Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 27 October 2021), September 1785, trial of JANE LANGLEY MARY FINN (t17850914-96).

JANE LANGLEY, MARY FINN, Theft > grand larceny, 14th September 1785.

816. JANE LANGLEY and MARY FINN were indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 29th of July last, five guineas, value 5 l. 5 s. and 9 s. and 6 d. in monies numbered , the property of Robert Robinson .

ROBERT ROBINSON sworn.

On the 29th of July, about ten, I was robbed in Blackhorse-yard ; I I was going home, and I met the prisoner Langley in Nightingale-lane, and she asked me to go home with her, accordingly I returned, and she took me to Mary Finn 's in Blackhorse-yard, and I set down in the house five minutes; I felt something in my pockets, and I jumped up, and felt in my pocket, and missed my money; I was not any way disguised in liquor; I had the money after I went in not five minutes before; I had it in my hand; they ran out of the door, and a man who stood in the door-way before I was robbed, tripped up my heels, and set his feet on my breast as I was going out; I never recovered any part of my money; they offered me four guineas of the money afterwards, but the justice told me I must not take it; it was the day they were sent to prison; they were taken three days after the robbery, and they sent a man with the money; I had seen both the prisoners before.

By what light did you see them? - By the light of the lamp; I am quite sure they are the two women; I looked at the place where I sat, there was no money there, I looked on the bed, and there was none there.

Did any thing pass between you and either of them before you were robbed? - No; the prisoner Mary Finn struck me before the Justice, and gave me a black eye, and before the Justice Mary Finn said that she had two shillings of the money, and that the other had all the rest.

What did the other say? - The other said nothing.

Did either of them deny being in the room with you? - No.

PRISONER LANGLEY's DEFENCE.

I served two years to my business; I had been to carry some work home, coming along the man met me; he took hold of of me; I said I was going home; he said he had been robbed in this place; I do not know by whom; he had been knocking at several peoples doors; he followed me home, and I stopped, and got me a halfpenny candle, and I went and unlocked my door; this man followed me in, he sat down on a box that stood by my bed-side, I told him, says I, I will be very much obliged to you to go out of my house, I wanted to go to bed, he asked me for a bit of candle, and I locked my door and went to bed; he never took me up till Monday, and then I asked him what for, and he said he had been robbed, and whether it was us or not, he would make us pay for it.

MARY FINN 's DEFENCE.

He put two shillings into my hand to shew him where he was robbed; I told him I did not know: he went round to every place; he was very much in liquor; he asked three guineas to make it up.

Court to Prosecutor. Had you lost your money before you fell in with these women? - No, I never saw them after I was robbed.

Is there any truth in these stories? - None.

JOSEPH JEFFERY SMITH sworn.

I live in Blackhorse-yard; I am a Smith by trade, a journeyman; I work there with one Mr. Callian; I know a good deal of the affair; -

Court. Let the other witnesses for the prisoner go out of court till they are called.

Smith. On Friday night, about a quarter after eleven, I was standing at one Mrs. Taylor's door, who keeps a chandler's shop, a man came and knocked at the door facing that, which is a farrier's shop, Mrs. Taylor says, what do you want there, says he, I have been robbed of my money, Mrs. Taylor says, you have not been robbed there, and I made answer, and said, good man, you could not be robbed here, for that is a farrier's shop; there is nobody lives there; with that, he says, I am sure I have been robbed here, then, says he, I have been robbed some where about here; says I, do you know who robbed you, why, says he, it was a tall woman, with a dark complexion, and her hair was very curly here (and he put his hand to his head, as I may do now) and a man; I said, should you know the party again, I do not know whether I should or no, says he; but are you sure they robbed you, says I; yes, says he, because I felt a woman's hand in my pocket, and she slid it away, and the man put his leg out, and he tripped me up, and I fell down, and I could not see any more of them; with that the prisoner, whose name is Jenny Langley I think; I know all my neighbours; I know her very well by sight; I never spoke to the woman before that night she came to the chandler's-shop; but whether she bought a candle or no I do not know; says she, I am going home; this good man that stands here says, I will go home along with you if you have a mind, she says yes, with that they went to her lodging, and I am obliged to go by their door to go home; I bought a candle at the chandler's-shop, and went home into the prisoner's apartment to light it, and I looked at the man, and I says to him, good man, you are the man that was robbed; yes, says he, and I have got no money now; he was i woman's apartment; no body was in the room besides the two prisoners; the woman makes an answer directly, and says, then if you have no money you cannot expect to stay here, go about your business; he directly replied, I have no money, for I have been robbed of five guineas and odd.

