Ottolangui UK

Our Ottolangui Criminal Record

Part One –
The Central Criminal Court – The Old Bailey

When the records of the Central Criminal Court became available on-line in 2003, we searched them for mentions of our ancestors who, we knew, lived in fairly impoverished conditions and who for the first couple of generations eked out their livelihoods as “general traders” on the streets of London often dealing in goods of “dubious” origins. My father would jest that his forefathers traded in timber and phosphorous at the Royal Exchange in the City of London, which was not too far from the truth, because in reality, they sold matches on the steps outside that revered building….

It took a while to come up with the records of the trials in which our ancestors appeared either as witnesses or as the accused, because their names were often misspelled or had been misread during transcription from the original handwritten records, some appearing as Langley, Longley, Ottalanglie, Otalino and similar corruptions. Whilst for those reasons there may have been other cases in which they were involved that we were unable to trace, we can be reasonably certain that the following cases actually refer to them. Since they earned their living on the streets of the City and the East End of London and were well known there, they were likely among the “usual suspects” rounded up by law enforcement of those times.

Image result for bow street runners london

Policemen as we know them did not exist in London before the establishment of the metropolitan force in 1829, at the end of the period at which we are looking in this chapter, when they were popularly known as “Peelers” or “Bobbies” after the founder of the metropolitan force the Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel.

A Bow Street Runner
A watchman

In the 1700’s and early 1800’s, the law in the neighbourhoods was upheld by watchmen or constables sworn in by the Justices of the Peace to patrol the

streets, serve writs and to recover stolen property. They were also empowered to arrest suspects and were popularly known as the “Bow Street Runners” after the courthouse in Bow Street where the founder Henry Fielding (also the novelist, author of “Tom Jones”and other books) was the sitting magistrate at the time. His younger half-brother John Fielding later organized the Bow Street Police Station staffed by full-time paid constables.

For the purposes of simplification, the Old Bailey cases in which our ancestors are involved are cited in chronological order, starting with the appearance in 1786 of David Ottolenghi (as Otalino) and continuing through 1829 with the trials and convictions of David Ottolangui (as Langley), but first, here follows a brief history of the Central Criminal Courthouse  – the Old Bailey.

SOURCE: Clive Emsley, Tim Hitchcock and Robert Shoemaker, “Historical Background – History of The Old Bailey Courthouse”, abridged to reflect the period covered.

London’s Central Criminal Court

The Old Bailey, also known as Justice Hall, the Sessions House, and the Central Criminal Court, was named after the street in which it was located, which itself follows the line of the original fortified wall, or “bailey”, of the City, just off Newgate Street and next to Newgate Prison, in the western part of the City of London.  The initial location of the courthouse, about 200 yards northwest of St Paul’s Cathedral close to Newgate Prison, allowed prisoners to be conveniently brought to the courtroom for their trials. More generally, its position between the City of London and Westminster meant it was a suitable location for trials involving people from all over the metropolis, north of the river Thames. 

Over the centuries the building has been periodically remodeled and rebuilt in ways which both reflected and influenced the changing ways trials were carried out and reported.

The Courtroom

Augustus Pugin and Thomas Rowlandson, Old Bailey Courtroom (1809), from The Microcosm of London. © University of Sheffield

The original medieval courthouse was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. In 1673 the Old Bailey was rebuilt as a three storey Italianate brick building, described by John Strype in 1720 as “a fair and stately building”. In front of the courthouse was the Sessions House Yard, a place where litigants, witnesses, and court personnel could gather. The area inside the wall, where prisoners awaited trial, was called the bail dock. They were separated from the street by a brick wall with spikes on top to keep them from escaping.

A surprising feature was that the ground floor of the building, where the courtroom was located, was open on one side to the weather; the upper stories were held up by doric columns. A wall had been left out in order to increase the supply of fresh air to reduce the risk that prisoners suffering from gaol fever (typhus) would infect others in court. On the first floor there was a “stately dining room” for the justices. Inside the courtroom there was a bench for the judges at the far end, and, on both sides, there were partitioned spaces for jurors and balconies for court officers and privileged observers. Other spectators crowded into the yard. The trials attracted a mixed audience of London’s more and less respectable inhabitants, and it was alleged that criminals attended in order to devise strategies for defending themselves should they find themselves on trial. The crowd’s presence could influence or intimidate the jurors sitting inside.

In 1737 the building was remodelled, and enclosed. Although this was purportedly in order to keep out the weather, the City authorities may also have wanted to limit the influence of spectators. The ground floor of the exterior was refaced with large masonry blocks, and the windows and roofline altered to reflect prevailing architectural styles. A passageway was constructed linking the courthouse with Newgate Prison, to facilitate the transport of prisoners between the two. The interior was rearranged so that the trial jury could sit together, since they were now expected to give their verdicts after each trial, without leaving the courtroom.

 New Sessions House (c.1740). © Corporation of London Libraries and Guildhall Art Library

With the courtroom now enclosed, the danger of infection increased, and at one sessions in 1750 an outbreak of gaol (jail) fever (a form of typhus) led to the deaths of sixty people, including the Lord Mayor and two judges. Subsequently, the judges spread nosegays and aromatic herbs to keep down the stench and prevent infection, a practice commemorated in a ceremony which continues to this day.

