Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 24 May 2022), July 1784, trial of JOHN CASTLE WILLIAM HOWSE (t17840707-111).

JOHN CASTLE, WILLIAM HOWSE, Theft > grand larceny, 7th July 1784.

770. JOHN CASTLE and WILLIAM HOWSE were indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 1st of June last, one silver watch, value 40 s. one steel chain, value 6 d. two seals, value 12 d. one pair of leather shoes, value 1 s. one silk handkerchief, value 1 s. the property of John Hanbury .

The witnesses examined apart at the request of the prisoners.


I was robbed either on Whitsun Monday, or the next morning, I cannot say the time.

Were you in liquor? - Yes, I was going home from the Horse-shoe in Goswell-street to Black Friars, where I live, I was robbed of a silver watch, a pair of plated buckles, a pair of shoes, a black handkerchief off my neck, and my knife out of my pocket, and what money I had about me; I cannot tell how I was robbed, I was insensible, it rained very hard, I had been drinking, I thought myself capable of going home; when I came into the street I went into Fleet-market , and sat down there on a bulk and fell asleep.

When did you last perceive your things, when you were sober? - When I was in the house the people wanted me to leave the things there, but I would not; I was awaked in the morning by some of the porters, by one Sam. Biningham that worked in the market, his mother did keep a butcher's-shop, and then I missed my things; I did not hear of them till the 4th of June, he brought the watch in his pocket, I saw it after I made mention of it, not before, I saw the handkerchief and shoes at the constable's house, I have not got them yet, the shoes were on my feet when they were taken, and the buckles out of them; the buckles I have never found yet.


I am constable, on the 4th of June, in the afternoon, one Jeffries and Walker came to my house and shewed me a watch, and nothing else; they came to me as an officer to apprehend the parties, they are two labouring men, I went down to Puddle-dock, to a public house there, and charged Castle with having the watch, I asked him how he came by it, he said he found it, I went and fetched the other prisoner; the other prisoner Howse said Castle gave it to him to sell to Jeffries, he said so in the presence of Castle; when I had them both in custody, Howse said to Jeffries I gave you the watch, and says Castle I had it of you, and he acknowledged he had it from him; I asked Castle where he found it, he told me by Bridge-street, near Black Friars Bridge, then Jeffries produced a pair of shoes, Castle said he found them also, and a black handkerchief, he said he found that too.

Did Howse say that Castle had given all the things to him? - No, my Lord, only the watch, and Castle acknowledged that, and acknowledged that he found the other things, and I took them and put them into custody, I advertised them, and on enquiry I found that a man had been stripped of some things in Fleet-market, and I found out the prosecutor, and he described the things to me before he saw them; there is an R. and M. I think in the shoes, it is the maker's name in Holborn; he described the shoes, he described the watch by a particular seal, but he could not tell the name or number, he said the minute hand was broke.

(The things produced and deposed to.)


I got these things from the prisoner Castle, and the shoes and the watch of William Howse , at six in the morning the 1st of June; they told me they found them, about eleven in the same day they came to me and said they had a watch too which they found; John Castle said he found it, I asked where that watch was, he told me that William Howse had in his pocket, I said let me see it; I went with him and looked at it, they took me into a private room, they asked a guinea and a half, and then I said well, I will have it, and they desired me to throw away the chain and the seals, and I went to this officer for advice.

Court. Could not they as well have taken that off before they shewed it you? - That they knew best about.

What connection had you with these men before? - Only drinking a pot of beer with them.

What are you? - A labouring man, I work for Mr. Newitt at Puddle-dock, I never bought such a thing in my life, Howse said he knew where to sell it, he said he was not with the other when he found them; Castle said he found them, he did not say whether Howse was with him, or not.


I bought a handkerchief of John Castle on the 1st of June last, which he said he found, that is all I know; I went to Wood-street compter, and heard John Castle say that he lighted on a man in Fleet market, and picked his pocket completely, but says he, my blasted brother blowed me, I never asked him any questions at all.

Did you ever hear Howse say any thing about it? - No.


I was at work down at Puddle dock, and I saw these things lay one morning, and I went and picked them up, I went a little further and I saw a watch lay, further on I saw a handkerchief lay, all in the mud, and I picked it up.


He came to a house where I was, and he put his hand in his pocket, says he I have found this watch, will you take it and sell it for me; I did not chuse it; I was at home and in bed all the night, and the witness Walker knows that.

Court to Walker. Are you acquainted with Howse? - Yes I was, I knew him before, he lodged where I lodge, I do not know where he was on the night of the Whitsun Monday.


I am Headman at Puddle dock, I know both the prisoners; I have known Castle going on three years, and Howse about twelve months, I can say nothing against them, they worked for me, and I paid them, I heard one of the witnesses say to the other, says he never mind, there will be thirty pounds for you, and thirty pounds for me, and we will take a public house; and I thought it very bad, I heard Jeffries say so to Walker.

- WALKER sworn.

This is a brother in law of mine, he fell out with me and left the place, he has saved that man once for doing the same thing that is done now; and I do not chuse to do it.


I am a shoe maker, I have known Castle two years, the other about a quarter of a year, I looked upon them as hard working men, never heard any other, I heard a dispute between the parties, and I heard one of them say, he would hang his own brother for the sake of the reward.


Transported for seven years .


Tried by the London Jury before Mr. RECORDER.