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John William Kingshott

John William Kingshott was born in Iping, Sussex on 6th March 1809. He was baptised relatively quickly, less than a week later, suggesting that his parents thought that he would not survive for long. He did survive and became a carman in Lambeth, Surrey.


John married Rachel Knight in Steep, Hampshire, on 26th January 1835 and moved up to the "big smoke" shortly afterwards. He was to have eleven children.


On Thursday 11th June 1855, John appeared at no less a court than the Old Bailey to answer a charge of theft.

Inside the "Old Bailey" in the 19th Century

The allegation was that he had stolen 5 bushels of oats, and 2 trusses of hay belonging to Henry Darby, his master and sold them on to two named men, Joseph Hamlin and Charles Belsham.


The following details are from the Old Bailey Trial.


MR. TALFOURD SALTER conducted the Prosecution.

HENRY DARBY . I am a miller, of Nine Elms Mill, Battersea—Kingshott was my carman. On the evening of 15th June, my attention was attracted to a sack of oats, covered up under some refuse straw in one corner of the stable—the sack was totally concealed—it contained six bushels of oats—there is a hutch in the stable, in which it is usual to put the oats required for the horses—it will contain about a sack—when the prisoner required oats for the horses, it was his duty, to ask the foreman of the mill for a sack of oats—he had no authority to ask for more at one time—I got a constable, Dendy, who mixed some pieces of paper in the sack, in my Presence, and replaced it in its former position—he afterwards cut a comer of the sack—next evening, Friday, I found the sack removed from the corner, and concealed nearer to the door, in a better position for removing—King-shott was to take a load of flour to Bromley, in Kent, about eleven miles off, on the Saturday morning, and was to leave at four o'clock in the morning, with the waggon—I observed the waggon that evening, it had two nose bags strapped to it, each of which would hold about a peck—no other food would be required for the horses on that journey—this hay is similar to mine, and is bound in a similar manner, and these oats are of a similar kind to mine, of which I produce a sample—the officer put his initials, in pencil, on some of the papers, but I did not see him find them—these sacks are mine, they have my mark on them—Kingshott had gone that journey for me for three weeks before.


Cross-examined by MR. W. J. PAYNE. Q. Have you a very large establishment? A. Yes; I employ ten or a dozen men—Kingshott would have to stop on the road; he was going to Mr. Jenkins, of Bromley-common—he would go through Southend and Lewisham—Southend is seven or eight miles from me, and would not be an improper place for him to stop and rest the horses—he is usually gone a little more than twelve hours—he his been in my service twelve months, and was with Mr. Hutton, who occupied the mill before me—he continued with me when Mr. Hutton left—he is married, and has several children—my attention was called to the sack by another of my servants—my foreman is not here—I cannot tell whether this was not one of the sacks of oats which had been given out by him for the horses—I put my hand into the nose bags when they were strapped to the side of the wagon—I should not have objected to his taking more food, if he thought it necessary—he would not take hay with him; the hones never have hay, it is always cut up into chaff—I or the foreman get up about or before 6 o'clock.


MR. T. SALTER. Q. Was it the habit of the foreman to come about 6 o'clock in the morning? A. Yes—the prisoner was aware that that was his habit—he had orders to go at 4 o'clock that morning—I was called up at 4 o'clock, and saw him go out—I am certain that the sack I saw on Friday was the one I saw on Thursday—five bushels and a half was a great deal too much for the horses, and there were two trusses of hay in addition.


Cross-examined by MR. METCALFE Q. HOW many horses went in the team? A. Two.