Spectators frequently came to see the trials, and courthouse officials had the right to charge fees for entry to the galleries. The radical John Wilkes, when Sheriff of London in 1771, thought this practice undemocratic and prohibited it. Consequently at the October sessions of that year there was almost a riot due to the pressure of the crowds trying to get in, and those inside the galleries were accused of being “turbulent and unruly”. Wilkes’s order was rescinded, and spectators continued to pay to see trials until 1860.

‘The Old Bailey Sessions House’, John Ellis (1790). © Corporation of London Libraries and Guildhall Art Library

In 1774 the court was rebuilt by George Dance at a cost of £15,000. As a way of further controlling public access, a semi-circular brick wall was built around the area immediately in front of the court-house, the bail dock. This wall provided better security for the prisoners awaiting trial and was intended to prevent communication between prisoners and the public. Public view of the courtroom windows was thereby obstructed. The narrow entrance also prevented a sudden influx of spectators into the courtroom. In addition, the passage between Newgate Prison and the Old Bailey was enclosed with brick walls. It is possible that a desire to counteract the more fortress-like appearance of the Old Bailey is one of the reasons why the City, from 1775, went to greater efforts to ensure that the Proceedings provided full and fair reports of the trials.

The new courthouse still had only one courtroom, but it had new and often luxurious facilities for court personnel. There was a separate room for witnesses, so that they would not be obliged to wait their turn in a nearby public house. A grand jury room was appointed with eighteen leather seated chairs and three tables. There were also separate parlours for the Sheriff and Lord Mayor, a Lord Mayor’s Clerk’s Room, an Indictment Office, and a drawing room for the swordbearer and judges’ clerks. The lavish provision for the judges and their servants contrasted dramatically with the prisoners’ quarters in the basement. The Lord Mayor’s Dining Room, for example, included a fireplace with a mosaic on the front, mahogany dining tables, chairs, a pot cupboard, and a large Turkish carpet. Looking glasses (mirrors) were added in 1787. Elaborate dinners, cooked in the kitchen on the ground floor and served with drink from the wine vault, were provided at 3pm and 5pm. Outside in the yard, there was a covered colonnade for carriages and 5 coach stands. Perhaps unsurprisingly, during the Gordon Riots of 1780 the courtroom was badly damaged, and the crowds carried away the furniture and burned it on bonfires in the streets. But the damage was soon repaired.

The courtroom now had four brass chandeliers and, reflecting the increased role of lawyers, a semi-circular mahogany table for council to plead from. Since some prisoners were still branded there were two irons for confining convicts’ hands while they were burnt. A large glass mirror continued to be positioned to reflect daylight onto the face of the accused (later replaced by gas lights). Behind the jurors, and seated above them, was a gallery for spectators (fees were still charged for admission). Although only a limited number of spectators could be accommodated, the increasingly detailed Proceedings published in these years allowed anyone who read them to keep informed of events in the courtroom.

The following transcripts of the proceedings give a fascinating insight into the life and times of our family’s first generations in London as well as a look at how the criminal justice system worked in those days. The judges and lawyers prosecuting seemed to have a very harsh attitude towards the accused, who when found guilty were often given what appear to us to be very extreme sentences.

1.  13th December 1786  David “Otalini” appears as a witness in at the trial of George Stevens and James Day
ORIGINAL TEXT: 113. GEORGE STEVENS and JAMES DAY were indicted for burglariously and feloniously breaking and entering the dwelling house of Joseph Phillips and Gilbert Harrison, on the 3rd day of December, about the hour of seven in the night, and burglariously stealing therein, three cotton gowns, value 2 pounds and 12 shillings, a silk gown, value 1 pound and 1 shilling, a damask table cloth, value 6 shillings, an apron, value 1 shilling, a small striped muslin apron, value 1 shilling, a piece of silver coin, value 4 pence and a tea-spoon, value 1 shilling, the property of Gilbert Harrison.
GILBERT HARRISON sworn. I live in Halfmoon-Court, Bartholomew-Close, in partnership with Joseph Phillips; we have the house between us; I have been married to my wife only two months; I did not know what property my wife had; I was at church at the time the accident happened; I came to my mother-in-law, which was the next door, about a quarter before eight; I did not observe anything amiss; my wife went home to put the child to bed, and she alarmed me very soon after; she said, for God’s sake come home, and she in a hurry pulled to the door, and left the child in the passage; it is a spring-lock; the child opened the door himself; we found the door was unlocked, and the drawers up stairs open and rifled. These things are my property.
MARY HARRISON sworn I went out at seven o’clock, and my house was safe; I double locked my street door; I only went after eight to put my little boy to bed, and when I came home, my street door was shut on the single lock; I left it double locked, I am sure of it; I attended particularly to it; I was the last person in the house; I went up stairs and saw my room door open, and I went back again. Q: Had you left that room door shut? A: Yes, it was locked, I always lock my room door when I go out; I ran and fetched my husband, and when he returned, he found both our bureaus open, and all the things gone mentioned in the indictment; I saw the things that day about half after four Q: Were the drawers locked? –
A: No, I found the cotton gown, one silk gown and a table cloth; Mr. Lucas found them.

Mr. Garrow.
Q: Who was first taken into custody about this? –
A: A Jew gentleman, and he gave information against somebody else.
Q: Was not a woman of the name of Mason taken up? –
A: Yes.
Q: When you was first before the Justice, were the prisoners there? –
A: Yes.
Q: Who did the Jew first charge? –
A: I cannot tell.
Q: Was not Mason taken up for this thing? –
A: Yes.

