Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 01 December 2021), September 1788, trial of ROBERT GUY JAMES DAWSON ROBERT FENVELL (t17880910-22).

ROBERT GUY, JAMES DAWSON, ROBERT FENVELL, Theft > animal theft, 10th September 1788.

518. ROBERT GUY , JAMES DAWSON , and ROBERT FENVELL , were indicted for feloniously stealing on the 23d of July a Gelding, price 10 l. the property of Thomas Hill .


I live at Pinner, in the parish of Harrow; I lost a horse either the 22d or the 23d of July; the horse was put into the field in the evening, and he was missing the next morning; I was twenty miles from home.

What sort of a gelding was it? - A brown bay gelding; we call him a bay gelding, but he is rather of a brownish colour, about fourteen hands three inches high, as near as I can tell; three years old at most, bald-faced, and either two white feet behind or one I cannot be certain; he was taken on the Wednesday, and I had him again on the Saturday; I found him at Paddington, in the custody of a man whose name is Kettle; I think it is the White Lion, but he has been sent for by order of the magistrate.


I live with Mr. Daniel Hill, a son of the last witness; I turned the horse out the 22d into a field of my master's, about seven in the evening, I missed it the next morning about ten; the road was just by the field.

Were the gates fast? - I cannot say; it is just by a school; I shut the gate after I had put the horse in.

Are there more gates than one? - I cannot particularly say, because the boarders very often throw it open; I went home and told my mistress; she sent me away after it, and there was another long tailed grey colt got away along with it, and I found the grey colt about three in the afternoon in my master's field; I heard of the gelding on the Wednesday; I was looking about after it; I came home and heard how such a thing was taken in Paddington; I knew the gelding when I saw it.

The witnesses were here examined separate, by the prisoner's desire.


These three young men passed us about half after three in the morning; I work for Mr. Carter, a cow-keeper, three miles from Paddington; there were two on the bay gelding, that was Dawson and Guy; we had been milking, and the three men met us; Mr. Hill's horse took fright; my fellow servant said he wished some Irishmen would come by, and drink out of the pails; one of these young men said, I wish you would give us a drop; and my fellow servant said, if it is not worth coming for, it is not worth having; but they did not turn then, they kept on.

It was not light then? - Yes, it was just light.

You had never seen them before? - Never, to my knowledge.

Can you take upon yourself to swear to these three young men, from that cursory view? - Yes, I can.

Did you give information of this? - No.

Did you observe the gelding? - It had a long tail; I cannot particularly say it had a white face.

Court to prosecutor. Had your gelding a long tail? - Middling; it was what we call a longish swish tail.

Is that the tail you mean? - Yes.

Prisoner. Did you see us turn these horses up? - No.

Did you see us take these horses? - No.


I am a milkman; I was with Fenning; we were pitching our milk out of the field into the road, and these men came by us; and whether my fellow servant asked them to have any milk, or they asked him, I cannot say; there were two men on the first horse, that was Dawson and Guy; it was a bay gelding with a long tail; I cannot tell the face, it was rather before it was light; the other prisoner was on a black horse; I had a son as big as myself; I said, they are thieves; how do you know that, said my son; let them alone, and let them go about their business.

How do you undertake to swear to their faces, if you could not see the bald faced horse? - I was nigh the man, and could see the colour of the horse.

You said it was not light enough for you to see the colour of the horse's face? - I did not take notice of it; the horse was found at Mr. Kettle's.


In the morning, just before four, I was alarmed by my dog; I looked forward, and saw two of the prisoners leading away an ass belonging to a servant of mine; it was the prisoners Fenvell and Dawson; they told me it belonged to them; I told them I would let them know that; they immediately slipt the halter, and turned it loose; I dressed myself and followed them.

Had they any horses with them at that time? - They had not; they had turned the horses loose on the green opposite to my house.

What horses were they? - A bay horse and a black one; I followed them immediately down the green; then they were got into Black Lion Lane, and I called watchman to come along with me; I said I believed they were thieves; I took hold of Fenvell and said, you villain, you was going to steal the ass; he said he was not; says I, I believe you to be three thieves, I will see what you have got; immediately I pulled a horse-cloth from him, and it fell on the ground with some poultry in it, I believe six or seven fowls, and a shoulder of mutton, and they were taken; the horses were on the green facing my house; I never saw them with the horses.


They brought these three men to me, and I put them in the round-house; and I went to the common, and put the two horses in Paddington pound; Mr. Hill came and swore to his horse at the justice's door.

Court to Birch. Do you know the horse that Hill came and swore to; was that one of the horses that was on the green? - Yes it was.

Prisoner Dawson. We know nothing of the horses, nor never saw them.


Tried by the first Middlesex jury before Mr. BARON HOTHAM .