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Warwick Assizes: miscellaneous papers


Extracts (transcript below) of the examination of witnesses for the prosecution, taken before the Coroner. Witnesses: Mary Field, John Davis, James George, John Broom, Matthew Hiron, James Carnall, Thomas Carnall, William Smith alias Buck, Thomas Bolt, William Willis, James Warrilow, Sarah Smith alias Buck, Thomas Baker, John Briscoe, William Fowler, Henry Bryan, George Ward, William Wilkins, William Halford, Mrs. Richard Smith, Abraham West, John Hitchman, Mary Field, Richard Fletcher, Mrs. Fletcher, William Bolton, John Davis, Captain Redwood, Sergt. Cotts, Jervoise Cooke, William Buller. in Rex (on the prosecution of Rebecca Pinfield, widow, William Willis and William Buller, constable v. James Anderson, Patrick Welch, William Howard, William Ridley, Samuel Irwin and James Kelley (soldiers in the 5th Regiment of Dragoons) for the murder at Stratford-upon-Avon of Joseph Pinfield. [Transcript by Nick Billingham, May 2005 Witness statements to the coroners inquest into the murder of Joseph Pinfield held on the 28th Dec 1795 and few following days John Broom's statement That on coming out of the Malt Shovel Public House on the evening of the 25th Dec he heard a noise near the ---?--- on turning the corner near the---?-- and was knocked down by a soldier of the 5th Dragoon Guards. That he was beat by the soldiers and his life threatened to be taken away by them. That another witness came to his assistance and he got away. Soon after the landlady at the House cried 'murder' and the landlord Baker was soon afterwards taken away from his house up a place called Hell Lane [Henley Lane/Windsor Street] by 5 or 6 of the soldiers with swords in their hands. That he was then met by the prosecutor Buller who was called up by Baker's wife, and by him charged to assist in seeing what was become of Baker. The he went with others for that purpose and met the deceased near his own house, who was also charged by the constable to assist , That they went to a neighbours woodpile and got each of them a stick and in going up Hell Lane --?-- to Bakers house to see if he was returned. They found 5 or 6 of the soldiers at the corner of Hell Lane. That the constable and he wished to have peace, and cried peace several times, that the soldiers ( 4 of whom had drawn swords) immediately fell on the constables party, who were obliged to give way being surrounded. ( except with small sticks or fence stakes) That he was held by one of the soldiers, ? he swears to ? asks to go home lest he be murdered, but the soldier called to another of the soldiers, who had a drawn sword in his hand, by the name of Paddy, to come to him. That then he, this witness, broke his hold and got away and hid himself, that after he ran away he saw one of the soldiers cutting with his sword at the deceased who he heard cry 'O Lord' several times. 2 or 3 others of the prisoners were cutting at Constable Buller with their swords. END OF PAGE ! Matthew Hiron's statement Proves that he was present with the last witness early in the evening and was going to assist him when he was knocked down, but that he was prevented by one of the prisoners, who threatened to cut his entrails out if he came near. That he heard the constable charge the deceased to assist him in seeing after Baker ( who was taken away by the prisoners after having his windows broke his house broke open his plates and dishes c destroyed by the soldiers with their swords drawn) He also speaks to the other facts stated in the deposition of the last witness and swears that 5 of the soldiers being armed with swords. James Carnall alias Cheshire Proves that he was sitting at supper at home on the 25th Dec with his brother and neighbour and his wife, he heard Murder cried in the yard behind his house. That he looked out and saw 4 or 5 soldiers with drawn swords. That he the fastened his door and said nothing. That his door was afterwards broken open by the soldiers, who fell upon him and his friends with their drawn swords. That they took two mattock handles out of his house. That he, the witness, was very much cut on the head with the swords, That they drove his brother and friends out of the house and persued them. That 2 of the soldiers returned and broke open his house a second time searched under his bed for more money they said. Thomas Carnall Proves that -------he was persued by the soldiers when driven out of the house, that he stayed in the field s of Stratford all night. That he never had spoken to any one of the soldiers during their stay in Stratford, but was knocked down by one of them in the street early in the evening of the 25th ??? and who said that they meant to serve all the men in the town the same that their ??? William Smith Proves the same as the 2 last (being also in the house when the soldiers broke in) further that the soldiers took away 2 mattock handles from this neighbours house William Smith alias Buck Proves that he was present when the constable charged the deceased to assist him in seeing after Baker, that the deceased said he would go ??? that when the soldiers fell upon the constables party they said ' By their dear Jesus and Holy Ghost they would massacre the first man they laid hold of. That he, this witness, was much beaten and his hat cut through with a sword, That he ran away and left the deceased defending himself against several of the soldiers who were cutting at him with their swords, that the deceased cried out 'Oh Lord' several times, That he was taken in by his wife into his own house and his wife shut the door, That the soldiers followed and broke open the door and then swore by their Dear Jesus and Holy Ghost they would massacre him, that they broke END OF PAGE 2 open the door and followed the deceased out into the garden where he had escaped to hide himself, That his wife begged for mercy and that they would not kill her husband. The soldiers swore that they would kill him. That soon after his wife went out to see if the deceased was killed and when he was out 2 of the soldiers ?? with large sticks in their hands. That he hid himself. Thomas Bolt Proves that he was at the Malt Shovel on the evening of the 25th with some of the previous witnesses, that he went to bed early, that his windows were broke, That he then got up and saw 5 or 6 of the soldiers fall upon the townspeople. That there was no dispute between the townspeople and the soldiers at the Malt Shovel on that evening, and that the soldiers first began by breaking open Baker's house. William Willis Proves the same as the 3 first, further that he saw 2 of the soldiers strike the deceased several times with their swords, that he, this witness, was very much beat went home. Further , he swears to the prisoner Anderson. James Warrilow Proves that he was awaked on the morning of the 26th Dec last by the cry of Murder, That he got out of bed and on opening the window saw 4 soldiers beating several townspeople, That one of the townspeople ( the Deceased) was knocked down the soldiers pressed the rest who were obliged to give way, That the deceased, with his wife's assistance, got away to his own house, That the soldiers then returned and followed him into his house and the cry of Murder was again heard, That he , this witness, saw 4 of the soldiers come out of the deceased house soon after armed, they then came under his window one of them brandishing his sword over his head asked the other if he ever saw his sword work so well before, to which the other replied he did not, that they then broke open his next neighbours ( a widow woman) house were upstairs soon after came to his door which they tried without effect, saying at the same time if they could get into the house they would murder every person in it. That he, this witness, was met on the evening of the 25th Dec by a party of the soldiers one of whom struck at him, but that he had never had any conversation with any of them. Sarah Smith Alias Buck Proves that about an hour after the murder was committed she went to the Malt Shovel House for a pint of beer for the widow of the deceased, that one of the prisoners was then in the house, that while she was waiting for the beer 4 other came in, 3 with swords, the other with a large stick, That their trousers and swords were all over blood, That one of the prisoners ( Fitzgerald, crossed out) bid them sit down and be quiet, that they all drank some beer, she swears positively as to one of the prisoners. Thomas Baker Proves his house being broke entered by 4 or 5 of the soldiers on the evening of 25th Dec, That in coming downstairs he was laid hold END OF PAGE 3 of by one of them who accused him of having struck him, That he denied it, after being struck several times he was forcibly taken away by them to the guard room at the Lion where they were quartered, That 2 of the prisoners are two of the men who broke open his house took him, That one of them told him that if he spoke he would run him through and struck him on the cheek with his sword flatways, That soon after 12 o clock one of the prisoners went down stairs with his sword in about half an hour returned without his sword, very much beat dirty and bloody, That several others of the soldiers came in out at different times during the whole night, That some of them said in the morning that there had been a great fight one man was killed, that he was only sorry there were not 6 or 7 killed, That 2 soldiers came into the guard room nearly together, one with and one without, a sword, that the first was very dirty, Mrs Baker Mrs Hancock, At whose house the men?dragoons was held prevaricated