WILLIAM WEAVER sworn I am one of the headboroughs  (officials) of Clerkenwell parish: on Saturday evening I was informed, and in consequence of that, I called Lucy to my assistance; I went to Saffron-hill, No. 9, to a house kept by a person of the name of Mason; after waiting about the door for ten minutes, we saw Jem Robinson and another man come out of the house; on Mr. Lucy’s attempting to seize him, he struck at him and made off; we then got into the house, and found that somebody had got over the wall backwards; we ran to the next door immediately, and got in at that; on going into the yard we found the prisoner George Stevens, and just where he stood there lay a quantity of wearing apparel; Lucy gathered up the things, and I tied George Stevens’s hands; we then went out of the house, and we no sooner came to the door, but George Stevens seemed unwilling to go, and I believe he turned to kick me; I begged him to be quiet, at the same time I received a many violent blows which almost rendered me insensible; after receiving the second or third blow, I turned and saw this James Robinson, I saw him strike; I was overpowered almost with the blows I received, and rendered entirely senseless Mr. Garrow. You found Stevens in the yard the next door to Mason’s? – A: Yes Q: Who is Mrs. Mason? A: I know nothing at all of her, I never saw her before that night; she was taken in custody, not by me, the same night; she was in custody about a week or ten days   JOHN LUCY sworn I went to Mason’s house on Saffron-Hill; I observed James Robinson come out, I immediately endeavoured to apprehend him; he struck at me with a large stick and made his escape; I endeavoured to break open the door of Mason’s house, but could not effect it; I looked through the key hole, and I saw Mrs. Mason with a large quantity of linen in her arms, going to the back door, and seemingly throwing it up as if into the next yard.
Q: You saw nobody but Mrs. Mason? A: No; we knocked at the next door, and after we had done so, about a minute or two the door of Mrs. Mason was opened; I rushed into the back yard; I heard somebody was getting over the wall, I could not see whether it was man or woman; I immediately run to the next door, and I heard a woman cry, “Lord, there is a man in the house!” I said to the woman, “Open the door, we are officers” ; she immediately opened the door, and I went into the yard, and saw the prisoner Stevens; I seized him, there was a large quantity of property spread about the yard; here is the cuff of a gown the same as one that was lost; I found this tea spoon in the yard afterwards, the prisoner said, he would go very quietly with me; as soon as we came out on Saffron-Hill, there were near a dozen of men that struck at Weaver; I saw them knock him down, endeavouring to rescue the prisoner from me, but Stevens did not do that himself; after I had secured him, I put him into New Prison, and searched him; I found in his breeches pocket six guineas and a half; in the cuff of his coat I took out a small piece of coin; I said,  “George, what is this?” He said, it was a threepence; I saw it was a fourpence; I went back to the yard again, and found a picklock key, which key I tried at the prosecutor’s door when double locked, and it opened it in the presence of the prosecutor; I then went to the house of Mrs. Mason, and searched and found three gowns and the rest of the things I have here; I took her in custody; and brought the things away; I did not know that a person of that description lived there Mr. Garrow. Mrs. Mason was examined before the Magistrate? – A: Yes Q: How long did she continue in custody? – A: Near a week; six days I believe. Q: She is now admitted an evidence for the crown I suppose? – A: Yes; and she attends here.
Q: What did she say about Stevens when she was first examined? – A: I cannot positively say.
Q: Do not you remember that she said this, that the prisoner Stevens knew nothing about the things that you had found; that she declared on her oath that he was innocent; and that if they should swear to him it would be taking away his life wrongfully? A: I do not recollect that; though I would not venture to say she did not; I believe she was up three times; I think she said the first time she did not know how they came there Q: At that time she did not say anything against him? – A: No. Q: She was brought up a second time? – A: Yes, the second time she said, that Stevens was one. How long had she laid in custody? – A: Five days Q: The Jew gentleman was already a witness? – A: Yes Q: What is his name? – A: I really do not know; I believe he was admitted to bail last Wednesday.
Q: Had he made no charge against Mrs. Mason? – A: No, Sir; he knew nothing of her, nor she of him.
Q: Do you know a woman of the name of Lydia Hall being taken up? – A: Yes Sir, she is not here.
Q: Upon whose information was she taken up? A: The Jew said, …”she was present in the room” she was taken in custody and examined and discharged.
Q: Day you apprehended on the description of this honest Jew gentleman? – A: Yes   JONATHAN REDGRAVE sworn. The Monday following the robbery, I was going through Black-boy-alley, and I saw a Jew selling lemons with a bundle; I searched him and found it was a gown.   DAVID OTALINI sworn.
Q: What have you to say about this robbery at Mr. Harrison’s house of linen and wearing apparel about a gown? – A: I was going past Hall’s, I saw Day; I asked for the old woman; at the same time I asked her if she had anything to sell; she said, “yes, I have silk a gown by commission” I asked the price; she asked me a guinea; at last I bought it for fourteen shillings. Q: Was it a new one?  A: No not new fashioned Q: Was it worth no more? – A: No more; I buy it to get something by: I opened the door to go about my business, and an officer stopped me; he asked me, what have you there. (The gown deposed to by Mrs. Harrison.) Harrison:  I have had it about three or four years; I did not buy it new; I gave forty-five shillings for it. Q: What may the value of it be now? – A: It is worth two guineas Mr. Garrow. Q: How much did you give for that? – A: Fourteen shillings Q: And so then they napped you, and swore they would hang you? – A: Yes Q: And I dare say they will fulfill their prophecy by you one day or other (The tea spoon deposed to by Mrs. Harrison.) Mrs. Harrison. It has my mark upon it; I have another that corresponds to it. (The other gowns deposed to.)

