Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 17 January 2021), September 1772, trial of JOHN CHAPMAN ANN the wife of JAMES NIMMY (t17720909-19).

JOHN CHAPMAN, ANN NIMMY, Theft > burglary, Theft > receiving, 9th September 1772.

623, 624. (M.) JOHN CHAPMAN and ANN the wife of JAMES NIMMY , were indicted, the first for breaking and entering the dwelling house of Richard Spratly , on the 12th of July , between the hours of twelve and two in the night, and stealing six silver tea spoons, value 6 s. a silver table spoon, value 4 s. a silver pepper castor, value 2 s. two damask linen table cloths, value 6 s. four linen aprons, value 4 s. one striped lawn apron, value 1 s. a cloth coat, value 2 s. a black crape gown, value 2 s. a pair of men's shoes, value 8 s. one pair of base metal shoe buckles, value 3 d. and six yards of check cotton, value 6 s. the property of Richard Spratley , in his dwelling house , and Ann the wife of James Nimmy for receiving the above goods, well knowing them to have been stolen . +

(The witnesses were examined apart at the request of the prisoners.)

Richard Spratley . I live in White-horse-street, in the parish of Stepney ; I am a deputy coal-meter ; my house was broke open on Sunday night the 12th of July; we went to bed between ten and eleven o'clock; my wife and I were the last up; the doors and windows were all fast; my wife and I both looked at them. When the lodger got up in the morning, about five, he alarmed us directly; when I came down, he had taken up a candle from the ground in the passage, and there were two candles upon the dresser; I saw the grease of the candles on the floor, and I saw two on the dresser.

Q. Were they there over night?

Spratley. No; one of them had scorched the dresser cloth almost through; the next thing when I went into the parlour, through a long passage, I saw the bureau drawers in the parlour pulled all about.

Q. Were the drawers fastened?

Spratley. No, I believe not. The next thing I saw was the sash of the parlour window shoved up, and the shutter pulled close to, not fastened. They drank a bottle of wine that was standing on the cupboard in the parlour, half a bottle of brandy and a little rum; they opened a jar of pickles, to see what was in it I suppose; they took out a black waistcoat and a pair of breeches out of the drawers the bottom of the bureau. There were taken out of the kitchen, a pair of silver spoons, the table spoons, a silver pepper box, two damask linen tablecloths, and a great many things, the linen apron and black gown; there was a pair of shoe buckles, they were not mine, in a bureau, and some checked cloth, enough I believe for three shirts, and a great coat. Here is a piece of the bottom of the window, that the shutter comes to, to keep the bolt that they wrenched out; (producing it) there was another bolt about the middle of the shutter upon one side, that they shoved back with some instrument; I am certain it was fast over night.

Archibald M'Nabb produced a great coat the prisoner Chapman had on when he took him.

Prosecutor. This belonged to a lodger of mine; I found this large chissel in the pocket of the great coat (producing a chissel.)

Elizabeth Jones . I had this black grape gown (producing it) of Ann Nimmy

Q. Did you know her before?

Jones. Yes.

Prosecutor. I am not quite certain to the gown; my wife is very big, near her time, and could not come out; she expects to be brought to bed every minute.

Jones. Margaret Wilson told me whose it was.

Q. to Margaret Wilson . Do you know Ann Nimmy ?

Wilson. Yes, I have known her a great while; she takes in washing, and works hard; I know nothing about the gown; I never heard her say any thing about i, all I know is about the buckles, which Edward Wright has got.

Edward Wright . I gave the prisoner a shilling and my buckles to boot for these; they are bath metal.

Wilson. I had these buckles of William Evans ; he had the buckles upon his finger; he asked me to change buckles with him; I did, and Edward Wright changed buckles with me.

William Evans . John Chapman and I got these buckles out of Spratley's house; I cannot rightly tell the day of the month; it was on a Sunday night; we went out with an intention to break open some house.

Q. What age are you?

Evans. Seventeen the first of June last. The house was in White-horse-street; the watchman was going past one o'clock; John Chapman had a chissel in his pocket, a long chissel, a rusly one; he bid me look out that no-body came by; I stood within a yard or two of him; he put his shoulder to the bolt, and pulled very hard, and broke it open; after we had broke it open, the watchman came by to call the hour, past one; we put the shutters to and went a little further down a turning, till he went to his box again. When the watchman went to his box we got in; John Chapman struck a light; we both went in, and shoved the window up; we pulled the window shutter to again, and he had a key that he pulled out of his pocket, or was in the bureau; he pulled the door open; he had a candle in his pocket, wrapped up in a bit of paper, and a tinder box and matches, and pulled the drawers open, one at a time, and took out what was in them; there was a blackish gown, and some cotton to make shirts of, some striped cotton, and a great large table cloth flowered; there were a great many more things I cannot justly mention.