Court. What was the woman's name whose shop you was at? - Mrs. Taylor, I expect her here.

Whose house was it that the man was knocking at opposite? - I do not rightly know the man's name; he has a shop facing Mrs. Taylor's; he lodges at Mrs. Taylor's; he knocked at the door a great while, almost fit to split the door down.

Was there any body else of the neighbours that was alarmed and came out? - Yes, there is a woman.

What is her name? - I do not know, I should know her if I was to see her.

Prisoner. Her name is Mary Jones .

Court to Smith. Was she present when the conversation passed between the prosecutor and Mrs. Taylor? - No, nobody was present but Mrs. Taylor; this woman said the prosecutor came and knocked at her door.

How long have you worked in that neighbourhood? - Better than a twelvemonth, a twelvemonth last August.

You know the neighbours very well then? - I keep but a little acquaintance with any of them.

Whose house did this prisoner Langley live in? - I do not know the name of the landlord, Mary Finn lives over the broad-way, she does not live in the same place with Langley.

How far is that off? - As far as it is from here to the pump going to St. Sepulchre's.

Did you see her at all that night? - No, I did not.

How long have you known Langley? - I believe I have known her about three or four months.

Do you lodge there as well as work there? - I have a house there, I have a little house, and I live in there, my wife and I.

Is your master here? - No, he has lived in Black-horse-yard ten years.

How do you spell your master's name? - Upon my word I do not know, I am no schollar, Kellyan.

That is not an Irish name, Kelly is? - His name is Cornelius Callagan .

Then you did not see anything of Mary Finn that night? - No, I did not, I never saw any harm of either of the women, they always behaved as they ought to do.

This man said he had lost all his money, and he had no money left? - Yes.

Then it is not true that he gave Mary Finn two shillings, to help him to look for his money with a candle? - Not while I was by.

Court to Robinson. Did you ever see that man before? - Yes.

Where did you first see him? - The first time I saw him was at the King's Arms in East Smithfield, the day that the prisoners were taken up.

You did not see him before? - Not to my knowledge.

He was not at the door and tripped up your heels? - I have no recollection of that man, he came up and offered me four guineas to make it up and not to appear, and I sent in to the Justice.

What did he say? - He offered me four guineas not to appear against the prisoners.

Was any body present when he made that offer? - Yes, there was one Brown, that was with him, and one Mr. Burton, a master blacksmith at Blackwall, but he is lame and not able to come.

Was there anybody present with you here now? - No, Sir, nobody at all, this man himself went to the Justice, to ask whether I might take the money or not.

Court to Smith. How came you to make this offer on behalf of the prisoner? - My Lord, I never made such an offer.

Then this is false? - It is as false as God is in Heaven.

You recollect there are two witnesses in this case, mind, though Mr. Burton is not here now, he can be found hereafter; now will you swear, you never made such an offer? - I will, all my goods and clothes would not fetch it, I did not make the offer.

You swear that positively? - Yes, neither did I go to the Justice, I was not with them when they took the girls up.

Were you ever, at any time with the prosecutor at the King's Arms in East Smithfield? - I saw him there, he came in there, but I never spoke to him, nor drank with him, he gave the girls something to drink.

You never spoke to him in the King's Arms? - I never spoke to him in the King's Arms.