Q: Are you a married woman? – A: No.
Q: How came you to buy these things? –
A: These things the prisoners Stevens, and Robinson and Andrews, otherwise Anderson, brought into my house on Sunday se’night, in the evening, about eight o’clock; they brought them to me to buy.
Q: Do you deal in clothes? – A: Yes.
Q: Do you usually buy and sell clothes on Sunday? –
A: No, my Lord, I did not buy any before, nor I did not buy these, but I should have bought them if I had not been deterred by the officer; for before I could make the bargain the officers came.
Q: Did you happen to ask where they got them? – A: No.
Q: That would have been a dangerous question I suppose? – A: I never bought anything before of them; they have bought things at my shop.
Q: What sort of a shop do you keep? – A: A clothes shop, otherwise a sale shop.
Mr. Garrow. You deal wonderfully in aliases, how many names have you besides Mason? – A: No, more.
Q: Have you always told the same story? – A: I have. Q: That you swear positively? – A: Yes.
Q: And that is as true as anything else you have been saying? – A: Yes.
Q: I believe they were wicked enough, these officers that disturbed you, to take you to the Justice’s? –
A: They took me there; I told the Justice as near as I could.
Q: Then you was examined the second time, and you told him the same story? – A: Yes.
Q: Now, upon your oath, the first and second time did not you say that Stevens knew nothing of the matter? – A: I said no such thing; I never swore any such thing neither on the first or second examination.
Q: You know Mr. Lucy? – A: Yes
Q: Lucy She said, if Stevens did not bring them there, she did not know how they came? –
A: I did not say that; I did not know Stevens; I said, that the first time that Stevens was in my house, I did not know that he brought the property.
Q: They did bring it? – A: I told the Justice that at the first examination.
Court. I shall lay every word that she says out of the case.

