Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 24 January 2021), July 1773, trial of THOMAS GREAR THOMAS YOUNGER JAMES YOUNGER (t17730707-1).

THOMAS GREAR, THOMAS YOUNGER, JAMES YOUNGER, Theft > burglary, 7th July 1773.

389, 390, 391. (M.) THOMAS GREAR , THOMAS YOUNGER , and JAMES YOUNGER , were indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling house of Margaret Mortimer , spinster, on the 16th of June , about the hour of one in the night, and stealing two silk gowns, value 3 l. one flowered linen gown, value 12 s. and nine guineas in money, numbered, the property of Isabella Harris , spinster, three silk gowns, value 3 l. the property of Sarah Creighton , spinster, and three silk gowns, value 2 l. the property of the said Margaret Mortimer in her dwelling house . ++

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

Margaret Mortimer . I have a house in Old Gravel-lane , and keep a milliner's shop : Miss Creighton, who lay with me, was waked by a noise; she cried out for God's sake get up, there is somebody coming in; I got up and looked out at the window, but seeing nothing, I screwed down the window and went to bed again; in about half an hour she called to me again, and said get up, there is somebody getting in; we jumped up and went to the window, and saw three persons in the garden; I called to them and asked them what they did there; I screamed out and made a noise at the window. I am certain the prisoners were the persons I saw in the garden; it was star light, and the light was very good; I could very well distinguish the persons and their dress. An alarm being given one of them said somebody was at the door: then immediately I heard a voice at the door say bush, if you don't open the door I'll blow your brains out; then the same voice bid us all go into bed; then a man came in with a dark lanthorn; the two persons that I saw in the garden were the two Youngers; the youngest sat by the side of the bed and the other at the bottom of the bed.

Q. Are you sure as to their persons?

Mortimer. Yes, I am positive to them. While they were in the room the youngest Younger said blow their brains out and then they will not blow us; one said no, save their lives; that man is not taken: there were eight in all, four above stairs and four below; they said if we stirred they would blow our brains out. When they went away they ordered us to lie two hours or they would blow our brains out.

Sarah Creighton . I was waked, and desired Miss Mortimer to get up for there were thieves in the house; Miss Mortimer got up and said there was a man at the door and two men coming up the yard; they said bush, open the door, or we will blow your brains out; I opened the door and they came in, and bid us get into bed and cover our faces. As they were coming up stairs I reached out of bed to hide something, and saw Grear's face as he came up stairs; I imagine he lighted his candle by the lanthorn and put it in the chimney; he demanded the plate; Miss Mortimer said there were six silver spoons in the drawer; he came from the drawer and said to his companion, take this silk; I then thought I heard some more voices in the room; the sheet was off my head, and he said if I did not cover up my face he would blow my brains out. When there was light in the room I saw the shade of a man take down some gowns from a rail; one of them asked for a handkerchief; Miss Mortimer said they were in a drawer; Grear got on the bed and trod on my hand, and never left the bed but to go to the door of the room.

Q. Was it so light that you could distinguish his person?

Creighton. I saw him come up stairs with the light; I reached out of bed to get a piece of sattin out of the drawer, and Miss Mortimer pulled me back; he called for a chissel to wrench open the drawer, and his companion brought him one; when he had got it open, Grear said you did not tell us there was some money here, we have found it, and there is more in the house, and we must have it or we will cut your heads off, and blow your brains out; he called to the other and bid him charge the other pistol; then one that is not taken said don't kill them; they asked what business we carried on, and one said a milliner's; then they asked where the laces were; Grear said they were Jackson's gang and seared nobody; the boy said blow their brains out, and then they cannot tell tales or give information. Before they went away he said there were four above stairs and four below stairs; that they should be there two hours, and if we got up to alarm any body they would blow our brains out. Grear asked for my pockets; I slid my pocket book out of them and gave him my empty pockets; I knew them again when I saw them at the Justice's. When they were gone, we got out of bed, between three and four o'clock, and locked the door, and threw up the window; Miss Mortimer saw a man walking along with a pitch fork, and said she was sure he was one of the men that had robbed us; that was the eldest of the Youngers.

