Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 27 November 2021), September 1788, trial of JOSEPH TAYLOR (t17880910-25).

JOSEPH TAYLOR, Theft > burglary, 10th September 1788.

521. JOSEPH TAYLOR was indicted for burglariously and feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of John Hunt , about the hour of ten of the night, of the 12th of August last, and burglariously stealing therein, a pair of women's stays, value 30 s. two silk gowns, value 7 l. two pair of sattin breeches, value 30 s. a sattin waistcoat, value 10 s. a cotton waistcoat, value 5 s. seven curtains, value 32 s. a sheet, value 3 s. seven towels, value 3 s. two curtains, value 6 s. eight valences, value 4 s. a pair of snuffers, value 1 s. 6 d. a looking-glass, value 5 s. two bed quilts, value 47 s. four napkins, value 5 s. seven yards of linen, value 10 s. a japanned tea-board, value 9 d. a linen dressing-cloth, value 1 s. three yards of callico, value 3 s. six pictures, value 6 s. his property.

JOHN HUNT sworn.

I live in New-Ratcliffe-row, St. Luke's ; I am an oil and colour man by trade; on the 12th of August my house was broke open; I fastened it myself at nine; I fastened the whole, and particularly the front door; I bolted and chained it; the back door was left on the double lock; there is a garden before my house, and a garden behind it; I went out at nine and left nobody in the house; my family consists only of my wife and myself; I did not return till the next morning about six; when I returned I found the front gate of the garden open; the box that received the bolt of the lock was broke off, and the wash-house door was left open; then I went in, and did not perceive any thing; but when I went up stairs, I found both the room doors open; the back door of my house was broke open by force; it is a spring lock; it has grazed all the way as it went; I am positive I double locked that door over-night; that door was shut in the morning; it was pulled too, but it had not received into the place where the bolt should have gone again; I went up stairs, and the first thing that I saw, was, a many things thrown about the rooms, such as remnants of linen, and a number of things; and I found two boxes and a chest of drawers broke open, and a great many things gone; my wife examined, and missed the things mentioned in the indictment.

Do you live in that house? - Yes, sometimes I come to town and stay all night, and some times I sleep there; I knew nothingof the prisoner, only from description.

Mr. Knowyls Prisoner's Counsel. Where is your shop? - I have no shop at all.

Do you carry on any business in this house? - No, that is the house that we constantly reside in.

But is not your constant residence in town, and not there? - No.

Have you any beds in this house? - I have no bed, only such a bed as we make shift to lie on.

Court. Do you ever sleep there? - Yes.

Your wife and you? - Yes.

How often? - We used to sleep constantly there till within a few weeks back; but at this time we did not sleep constantly; we were intending to go there fully and wholly, and leave town entirely; this house has been built about three years; I left it at nine, and did not see it till six.

JOHN RAY sworn.

I know this house of Mr. Hunt's in New-Ratcliffe-row; I was there the 12th of August, in the evening, about half after eight; I staid there till near ten; I observed two men lurking about from half eight till near ten; the prisoner is one of them; I told Mr. Hunt of this; the first of my seeing them, I was coming home from my work, from Mr. Adams's in St. Ann's-lane.

Mr. Knowlys. What are you? - A buckle maker.

Where do you live? - In Ratcliffe-row; I saw these two men looking through Mr. Hunt's paling; one of them looked at a ditch, and said, I fancy it is something to let water out of the gardens; I did not take any notice of them; I went home to my wife and fetched her a pail of water, in going, I saw these two men again, and coming back, I saw them coming back; I fetched another pail, and saw the two men again; after supper I went out again, and heard something snap; I thought it was some bar of some window; I looked at the bars of Mr. Hunt's windows, and saw them safe; I came in again, and looked round the front of the house, and saw nothing misplaced; I could see the back of the house; I went into my own habitation, and saw no more.

Mr. Knowlys. You know the prisoner lives just upon the spot? - I do not know it.

How long have you been acquainted with Mr. Redgrave? - No time at all; I have seen him several times, not to be acquainted with him; I may have known him for these twelve months as near as I can guess.

You have been a good deal with him since this matter? - No, Sir.

Why you came with him to day? - I have been with him to day; he did not pay my reckoning; I have seen the other runner.