GEORGE STEVENS, 39, GUILTY,  Sentence: Transported for seven years.
Tried by the London Jury before Mr. Baron HOTHAM.
2.     28th April 1802  The Trial of Israel Langay,  
ORIGINAL TEXT: 398.ISRAEL LANGAY was indicted for feloniously receiving, on the 4th of March, fifty pounds weight of whalebone, value 25s.,he well knowing it to have been stolen No evidence being offered, the prisoner was ACQUITTED.
London Jury, before Mr. Recorder.
3.  1805  David Otolongue appears as a witness 
ORIGINAL TEXT 676. MICHAEL MYERS was indicted for burglariously breaking and entering the dwelling-house of James Shonebridge, about the hour of twelve at night, on the 18th of September, with intent to steal, and burglariously stealing three hats, value 3 l. 3 s. the property of the said James Shonebridge. JAMES SHONEBRIDGE sworn. – I am a hatter; I live in Old Bond-street; on the 18th of September, my house was robbed, which I perceived on going into my shop, which was entirely stripped of them; I suppose about four or five dozen of patent silk hats. Q. On the night of the 18th of September had you left it all fastened up? A. The doors were all locked; the painters had been to work the day before, and had left the windows of the first-floor a little open; I think, they might have got in at the window, without any force.
Q. You do not know what time the property was taken? A. They were taken from the time of shutting up at night, and opening on the morning; we shut up at ten, and open at eight; on the 20th, three hats were brought to me, by John Hornby, a constable, who had apprehended a Jew that bought them. Q. These hats that had been shewn to you, you recognized as your own property? – A. Yes; I had seen them in the shop on the 17th, the day before I lost them.   JOHN HORNBY sworn. – I produce the hats. Q. (To prosecutor.) Look at these three hats? – A. They are all silk hats; my name is in them, and there is also a private mark; I know they are mine, I saw them in the shop particularly, and I am certain that these hats were never sold.   SARAH REEVES sworn. Q. Do you know the prisoner at the bar? – A. Yes. Q. Did he apply to you at any time to dispose of these hats? – A. Yes; I lived in the lower room in the same house as the prisoner; he asked me if I knew anybody that would buy those three hats. Q. He shewed you then those three hats? – A. He did. Q. Did you see enough of them at that time to know they were silk hats? – A. No; he shewed me three hats, I told him that I did not know of any one that would buy them, without it was some Jew or old clothes people; he asked me if I would sell them to an old clothes person; because he said he being a Jew, he did not like to sell them to his own people. I applied to the first that came by, his name is David Otolongue, I sold them to him for 13 s. the prisoner told me to ask 28 s. he said he should lose money by them. Q. How came you to sell them for 13 s.? – A. I went upstairs to him, and he told me to call the man back; he said he had some money to make up, and he wanted money to go a dealing again. Q. You told him that the price that was bid was 13 s. instead of 28 s. and he told you to sell them, to make up some money to go a dealing again? – A. Yes Cross-examined by Mr. Curwood. Q. When was this conversation? – A. On the Friday morning. Q. What Friday? – A. I do not know the day of the month; it was the day the prisoner was taken. Q. What are you? – A. I work at the army work, making soldiers clothes. Q. You have been here before? – A. No never in my life. Q. What did you do with the money you got for those hats? – A. I gave it to the prisoner, it was half a guinea and 2 s. 6 d. in silver, as he laid in bed. Q. Have you never told anybody that you did not give the money to the prisoner, that you spent it in beef and ham? – A. I never told anybody so.   DAVID OTOLONGUE sworn.  – I bought these three hats of Sarah Reeves myself; she asked me 20 s. for them, I bid her 13 s. she said they did not belong to her, she went upstairs, and when she came down, I gave her 13 s. for them; I was stopped in the street by Hornby; he took the hats from me (looking at the hats) these are the same hats I bought of the girl. Q. (To Hornby.) Did you meet this man? – A. A man of the name of Newland, that lives in St. Giles’s came to me, and desired me to follow him, and see what he had in his bag, I searched the Jew’s bag; I found these three hats. Prisoner’s defence. I do not know anything about them; I never saw the hats nor the woman. Court. The capital part must be thrown out of the way; the goods were left so as any person might have got in without any breaking, nor does it appear how long before the time of opening of the shop it had been committed.   Michael Myers aged 28 GUILTY of stealing only. Sentence – Transported for seven years. Second Middlesex Jury, before Lord Ellen
4.   1811 The Trial Of Abraham Langley (Possibly Abraham Ottolangui born 1794)
ORIGINAL TEXT: 293.ABRAHAM LANGLEY was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 28th of February, a watch, value 15 shillings, a chain, value 1 penny and a glass seal, value 1 penny, the property of John Emly. ELIZABETH EMLY Prosecutrix. I am the wife of John Emly; I live in Hackney. Q. Did you lose a watch on the 28th of February – A. Yes, at eleven o’clock in the morning, it was my husband’s watch, it was taken from a brass hook, under the mantle, in the front dining room, on the first floor. Q. What time in the day had you seen it before – A. About eleven o’clock in the morning. I came down for a pitcher of water, and on my return I saw the prisoner coming down stairs. Q. Had you known him before – A. No. He was dressed in a light coloured great coat. Q. Did you particularly remark his person so as to be able to speak to him again – A. No; it is very much like him. Q. Do you speak to him or not – A. No. Q. When you went in your room was your watch there or gone – A. It was gone. On my seeing the strange man come down I had suspicion. I told my husband. I went down and told the people of the house. Q. Was the person pursued – A. No; I went out, he was gone; I did not see any body. On the week following I saw the watch at Worship-street. The watch is here, the pawnbroker has it. Q. Have you any doubt the prisoner is the person – A. I have no doubt.   THOMAS COKE. I am a pawnbroker’s shopman, 25, City-Road This watch was pawned with me on the 28th of February, about two o’clock. I believe the person that pawned it to be the prisoner, he was dressed in a light coloured great coat. I lent him twelve shillings upon it. Q. Did you issue a duplicate – A. Yes, this is the duplicate; I got the duplicate from a private in the militia; I have had the watch ever since in my possession.
Prosecutrix. It is my husband’s watch, it has a silver face.   WILLIAM HOLDEN. I am a private in the Royal East London Militia. On the first Friday in March I received a duplicate of the prisoner, he asked me if I wanted to buy a watch; I told him I did; he asked me thirteen shillings for the duplicate; he said he had pawned the watch for want of money; I agreed with him for it. I advanced no money until I had seen the watch. I took the duplicate to the pay-serjeant, and asked him to redeem it for me. This is the same duplicate that I received of the prisoner. I afterwards saw the prisoner, and told him the duplicate was stopped. He told me he would redeem it for me if I would advance him the money; he was not afraid of being stopped.   Prisoner’s Defence. I found this duplicate in Featherstone-street, I could not afford to get the watch out; I asked this man to purchase the ticket off me. I belong to the Royal West London Militia; he told me the watch was stopped two or three days after he got the duplicate. I told him I would get the watch out if he would get the money for me.   Abraham Langley, aged 20 GUILTY Sentence – Confined Two Years in the House of Correction, and fined 1shilling. First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. justice Bailey.

5..1814 Abraham Langley a witness


653. JOSEPH HOLLAND, alias JONATHAN WILD, was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 31st of May, forty thousand eight hundred bible sheets, value 48 pounds, two hundred Italian testaments, value 7 pounds and two thousand sheets of an octavo bible, value 40 pounds, the property of John Reeves, George Reeves, and Andrew Strachan.

SECOND COUNT, for like offence, stating it to be the property of Thomas Rutt.

THOMAS RUTT. I am a printer at Shacklewell. I print bibles there, and testaments, for Messrs. Reeves and Strachan. On the morning of the 31st of May my warehouseman came to me. I went to the warehouse, and saw from the appearance of the warehouse there had been an entering into the one pair of stairs window. They had let down the upper sash, and opened the door of the warehouse. There were marks of crows upon the door. They had stolen a large quantity of bibles and testaments, and then they broke their way out. They stole bibles and testaments worth upwards of one hundred and fifty pounds. I have seen the bibles and testaments since; they were the identical things that were stolen out of my warehouse.

Mr. Barry. Q: Were the bibles perfect –

A. Forty thousand and eighty-five perfect, two hundred Italian testaments perfect, and sixty quires, part of an octavo bible.

EDWARD TOVEY. Q. Do you remember the morning that Mr. Rutt’s printing office was broken open –

A. Yes, on Tuesday morning. On that morning I was disturbed by a cart rattling at the back part of my house. I thought it rained. We are obliged to cover up our work when it rains. I am a brick maker. I went out of doors, and saw the cart. I followed the cart. One man was with the cart, and two behind it. I heard one say, I am afraid we shall not be off with this job now; I am afraid we shall be taken. They whipped the horse to go as fast as they could. They went towards Clapton. This was between two and three o’clock in the morning.

Mr. Barry. Q: Who the men were, you cannot swear – A. No. All I know, there were three men with the cart.