Q. You only swear to the person of Grear?

Creighton. No.

Q. Are you quite positive to him?

Creighton. Yes; I took particular notice of him.

Catherine Little . I am servant to Miss Mortimer: I shut the windows that night before I went to bed; we were disturbed about twelve o'clock; we got out of bed and opened the sash; but saw nobody; then we went to bed again, and in about half an hour we heard a noise and got out of bed, and saw the two Youngers run across the yard; Miss Mortimer tapped at the window and asked what they wanted there; one of them said bush, or we will blow your brains out by the living God; they got into the room; I did not see any of them after they were in the room; I was covered. I am positive it was the two Youngers that stopped under the window.

John Pagett . I am a constable: I was sent for and informed a burglary had been committed at Miss Mortimer's; I went there, and she described a good many people, and said she should know them perfectly well; she said she had seen some of them about the neighbourhood a great while; I went to the back of the house and saw Younger; I brought him to her and she said he was one of the persons that had robbed her.

Q. Did you take Grear?

Pagett. Yes; I had a suspicion of his being a bad person; she said she was not positive to his person; I took a brace of pistols from him and a bullet mould; one was loaded the other discharged; Mr. Justice Sherwood took the loading out himself (produces them); I took some shot and powder out of his pocket at the same time.

Grear's Defence.

I have two evidences to prove where I was that night.

Thomas Younger 's Defence.

None of my witnesses are here.

James Younger's Defence.

My witnesses are not here.

For Grear.

Laurence Mercer . I am a watchman: I lighted Grear home between twelve and one o'clock this night three weeks the night of the robbery, from Swan-alley, East Smithfield.

Q. How came you to know the hour so particularly?

Mercer. I being a watchman have to call every hour and every half hour; I have a good right to know it.

Q. Did you know Grear before?

Mercer. Yes; I know him to be a very honest civil man as far as I know any thing by him; I never heard any bad action of him. I lighted him from Butcher-row to Old Gravel-lane, about half a mile.

Cross Examination.

Q. Was it very dark?

Mercer. No not very dark.

Q. It was so dark he wanted you to light him home?

Mercer. It was but a little distance from my stand, so I lighted him home.

Elizabeth Farrell . I was in Thomas Grear 's house the night before this affair happened; he was taken up the next morning; his wife was ill; I was taking care of her; he came home with the watchman about half after twelve; he laid himself down on the side of the bed very drunk, and did not get up till Pagett came and took him out of bed. I sat up to take care of his wife.

Cross Examination.

Q. He usually carried a pair of pistols about him?

Farrell. He lent a up mate some money on the pistols.

Q. to Miss Creighton. Look at Grear, are you sure he is the man?

Creighton. Yes.

Q. May not you be mistaken?

Creighton. No; he said his father and his brother were hanged and he was sure he should be hanged too. I am positive to his person and his voice, for he said by Jesus several times.

Q. How old is James Younger ?

Creighton. Thirteen years.

For the Youngers.

Ann Whitefield . That night this robbery was committed they were both in their beds about a quarter after ten o'clock; Thomas Younger might be about ten minutes before four out of the house in the morning driving a cart for a woman that keeps a green stall; the clock struck four just as he went out of the doors; he said to Mrs. Keene, who rents the house, call me up at three o'clock; she asked why he got up so soon; he said because he was going to Newgate-market a little before four o'clock; I saw the sun coming through the top of the window; she said Tom, Tom, get up, I believe you have lain too long; he said what o'clock is it? getting up scratching his head; she said she did not know; he got up, put on his clothes, and went out.

Q. What day was this?

Whitefield. A Thursday; I will not swear to the day of the month; I believe last Thursday fortnight.

Q. Why do you think so?

Whitefield. I think so; I will not swear to any thing but what is right.

