Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 18 September 2020), September 1771, trial of John Hughes (t17710911-67).

John Hughes, Theft > grand larceny, 11th September 1771.

615. (M.) John Hughes was indicted for stealing ten ounces of silk, value 15 s. twelve wooden bobbins, value 2 d. one ounce of worsted, value 2 d. one ounce of silk, value 1 s. three other wooden bobbins, value 2 d. and three ounces of thread, value 6 d. the property of Henry Soley , and Matthew Davis , July 29 . ++

Matthew Davis . Mr. Soley and I are partners; we are lace-makers , and live in Long-acre. The prisoner worked with me by the piece. On the twenty-fifth of July, I was informed, by one Barclay, one of our men, who worked in the same shop with the prisoner; that he suspected the prisoner was not honest, for he had seen him go up into the warping rooms, at the time the other men were absent; and that the appearance of his pockets made him suspect he had taken something. I saw the prisoner a going out soon after nine o'clock; I called two or three times to him, and bid him stop; I went into the compting-house, expecting he would follow me; I staid talking to a person there two or three minutes; the prisoner not coming to the compting-house, I kept out; I found the prisoner was not gone up into the workshop; I concluded he was gone into the yard. There is at the end of the shed a tub where the men make water; there is place beyond the tub, so dark, that I could not distinguish any body; there I searched about the yard, but could not find him; I called several times; at last he came out; he was got beyond the watering tub a yard and a half, or more; he came out, and said he had got the gravel very bad; I said he had no business there, if he had. I brought him back to the shop door; then he bent himself almost double, and said he had a very bad fit of the gravel, and must go back again. He went back; I was almost close to him; he had one hand at his breeches at the watering tub, as if he was going to unbutton it; I saw him make a motion, from his pocket, with his hand; then he shifted his hand, and made the same kind of motion from his other pocket; I suspected him, but it was so dark, that I could not see what he took from his pockets. I called for a candle; when the light came, I found six bobbins of silk at the prisoner's feet. I am confident that they were not there two minutes before, for I stood in that place before; when I looked further I found six other bobbins piled up together, about a yard and half from the tub. I took the prisoner to sir John Fielding 's; I searched his lodging, and found a bobbin of silk, thread, and worsted; we broke open a trunk; there we found twelve bobbins of silk; when that was produced before the justice, the prisoner denied that it was mine, and said he never intended or attempted to rob me before this, meaning what was found at the watering tub. I can swear to a bobbin of worsted, and the loose worsted; it is a particular colour of my own dyeing; the loose worsted is formed into stripes, ready to be worked up into regimental lace; it was a particular sort, for Lord George Lennox 's regiment, which is particular from every other regiment.

"- Barclay deposed that he suspected the prisoner, that he informed his master of his suspicions, and in the other circumstances confirmed Mr. Davis's evidence."

"The prisoner, in his defence, said that he went to make water at the tub; that his master challenged him with throwing some silk in to the tub; that he ordered a man to empty it; that he found nothing in the tub; but some bobbins were found behind the tub, which he believed some spiteful person had put there, in order to charge him. He called - Toms, who deposed that the prisoner had twelve bobbins of silk from one Daniel Wooden , who had four looms to sell, being in distress; that the bobbins were with them, which being esteemed only as lumber he kept for himself; that he said he gave some to a friend, and kept the rest to learn his wife to weave."

"- Davis, a French trimming maker, deposed that the prisoner mentioned selling some looms three or four years ago for Daniel, he gave him some odds and ends of silk like these; that he offered to buy the rest: he said he would keep them to teach his wife to make trimmings."

"- Shuter deposed that he was with Davis at the time this conversation passed, and confirmed his evidence."

"- Green deposed that the prisoner sold some looms for Daniel, and that he had known the prisoner many years, and never heard any thing amiss of him; he also called Thomas Southgate , Rowland, Davis, and Weaver, who all gave him a good character.

Guilty , T .