JOHN DENDY (policeman). I accompanied the prosecutor to his stable on Thursday evening, and under some litter he pointed out a sack containing four bushels—I took this handful of oats (produced) out of it—I also marked seven pieces of paper; some I put my number on, and others my initials, and placed them in the sack as far as I could shove my hand down, about a foot and a half—those produced are some of them, here are my initials; I found them in the sack—I went again on Friday evening, and found the sack removed nearer to the door—I cut this corner (produced) off it, it quite agrees—I went to the house about 1 o'clock in the morning, and about half past 2 o'clock saw Kingshott come into the yard—I could see all over the yard where I was—he unlocked the stable, went in, and then came out; went to the shed where the waggon was standing, then returned to the stable, took out a sack apparently full, and went to the yard where the waggon was standing; he then came back to the loft, threw out two trusses of hay, and took them to where the waggon was standing; he then came out of the stable a third time, with a sack containing about a bushel and a half, and took that also to the waggon—at a little before 4 o'clock I saw him drive off—the waggon was covered with a tarpaulin, and was drawn by two horses; I could not see what it contained—I acquainted the master, and then went into the shed where the waggon had been, but could not find any corn or hay—I followed Kingshott till he came to the King's Arms, at Southend, near Bromley, seven or eight miles from the prosecutor's—he drew into the yard, and I went on to the police station in Bromley, it was then about half past 8 o'clock—I remained there till I saw Kingshott pass, about an hour afterwards—I then followed him till he came to the place where he had to unload, and when he had unloaded I stopped him on his road back, told him that I was a policeman, and should charge him with stealing a sack of oats, and two trusses of hay from his master's stable that morning—he said, "I know nothing about if—I searched the waggon, and found this sack (produced) with the corner cut off, which had been cut off by me, it was empty—there was no hay in the waggon—I took him into custody, handed him over to another constable, and gave information to the sergeant who went with me to the King's Arms, and produced to me two trusses of hay and this other sack (produced)—both the sacks contained oats, the larger one about four bushels, and the other about a bushel and a half; it has Mr. Darby's name on it—on opening the sack containing the four bushels, I found the papers I had put in and marked, six of them—the oats corresponded with those that had come out of the concealed sack.


Cross-examined by MR. W. J. PAYNE. Q. When you went to Mr. Darby's house was anybody there? A. The millers were at work in the mill—they work at tides.


Cross-examined by MR. LILLEY. Q. When you apprehended Kingshott, how far were you from the King's Arms, Southend? A. Nearly two miles, towards Bromley.


THOMAS KENT (policeman, S 31). I received a communication from Dendy, and went with him to the King's Arms, at Southend—I saw Belsham sitting on the shafts of the van, which was standing outside the public house—I saw Mr. Hackley, the landlord, and afterwards saw the prisoner Hamlin in the tap room—I took them both together into the yard, and told them that 1 wanted them for receiving a quantity of corn which had been left there that morning, which another man was charged with stealing—neither of them made any reply—I told them it was of no use denying it, for they must consider themselves in my custody, and I was certain that the corn was left there, and I should have to search their master's house all over—Hamlin then said, "I was not here;" and after a short time Belsham said, "I took it"—I said, "Where is it?"—he pointed to a shed which was locked—I asked for the key; he felt in his pocket, and said, "I have not got it"—I asked Hamlin if he had got it—he felt in his pocket, and said, "Here it is"—I took it from Hamlin, unlocked the door, and saw several sacks there containing oats, and chaff, and corn, and two or three trusses of hay—Belsham went in with me; I asked him which was the sack which contained the oats that I wanted—he pointed to the one that contained the six bushels, and said, "That is the one"—I took charge of it—seeing only these. two trusses of clover hay, I said, "I suppose that is the hay?"—he said, "Yes;" and I took charge of it—I returned to the stable with another constable, Belcher, who is not here, handcuffed the prisoners, put them in the waggon, and then returned to the stable and found another sack, containing about a bushel and a half, with Mr. Darby's name on it.

Cross-examined by MR. METCALFE. Q. Hamlin was the head ostler? A. Yes.


(Kingshott's statement before the Magistrate was here read as follows:—"I did not put the oats in the stable; I was littering my horse on Friday night; I touched this sack with the fork; I went home, and next morning I pulled out the sack, and turned some of the corn into the bin, and the remainder I put on the waggon to give my horses on the journey; I had to carry corn for my horses in Mr. Hutton's time, and also in Mr. Darby's, as the nosebags are not enough, and I always carried some hay with me in Mr. Hutton's time, a truss and a half; I always stopped at Southend about an hour, and put my horses in the stable, and what corn I had I always left there till I returned back, when I gave them the remainder; the horses always ate out of the nose-tags while the waggon was unloading; when I got to Southend, I watered my horses, and asked the ostler to let me leave the corn till I came back; when I was coming back from Mr. Jenkins's, I was taken into custody.")


Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, 27 May 2010), 11th June 1855, trial of John William Kingshott (t18550611-662) - Reproduced with permission.


John William Kingshott was my 3rd cousin, five times removed.

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