Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 01 December 2021), January 1787, trial of JOHN CRAMPTON (t17870110-69).

JOHN CRAMPTON, Theft > theft from a specified place, 10th January 1787.

228. JOHN CRAMPTON was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 26th of August, 1785 , twenty-one guineas, the monies of Stephen Truste , in the dwelling house of Edward Chillingworth .

Mr. Garrow, Counsel for the Prosecution.

Mr. Knowlys, Counsel for the Prisoner.


I am a cordwainer ; I live in Bell-lane, Spitalfields; on the 26th of August, 1785, I was in Moorfields; I was consulting which of my sons I should visit; one lived in Bishopsgate Without, and the other in Bishopsgate Within; and the prisoner at the bar came up to me; Sir, says he, how does the weaving business go on? says I, I am no weaver, I make children's shoes; says he, do you buy any leather? no, says I, I am too old, but my son may; says he, I have a relation that has a great quantity to sell; says he, which is the way to Hog-lane; I took him to be a gentleman; says he, I am going to receive fifty pounds for rent; says I, I wish you may get it; so then we jogged along till we came to Horshoe-alley; I was withinside the alley, and he was without; so he picked up something; Lord bless me! says he, I wonder who has dropped this; says I, I wish the right owner had it, youhad better advertise it; no, no, no, no, says he, do not say a word, you shall have half; very well, says I, if I am to have half; so we went to the Blue Boar; that is the house that Chillingworth keeps, and had threepenny-worth of gin and water; so he says, I will look at it; and see what it is; so he opened the purse, and there was a paper; says he, can you read this? no, says I, not without my spectacles; says he, if you can muster me up sixty pounds; and I looked round about me, and I thought I saw a shadow; that was his mate; so, he says to him, will you be so good, as to read this to the gentleman? so, the other gentleman said, you offer this gentleman sixty pounds, you ought to give him a hundred; so, I goes home like a fool as I was to fetch this money; his companion went with me, and came back with me; when I brought this money back, I sat down, and he said, Sir, have you brought the money; oh, yes, says I, I have; so I put my money down, I did not care to part with it; so I held it in my hand, and he snatched it out; so says he, I will go to Mr. Moore's; so says he, if you will call upon me, I will deliver it out; says he, you come to the Pied Horse, next door, to Mr. Moore's, there I shall receive ninety odd pounds, and I will make that up an hundred pounds, and return you your money back again.

Did you give it him, or did he snatch it out of your hand without your consent? - He snatched it without my consent.

And he kept it I believe? - I believe he did.

How much was the receipt for? - It was for two hundred and fifty pounds for a diamond ring.

Are you sure the prisoner is the man? - Why he knows me; and I have seen him before in Hartshorn-street, Golden-lane, at an ale-house; I am sure he is the man; I had an hundred hand-bills printed; there was five guineas for taking, and five guineas on conviction.

Did you describe his person? - Yes, in the papers; he was not taken till lately.

Mr. Knowlys. Now, old gentleman, you will consider this man's life is at stake, and do not treat it ludicrously; I think, first of all, upon some person's picking up a ring, you agreed to take half, and cheat the right owner? - I never mentioned the half at all.

Did not you consent that it should not be advertised, and you would take half the money to keep it from the right owner? - No, I consented to have it advertised.

That was the first proposal? - Aye, and the last too.

Did not you go home to fetch money to purchase your part of the ring, now? - That is upon the account; because he said, I will give you an hundred pounds.

Then you consented to receive the hundred pounds as half the share of this ring, which you knew did not belong to you? - Yes.

Nor to the man that made the proposal to you? - No.

You state this to be above a year ago? - Yes, a year and four or five months.

Then from last August was a twelvemonth, to pretty nearly this time, you never saw that man again, whoever he was, that brought the ring to you? - No, nor never till he was taken.

That makes sixteen or seventeen months? - Yes.

To read this writing and the receipt it was necessary you should put on your spectacles? - To be sure it was, my eye sight is not so quick to read small print; but I can see pretty well.

I ask you, Sir, upon your oath, whether you have always been as sure of that man as you are now? - I have been.

Who was the constable that took him up first? - Ward and Smith took the man together, and brought him to me; I saw him there.

I ask you, upon your oath, Sir, whether you did not say, that was not the man that had done you the injury? - No, no such a word.

Will you stick to that? - Yes.

When he was taken before the Magistrate did you swear positively to him then? - I did.

Without hesitation as you have done now? - Yes, I swore to him then as I have done now.

How many conversations have you had about this man with Smith before you went to the Magistrate? - Why he had my papers to take him whenever he found him.

Has Smith never told you that it would be a good thing to swear to this man, that something would come of it? - I do not care for that at all; I have been acquainted with Smith a good many years.

What office does he attend? - Oh, God Almighty knows.


I live in Moorfields, I am a taylor, near the corner of Horse-shoe-alley; I know the prisoner very well; I have known him about the town for some years.