I am a constable; Mr. Hunt informed Mr. Redgrave and me, that his house had been broke open, in consequence of that information, we went to Taylor's lodgings, and there we found him in bed with his girl; I think it was on Wednesday, the 20th; he asked us what we wanted; we did not tell him at first; we told him in some few minutes after; Mr. Hunt saw a pair of snuffers on the table, and he told us to take them, and a tea-board, and the prisoner said, a girl brought them there, and five hand towels, and a picklock-key, and some crucibles.

(The towels produced.)

Mr. Knowlys, Prisoner's Counsel. You did not go to Taylor's house till the 20th? - No.

You had the information on the 12th? - Yes, as to the snuffers, I think Taylor said, he had had them six months; it was the second time I found the picklock key.

Then Taylor had been in custody the day before? - Yes.


I went with the last witness and Mr. Hunt to the prisoner's lodgings; the prisonerwas in bed; he got up and let us in doors in his shirt; I found this tea-board and a pair of snuffers; Mr. Hunt desired us to take care of these snuffers.

(The snuffers deposed to)

Mr. Hunt. These are my snuffers, and this is my tea-board; they were both in my house the day of the robbery; I cannot speak to the linen.

Mr. Knowlys. What do you know the snuffers by? - By some particular spots of rust at the point, and on the box, and under the screw; I am positive these are my snuffers, and were in my house that afternoon.

Upon your oath had not you pawned these snuffers before your house was broke open; I had, and that very afternoon fetched them home; I am positive of that.

Do you know a Mrs. Sarah Nurse ? - I do.

Is she a servant of your's? - No, she was at work for my brother's wife; she was taken up on suspicion.

Will you positively say, you had not pawned these snuffers, and that they were not in pawn the day your house was broke open? - I say, that positively they were pawned, and were fetched out that afternoon by a brother of mine who is here.

When you saw that waiter the first time, did you venture to assert positively that it was your property? - I was clear it was my property; the prisoner asked me if I would swear to it; I said it was; but I should not swear to it; I did not say, that I did not know whether it was my property, but I could fetch those that were sure; my wife did not know it; she did not take it in her hand; I identified it before ever I came to the justices or the office.

Did not you say you had doubts yourself, but would fetch those that did know it? - I did not say those words, I never had any doubt.

Court. Have you any doubt how? - None at all, it is a thing that we have had in our house these ten years.

Mr. Knowlys to Brockney. You were present at the time this tea-board was found, did not Hunt say so? - Hunt never said any such thing.

His wife, however, did not know the waiter? - I believe she might say so, I do not know whether she did look at it or not.

Mrs. HUNT sworn.

Do you know these towels? - Yes.

Whose property are they? - They are mine, they were in my house the night of the robbery, I am very sure of it; part of them has been dirtied since they were taken, but I will swear they are my towels; the snuffers are my property, the waiter is my property; the reason why I said otherwise was, I just cest my eye upon it and it was bent down; and here is another mark here which I will swear to.

Prisoner. I told them to search every where; they found this waiter; the magistrate held this waiter to Mrs. Hunt, she said it was not her property; then Mr. Hunt said, if you will not swear to it I will.


I am a washer-woman.

Look at these towels; have you any knowledge of these towels? - Yes, I have washed them.

Are you sure of that? - Yes.

Do you know them perfectly? - Yes, but not by any particular mark; I know I have washed them; I have seen them before; I have washed them upwards of four months.

Have you any perfect memory of them? - Yes.

Now whose property are they? - Mrs. Pocklington's.

Mr. Silvester. Who is Mrs. Pocklington? - Here she is.

What is she? - A woman that I chaired for a long time, she did live with a baker.

What was his name? - William Rule .

Does she go by that name only or some other name? - She went by no other name but her own name.

Does not she go by the name of Perdue? - I never knew her by any other name than Pocklington.

Where did she live? - In Golden-lane.

Do you know the prisoner? - Yes.

Did not they live together, now upon your oath? - Yes.

GUILTY, Death .

Jury. We wish to recommend this prisoner to mercy, as it is a very nice case.

Court. Make a memorandum that the Jury recommended him, being a very nice case.

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