Documents relating to Samuel Hall



The following documents mention the burglary of Samuel Hall and his wife



Burglary at Southowram

James Hainsworth and James Price were charged with having feloniously and burglariously broken and entered the dwelling house of Samuel Hall of Southowram and stolen therefrom two five pound notes, five sovereigns, some silver, a quantity of shalloon and other goods the property of the said Samuel Hall.

Mr Baines and Mr Wortley appeared for the prosecution. Mr Stansfield defended the prisoner, Price.

Samuel Hall deposed that he resided at Southowram, at a place called Marsh, about a mile from Halifax. He was at home on Sunday night, the 1st October 1838, and after making the house secure he and his wife retired to rest. About half past three o'clock in the morning he was awoke by a din downstairs, as if persons were rattling the chairs about. From the sound, he considered that there were two persons in the kitchen.

After hearing the noise, he awoke his wife and immediately heard some men coming upstairs and at the same time he saw a light under the door. When they arrived at his door and found that they could not open it, they said that if he would put five sovereigns under the door they would go away. Witness refused to do so and they went away for a few minutes.

Witness rattled the door to flay them away and his wife shouted out of the window. The men returned again when he unbolted the door, and they came into the room with a light in their hands and their faces blackened, apparently with soot. They demanded money, one of them had a fire poker and the other a coal rake. After they had demanded his money, he took a pocket book out of a drawer containing two five pound notes of the Halifax Joint Stock Bank, some gold and silver, and the prisoners snatched it out of his hand and went away.

He had a good opportunity of seeing their faces and was sure the two men at the bar were the men who broke into his house.

Upon his going downstairs, he found the house had been entered by a ladder being placed to the kitchen window, and the window broken open. Besides the money, he missed some stuff pieces from the parlour drawer – Cross examined – He never saw the men before the night in question and never expressed the slightest doubt as to the identity of the prisoners. He never said he should know the one who had a light in his hand. He had no knowledge of them by seeing them at his house but somebody had told him about them. Mr Wortley: look at these prisoners; do you believe them to be the same men as were in your house?

Yes, they are

By the Judge – I said before the magistrates that I knew the man who had the light and I believe Hainsworth was that man. I did say before their magistrates that I knew both the prisoners.

Mrs Hall, wife of the former witness, was next called, and being extremely deaf, put counsel to the full stretch of their voice and frequently caused much merriment in court. Though very hard of hearing, she detailed the whole of the conversation that took place between her husband and the prisoners, and stated that by giving the alarm she shouted so that she

war not right on a week efter

She confirmed the evidence of her husband. On her cross-examination, she said they had been a many times robbed but never found it out before. The prisoners, she said, had their faces bedaubed with soot and shaking her head very eccentrically said

and oh! dear it was very dreadful

(Laughter).

However dreadful it might be at the time, she had quite forgot it, for she seemed to enjoy her position very much – by the prisoner Hainsworth. The constable did not tell her to swear to the two and they would be committed to York Castle.

Benjamin Crapper had known the prisoners for some time, and he remembered them seeing Price between three and four o'clock on the morning of 2nd of October. Before he saw him, witness heard something drop like a fire poker, which he went and picked up, and found it was a poker. Witness observed Price go into Hainsworth's house, and immediately after a light which was in the house was put out. Price returned about a minute after, when witness asked him what he was doing at that time in the morning, when he replied he was doing nothing and was going home. It was about a mile from Hainsworth's to Marsh. Witness believed Hainsworth was a weaver.

Edward Allen assisted his brother who was a hatter in Halifax, and remembered selling a six shillings hat to Hainsworth on the 6th of October, for which he tendered a £5 bank note and received change.

Thomas Mann, constable of Southowram, stated, that in consequence of the information he received from Mr Hall, he apprehended the prisoners at their own homes. When they were before the magistrates, Mrs Hall identified the prisoners directly.

John Nicholl of Southowram, deposed that he found some goods on the Beacon Hill on the 3rd October 1838. There were three stuff pieces. The Beacon Hill lies between the Marsh and Hainsworth's house. It was about 4 or 5 yards from the footpath where he found the goods. They were covered up with some sods.

Andrew Frazer was present before the magistrates when the prisoner Price made his statement, which was taken down in writing and signed by the prisoner. It was then read, in which the prisoner denied that he was guilty of the offence.

This concluded the case for the prosecution.

Mr Stansfield addressed the jury for the prisoner Price. He observed that the only evidence against Price was from the testimony of Nicholl who stated that on the morning in question he was seen in company with Hainsworth, between the hours of four and five. Then with reference to the poker, it would have been of the utmost importance if it could be proved to have fallen from the hands of Price; but there was not the slightest pretence that the poker was ever in his possession, or that it was the poker used in the house at the time of the burglary; and in his opinion it was mixed up in the present case in order to give colouring to it. He would also call upon them to notice the discrepancy between the statements given by the prosecutor, Mr Hall, when before the magistrates, and at the present time. Now he swore distinctly to the two persons, but before the magistrates, he stated that he thought he knew the man who had the light, and Hainsworth was the man; and the minutest inference that could be drawn from this observation was, that he did not know the prisoner, Price.

Mrs Hall, it was true, spoke very positively to both the prisoners, but in taking her evidence into consideration they must not lose sight of her excited state of mind, the faces of the parties being blackened, so as to render their identity, even were they intimate friends, impossible; and with reference to the conversation deposed to by her, they must receive that evidence with a great degree of caution, as she was nearly deaf, and, of course, could not hear a conversation between two parties; one on one side of the door and one on the other. He did not mean to say she was guilty of perjury; but he did say that she was very much mistaken, and depended more upon what had been told her by other parties, than to what came more immediately under her notice.

The Learned Judge carefully summed up the evidence and the jury found the prisoners Guilty.

The Learned Judge, in passing sentence, said they had been found guilty of an offence which a short time ago was a capital offence, and for which many had expiated with their lives the offence of which they had been found guilty. It was most fortunate for them that they did not use any violence either to the prosecutor or his wife, for had they done so, he should have thought it his duty to have sent them out of the country for the remainder of their lives. Under the present circumstances, however, he should pass upon them a more lenient sentence, which was that they be transported for 10 years

 




© Malcolm Bull 2020
Revised 14:23 /16th March 2020 / x438 / 10547

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