DAVID BUCKINGHAM. I am a green grocer; I live at 101, Wentworth-Street.

Q. Do you know the prisoner –

A. I do; I have known him eighteen months, or upwards. On the morning of the 31st of May, between six and seven in the morning, I was getting out of bed; somebody knocked at the door; I went to the door; the prisoner came; he said, will you let me leave some things for half an hour; I said, yes, you can lay them down here. I was not dressed; I went into the room, and dressed myself, and came into the shop again; I found a number of printed papers. I said, “What have you got here?” he said, it was waste paper, the property of his brother, who was in that line. They were the same printed papers that has since been given to the officers. While I was dressing myself, I heard a cart coming along; when I came out, I saw no cart. After I was dressed, two men came in, the prisoner asked for pen and ink and paper; I gave it him. He wrote a note, and gave it the two men. He then said, I will put the paper down in the cellar; I said, do not put it there, the cellar is damp. He said, it is of no consequence, as it is going to be removed directly; he then moved it into the cellar, and went away.

Q. Did you the next day deliver that paper to any person –

A. I did, by the prisoner’s order, to a man of the name of Laugley; Laugley fetched away the paper by that written order, a part of the paper. The prisoner called again in about two or three days; I then said to the prisoner, how could you ask me to let you leave anything in my shop for half an hour, and leave it here for two or three days; he answered very short. He said, I will take it away directly, and went off.

Q. In consequence of any suspicion that you entertained, did you remove these things out of your house –

A. I did, to No. 28, in Wentworth-street, a house that I had the letting it. After that, I went to the office. The officers took the paper into their possession.

Mr. Barry. Q: Are you not known by the name of James Buck –

A. I never answer to that name.

Q. Have you ever had the pleasure of seeing me here –

A. I have. I have been at the bar, where the prisoners are; I was convicted of a burglary

Q: Then you were under sentence of death in Newgate –

A. I was; I might be twenty months; that is twelve years ago. I have been here since, for an offence against the revenue; I was confined in Newgate for the offence against the revenue; I may have been twenty months out of Newgate for that offence. I was pardoned of the first offence.

ISRAEL LANGLEY. At the time this transaction took place, I lived at No. 8, Cooper’s-Buildings. I went to Buckingham’s house, and saw some printed paper by the information of Osborne. The prisoner went into the cellar with me to look at the paper; after I had seen the paper, I agreed to buy it. I fetched away about five hundred pounds weight. I bought it by the lump. I paid ten pounds in part of payment two days afterwards; I paid it to Osborne. That is the paper which the officer had. I went to the office voluntarily, and gave the same account which I have given now. I paid the money to Osborne. The prisoner did not receive a farthing of me; Jem Osborne received the money. Upon my honour I thought the paper was stolen. I lock the paper from a house in Harrow-Alley, Petticoat-Lane.

JOHN ARMSTRONG. In consequence of Mr. Rutt, laying his information at Worship-street office, I, on Monday, the 6th of June, in company with Mr. Rutt, found eleven bundles of paper in a room where a madman was laying in bed, which Mr. Rutt said, he knew to be part of his property; that was in a house in Harrow-Alley, in Petticoat-Lane, and on the 17th of June, I, in company with my son, went to 98, an empty house, in Wentworth-Street; in a cellar we found the remainder part of the paper. We sent for Mr. Rutt; he knew it to be that which he had so lost. After I had found this, I went to LANGLEY‘s house, in company with Mr. Rutt. I left word for LANGLEY to attend at the office; he came voluntarily, and gave some information. Then I took some steps at Buckingham’s house; he also attended. Then on Wednesday, the 29th of June, I, in company with my son, and Gleed, apprehended the prisoner on the charge of this robbery; I told him the charge; he said, he knew nothing about it.

Q to Mr. Rutt. Have you looked over the property –

A. Yes. I believe we have recovered the whole of the property.

Prisoner’s Defence. I know nothing at all about it, no more than you do.

Second Middlesex jury, before Mr. Common Serjeant.


1367. DAVID MARTIN was indicted for stealing, on the 21st of September, one coat, value 30 s.; one waistcoat, value 2 s., and one shirt, value 3 s., the goods of Abraham Langley.

The prosecutor did not appear.


First Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Recorder

      6.  1817  Abraham Langley – Witness  Here Abraham explains that his correct name is Abraham Otter Langley. This is probably Abraham Ottolangui born 1794.
ORIGINAL TEXT: 1211. JOHN BARNETT as indicted for stealing, on the 21st of May, one pocket-book, value 10 shillings, one guinea, value 21shillings; and two bank notes, value 10 pounds each, the goods, monies, and property of Thomas Blackburn. MRS. SARAH BLACKBURN. I am the wife of Thomas Blackburn, we live in Kent. On the 27th of May, I took a coach at Hatton-Garden to take me into the city. I had my son and grandson with me. I gave my luggage to the coachman; among other bundles, there was one in a red handkerchief, which I took into the coach – I pinned each corner of it-it contained a bag, with my red pocketbook and two 10 pound bank notes in it. I got out of the coach at Copthall-Court-the bundle was then safe. I stayed there about half an hour; I had left my son and grandson in the coach-when I returned, I found them walking about by the coach. I discovered nothing till I got to the inn in Gracechurch-Street, I then found my bundle had been unpinned, the bag opened, and the pocket-book, with its contents, gone. The coachman was searched before he left me. EDWARD LUSHINGTON BLACKBURN. I was with my mother. I noticed the prisoner riding behind the coach as we went along all the way from Hatton-Garden – He was with the coachman when I called it off the stand. When my mother went into Copthall-Court, I and my companion got out and left the door open, and walked about-we did not go far from it. My mother returned, and we went to the coach office in Gracechurch-Street. I never saw the prisoner after my mother got out. The coachman was searched before he went from us. Cross-examined by MR. ADOLPHUS. I saw him on the opposite side of the coach when I got out. The coachman helped us out. He shut the door sometime after we got out.   ABRAHAM LANGLEY. I drove the coach. Mrs. Blackburn got out at Copthall-Court, while she was absent, I saw the prisoner walking on the opposite side of the way – I saw him get on the coach-step, the door was open, he was half in and half out-the young gentlemen had left the coach-as the prisoner stepped from the door, I saw something red in his hand – I did not know what it was – I said nothing to him-when we got to Gracechurch-Street the robbery was discovered – I did not tell the lady – I was searched and nothing found on me – I was examined at Hatton-Garden, and kept in custody for a fortnight and then discharged. I did not tell them until afterwards.
Cross examined. My name is Abraham Langley, I go by that name, my right name is Otter Langley, but the English cannot pronounce it; I am partner in the coach with the prisoner’s father; I was searched; I did not tell what I had seen. I told the magistrate that a boy had rode with me. Q. In about fourteen days you said there was a boy concerned, and you was liberated to find him? – A. Yes. I told them before I did not know his name. I am in custody now. Q. On your oath, was not the prisoner at your mother’s house while you pretended to be looking for him? – A. He was not. WILLIAM THISSELTON. I am an officer. I searched Langley and the coach, but found nothing. I afterwards searched for the prisoner, but could not find him; I went to his father’s thirty times. Cross-examined. Langley denied having any person with him; he said if we would go to St. Catharine’s it should all be right, and we should be well tipped for all our trouble; I took him to the office, the magistrate told him if he did not tell where the boy was, he should be taken again; he was admitted as an evidence; I found the prisoner in bed at his father’s, after going a great many times for him; I asked him where he had been all the while, he said he went to the villages to sell oranges; I took him on the 9th of July; I told him what I took him for, he said he knew something was the matter, but he was innocent; he said a boy, named Barret, who lived in a house in Rosemary-lane, had told him about it. Prisoner’s Defence. Langley gave me a 10 pound note to take to my father to buy some corn. John Barnett aged 13.  GUILTY
Sentence Transported for Seven Years.
London Jury, before Mr. Common Sergeant.

7.     1818    Mary Otolangay Prosecutrix


1572. HARRIET GALE was indicted for stealing, on the 13th of September, one gown, value 4 shillings; one shift, value 2 shillings; one petticoat, value 1 shilling and two handkerchiefs, value 8 pence, the goods of Israel Otolangay

MARY OTOLANGAY prosecutrix. I am the wife of Israel Otolangay, who is a confectioner, and lives in Wood-Street, Tabernacle-walk. The articles stated in the indictment were hung in the garden to bleach, all night, on the 12th of September-next morning they were taken. The prisoner was my servant, and had lived two days with me – She left that morning. My husband met her about a week afterwards in Whitechapel. She offered to pay 1 shilling per week for the things.

JURY. Q. Have you female lodgers –

A. Yes-they are both married, but their husbands do not live with them.

LEONARD MATHEWS. I am a pawnbroker. A gown was pledged with me by a woman whom I do not know.

(Property produced and sworn to.)

Prisoner’s Defence. I found the prosecutrix wanted me to become a prostitute, and I left her.

Harriet Gale NOT GUILTY.
Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Recorder.

