Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 22 February 2018), February 1792, trial of CHARLES WILTSHIRE JAMES GILLTHORPE (t17920215-6).

CHARLES WILTSHIRE, JAMES GILLTHORPE, Violent Theft > highway robbery, 15th February 1792.

112. CHARLES WILTSHIRE and JAMES GILLTHORPE were indicted for feloniously making an assault, on the King's highway, on the 26th of January , on Jenny Rattray , spinster , and putting her in fear, and feloniously stealing from her person, and against her will, two pair of calico mitts, value 2 s. seventy pair of calico mits unmade, value 58 s. one silk petticoat, value 5 s. one silk cloak, value 5 s. a cloth cloak, value 10 s. a muslin handkerchief, value 12 d. a cotton handkerchief, value 12 d. a pair of cotton stockings, value 12 d. a cloth housewife, value 6 d. and three ounces of sewing silk, value 12 d. the goods of the said Jenny Rattray .


On the 26th of last month, Thursday evening, three weeks last Thursday, at seven o'clock, I was going home; about the middle of the new cut from Ratcliff-highway to Whitechapel , three men stopped me, and told me I was drunk; I pulled myself away from them, and walked rather better than a dozen yards; they came after me again, and demanded the bundle; I refused to give it them, but they insisted upon it; one of them took my bundle, and another one took my cloak; a third stood at my right-hand, and presented a pistol, and told me, if I spoke a word, he would blow my brains out, and then desired me to be gone; I have nothing more to say.

Did you know their persons? - I did two out of the three; it was star-light; I had never seen them before; there were lamps opposite, not on the same side of the way; I was a good deal alarmed; I saw one the next morning, and I swore to him at the office; I was sent for to go there; I knew him directly; it is the furthest off, Wiltshire.

Are you sure you was so much mistress of yourself as to observe him? - I was; he did not take the bundle; he stood with the pistol at my right-hand, opposite; he put the mouth of the pistol to my cheek, it touched it.

You was very much alarmed? - I was.

Did you see the face of the other? - I did; it was Gillthorpe, I am sure; he took the bundle; he was close to me.

How long did this last? - Not above ten minutes; I begged for them not to take my bundle; they swore they would have it; I don't know justly who it was: after they had taken my bundle, I went into the Rose and Crown, at the bottom of the road, and gave an alarm that I had been robbed, and described the men; when somebody went to the office, and gave the information immediately, and I went to the office the next morning; they were dressed the same as on the night before; I had never seen them before that night; they took nothing more than the bundle, and the cloaks; they did not offer to search my pockets.

Mr. Garrow, Counsel for Wiltshire. You have told us very fairly that you had never seen the people before; and that you was, as every body in your circumstances must have been, very much alarmed? - I was.

Before you went to the office, you had been apprised that the officers had taken somebody that was suspected? - I was.

Gillthorpe's Counsel. When was it you saw Gillthorpe after the robbery? - A fortnight and a day.

You said you had never seen the prisoners before; Gillthorpe was not taken up by your description, I believe? - I don't know that.

You saw him in custody, but not taken up by your description? - I cannot say that.

It was a very dark night, I believe? - Not very dark.

There was no moon? - It was star-light, and there was a lamp opposite; I am very sure they are the men.

You was very much frightened, you have said? - I was not frightened before the pistol came; but, by being stopped twice, I had an opportunity of looking at them more.


I am an officer at the public-office, East-Smithfield: the night of this robbery I went to an iron-shop, in Back-lane, between eight and nine, and apprehended the prisoner Wiltshire; he then had a blue jacket on; I searched him; there was a horse-pistol found inside his jacket, loaded with shot; I found a duplicate of two cloaks, at the shop of Mr. Windsor, in the Minories, pledged the same night; and in his waistcoat-pocket some shot, a flint, and a head of a pipe; I secured them in the watch-house that night; I have the duplicate; Bare has got the pistol.

JOHN BALL sworn.

I am a servant to Mr. William Windsor , Minories; I produce a red cloak, and a silk one; I took them both in on Thursday, the 26th of January, about a quarter past eight, of Charles Wiltshire ; nobody was with him; I never saw him before that night; I am certain he is the man; and the duplicate is my writing, in the name of Charles Williams .


I am an officer; I was in company with Mr. Mayne; we apprehended Wiltshire,and found the pistol under his jacket; Mayne found a duplicate.

(The pistol produced.)


I am headborough; I, in company with Whiteway, apprehended Gillthorpe: I found two pair of mittens in the possession of one Hart, who is here.


I live in St. Catharine's; I deal in watches and things, and mend watches; I have lived there these thirty years; I have five children: a man came to me, he is the prisoner Gillthorpe, and brought me on Friday three weeks last, in the morning, and called me by name, Mr. Hart, I have found something, I have picked it up on Tower-hill, some mittens; he asked me eighteen-pence for them; I offered him a shilling, and a quartern of gin; I sold the gloves in Petticoat-lane, to one Levy; I am sure the mits and handkerchief are the same.

Jenny Rattray . This robbery was committed on the 26th, on a Friday, three weeks ago last Friday. (A pistol produced.) This is the kind of pistol. (Deposed to the mits.) I know them by my work, and a needle left in one of them.

(Deposes to the silk cloak by the lace, and having made it herself.)

(The prisoner Wiltshire called four witnesses, who gave him a good character.)

(Prisoner Gillthorpe called three witnesses, who gave him a good character.)

Court to Mrs. Rattray. How were the prisoners dressed? - In a blue jacket Wiltshire was, and the other as he is now.


GUILTY , Death .

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

Mr. Sheriff Anderson ordered the pistol of Wiltshire to be delivered to him, to prevent its falling into improper hands; which the runner, Joseph Bare , with the utmost effrontery, refused; upon which the Court reprimanded him, and ordered him to deliver it.