Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 15 August 2018), September 1785, trial of WILLIAM MOORE (t17850914-63).

WILLIAM MOORE, Theft > housebreaking, 14th September 1785.

786. WILLIAM MOORE was indicted for feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling house of John Weedon , at the hour of ten in the forenoon, on the 8th day of August last, no person-being therein, and feloniously stealing therein, one linen shirt, value 5 s. one pair of cotton stockings, value 2 s. and one muslin neckcloth, value 2 s. his property .

(The witnesses examined apart at the request of the prisoner.)

JOHN WEEDON sworn.

I live at Ickenham, near Uxbridge , I am a married man, my wife's name is Elizabeth Weedon , I have four children; on the 8th of August last, my house was broke open, I was gone to hay binding, and my wife was gone to reaping; two of my children were with my wife, and the other two were gone to school.

Did you go out before your wife, or last? - I went out before her, and left her at home; I did not hear of my house being broke open, till my wife came home about five in the afternoon, I came home about eight, when I came home I found a woman in the house, and my things in their places as they usually were; the first place that was broke through, was a large window, and the staple was forced out, I lost the things mentioned in the indictment.

What was the value of your shirt? - Five shillings.

Was it a new shirt? - It had a new body, a pair of old sleeves, and new wristbands and collar, a pair of cotton stockings narrow ribbed, value 2 s. a fringed neckcloth, value 2 s. I pulled these things off the night before, I went to bed, I left them in the bed chamber, I never saw the prisoner till I saw him the next morning before Justice Fellows, the robbery was on the Monday, I saw the things the next morning before the Justice, they are here now.

Prisoner. Did you ever see me about your house, or in the parish? - I did not, I never saw you to my knowledge, till I saw you at the Justice's.

ELIZABETH WEEDON sworn.

I am the wife of John Weedon , on Monday the 8th of August, I went out to reaping, about eight in the morning, my husband went out to hay binding, I have four children, they were all four gone to school, I was last in the house, and when I went out, I am positive sure that I fastened the door and windows, I returned about five in the afternoon, and found the window broke open of the little back room, it appeared to be fresh broke, I am sure it was whole and fast when I went out, then the door was burst open between the back room and the other room, both the back rooms communicate with the dwelling house, with the inside, there was a shirt taken away, a pair of stockings, and a neckcloth, I put them into my husband's chest that very morning before I went out, there was no lock to the chest.

Put the lowest price on the things? - The real worth of the shirt was five shillings, the stockings were worth three shillings, they had not been washed but once, I gave four shillings for them, the neckcloth was worth two shillings, it was almost new, I bought it myself, it cost half-a-crown; the prisoner was taken between five and six that same evening, at Hillingdon; I had intelligence from Ann Milton of the robbery, and I followed him, he had my husband's shirt on his back, I saw it taken from him, he had the neckcloth round his neck, I saw that taken from him, the Justice had the stockings, they were taken from him before I came, I am positive the stockings, the shirt, and the neckcloth were the same that I put into my husband's chest that morning.

Prisoner. Was the cap that she took before the Justice, in the house at the same time that the shirt and other things were? - There was that night a cap that laid at top of the chest, but it was lost out of the bundle somehow, it was of very little value.

Court. How did you come by that cap? - I made it out of a white apron, the constable has the custody of the things, I left no person in the house when I went out.

JAMES WOODLEY sworn.

I am constable at Hillingdon, I have a shirt, neckcloth, and a pair of white ribbed stockings, which I took from the prisoner, he was at the door with Samuel Allen , a taylor, offering them for sale, and Mr. Allen came over to me to the public house, and said he had a suspicious man offering him a pair of stockings for two shillings, upon which I went and took the prisoner into custody, he had the stockings on one arm, and a piece of camblet that contained six yards on the other; the prisoner I observed had a very good shirt on, and I saw he had a very good neckcloth on; I examined his neckcloth, and pulled it out of his bosom, to see if there was any mark upon it, there was no mark or letter at all then, when I examined the neckcloth, I saw the collar of his shirt was not buttoned at all, I then observed the wristbands were not buttoned; he said he bought the things in St. George's-street, in the Borough, I asked him what shop, or number, and he could not tell me, then I took him to the Justice, it was rather after six, or about seven, when we got to the Justice's, and Mrs. Weedon came soon after, she said her house had been broke open, she said she lost a pair of white cotton stockings ribbed, which the Justice had in his hand, and she said they were hers, they were the same I took from the prisoner, she said she had lost a neckcloth, and shirt, she knew the neckcloth, though it had no mark, which he had on, and she owned the shirt being remarkable, she described the shirt which I took from the prisoner.

ANN MILTON sworn.

I live in Ickenham, the prisoner came to ask me the way into the High-road, on the 8th of August about four in the afternoon; I was weeding of turnips, it was about a quarter of a mile from the prosecutor's house, I directed him the way, it was a by way where I was, it was not a common foot path, he turned away for Hillingdon; he had a sickle on his left shoulder, and a piece of camblet under his left arm, and a horseshoe in his hand, he went away, and I saw Elizabeth Weedon about an hour after, she said her house had been robbed, and I told her of the prisoner; I was not before the Justice that night, but I afterwards saw him before the Justice on the Tuesday morning, I knew him again, I am very sure the prisoner is the same person I saw the night before.

SAMUEL ALLEN sworn.

I live at Hillingdon, I know the prisoner, he came to my house on Monday the 8th of August, in the evening, nearly about six, he offered me a pair of white cotton stockings to sell, I took them in my hand, these are the stockings, he asked two and sixpence, I bid him two shillings, he said I should have them for two and three-pence, I told him I should give him no more, he went towards Uxbridge about two hundred yards, and he turned back, I expected he was coming to bring me the stockings, and I called the constable, and the prisoner was taken into custody, he brought the stockings back to me.

PRISONER's DEFENCE.

I was coming from St. Albans, and at a place called Sundridge, I cut three acres of corn for one farmer Thrale, at five shillings and sixpence per acre; I came across the country, and I met a man on the road that had these things, and the cap; this woman will not bring the man to justice because he is a neighbour, and I was taken because I was a stranger.

Court to Allen. Was any other person with the prisoner when he offered the stockings to sell? - No.

Jury. I think he said to you, that he bought them in St. George's street, in the Borough? - Yes, and the Justice said there was no such street.

Court to Jury. Gentlemen, where a dwelling house has been broken in the day time by two persons, and one of them erected a ladder, and opened the window, and took out the things, it had been held, that the exclusion of the benefit of clergy only applied to him, that actually put in his hand, and stole the things.

Jury to Milton. Did he seem to you to be coming from Weedon's house at the time you saw him? - Yes.

Jury to Constable. Did the prisoner say he bought all the things in the Borough? - Yes.

There was no person with him? - I saw no other man.

GUILTY , Death .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. Justice GOULD.