Q. Do you know when the men were taken up?

Whitefield. Yes; it was the same night they were taken up in the morning. The woman that went to market along with the boy came home with the cart, and said Lord, Mrs. Keene, did you hear of the robbery done in Old Gravel-lane? she said no; she said the milliner is robbed; I said, thank God, they cannot say it is the Youngers did it, for Tom he was in bed; she said no, he has been to market with us; soon after this she came and said Tom Younger was taken from our door; then the little boy got out of bed naked, ran crying and clasping his hands about his brother; I bid him put on his clothes; he put on one of my shoes and one of his own and ran out.

Q. What are you?

Whitefield. A poor woman, and work hard for my living.

Cross Examination.

Q. Mr. Pagett came to your house?

Whitefield. Not till after the boy was taken.

Q. Did not they search your house for stolen things?

Whitefield. Pagett did.

Pagett. I have been at the searching of her house a number of times.

Q. Who lay in this room where the Youngers lay?

Whitefield. Mrs. Keene and her two children, and I and another woman lay in the fore room, that he could not go out of one room or the other without our knowledge.

- Phene. I live in Old Gravel-lane: the two Youngers had lain in my place three weeks before they were taken; they lay at my house all the night before they were taken up for the robbery; they lay in the back room; the young one was never out of bed till his brother was taken; the other got up about four.

Q. Do you remember any thing particular when he got up?

Phene. The woman called him up to go to market.

Q. There was no particular conversation?

Phene. No; she called him up.

Q. Nothing but her calling him?

Phene. No; she called him and he went to market; he had been with her at Bow fair driving her cart.

Q. Do you live in the house with Mrs. Whitefield?

Phene. Yes.

Q. Do you remember any search warrant coming there?

Phene. No there never was, nor we were never blemished with any thing in the world.

Elizabeth Burn . I live in the same house; the two Youngers lay in our house the night before they were taken; I saw them in bed at ten o'clock; one of them got up at four; it struck four just as he got out of doors; the other got up a little before eight when the woman called him up.

Q. What did she say to him then?

Burn. She said Tom what are not you up yet to go to market?

Cross Examination.

Q. What o'clock did you go to bed that night?

Burn. Almost twelve.

Q. What part did you lie in?

Burn. The middle room; there are two rooms upon one floor.

Q. Where did Mrs. Whitefield lie?

Burn. In the fore room.

Q. How came you to be up so late?

Burn. My husband was in liquor, and I dare not then disturb him till he has had his first sleep.

Q. Do you remember any search warrant coming to the house?

Burn. I saw men there, I do not know whether they had any warrant; they never found any thing there; I have been there a twelvemonth.

Q. Have they been several times searching the house?

Burn. Once or twice.

Q. Who was in the house at the time?

Burn. There were several at work at stop work; Mrs. Whitefield, Mrs. Phene, and I, were sitting together, when they came to search the house.

Q. from Grear to Justice Sherwood. Were the pistols loaded?

Mr. Sherwood. One of them was loaded, and I drew the shot out of it myself; the other was not loaded.

Counsel for the Crown. When the ladies came to you upon the information, were there any other prisoners produced besides the prisoners?

Sherwood. Several more; the lady immediately pointed to this man; I recommended her to be very cautious and look round; she immediately fixed upon Grear; many had passed in irons by, and she immediately fixed upon Grear, and I think said she had a full view of him in the garden, and at the door of her chamber.

Q. Do you know the character of any of these women that appear?

Sherwood. Yes, by hear say.

Q. What character have you heard of them?

Sherwood. That old woman that was upon her evidence when I came in (Whitefield) is one of those that are very remarkable for receiving stolen goods, along with that boy's mother, who is now under sentence of transportation.

Q. What is the character of any of the rest?

Sherwood. I do not know any of the rest.

Q. to Pagett. Do you know the character of the other two women?

Pagett. I have seen them in the house at divers times; I know no more of them than seeing them in that house. I have found chissels buried under ground there: the house comes almost to the back of the lady's garden.

All three guilty . Death .