ALEXANDER RANN was indicted for stealing on the 27th of March 1822 , two coats, value 30 s. , the goods of Joseph Samuel Lescher .
JOHN LIMBRICK .” I am an officer. On the 27th of March, I was at my door in Church Row, St. Pancras, talking to Croker. The prisoner went by with a basket, with a handkerchief over it; he looked hard at me. I told Croker to follow him. He turned round and saw me coming, and threw down the basket, pushed Croker aside, and ran off. I pursued him and took him at last.”
Church Row, St Pancras was demolished to make way for the Midland Railway Station, now St Pancras International. Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft lived for a while in Church Row. Eight years earlier than the case here, in 1814, he declared his love for Mary Wollstonecraft over the grave of her mother Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, who had died in childbirth. Mary Goodwin wrote “Vindication of the Rights of Women” in 1792, and her daughter wrote “Frankenstein'”. The churchyard was also the site of the burial of the famous clown Joseph Grimaldi, in 1801.
Back to the case:
HENRY CROKER . “I was with Limbrick, and saw the prisoner pass with a basket. I went after him, and asked if he had any fowls;” he said “No.” I said some had been stolen. He said, “I have got my master’s clothes.” I said “Who is your master – where does he live.” He said at Pentonville, and immediately threw the basket at my feet. I picked it up; Limbrick pursued and took him. It contained two coats, and two lemons.”
MR. JOSEPH LESCHER (Bef. 1768 – 1827) “I live at West End, Hampstead . The coats are both my son’s, whose name is Joseph Samuel Lescher (1796 – 1871), and were in the hall about nine o’clock, when I went out in the morning. I returned at five, but did not miss them till next morning, and on Tuesday the officer brought them.”
JOHN CORBETT . “I live at West End. On the 27th of March I saw the prisoner with another about three o’clock, about one hundred yards from the prosecutor’s house, with the basket. I noticed them particularly, and saw a brown great coat outside the basket. The other carried the basket.”
GUILTY . Aged 20. Transported for Seven Years .
This was the same sentence that Robert Miles got two years earlier for a rather greater value of items.
First Middlesex Jury, before W. Arabin, Esq. Old Bailey Proceedings, 17th April 1822. Reference Number: t18220417-116 www.oldbaileyonline.org.