Then you positively swear that you never made him such an offer, nor never spoke to him at the King's Arms? - I never did; at the Brown Bear I spoke to him, we had sixpenny-worth of gin and water, or something, I do not know what it was.

Did you make him that offer at the Brown Bear ? - No.

What conversation passed? - I will tell you; there was one Brown, and he and I went over to the Brown Bear , and there was the prosecutor and another man sitting, and I called for a pint of beer, and we had sixpennyworth of something, and he offered his own self, that if the girls would make the four guineas up before the trial came on, he would not appear against them, with that I said, I would go and speak to the girls, and I went to the girls where they were in the lock-up place in the King's Arms, and they said they could not do any such thing, they had no money, they were not guilty, and could not get any money.

Then it is not true that Robinson sent over to the Justice's, to ask whether he might take the money or not? - I do not know.

Court to Robinson. Was it at the Brown Bear , or the King's Arms, that he offered you the money? - It was at the Brown Bear .

ELIZABETH TAYLOR sworn.

I live in East Smithfield, just by Nightingale-Lane, in Wapping parish.

Do you live in Blackhorse-yard? - Yes.

Do you keep any shop there s - I keep a chandler's shop there.

Do you know the prosecutor of this indictment? - I have seen him before, I saw him on the Friday night, he said he was robbed.

Where did you first see him that night? - The first time that ever I saw him, was in my own shop, my shop was shut up, and I was just going to bed, I was putting on my night cap, it was a few minutes past eleven.

Court. Let an officer go out of Court with Smith, and mind, do not let him go away, he may be wanted again.

Elizabeth Taylor . The prosecutor pushed open the door and came in, I was putting on my night cap, says I, pray master what do you want here, says he, mistress, I am robbed, says I, pray master do not come here, nobody has robbed you here, here is nobody else lives here but me, and my children; says he, I was robbed at your door by a tall very remarkable woman, and a man; says he, I should know the woman if I was to see her among a thousand, says he, the woman is very remarkable indeed, she is quite a black complexioned woman, and her hair grows over her forehead all rough; says I, master, I know nothing of it, here is nobody here, and I ran round the counter, and shut the door too, and shut him out, and he went two or three doors by me, and he knocked at some doors, different doors, and he said he was robbed, I heard him say so when I was within; there was a farrier's shop opposite to my door, and he went over there, and kicked, and knocked, and I opened my door again, and said, good man, do not go there, there is nobody there but a parcel of men, that have been in bed three hours, then he went to a house were there was a very old man, and an old woman, and there he said, he was either robbed there, or at the chandler's shop door, then this old man told him he was not robbed there, the old man was in a passion with him, and he pulled off his shirt, and he beat the prosecutor.

What did Robinson do upon that? - The old man brought him to me again, with a candle in his hand, says he, Mrs. Taylor, this man says he is robbed, says I, do not bring a drunken man here, you know nobody could rob him here; this old man's name is West, and as we were talking in came Jenny Langley for a candle, and she says to me, Mrs. Taylor cut me a candle, I cut her down a candle, and this man, and the old man were at my door, and then Smith and his wife came into my shop at the same time, while Jane Langley was getting the candle, they were in my shop just before she came in for the candle, and I cut them a candle, and this man, the prosecutor, turns round to Langley, and said, I will go home with you my dear, but I have been robbed, I have no money but fourpence in the world.

Court. He made the first offer then? - Yes.

She did not ask him first? - No, he said he was robbed by a man and woman in the street, at this door, or some door nigh here; the prosecutor went with the young woman out of my shop, and I made answer to Smith and his wife, says I, I dare say that is some drunken bad man, now he will go and rob Jenny, now she has got a few things about her, and is a little tidy; says Smith, I will take care he shall not, for she is a quiet honest harmless girl, I will go and tell her as the man says he is robbed, to turn him out, and he bid his wife to stop in my shop the while, and Smith went, and when he came back, he said the man was standing at Jenny's door, and talking to her, and wanted to stay with her all night, and she said he should not, and shut the door, and shut him out, I know nothing further, this was on Friday night, and on the Monday I saw this man again.