very much in her evidence as did also her companion, so that nothing material can be collated from their evidence other than that they are ? perjured? John Briscoe Proves that early on the morning of the 26th of Dec he saw one of the prisoners scrapping the blood from off his breeches, some remains of which were found on his upper waistband on examination before the coroner. William Fowler, Proves that he was in the house of the deceased soon after he was murdered and at the time when Captain Redwood came there with some of the privates, he swears to the blood being on the breeches of the ? prisoner. Henry Bryan, Proves that he was drinking with the soldiers quartered at the Lion on the evening of the 25th Dec, that at the instigation of one soldier who came into the room the whole party went out, two of them armed with swords, That he, this witness, soon after followed and as he was going down Hell Lane he met 5 or 6 of them ??? the witness Baker up the lane. That he, this witness, recollects the prisoner Anderson coming in very bloody and without his sword, that he then went again down the lane and between the corner and the place where the deceased was murdered he met the prisoner Kelley with his sword very much bent his cloathes very dirty, That he shook hands with the prisoner who promised not to hurt him ??? saw the prisoner go to the pump and wash himself. George Ward Proves that he with another person, after having been persued about the town by several of the soldiers on the evening of the 25 Dec got into the hayloft over the White Lion stables, that he saw one of the soldiers go by very dirty and bloody to the soldiers room, END OF PAGE 4 That soon after he saw several of the soldiers sally forth from the room, that some time afterwards two of the soldiers came into the Lion Yard, That he, this witness, returned to the lid or door of the hayloft which looks into the yard and is about 8 yards from the pump, that he saw one of the two soldiers washing the other, that he pumped upon him for a long time, that the one who was being washed ??? saying at the same time " did you see what bloody thump I gave the rogue?" he swears to the person of the prisoner Welch. Mr Wilkins Proves that he, on the morning after the murder was committed asked the prisoner Ridley if he was the one who murdered the deceased and who then said He was not but he saw that given ??? did kill him. Mr Halford Proves that the prisoner Ridley was quartered at his house previous subsequent to the murder being committed, that he was not in his quarters during any part of the night of the 25th Dec, being on guard ? duties? Mrs Smith Proves that she was at home while her husband was assisting the constable, that when he returned she heard the widow of the deceased cry Murder, that she went and met 2 of the soldiers who came up and asked her if there were any men up that yard and she answered there were not. Abraham West Proves that he refused to get up on the evening of the 25 Dec when called upon to assist the constable, that some time afterwards he heard the widow of the deceased cry out, that he got out of bed and on looking into the yard adjoining the deceased house he saw 4 or 5 soldiers laying on the deceased who was on the ground with his wife begging for mercy for him, that the soldiers were armed with swords and sticks. John Hitchman Proves that he was called up on night of 25th Dec, he being one of the constables of the town, by Buller, another of the constables, to assist him in seeing after Baker whom taken away by the soldiers, that he got up and went with the constable several of the witnesses who had all sticks with the bark on, that he, this witness, seeing 5 or 6 soldiers with drawn swords, ran home. Mary Field Proves that she was up til 3 o'clock on the morning of the 26th Dec last, that she saw the soldiers quartered at the Lion go out from their quarters in great haste, that she went up stairs to see where they were going soon after she was by the window she heard a cry of murder near the Mere Pool Lane, that she (saw?) a person in red stand at the corner the lane who afterwards walked gently up the shady side of the street on his crossing over opposite to this witness she knew him to be Captain Redwood, that she desired her fellow servant, one of the waiters END OF PAGE 5 at the Lion to let the Captain in but he went up towards the Post Office. This witness does not know the precise time the soldiers left their quarters in the hurry before described, nor can she tell at what time Captain Redwood left the Lion. Wm Fletcher (a constable) proves that he was called upon by Buller on the evening of the 25th Dec last to get up and assist him in looking after Baker, and that he, this witness, declined ill in bed, that soon after he heard his door opened by Capatin Redwood ( who