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Benjamin Watkins, one of 1063 convicts transported on the Neptune, Scarborough and Surprize, December 1789
Name, Aliases & Gender
Birth, Occupation & Death
|Date of Birth:
|Date of Death:
life span was 59 years*
* Median life span based on contributions
Conviction & Transportation
Sentenced to 7 years
||Australian Joint Copying Project. Microfilm Roll 87, Class and Piece Number HO11/1, Page Number 51 (27)
||This record is one of the entries in the British convict transportation registers 1787-1867 database compiled by State Library of Queensland from British Home Office (HO) records which are available on microfilm as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project.
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Maureen Withey on 1st May, 2020 wrote:
Old Bailey Proceedings Online (http://www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 01 May 2020), June 1788, trial of BENJAMIN WATKINS JOHN GOGAY , alias SMITH (t17880625-59).
BENJAMIN WATKINS, JOHN GOGAY, Theft > housebreaking, 25th June 1788.
461. BENJAMIN WATKINS and JOHN GOGAY , alias SMITH , were indicted for feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of Thomas Ryan , on the 12th of May last, about the hour of seven in the afternoon, no person being therein, and stealing a cotton gown, value 8 s. a silk cloak, value 2 s. a cotton petticoat, value 2 s. a linen apron, value 1 s. a leather apron, value 1 s. a cloth cloak, value 1 s. a cotton waistcoat, value 1 s. a worsted waistcoat, value 1 s. two pair of cotton stockings, value 1 s. a pair of worsted stockings, value 1 s. and a looking-glass, with a mahogany frame, value 1 s. the property of the said Thomas.
MARY RYAN sworn.
I am the prosecutor’s mother; on Whitsun Monday, between seven and eight o’clock in the evening, I went out of an errand and locked the door.
Did you leave any body in the house? - Not a creature.
Were the windows and doors safe when you went out? - Yes.
Are you sure of that? - Yes; when I came back the door was broke open, and I found the two prisoners in the room speaking out loud; I said, who is there? they made no answer, but Gogay came down with a bundle and ran out; I cried out thieves! thieves; Gogay was too quick for me, but I caught hold of Watkins by the skirt of his coat, which tore off, and he ran away and left the skirt of his coat in my hand, I have it in the bundle here now; my son’s apprentice, Edward Belcher , happened to come home at the time, and went after him, but he was stopped before he came up to him, and was brought back by another man, who asked me if that was the man; yes, you villain, says I, I have got the skirt of your coat in my hand, he had dropped the things in the street, and some of them were picked up and brought back.
What became of Gogay? - He was taken by one Mr. Porter about a quarter of an hour afterwards; they asked me if he was the other man, I said he was.
Are you sure of that? - Yes.
You were a little frightened? - I was surprized at seeing the house broke open more than I was at the robbers.
Had you ever seen either of them before? - Never.
EDWARD BELCHER sworn.
I was coming home on Whitsun Monday in the evening, I was within twentyyards of the house, when I heard Mrs. Ryan call out, and saw two men rush out, I am positive Watkins was one, they dropped the things and ran away, I saw Watkins stopped.
Did you ever lose sight of him? - He turned one corner, but I was within a few yards of him, and I can be positive to him; there was no other man in the street, when I called out after him, I could not meet with any man to stop him, or he would have been secured sooner.
What became of the things? - They were gathered up, put in a bundle and brought to the watch-house.
Who gathered them up? - I saw Mrs. Ryan pick some up, but I did not see them all picked up.
JAMES BRYAN sworn.
I live next door to Mr. Ryan, I was standing upon the steps and saw the two prisoners go into the house.
How did they get in? - I believe the door was open, but I am not sure; presently the old woman came in, and cried out murder! murder! robbers! I ran directly, and one of the prisoners, Gogay ran out with a bundle under his arm, I pursued him and made a grasp at him, and I dragged a petticoat from under his arm, and all the rest of the things fell; one Porter ran after him and brought him back.
Was not he out of your sight while he turned the corner? - Only just in turning the corner, but I did not lose sight of him for a moment, I was so close that I hardly lost sight of him even in turning the corner.
Who picked up the things? - I don’t know.
DANIEL PORTER sworn.
I was coming along and heard the alarm, I pursued the prisoner Gogay, and took him as he was turning down Brown’s-lane.
To Mrs. Ryan. Who picked the things up? - Children in the neighbourhood, and they gave them to me.
Did you see them picked up? - Yes, I picked some up myself, I have had them ever since.
(The things produced in court, and deposed to by Mrs. Ryan.)
How do you suppose they got in? - At the door.
Thomas Ryan . I rent the whole house, I let the lower part of it, and the street-door is always left open for the lodgers, but it was the chamber that was broke open.
To Mrs. Ryan. How do you know there was nobody in the house? - I am sensible of it.
How do you know none of the lodgers were at home, the door was left open for them to come in and out when they pleased? - Yes, but they were all gone out.
How do you know they were not come in before you came back? - I am very sensible of it.
PRISONER WATKINS’s DEFENCE.
I was coming along and heard the alarm, I ran as any body else might, and some body laid hold of the skirt of my coat, God in heaven knows who, and said I had committed the robbery.
Gogay did not say any thing in his defence.
Mrs. Ryan. Here is the prisoner’s coat that was taken off of him before the justice, and here is the skirt that he left in my hand.
(Producing them both.)
Watkins called five witnesses, who gave him a very good character.
Gogay called three witnesses, who gave him a very good character.
BOTH NOT GUILTY of breaking and entering the house, but guilty of stealing the goods to the value of 4 s. 10 d.
Each transported for seven years .
Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. RECORDER.
HO 47/9/6 1789 Apr 17
Report of James Adair, Recorder of London, on 3 individual petitions (2 from the prisoner and 1 from Thomas Ryan, prosecutor) on behalf of Benjamin Watkins, shoemaker, convicted at the Old Bailey in June 1788, for breaking into the house of Thomas Ryan, a weaver at Spitalfields, in Middlesex. There is a letter from Mr Strachey. This is not an official report and the judge asks for the return of the petition from Strachey should he need to make one. Grounds for clemency: first offence, has a wife and 2 children to support, has suffered from gaol fever (‘a severe Sickness & Malady that has rage’d with great Violence in this Place for some time’) and his parents, brother and two of his children died from an infection caught while visiting him in gaol (which would make his supporting the family easier). Initial sentence: 7 years transportation. Recommendation: speaks against mercy. Folios18-27. See also HO 47/9/8, folios 34-37.
Convict Changes History
Maureen Withey on 1st May, 2020 made the following changes:
gender: m, occupation, crime