Q. Where was the bureau?

Evans. Standing on the left hand side when we went in at the window.

Q. to Spratley. Is that right?

Spratley. Yes.

Evans. Then we went on three or four steps the same side of the room, where there was a good deal of china; we saw the pepper castor with some pepper in it, and a silver spoon; one spoon bigger than a tea spoon; there were two bottles with liquor, one wine I believe; Chapman drank, and then said to me drink; I did; we laid the things upon the ground. I went backwards and searched where the coppers were, there I found half a dozen of tea spoons, in a cupboard where was victuals; the handles of the spoons did not turn up, they went downwards.

Spratley. They were so, they were in such a cupboard.

Q. Can you read and write?

Evans. Yes. We looked down upon the ground, there was a great deal of copper saucepans and some shoes; I took some of the buckles of; I took one buckle out there in a place on the right hand side in the cellar; I saw some e shoes, and took another buckle out of an other shoe; the buckles have a stamp in the side much like silver, I thought they were her.

Q. What is the prisoner?

Evans. I am not very much acquainted with it; he tells me he is a sea-faring man.

Q. Did you take any thing else?

Evans. Not that I know of.

Q. How many candles did you take there?

Evans. We had but a little piece in our ket; John Chapman took a bunch of candles a little place in a cupboard, and lighted

Prosecutor. There was two pound in such a

Evans. We tied them up in bundles, and brought them over the fields; he carried me down Old Gravel-lane, to (I believe the place is) Broad-street where Mrs. Nimmy lives; he carried them up stairs, and I lay with him all night. Chapman lodged in her house then.

Q. Does she live with her husband?

Evans. Yes.

Q. What is he?

Evans. A watchman I believe; he watches in the night, and works in the day.

Q. Did you see him there next day?

Evans. No. Chapman carried the things away in the morning; I got the cotton to make some shirts of; I brought it to Mrs. Nimmy; I knew her very well; she asked me whose they were; I said my brother bought them for me; I said I was going apprentice, and my mother would pay her, when they were made; I cannot tell where any of the other things were carried; Chapman gave me 12 s. for my share; he sold the things.

Q. To whom?

Evans. I don't know.

Q. Did you never see any of these goods at Mrs. Nimmy's?

Evans. No.

Q. When you carried the shirts, were none of the goods there then?

Evans. No, I did not see any; the gown was the same colour and same sort as this. I kept the buckles I believe a week; I came down with a pair of buckles on my finger; I said I bought them for silver, and they were not; I changed with her; these are the buckles that were taken out of the house.

William Thomas . I lodged at Mr. Spratley's; I bought the buckles at Bath, and the tongues which were first broke in them; I broke one, and had another put in; it is rougher, not so highly finished as the other; ( looks at the buckles) I am sure these are my buckles. If this coat is mine, there is a small piece of cloth in the cape cut oval fashion, which I sewed on myself. (The jury inspect it) This coat is my property.

Evans. The chissel was much like this, I cannot swear to it.

Moses Hyams . On the 23d of July, I and Wright took Evans and another lad; we brought him to Justice Sherwood's; he was sworn in as an evidence; he said the old woman bought the things; a little woman there told Wright and I where she was; we went and took her; she said he had left a bundle that had this check in it.

Evans. I believe this is the check.

Thomas. This is my cloth, I have a shirt the same on it; it was cut in different piece for making shirts. (The bundle opened; the check appeared to be ready for making.)

Hyams. I took these out of Chapman's pocket (producing two pistols.)

Nimmy. When Justice Sherwood's people took me, they took some silver spoons that I bought.

Chapman. And they took some money of me, Farrel has it.

John Farrel . Smith and I went to search this house; we found three cags of liquor that were taken out of a house over the water. I saw this coat taken off Chapman's back.

Margaret Wilson . They took the fowls out of the house, killed them, and had them dressed, and they took fifteen eggs out of the basket and had them fried, and they took a breeding doe rabbit away.

Court. I should be glad to see a prosecution of that sort.

Chapman's Defence.

I know nothing of these things. I bought the coat in Rag-Fair of a woman there.

Nimmy's Defence.

I bought the gown and paid half a guinea for it; the man told me it was his wife's gown; he was going to sell all his wife's things off; the prisoner said his wife was dead; I know her well.

CHAPMAN, Guilty . Death .

NIMMY, Acquitted .

See Nimmy tried No. 26 and 222 in the present mayoralty.

After the trial the court upon enquiry found that Justice Sherwood's people had plundered Nimmy's house when they took her into custody, of four live fowls, a live doe rabbit, fifteen eggs, which they had dressed, and a pound of tea; and ordered them, at the peril of a prosecution, to make her satisfaction, when it being referred to the jury to set a value upon them, they set it at 18 s. which was immediately paid her.