellow: my brother recommended him to me as such, and I found him so; he was trusted at my brother's with horses and things, and with me with every thing I had. My going abroad in the government's service, was the cause of my leaving him; I recommended him to Mr. Danser, a surgeon, at Barnet; this was in the latter end of the year 58. Mr. Danser gives him an extream good character, and would have attended here if possible he could, but as the trial was very uncertain coming on, he could not.

Q. How long have you been returned to England?

S. Seers. I have been in England about eight months; the prisoner came to me about 10 days before he was taken up, and told me he was out of service; I told him I would take care and get him a place. Was he at liberty, I really would take him into my service now.

Miss Hannah Seers . I have known him about 12 years; he lived with my father six years; he was a very honest, faithful servant: his character has been very good since; I never heard to the contrary till now.

Q. Where do you live?

Miss H. Seers. I live at Barnet.

Q. Have you seen the prisoner lately?

Miss H. Seers. I have heard of him frequently within this last 12 months.

Miss Ann Seers . I have known him as long as my sister; we have frequently heard of him, that his master liked him exceedingly well. Gentlemen all round about give him an exceeding good character; I could hardly think a man of so good a character could be guilty of such a thing.

Guilty . Death . Recommended.