Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 09 December 2023), September 1785, trial of FRANCIS GROOME (t17850914-22).

FRANCIS GROOME, Theft > grand larceny, 14th September 1785.

746. FRANCIS GROOME was indicted for feloniously stealing on the 2d day of September , two ounces weight of leaf gold, value 8 l. the property of Robert Durnford .


I lost some leaf gold, upwards of two ounces, out of my shop, on the 2d of September.

Is your shop a part of your dwelling house? - Yes.

When did you see it there? - I saw it there within an hour.

At what time did you miss it? - The next morning at six my people missed it; I saw it the night before at eight o'clock, and at nine I saw the prisoner come in, he came in to sell some skewins, which is a kind of gold that the gilders and coach painters rub off after they have used it, with cotton.

How long did he stay in the shop? - It might be ten minutes I believe.

Did you buy any of these skewins? - I did.

Where was your leaf gold at that time? - It was lying on a board in the shop; after I missed it I sent out persons to different parts of the town to have it stopped; the first let him go, the second would not buy it, the third only stopped the gold, and not the man, the fourth stopped both gold and man; Mr. Stubbs has it.

Mr. Peatt, Prisoner's Council. Did this man ever tell you any of this article before? - Never.

Who was in the shop; - I can say there was my son in the shop, and I called my boy to get change, and I believe my daughter went to the door of the shop.


I am a silversmith in Holborn, I produce this gold leaf which the prisoner brought to my came there the 3d of this month at about twelve, and asked me if I bought any gold, I told him I did; he told me it was gold leaf, he had not got it then, but he would go and fetch it; he went out immediately, and in the space of five minutes he brought this gold to me; I asked him if he had any more of it, he said, yes, he had, but he could not get at it at present; then I asked him how he came by it, he said he found it the corner of a street; I told him immediately I had had information that morning twice, that Mr. Durnford had his shop robbed of a quantity of gold, and that I was desired to stop both man and gold; and if he came by it honestly, he would not mind being examined; accordingly I put him in the parlour, and Mr. Durnford came down, and said, the prisoner was the man that was in his shop the night he lost his gold; I asked him where the remaining part of the gold was, he said he had given it to another man, and could not get at it at present.

Prosecutor. This part of the gold that was lost, I have a duplicate of it in my pocket; as to the melting, and manufactory, it is in such a state as I am sure of, it is my own work that I was upon.

Mr. Peatt. Is it not usual, Sir, to manufacture gold in that way? - Certainly, but it is in the same state, the same melting, the same ingot and colour.

Court to Prosecutor. How much is there of that? - Here is a five penny weight, which is about the eighth of it.

- FARLEY sworn.

I am a gold-beater, I produce this gold leaf, which I received from a person, but I cannot tell who it was, I conceive it to be the prisoner, I am not positive; the person said it was not his own property, it belonged to a person that found it; there was more of it, and he had given him this to sell.

What quantity is there? - About sixteen shillings worth, he went away to fetch the person, and I sent to the prosecutor.

- BADGER sworn.

The prisoner is my master, he told me at Bow-street, that they had not got all the gold, there was some hid, he did not say where; I went in search of the gold, and I found the skins, some bits of gold were in a stable, the skins were found close by the shop, in a hole with some dirt over it.

(The skins produced.)

Mr. CLOCKIN sworn.

I found these skins in Mr. Durnford's shop, brought there by this man.

(Deposed to.)

Prosecutor. I know these skins by many marks, they have been through my hands, I suppose two thousand times.

Did you lose these skins at the time you lost the gold? - I did.

Was there gold between every skin? - May be not between every one, but between the major part.

Mr. Peatt. Those are such skins as gold is usually beat on, manufactured in that way? - They are.

I suppose there are many thousands of the same sort? - Without doubt, but I know the skins by many marks.


How old are you? - Sixteen, I am an apprentice to Mr. Durnford, I know this gold, by pulling it to pieces it appears exactly like it; my master has some that would appear like it, supposing it to be rumpled up as this is; I saw it the night before; I was going to work upon it; gold was not often left as ours was.

Suppose you saw that gold any where else, would you swear to it? - I could not particularly swear to such a thing.

No, I dare say you would not, any more than you would swear to the taste of it? Does the colour vary? - Very frequently the same.

Prisoner. Sir, I found the gold the night before this gentleman says he lost it; the gold I sold to the prosecutor, and the other too.

Court to Durnford. What did you give him for the skewins? - Twenty-pence.

Jury. What trade is the prisoner? - He is a farrier.

The prisoner called five witnesses, who all gave him a very good character.

Court to Prosecutor. What is the value of the gold found upon him? - About twenty shillings.

GUILTY Of stealing to the value of 20 s.

Transported for seven years .

Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. Baron HOTHAM .