Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 04 October 2023), September 1771, trial of James Allen (t17710911-8).

James Allen, Theft > theft from a specified place, 11th September 1771.

544. (L.) James Allen was indicted for stealing a watch the inside case gold, the outside metal covered with shagreen, value 16 l. a gold watch chain, value 7 l. a gold watch, value 6 l. a watch, inside case metal, the outside metal covered with fish-skin, value 20 s. a steel watch chain, value 4 s. a silver watch, value 30 s. a cornelian seal set in gold, value 4 s. a gold watch key, value 30 s. and a stone seal set in gold, value 3 l. the property of Sarah Webster , widow , and William Webster , in their dwelling house , July 17th . ++

William Webster . I am in partnership with my mother: we are watch-makers , in Change-alley ; we have a house and shop there. On the 17th of July, about a quarter before four, I went up to dinner, and left the prisoner in the care of the shop, who was my servant . When I came down I miss'd the prisoner, and the watches that are mentioned in the indictment. He never came back again. He had lived with me not quite three weeks. I employed him to go on errands.

Richard Smith . I attend the rotation office at Shadwell. I took the prisoner at a house in Buckle-street, White-chapel. A woman of the town had picked him up, and seeing him pull it out thought he stole it. I asked him how he came by it; he said it was his wife's. I told him I thought he did not look like a person whose wife wore a watch. I took him to the Compter. The next morning he confessed he had robbed his master of four watches; he gave me a direction where to find his master. I went to his master. He said he had sold one at Inglestone, another at Eastham, and the other he had sold to a travelling Jew.

(Producing the watch.)

Prosecutor. I can swear to this watch and the trinkets; they were stolen out of my shop.

- Moody. I live at Inglestone; my husband keeps the Blue Anchor. On Saturday, I don't remember the day of the month, I bought this watch of the prisoner; I gave him 20 s. for it. I had it valued before I bought it.

Q. How was he dress'd?

Moody. Much as he is now.

Prosecutor. This is my property.

Martha Winck . I live at Eastham. I keep a public house. The prisoner brought this watch into my house. I thought it to be pinchbeck; a man at my house bought it. I gave two guineas and a half for it.

Q. What did you think it was?

Martha Winck . Pinchbeeck; I shewed it the people in the house.

Prisoner's Defence.

I told them I came from sea when I sold the watches. I lie at the mercy of the court. I lived at the Pewter Platter.

Guilty , Death .