Have you known him about that quarter of the town? - I have seen him there very frequently; I remember seeing him about the 26th of August, 1785; he was along with the prosecutor; I was at my door; they passed me; I saw the prisoner stoop and pick up something, which I judged to be a purse; they went together down the alley; I am sure as to the persons of both of them; I saw the prosecutor three days after, says I, what was you doing with that man? says he, I have been robbed of twenty-two guineas; says I, you old fool, you ought to be taken and horsewhipped.

Are you sure that is the man you saw stoop? - I saw the old man stoop to him and say, what have you got, what have you got? My house is in the middle of Moorfields; they were going towards St. Luke's, on the right hand.

Mr. Garrow. Were they going towards Chillingworth's? - Yes.


I keep the the Blue Bell in Horse-shoe-alley, Moorfields ; the prisoner at the bar, and Mr. Truste, and a young man came to my house, and went into the parlour; I was not at home at first; I saw them there when I came in; I served them with a glass of gin; they had two or three threepenny-worths of gin and water; the old man and the prisoner went away; and the young man was left behind; then the young man and the prisoner went out and left the old man; then the old man came out and paid the reckoning; and I have not seen the prisoner from that time till he was taken up; as soon as I saw him he came to my mind again; I have no doubt but he is the person that was at my house.

Mr. Knowlys. The prosecutor made no complaint when the other men went away and left him at your house? - No.

Had you ever seen the prisoner before? - No, not to my knowledge.

You have not seen him these sixteen months? - No.

STEP. TRUSTE , the younger, sworn.

I am son of the prosecutor; I remember my father coming to my house the 25th of August, 1785, and said he had been robbed; that was after he left these people; my other brother went to Mr. Chillingworth's; I was present with the prisoner, when he was apprehended, on the 3d of this month, he was brought to my house; two men brought him, and brought a paper, and said, they had found one of the men; I looked at the man, says I, very well, come in; I put them all backwards; I went backwards, and he says to me, pray be merciful to me, Sir, I will give you a guinea a month; he said again to me, pray be merciful to me, and take my note of hand; I said, I know nothing of you, my friend; stay till my father comes; when my father came, I took him backwards, and said, be sure, is that the man, be sure; he looked at him again, and said, I am sure that is the man; he is not so fat as he was when he robbed me of my money; then he said again, Mr. Truste, be merciful to me; he said, I shall do nothing but take you to the officer.

Court. When was this bill printed? - I cannot take upon me to say.

How did you know the man's name? - By my father telling me; I never saw the man in my life till then.

Court to Prosecutor. Did you give the directions for the advertisement? - Yes.

Who did that advertisement describe? - John Crampton ; he went by the name of jockey John Crampton ; one told me his name; I believe he is here; William Smith told me his name by the description.

Was this advertisement a true description of the man that took the money from you? - Yes. (Reads.)

"A middle

"size man, a fair complexion, a round

"belly, a cut on the upper lip."

Prosecutor. He was fairer then than he is now; he was clean and smart, and like a gentleman; his belly would make two of that.

Prisoner. I have a cut on my cheek; I fancy it was the fear that put that handbill in his head.


I went with my father to the alehouse, in August, 1785; he took nothing with him but the ring.

Did he take any money with him? - Not that I saw; it was after he had lost his money.

Prisoner. That old gentleman's son was hanged for returning from transportation; his character is very well known.


I am a constable belonging to Union-hall, in the Borough; one Joseph Ward apprehended the prisoner on the 3d of this month; about five in the evening; I am a distant relation to Truste; I knew the prisoner; and he says to me, Will, for God's sake, do the best you can; I will pay it at a guinea a month; I had a deal of talk with the old man about the handbill; he told me, he had been robbed of twenty-one guineas, by Jockey Crampton; he knew his name very well, and described his person.

Court. Did you assist in drawing up this advertisement, describing his person? - No.

( Joseph Ward called.)

Court to Smith. Read that bill, is the prisoner a fair complexioned man? - I do not know.

Cannot you see? - Yes, I can.

I ask you if there was no name to it, should you have know this? - He is not a fair complexioned man.

Court to Prosecutor. How did you know this man's name? - After I lost my money; I went to this William Smith ; I described the man; he said, he would pick him out, for it was jockey John Crampton .

But he swears directly contrary, he swears that you told him the name? - He told me indeed.

Court to Robert. How soon was it after you saw the prosecutor go past you with the man who picked something up, that you had any talk with him? - About three days; it was before the handbills were published.

Are you sure it was the prisoner? - Yes, I knew him perfectly well; there were two or more with him and I saw the young fellow slip by, and put something down; one was a thinnish, youngish man, like a countryman; the other was a middle size blackish man, like a countryman.


My Lord, the day I was apprehended, I was drinking with Ward; and I had been with Mr. Smith several times drinking, and I met him once on Black-friar's-bridge; it is amazing they should never mention this before; I went willingly with Ward to the prosecutor's son; and the prosecutor was sent for; and he several times said, I was not the man.

The prisoner called one witness who gave him a good character.

GUILTY , Death .

Tried by the second Middlesex Jury before Mr. RECORDER.