Break in at the Dwelling House of Christoper Matthews 1799

This court case involves Christopher Matthews who testifies about the break in to his premises in 1799. To return to the Matthews family page click here.

JOSEPH SEDGLEY, theft : burglary, 3rd April, 1799.

The Proceedings of the Old Bailey Ref: t17990403-21

JOSEPH SEDGLEY was indicted for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Christopher Matthews , about the hour of one, in the night of the 7th of March, and burglariously stealing two wooden drawers, value 1s. 168 pieces of copper money, called penny-pieces, 474 halfpence, and 30 farthings, the property of the said Christopher .

(The case was opened by Mr. Knowlys.)

CHRISTOPHER MATTHEWS sworn. – Examined by Mr. Knowlys. I am a butcher, I live at No. 60, Aldgate High-street: On the 7th of March, I was the last person up in the house, I went to bed about ten, my premises were then all safe locked up; I was the first up in the house, I went to bed about ten, my premises were then all safe locked up; I was the first up in the morning, I got up about six o’clock, I found that the tiling had been taken off the slaughter-house; the slaughter-house and the shop is all in one, under the same roof that my house is; I missed a great number of penny-pieces, halfpence, and farthings; I suspected the lad at the bar, and I took him to the officers, with a neighbour or two; I apprehended him in his father’s house, about eleven o’clock on Saturday morning the 9th.

Q. When you took him; what passed between you? – A. I did not ask him any questions; he said, when I came up to him, stop, I know what you want, I want to go back for my hat.

Mr. Knapp. Q. Had you said nothing to him before that? – A. No, nothing at all.

Mr. Knowlys. Q. How far is his father’s house from your’s? – A. A very little way, it is in Arrow-alley; we met Mr. Griffiths in Alie-street, and delivered him up to him; I was present when he was searched, I found upon him some halfpence tied up in a handkerchief.

Q. Did you count them? – A. No, I did not; we found two-pence more in his waistcoat pocket, which, he said, was not mine; that was the very expression he made use of.

Q. What quantity of halfpence did you lose altogether? – A. Somewhere about two pounds, in halfpence, farthings, and penny pieces.

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley. Q. You do not mean to swear to the quantity of halfpence? – A. No.

Q. This lad lived with his father up to the time he was apprehended? – A. Yes.

Q. Do you know how old this unfortunate lad is? – A. I believe he is about fifteen.

See original Q. The time that you apprehended him at his father’s house, was two days after this had taken place? – A.Yes.

Q. Therefore, if he had been so minded, there was plenty of time for him to have gone any where else? – A. Yes.

Q. You were not present when any conversation took place between the officers and the boy? – A. No.

Q. Have you heard that there is a forty pounds reward for burglary? – A. Yes.

RICHARD OSMOND sworn. – Examined by Mr. Knowlys. Griffiths delivered the prisoner into my custody. (The witness ordered to withdraw).

JOHN GRIFFITHS sworn. – Examined by Mr. Knowlys. I am an officer; the prisoner was delivered to me by Mr. Matthews and another neighbour; I was going out, and I delivered him into the hands of Osmond; I returned, and went into the room where they were; I believe Smith was not there at that time.

Q. Before you relate any thing that the prisoner said, did you, or any body in your hearing, tell him it would be better for him to confess, or worse if he did not? – A. No.

Mr. Knapp. Q. What Osmond might say to him when you were not there, you do not know? – A. No.(Osmond called in again).

Osmond. I found upon the prisoner this parcel of halfpence and penny pieces.

Q. Did you say any thing to him to persuade him to tell every thing that he knew about it, or make him any promise of favour? – A. No, nor any body else in my hearing.

Q. Do you remember such an expression as this- tell us what you know about it, and save yourself from being hanged? – A. No, there was nothing of the kind. After that I found two-pence in his waistcoat pocket, and he said it did not belong to Mr. Matthews: Griffiths said, there were more halfpence missing; and he said, if they would send for his father, he would tell them; then he said that they were hid under a stone in his father’s yard; Griffiths and another went there, and after they were gone, he said he had missed telling them of the drawers which were under the cellar stairs, and then Smith went after them; when Griffiths came back, he said something which I did not hear.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. He referred you to his father’s house, and to his father, for the rest of the things that you had not found upon him? – A. Yes.

Q. His father was at home? – A. Yes.

Q. Therefore, whether his father might not have given him these things, you cannot swear? – A. I cannot.

Q. And every thing that was found by his reference to his father’s house, were found in his father’s house? – A. Yes; his mother told him he had better tell the truth, while Griffiths was gone.

EDWARD SMITH sworn. – Examined by Mr. Knowlys. I found these two drawers by the direction of the prisoner under the coal box in his father’s cellar; I found them exactly where he had directed me.

Cross-examined by Mr. Knapp. Q. He gave you directions where to find them; but whether he had put them there, or whether his father or any body else had put them there, you cannot tell? – A. No.

JOHN GRIFFITHS sworn. – Examined by Mr. Knowlys. – I am one of the Police-officers, (produces some money); I found it at his father’s house under a stone in the ground; the prisoner told me it was hid there; I asked him who was with him in the robbery of Mr. Matthews, and he said, no person but himself.

Matthews. These are my drawers, I have tried them, and they fit exactly.

The prisoner called seven witnesses, who gave him a good character.

GUILTY Death . (Aged 15.)

The prisoner was recommended to his Majesty’s mercy by the Jury and the prosecutor, on account of his youth
Tried by the London Jury, before Mr. Baron HOTHAM.