Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 09 December 2023), September 1769, trial of Joseph Godwin (t17690906-77).

Joseph Godwin, Violent Theft > highway robbery, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 6th September 1769.

511. (M.) Joseph Godwin was indicted for robbing Henry Savory , on the King's highway, of a pair of silver shoe-buckles, value 5 s. the property of the said Henry , July 28 . ++

Henry Savory . I am a fishman , and live at Hammersmith. Between the 28th and 29th of July, about a quarter past twelve, coming to town, I was overtaken by two men in the parish of Kensington , between the two turnpikes, one of whom held a pistol to me, and demanded my money. I said I was a poor man, and had got but a little, which was hardly worth taking; the other put his hand to my pocket and took out fifteen shillings, then he demanded my watch: he with the pistol said he knew I had got one. I said I had no watch. He said he was sure I had more money. I said I had no more, and desired they would not use me ill. I gave him then my halfpence; but he said, D - n the halfpence, and gave me them again. He that did not hold the pistol took my silver buckles out of my shoes. They then bid me go about my business. I went on. It was so dark, that I cannot particularly swear to the men. One was in a surtout coat, and one of them was taller than the other. The tallest is the evidence: the short one took my buckles.

William Troy . I am a cooper by trade. I have known the prisoner a little better than twelve months; he was concerned with me on the 28th of July. We were coming from London, and stood at a gate till the prosecutor came by us; we let him pass a little way, then we followed, and I bid him stop. I had a pistol. I asked him for his money, he told me he had but very little; he gave it me. There was a nine-shilling piece, a half-crown, there shillings and six-pence, all bad money; there was none good; we could not pass any of it. The prisoner took his buckles out of his shoes. We went into a public-house, and had but one shilling, which was my own, that would go. I was taken this day six weeks, and the prisoner about three days after, by the information of a girl. I had given information of him before, but did not know where he was.

John Noaks . We had information from a woman that lived with Troy of the prisoner being in Marybone-fields. I and Nicholas Bond went and took him. There was Mary Brown , a witness here, with him. In searching them, I found a bad half-crown on Mary Brown . This is about five weeks ago. ( Produced in Court.)

Prosecutor. This was my half-crown. (Holding it in his hand.) The silver is worn off on one side. It is copper. I have had this half-crown in my pocket for two years and upwards. The money was all bad that I had in my pocket. We sell fish by candle-light at Billinsgate-market, and at times I had taken that bad money, and as I was going to London, I put that in my pocket, thinking it would serve a thief as well as good money. I never offered to put them off.

Nicholas Bond . A girl came and gave information to me that this Mary Brown was going to carry something to the prisoner. I bid her go with her, and we would follow her. They went up into Marybone-fields, where I lost sight of them once. I set Noaks to watch, and we soon saw her again. Then she told me the prisoner was lying on the grass under a lamp. I went with her. About twenty yards before she came to him, she said, There he is, lying as before. I bid her go on, and if she was sure he was the person, to give me a touch on the arm; which she did, and I secured him: as the evidence, Troy, had told us he had a pocket pistol, I secured his hands, and found this pistol in his pocket, and a pocket-book. (Both produced in Court.) We took him in a coach, and brought him to town.

Mary Brown . I was twenty yards from the prisoner when he was taken. I had been in his company the night before, when the prisoner gave me this bad half-crown for a night's lodging with him. I had known him about a fortnight before.

Q. to the Prosecutor. Did you ever find your buckles again?

Prosecutor. No.

Prisoner's Defence.

The pistol was not found upon me. I have no friends here. I come from Bath. I was never in company with the evidence, neither did I give the half-crown to the girl.

Guilty . Death .

There were two other indictments against him for robbing two ladies, Mrs. Hamilton , and Mrs. Lee , in a chariot, one of her pocket-book, and the other of a silk purse, and four guineas ; but the indictment being falsely drawn, as the book should have been laid the property of Mrs. Hamilton, and the money the property of Mrs. Lee, but being laid the reverse, the book as belonging to Mrs. Lee, and the money to Mrs. Hamilton, the prisoner was acquitted on both .