Where is the old man? - He is in the country, hopping; Smith's wife and he came in together, while the prosecutor and the old man were quarrelling at the the door, then Jenny came in and asked me to cut her a candle.

Did you see Mary Finn that night at all? - No, not that night.

Do you know her? - I know her very well, I did not see her that night.

Did not Smith take a candle from your shop? - Yes, Smith took a candle from my shop and lighted it, and he had a quartern loaf and a quartern of cheese.

Do you remember his helping Robinson to look for the money that he had lost? - I do not know, I did not go there to look, I shut to my door after Smith went to Jenny, and Smith came in again, and told me that Jenny had turned the man out, he had a candle and lighted it, and went out of doors somewhere, and then came back to his wife, I was affraid and shut my door.

Did Smith help or offer to help him to look for it with the candle? - I don't know, he lighted the candle and went out after the prosecutor had gone home with Jenny Langley .

Was there anybody present but Smith and his wife, and the old man and the prosecutor? - Nobody else.

Did Smith and his wife leave your shop both together? - Yes, at the last they did.

How long was that after the prosecutor was gone? - I suppose four or five minutes after he went out with Jenny.

Did you hear him charge Jenny Langley with the robbery, while Smith was with you? - No, I did not, he said he was robbed, but he said he would go home with Jenny Langley , he said so to her, he said he would stay with her all night, but he had no money; and she told him he should not come, and he said he would; on the Monday I saw the man afterwards, Mary Finn and another young woman that lives next door but one to me, came for some coals, there is some steps go up into my shop, and as I was bringing up the coals, they sat upon the steps, and the prosecutor and another man came in, and he says to me, pray do you know one Mary Finn hereabouts, yes, says she, my name is Mary Finn ; says he, I was robbed somewhere about here last Friday night, and you may be one of them that did it for what I know; why says she, did you ever see me before, says she you would not say I robbed you, would you; says he, I will go and give charge of you now, if you do not give me some of my money back, says she, I never had any of your money, nor none I will give you, and if you have the impudence to go to a Justice, I will go with you, and he went to the Justices, and she with him.

Who was the man that was with him? - I do not know.

Was anybody else present at this conversation but you? - I do not know that there was.

Jury. When you was affraid that the prosecutor might use this young girl ill; Smith said he would care take he should not? - Yes.

And he would go along with the girl? - Yes.

He came and told you, the girl had turned the prosecutor out, and shut the door? - Yes, he went down on purpose.

Court. Call in Smith again.

Court to Smith. You say that the first you observed of the prosecutor was seeing him knock at the farrier's door opposite? - That was the first of my seeing him, I cannot recollect seeing him before, I then entered into conversation with him, and told him he had not been robbed there, then he came over and talked to me, at Mr. Taylor's door, he said it was a very tall woman, with a very dark complection, and her hair was very rough, and he put his hand to his head, and a man; and that he felt the woman's hand in his pocket.

When the conversation passed between you and the prosecutor, as you have told us, I think you say nobody was present but Mrs. Taylor? - Mrs. Taylor was at the door, but I do not remember any body else.

How long was it after the prosecutor went home with Langley, that you went afterwards there to light a candle? - I look upon it not to be above ten minutes.

Where had you staid then? - I was standing talking to Mrs. Taylor.

When you went to Jenny Langley's to light your candle, where did you find the prosecutor and her? - He was sitting at a table or a stool in her appartment; I left them in the room together, but as I crossed over the way, I saw him go away.

If Jenny Langley, as you say, was no acquaintance of your's, how came you to go to her apartment? - I went to light my candle.

Had you any other business there, or did you go there for any other purpose than to light your candle? - I did not so help me God.

Positively? - Positively I did not.

Mrs. Taylor keeps a chandlers shop? - Yes.