8.   1819 Amelia and Israel Ottolanglie appear in the trial of Ann Smith
ORIGINAL TEXT: 456. ANN SMITH was indicted for stealing, on the 25th of January, one sheet, value 5 shillings; two pillow-cases, value 18 pence and one frock, value 18 pence, the goods of Israel Ottolanglie.   AMELIA OTTOLANGLIE. I am the wife of Israel Ottolanglie. 
On the 24th of January, the prisoner came into our service – next day I missed this property. When she went to bed she dropped two duplicates, I picked them up, and found they related to my property; next morning I gave her in charge. She said she took them, but she was rather tipsy.
LEWIS FURNEAUX. I am servant to Mr. Hanes, who is a pawnbroker, and lives in Drury-lane. On the 25th of January, the prisoner pledged a sheet, two pillow-cases, and a frock with me. THOMAS GOODING. I am an officer. I took the prisoner; she said she would redeem the things. (Property produced and sworn to. ) Prisoner’s Defence. The prosecutor keeps a house of ill-fame. Ann Smith  aged 33 GUILTY. Sentence Confined One Year.
Second Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Common Sergeant.
9.. 1826 Abraham and Sarah Longley  Possibly Abraham Ottolenghi born 1794 and his wife, Sarah Toledano   ORIGINAL TEXT: 1500; JOSEPH DICKINSON was indicted for stealing, on the 24th of August, 9 napkins, value 4 shillings; 5 towels, value 2 shillings; 2 jackets, value 6 shillings; and 4 aprons, value 4 shillings, the goods of William Colley, and ELIZABETH COSTELLOW was indicted for feloniously receiving part of the same goods, well knowing them to have been stolen.   ANN COLLEY. I am the wife of William Colley; and am a laundress. On the 24th of August, I had these articles to wash, and I missed them that day; I had left them safe the night before, when I went to bed, in my wash-house; I fastened the windows and doors; I did not see that any violence had been done; I suppose they got in at the wash-house window, which was wide open; there was a square of glass out.
SARAH LONGLEY. I am the wife of Abraham Longley, and live in Tothill-Street; I deal in old linen articles. On the 24th or 25th of August, Elizabeth Costellow brought some towels, and two coarse aprons, which I bought of her; it is called huckaback; there were two letters on them, but I cannot say what; I sold them again – she came again the same afternoon, and brought the articles which are here; Mr. Pace came on the 30th of August and claimed them.
Prisoner COSTELLOW. Q. Did you not say you bought them of a person called Carrotty? A. That is you.
WILLIAM RICHARDSON. I was on duty in Vauxhall-Road, on the 24th of August, about half-past four o’clock in the morning, and I saw Dickinson and another man coming up Belvoir-Terrace, towards Pimlico; they made off at the back of Belvoir-Terrace, and I saw them turn their heads frequently; I thought there was something wrong, and I made up to them, and overtook them; I asked them what was the matter; they said, “Nothing” – they had been at the Cobourg, and stayed drinking all night; I did not detain them; it was directly opposite Mr. Colley’s place that I first saw them.
THOMAS PACE. From the information I received I suspected Dickinson to be concerned in the robbery, and I went to the back of a house in Duck-Lane, Westminster; I found Costellow standing at the door with another woman; I went into the back part of the house, and found Dickinson in bed; I said to him, “What is your name?” he said, “Pace; you know my name very well;” I said, “Get up,” which he did, and under the bed I found this chisel, and these three centre-bits in a cupboard by the fire-place; I took him to the office, and took the female the same day, when she came to inquire about him; they had been living together. I sent Mrs. Colley to Mrs. Longley’s – before I got there she hung up the jacket; and I went and said, “Who did you buy this of?” she said ,”Of a woman, in the family way, named Carrotty Bet – you know her very well.”   MRS. COLLEY. I lost some huckaback towels and aprons which were marked. (Property produced and sworn to.)
Joseph Dickinson – Aged 19. GUILTY.
Elizabeth Costellow aged 18 – GUILTY Sentence Transported for Seven Years.
10.   1829 The Trial of David Langley – ORIGINAL TEXT: 1116. DAVID LANGLEY was indicted for stealing, on the 1st of May, 1 screw-cap, value 25 shillings, the goods of William Thomas Smallwood. JOHN CUTHBERT. On the 1st of May I was standing at my door, and saw the prisoner coming towards me – when he got past he ran, and dropped this screw-cap; I took him and the screw-cap to Mr. Smallwood. WILLIAM THOMAS SMALLWOOD. I am a brass-founder, and live in York-Terrace. This brass cap is mine; it was cast from a pattern which I have in my hand – it was taken from my window that morning   Prisoner’s Defence. I did not see anything of it till that gentleman caught me; two young men passed, and I suppose they dropped it   David Langley aged 17 GUILTY. Sentence Confined Three Months.
11. 1830   The Second trial of David Langley, transported to Van Diemen’s Land for Life  ORIGINAL TEXT: 368. DAVID LANGLEY was indicted for stealing, on the 14th of December, 1 cheese, value 12 shillings, the goods of Thomas Davidge; and that at the Delivery of His Majesty’s Gaol of Newgate, holden on Thursday, the 11th of June, in the 10th year of His Majesty’s reign, he was convicted of felony
THOMAS DAVIDGE. I am a cheesemonger, and live at No. 48, The Minories. On the 14th of December I went to my tea at a quarter before six o’clock, and the cheeses were safe under my portico, on a pile up to the top of the doorway; I came from tea in about twenty minutes, and said to my shopman, “Richard, there is a cheese gone;” he had not missed it – this is the cheese; it has my mark on it. Cross-examined by MR. BARRY. Q. Do you know whether this cheese was on the pile? A. Yes – they were all marked No. 2, being of one particular dairy; I had sold some that day, but this is marked 24, which no other was – the shopman could not sell a whole cheese without my knowledge; there were eight of them, part of which I had put up. JAMES FOGG. I saw the prisoner in Rosemary-lane, with the cheese, on the evening of the 14th of December; it was in a small green bag, on his head, about a quarter of a mile from the prosecutor’s – I asked where he got it; he hesitated some time, and then said two men gave it him at the corner of Four Awl-C1823  ourt, and I might go and see them – I put him into a shop, and handcuffed him; as we were going along he saw two men, and said, “They have just cut down the lane now;” he afterwards saw his brother, and told him to go with me and show me the persons, and said one of them was named Phillips; I went with his brother to the City of Carlisle public-house – he went in, and two young men ran out; one of them we took, but the other, whom he called Phillips, got away – when I had that young man before the Magistrate the prisoner said it was not him, but Phillips gave it him.
Prisoner’s Defence. The young man gave it me to carry, and I was to have sixpence for it   JOHN CUTHBERT. I produce a certificate of the conviction of the prisoner in June last – I know he is the person. David Langley aged 19  GUILTY.
Sentence – Transported for Life.
David’s life story is told in another post on this site “Our Convict Connection

By bryanell2020

Occasional genealogist and full-time Ottolangui family historian. 8th generation descendant of the 17th century Ottolenghi family of Livorno, born in London, graduated in Birmingham, lived around the United Kingdom, Israel, and in Rome, Italy. For a short while in Buenos Aires, and currently residing in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic where I have been since 2005.

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