lodged in his house) that his wife told the captain that murder would be done. That he, this witness the Captain armed with a poker then proceeded to the top of Mere Pool Lane and stopt to hear if there was any stir. That on proceeding to Hell Lane they met 4 or 5 soldiers ( 2 other persons wit?) That the Captain asked the prisoner Ridley why the men were not in their quarters, that the prisoner answered as he was going round the patrol he was struck, That they all proceeded to the guard room where they saw Baker sitting on the bed, where the Captain ordered his men to stop till morning, nut the Captain did not mention his having heard the cry of murder. That one of the soldiers went down and washed himself at the Lion pump without his shirt, That the Captain desired 3 of his men to go with him and the others to their quarters, they went to the deceased's house and found that he had been murdered, that the Captain desired the men to go to their quarters then he this witness went home to bed without taking any notice of the murder at all. Mrs Fletcher Wife of the last witness, proves the Captain coming home to his lodgings and going out with her husband when she informed him of murder having been cried, that he asked if she thought there were any soldiers out but said nothing of his having before heard murder cryed. Mr Bolton Proves that 3 of the prisoners insisted on coming into his house on the evening of the 25 Dec when there insisted on having beer without paying for it behaved very ill both to him and the soldiers quartered in his house. John Davis Proves that he was in the soldiers room on the evening of the 25th Dec when they all went out, one of them taking a sword that hung up in the room, that soon afterwards he heard a cry of murder on going out he met a man, a woman and a child, That the former was cut on the face, that he then returned to the Lion and locked the gates, that in about 10 minutes or a ΒΌ of an hour he heard murder cryed again , That he then saw a person coming across the street from Mr ?Prox's? house which is close to that where the murder was committed who this witness's fellow servant told him was Captain Redwood, that he, this witness, went down to open the gate but he was gone on towards the Post Office, That he saw the prisoner Ridley get over the back gate at the Lion on the morning of the 26th dec and go to Captain Sherlock's room with 2 bludgeons which he???? taken from the townspeople ??? That it was after Baker was detained but before murder was cryed. END OF PAGE 6 Captain Redwood Says that about 1 o'clock on the 26th Dec, as he was going to his lodgings he heard a cry of murder, that he proceeded on and required the constable to get up and go with him to the guard room, that in going he met the prisoners, Ridley Howard and Irwin and 2 privates, that Ridley told him he had a man in custody who had attacked him on his duty, that he proceeded to the guard room found Baker detained there, that he then took the prisoners Howard, Welch and Ridley with him, the constable and went to Bakers house, but could not tell where the cry of murder was, admits he tried the Lion door to see if any officer was up, he also admits he did inform the constable and his wife when he first went to his lodging that he had before heard the cry of murder, says he was much agitated, believes all the soldiers were in their quarters at that time but cannot say, that he saw the plates c at the Malt Shovel which were broken bloody and the windows c broke, that Ridley was the person whotook Baker, that he, this witness, then went to the deceased house who was there lying dead, That a woman there told him the soldiers had murdered the man he saw dead, cannot tell the names of the men Ridley took to assist him other than the prisoner Howard Irwin, That he dismissed the men and went to his lodging. That he met no soldiers but saw some men not in soldiers dress who ran on seeing him, thinks the prisoner Ridley was sober, - cannot say whether there were 4 or 5 men, some had swords but does not know if all had. The prisoner Ridley told him he had been struck and had taken a prisoner - that Ridley had asked those men to assist who the Captain knew were not on guard, Ridley did not say anything about a man being missing, that he, this witness, found Anderson bloody almost covered with blood that neither Welch or Kelley made any complaint to him. Sergeant Colt Being called upon to corroborate an aspect of the prisoner Howard's ??? nose having bled on the morning of 26th Dec , proves that he was told by another soldier that Howard's nose was bleeding ( seeing him stoopt down) that when he gave him out his oats soon after he did not see any marks of blood about him. ? Cooke proves that he was in the guard room received Baker from Ridley Welch who brought him as above stated