Pray did you buy any bacon and eggs at her shop that night? - I cannot rightly say whether I did or not.

Did you go to Mrs. Taylor's shop after you had been to light your candle at Langley's? - No, I did not, I went home directly and went to bed.

Then if you bought any things there, it must be before? - Yes, it must, for I went home directly, and went to bed.

Are you a married man? - Yes.

Was your wife at home? - Yes.

Was she at home all that evening? - She is seldom at home till it is lateish.

What time did she come home that evening? - I cannot tell rightly, about ten o'clock.

Was she alarmed at this, did she come out upon the occasion? - I cannot rightly remember, but I went home and went to bed.

She was at home when you went home from Langley's to go to bed? - Yes.

Court to Jury. Gentlemen, I fancy I need not go any further in this cross-examination, I dare say you are very well satisfied? - Yes, my Lord.

MARY JONES sworn.

On Friday night my husband and me were in bed.

Court. Before you give your evidence, hear what I have to say to you; be cautious what you say, I have two other witnesses that have been examined before, you have not heard their examination, they have contradicted each other very materially; I wish to save you from the guilt of perjury: I have ordered them to be detained in Court, with an intention of committing them to Newgate for perjury, if the Jury does not believe their evidence, and if you should give an evidence that the Jury should not believe, you will share the same fate; now, with that caution, if you wish to be examined, it is upon your own head.

Mr. Jones. I shall speak nothing but truth; on Friday night about a quarter after 11; I was in bed and asleep, and my husband likewise, and some person knocked at the door, I asked who was there, and the man said he was a friend, and I immediately asked him what he wanted; he said to come in doors; my husband asked him what he wanted; he said no more; he went to the next door to Mr. West's, who is an elderly old gentleman, and his wife is old, and she spins; he knocked at the door and begged for a bit of candle, and they gave him a bit, and he came to my door again with a light in his hand, and I said to my husband, get out and see what the gentleman wants, and he got out in his shirt, and I got out in my shift, and stood behind the door, and my husband said, friend what is that you want, and he said he had been robbed, and my husband said, friend, was you robbed here, and he looked about a bit, and he said no, he was not; he went away, and I shut the door and went to bed, and I know no farther.

Were you at the Brown Bear when Smith was there with the prosecutor Robinson? - No, Sir, I was at the King's Arms.

THOMAS COSSUM sworn.

I live in Mountague-street, White-Chapel; I am a housekeeper, I am a tambour worker; I have known the prisoner Langley ever since the expiration of her apprenticeship, that was in 1777, she has worked with me three different times; I have trusted her with every thing I had, and she behaved honest and just.

Prisoner Finn. Ask the prosecutor if he did not pawn his watch that night to sleep with a girl three doors from me.

Prosecutor. I have not had a watch for these fifteen or sixteen years, and more than that I slept at home that night.

JANE LANGLEY , GUILTY, Of stealing, but not privately.

MARY FINN , GUILTY, Of stealing, but not privately .

Court. In the first place let the officers take Smith and Taylor into custody, and commit them to Newgate.

Court to Prisoner. Now as to you prisoners, I think it right that these persons who have been the hearers of your defence, and of your trial, should also be the hearers of your sentence, for this Court has always made it a rule, wherever they detect persons committing the crime of perjury in order to clear prisoners, to punish those prisoners who set up such defences in the severest manner; had you been convicted of this offence unaggravated with the crime of perjury, the Court would probably have thought, that whipping each of you, with six, or at most twelve months confinement in the house of correction, would have been a sufficient punishment of your offence, but the Court consider your perjured defence, in which opinion I must entirely concur with the Jury, so great an aggravation of your guilt, that the Court must pass an additional punishment upon you; therefore the sentence of the Court is, that you and each of you be transported beyond the seas for the term of seven years to such place or places as his Majesty, by the advice of his Privy Councel shall think fit to declare and appoint .

Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. RECORDER.