Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 18 July 2019), December 1763, trial of Joseph Jervis (t17631207-44).

Joseph Jervis, Theft > burglary, 7th December 1763.

47. (M.) Joseph Jervis was indicted, for that he, on the 14th of November , about the hour of two in the night, on the same day, in the dwelling-house of Joseph Hill , did break and enter, and stealing one silver-spoon, value 1 s. the property of the said Joseph, in his dwelling-house . *

Joseph Hill. I am a carpenter , and live in Kingsland , betwixt the hours of two and three in the night, on the 14th of November, I heard a particular wrench, which awaked me and my wife; I jumped up in my bed, and, upon hearing more noise, got up to the window, and, upon looking out at my window, I thought I saw the glimpse of a person's back, but, by the noise, I was certain there was something there that had no business there; I lay on the ground-floor, I went up stairs and alarmed my men; John Fox and his brother, and Thomas Clifford , came down, they were coming in their shirts, I desired they would put their clothes on; then we went into my own room, and, from the window, we saw a light glimmering against the pales from a window below; we were all very still, I went and unbarred the door, the two Fox's pushed out, (the door is on the other side of the house), then where we saw the light, setting the bar of the door down in my hurry, it slipped down and made a noise: I was down the steps in a moment, and followed my men, and got before one of them; I saw a man rushing by (though it was very dark) I laid hold of his collar with one hand, he slipped my hold, then I catched hold of the skirt of his coat, as he was running from me, and hit him with a pistol, and knocked him down; I turned about, and, expecting my men at my heels, I found none coming, he struggled in the dark, and got up, and one of my men had hold of him at the gate; I went and got fast hold on him, then we pulled him down on the stones, secured him, and carried him into the house, and got a light, it was the prisoner at the bar; we searched him, and found a silver spoon upon him (produced in court) my property; when we were tying his hands, he begged, we would not; and said, he would not run away. I loaded my pistol, then we took him to the Black Bull. This tinder-box was taken up in the road, (producing one); we found, he lived in King's-street, Spittle-fields. He desired us to let his wife know in what circumstances he was in; the frame of the window was safe over night, but it was entirely taken out when we took the prisoner.

John Fox . About 3 o'clock on Monday morning, the 14th of Nov. my master came into my room where I lodge, and said he believed there were thieves in the house; I and my brother got up, and went into another room to call another man; as soon as we came down stairs, we went into master's room, and from the window we saw a light that shone out at a window below us against the pales. Master reached down a pistol and hanger, he kept the pistol himself, and gave me the hanger: then we went to the house door, he unbar'd the door, and immediately I and my brother ran out, round to the cellar window, where we saw the light shine from: when I came there, I saw no light, I said Holo; as soon as I spoke, I saw a man run between me and the wall, close to the window: he stooped as he ran by me.

Q. Did you see him come out of that window?

Fox. No, I did not. I followed him along the passage, between the garden and the house; before I came up with him, my master had got hold of him: he got loose from him; then master struck him with his pistol on the head, and knocked him down in the court: he recovered from his fall, I laid hold of his hand; he got loose from me, and got up to the gate, there I catched him again; then I struck him on the head with a hanger, and that flew out of my hand: then I and master laid hold of him, and threw him down in the court; master and my brother kept him down: then I went into the cellar, I saw nobody there; then I came to them again, and then they had struck a light; we got him into the house, and tied his arms behind him, and led him to the Black Bull. As we were lighting him along, he put his hand into his pocket, and threw something from him; I called to master, and he came into the road, and picked up a tinderbox; we kept him at the Bull till day-light; then we went for the Headborough; we searched him, and found a silver spoon upon him. We took him to the justices in Whitechapel, and he was committed to Newgate. The window of the cellar was taken quite out: the prisoner at the bar is the man.

Q. Did you know him before?

Fox. No; we neither of us knew him before: when we had secured him, another young man went out to look for the hanger, and he brought in this dark lanthorn (producing one).

John Cox . I am headborough. I searched the prisoner at the Bull, and found a silver spoon, flint and steel, and a little bit of candle upon him.

Richard Fox . Mr. Hill heard a breaking in, he came up and told us; we went down into his room, and from the window, saw a light shine against the pales below, we were positive somebody was there that should not be there. Master reach'd down a hanger and pistol, he gave my brother the hanger; he opened the door, we ran out. I met the prisoner in the door way, as he was coming from the passage that went to the vault; he had passed by my brother, who was before me: the cellar window looks out into that passage (it was very dark) I could not see him to know him from my brother; and could not hear him, for he had his shoes off, we found them in his pockets; as soon as he past me, master catch'd hold of him; he got away again, and master knock'd him down with his pistol; then he bid me hold him, but I was not able, he struggled to the door that went out of the fore yard into the field, there we all three got hold of him; he did not get without the gate: we after that took him to the Bull, he had this iron bar which Thomas Clifford took out of his hand (producing a long iron pallisadoe, made flat like a chissel at one end). I saw Mr. Cox take this silver spoon out of the prisoner's breeches pocket.

Thomas Clifford . About three o'clock, on the 14th of Nov. master called me up, and said somebody was breaking into the house, we got up; there were four of us. We went out to the place where we imagined the person was breaking in; we saw the prisoner pass by very near the place; he was knock'd down and taken: after he was down, I pulled this iron bar out of his hand; we brought him to the light within the house. After he had been in the house some time, I asked him how long he had been in the house? he said he had not been in above 2 minutes. He held up his head, and said, O that I should break into a house where were so many men. We took him to the inn, where a constable was sent for, and searched him.

Q. to prosecutor. What room was that where the window was broke?

Prosecutor. It is a lumber-room, where I put my nails and lumber.

Q. Where had the spoon used to be put?

Prosecutor. In the kitchen.

Q. Could a person go from the lumber-room to the kitchen?

Prosecutor. Yes, they may. This chissel (producing a strong one) was found in the yard, by the gate: it is none of mine.

Hannah Bucknell . I am Mrs. Hill's sister; I live with them. This spoon (taking it in her hand) is Mrs. Hill's property: I washed up the things, and put them in the corner cupboard, in the kitchen, on the sabbath-day at night, the night the house was broke open about 5 in the evening; the kitchen is below stairs, even with the lumber-room.

Prisoner's Defence.

I know nothing at all of the matter.

He called Catharine Batford , who lived near him in Spittlefields; John Darbyshire , who had known him near 8 years; William Grant , 7; Mary Darnell , about 4; Robert Huddy , 3; Sarah Bartlet, near 18, and Thomas Barnet , 20, who could give but little account of what business he followed, and they never heard any ill of him.

Guilty . Death .