that when the prisoner Anderson came in he was in a red regimental jacket very dirty, and that he, this witness, only saw those 3 prisoners when Baker was delivered to him Buller Proves that he was applied to ( being the Peace Officer before mentioned) by Baker's wife to get assistance see after him ( Baker) who was taken away by the soldiers, that he got the assitance before stated on the night ??? That he called for peace many times to the soldiers who took no notice of it but fell on him his party, that he was very much cut by the soldiers then made his escape home. END OF PAGE 7 PAGE 8 MISSING James Anderson Says that on the evening of Xmas day he was one of the patrol with Ridley Welch, that they went out about 9 in the evening ??? all the soldiers in quarters, that they went out again about 12, they thet went immediately down to the Malt Shovel that near the entry there were 2 or 3 men, one of whon struck the corporal and knocked this prisoner down - does not know what happened to Welch - he Welch Ridley left this prisoner who afterwards got to his quarters, he was so much hurt he did not go ??? to Baker's back door nor does he know what happened there That Captain Redwood was in the Guardroom when he got there, but he saw no constable or other person with him , does not know whether Ridley was in the Guard room or not, That Howard or Irwin were neither of them with the patrol. On being confronted - Ridley swears to all the before statements says that Captain Redwood was not in the guard room prisoner Anderson went into the Street with Baker. Mr Howard Says he was called upon ( about 12 o'clock on Xmas Evening) by the prisoner Ridley to patrol assist him who ?? he had just been beaten That he went with Ridley took Baker from his house and confined him in the Guard room That he did not see Anderson till he got into the Guard room where he was sitting on the bed , that he ( Anderson) did not come in with Baker, That he met Kelly but does not know whether he had a sword or not, That he found???? Near the Malt Shovel that Kelly was met near the Post Office on his return with Baker That he, this prisoner, knows nothing of the murder. Mr Ridley Says he was Corporal of the Guard on the evening of the 25th Dec , that on coming home the time of the patrolling about 12 o'clock with the prisoner Anderson Welch by the Malt Shovel three men came out - one of whom struck this prisoner- one knocked Anderson down the other struck at Welch who wrenched his stick out of his hand - that the men who made the attack ran into Baker's house at the back door - he sent two of the prisoners to the back door himself to the front which he found open took the landlord Baker ( who was coming out) prisoner - that the men who ran into the house had escaped at the front door run away , that those were the persons who broke open the door and not the soldiers END OF PAGE 9, This statement appears to continue on the back cover That he thinks his soldiers knocked the plates dishes down with their swords coming through the house that he nor any of his men ran in any house in Baker's yard during the evening That he got Baker away and gave him in charge to Anderson Welch while he fetched Howard to assist that he met Howard 2 soldiers following him and turned them all back That he then went to Captain Sherlock's room to tell how he had been used never stirred from the guard room afterwards ( that the clock then struck one) That he met Captain Redwood one of the witnesses at the end of Hell Lane when he was taking Baker up and did tell Capt Redwood about the plates c being broke at Baker's, He then contradicts himself and says that Capt Redwood was in the guard room when he took Baker up there when he went to capt Sherlock - to these facts he ???? many different ways. That soon after he went into the lower room missed a soldier of the name Cain went down to look for him with Howard another soldier - that they only went as far as the post office then returned That Anderson Welch were then both very dirty, The prisoner then again contradicts himself and says he was only got to the mouth of Hell Lane about one o'clock ( which is the opposite end to where the Malt Shovel is) and that Anderson stayed at the guard room steps and called to him he returned with the men, he then again contradicts himself says that Anderson sent to him -that he saw no dirt the first time he went out had there been any between that time then he should have seen it. That he met Kelly who said he was going to fetch water which this prisoner refused his doing that nothing passed about a sword , that he was with Capt Redwood the constable at the deceased house after he was murdered that Kelly did not complain of being knocked down, was not dirty, that none of the men were dirty when he met Capt Redwood Welch END OF Coroner's Statements