Newgate Calendar - JOSEPH SMITH AND CHARLES MEYRICK

JOSEPH SMITH AND CHARLES MEYRICK

Convicted of a Burglary in Breaking into Bagnigge Wells, The Noted Tea Gardens near London

            THESE men were indicted at the Old Bailey for breaking and entering the dwelling-house of T. Davis, and stealing a dial, a blunderbuss, several bottles of wine, and other articles. The prosecutor keeps the house and gardens known by the name of "Bagnigge Wells."

            One night the cellar under the long-room was locked up. In the room called "Nell Gwynn's room," the fire-arms were deposited, and the wine in the cellar beneath. About eight the next morning, the cellar door was discovered to have been forced, and the wine missed; and two quart and two pint bottles of wine were found in the garden; and a variety of bottles were found broken, and the liquor lying about the cellar. The prisoners were first seen by a watchman, named Parker, at two in the morning, in School-house-yard, when they were concealing behind a board a blunderbuss and a musket. He instantly gave notice to the other watchmen; and by the direction of Simpson, the constable of the night, they were ordered to leave their watch boxes, and conceal themselves in different stations. Just as the day light appeared, the two prisoners, and another man (escaped) came to the spot from Aylesbury-street. They looked round with great circumspection; and, conceiving the coast to be clear, were about to stoop, in order to gather up the fire-arms, when they were assailed by the watchmen. Two of them ran off towards School-house-yard; and the third along Aylesbury-street, and was seen no more. Smith was secured in the passage leading from Clerkenwell-green to St. John's-square; Simpson, brandishing his hanger, told him he would cut his head off if he did not surrender, when he walked very quietly to the watch house. Meyrick was brought to the same place, but not until after an obstinate resistance. When the prisoners were secured, the watchmen repaired to the place where the fire-arms were seen; but they had been removed. They, however, found a bottle corked; it was opened in court, and proved to be full of port wine; and the neck of another bottle, thrown away by Meyrick in the pursuit, was produced; the neck was also corked.

            Simpson confirmed these facts. The prosecutor said, that, to the best of his belief, a dozen bottles of wine had been stolen from his cellar, six of port, and six of Madeira; he also identified the fire-arms. Smith, in his defence, denied any knowledge of the robbery. He was going to the west end of the town, to borrow a horse to carry one of his friends to Fairlop Fair, when he was unexpectedly seized, and threatened by Simpson with his naked hanger. He, therefore, had yielded quietly, conscious of his innocence.

            Meyrick justified the resistance he had made, as he had been charged with a crime of which he had no idea whatever. He asked the man who took him what distance he (the prisoner) was from him when he saw him throw away a bottle of wine. The answer was, five or six yards, and he was confident the prisoner was the man.

            The lodgings of both parties were searched, and on their wives the officers found skeleton keys for opening locks of drawers. The Common Sergeant summed up, and the jury found both the prisoners Guilty—Death.

 

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