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Edward Ring 1841

ref.QSR1841/3/5/36a - b

Depositions in the case of Edward Ring, charged with burglary.

15 June 1841

Robert Hewlat of Oakley, miller - he went to bed the previous night about 8.30pm leaving his granddaughter Elizabeth Hulat and 2 man servants John Ward and William Abbott still up. In the morning he found his dairy window broken. It was a strong wood lattice window with iron stancheons. The wood lattice work was broken. The stancheons would have prevented anyone getting through but a person could have taken anything within arm's reach. He does not himself know that anything was taken. It appeared the laths of the lattice work were pulled off the frame as the nails were nearly all left in. He saw a muck drag belonging to him in the dairy, which was left in the hose of the cistern in which they salt bacon. There were pies and dishes on the cistern which were not removed. There was a little wicker basket which stood in the dairy window and was burnt on the lid as if a light had been placed upon it.

Edward Chapman, constable of Oakley - that morning he saw the prisoner on his premises from his bedroom window. He dressed, followed Ring and overtook him on the road. He searched him and found a box of lucifer matches, 2 pewter spoons and a clasp knife (now produced). He took him into custody. About 6 o'clock he went to Robert Hewlat's at the request of his man John Ward and found the lattice window of his dairy broken open and a muck drag lying inside. He asked Miss Hewlat what had been lost. When she told him he showed her the spoons and she owned them as Mr Hewlat's. He examined the ground outside the dairy window and observed marks such as would be made by a person with wooden legs - the prisoner has two wooden legs. He also observed a great many of the same marks in different parts of the garden. He found the three half burnt matches (produced) in the dairy window - one on a wicker basket the lid of which was a good deal burnt and the other 2 on the window sill.

Edward Chapman [further information] - Ring saw him following him on the road and as soon as he saw him threw something away. He kept his eye on the place and found there a pair of blacksmith's iron tongs (now produced). It appeared the wooden laths were drawn from the dairy window by such an instrument. Ring denied knowing anything about the tongs.

16 June 1841

Elizabeth Hewlat of Oakley, spinster - she is the granddaughter of Robert Hewlat. She was the last person up in the house on Monday night. She went to bed about 9pm. Before she went she saw all the outer doors and windows fastened. She went into the dairy and is sure the window was unbroken. In the dairy she saw 3 pewter tea spoons, half a loaf and about half a 1/4 lb of butter. The butter was on the window seat which is level with the window. The bread was on another shelf about 2 yards from the window, and the 3 spoons were in a basin on the tea board which stood on the table close to the window. They were within arm's length of the window. About 11pm she thought she heard a noise like someone getting over the garden wall. The dairy window overlooks the garden. She thought it might be only fancy and went to sleep. She knows the time as she heard the church clock strike. She got up about 6.10am. The horse keeper John Ward was down before her. From what he told her she went into the dairy and found the window broken. About 2 yards from the window was a cistern in which pork was salted. There was an air hole in the lid of the cistern and in that hole a muck drag hung - the tynes were in the hole and the handle of the drag rested on the shelf against the window. She did not miss anything from the cistern or find anything on it displaced. The cistern is very heavy and lined with lead and could not be moved by one man. She missed the 3 spoons, the half loaf and the slice of butter. In the window was a wicker basket, the lid of which was burnt a little - it was not burnt the night before. It appeared a candle had been set on it and allowed to burn out. The tallow had run through the wicker work into some gooseberries in the basket. There was a large wicker basket on the floor immediately under the other basket that was also burnt. It appeared a candle must have fallen from the smaller basket onto the larger one. She went into the garden and by the dairy window and by another window she saw marks such as would be made by a person with wooden legs. She went to the part of the wall from which she thought she heard a noise and saw a similar mark in the ground. She found the third spoon lying on the ground immediately under the window. She is sure the two spoons now produced are her grandfather's.

Edward Chapman, constable of Oakley - since the previous examination he has compared the mouth of the tongs with the marks on the lattice work torn from the dairy window. The marks fit exactly.