Thursday, 9 February 2017

9th February 1817: William Burton's further confession

The voluntary confession of William Burton late of Basford in the County of Nottingham, taken before me Lanct Rolleston Esqr one of his Majesty's justices of the peace for the said County.

The attempt to murder Kerry.

On the Sunday before Christmas, Thos Henfrey & John Woolley of Basford, came to me whilst I was at William Pickburns houses, on Parson’s flat Basford, a called me out & said, they wished to speak to me; I went out, they desired me to ask Sutton Bill, alias Wm Pickburn if he had a bit of powder, I asked what they wanted powder for, said, they were going to break Kerry’s frame; I went & asked him, he said he had none; went & told them so; Henfrey had two pistols, one loaded & one not, Danl Diggle had one, unloaded; they said, they wanted as much powder as would load them both; I asked who was going to go; they said Henfrey, Danl Diggle John Woolley, James Shaw, (all of Basford) & said you must go & all, meaning deponent; said I had rather not, Henfrey said you had better, as they would soon do it, & they would not be more than half an hour; asked where Diggle & Shaw were, said up stairs in Diggles room; Henfrey desired them to stay where they were, (being at the bottom of the yard) & he would go to Thos Pogson’s, & ask him for some powder; went & brought some, brought it in a horn; then went into Diggle's room; Henfrey loaded one pistol, & Diggle another, Diggle got an old coat which was very much torn, & put it on & tied an handkerchief over his face; Deponent, Henfrey, Diggle & Woolley then went out of Diggles room, they stopt a bit in the yard, whilst Henfrey went some where to get a hammer, he got one, but does not know where from; they went directly to Kerry’s house, met no one by the way; Diggle & Woolley went on first, I & Henfrey followed at a little distance; Henfrey said; Dan, (meaning Diggle) damns his eyes if he don't blow his brains out, if he stirs, I said, that won't do; we overtook them, we came up to them in Pearsons close, before they got to the house; there agreed, that Henfrey should stand in the lane, Woolley against the door, & Diggle & myself should go in; I had the hammer, the other three had pistols; went up to the house listened against the window, & heard the children talking; came out of the yard again & stood the lane, deponent said we’ll stop about ten minutes, & the children will be gone to bed, they would make such a noise if we went in whilst they were up; Diggle was looking at his pistol, I said, my lad, let me beg you not to shoot, you’ll have no occasion for it, said he would not; Diggle & Woolley went again, I was about 5 or 6 yards behind, Diggle went first & threw open the door, Diggle & Woolley went in, I stood at the door; Kerry said, Hello, Diggle order’d the people in the house to go into the parlour, the women scream’d, & Kerry got up & seized Woolley, laid hold of his pistol, could not get it away, but pulled the ramrod out; then Diggle shot him; did not hear Woolley’s pistol miss fire, they then run out; when they got into the first close, Diggle dam’d his eyes if he had not shot him dead; said he tumbled down as dead as a rat; I asked him how he could think of doing it so, said. he did not know his pistol was cocked, I said I know’d, said, why did you not tell me, said, I did & talked to you about it before you went in; he said, damnation seize his eyes, he should have let Woolley alone, he seized Woolley he should have gone into the parlour & then I should not have done it; he said he was dam’d mad with himself for having done it, told him he was such a fool, that whenever he got a pistol & a bit of powder, he was always firing; I said it was the last thing I would ever be concern’d in, & would never go out any more; we then went home I & Diggle went together, & Henfrey went with Woolley a bye road; met no one by the way, saw no one & thinks no one saw us; went to Diggles house the next day, Diggle said, some one shot old Kerry last night. The ramrod did not belong to the pistol Woolley had, but belonged to a pistol taken from the factory at Loughbro’; thinks the pistol was drown’d, in Cheeny pool near Nottm, where all of them were drown’d, as he had heard say; it was a particular ramrod; the reason they wanted to break Kerry's frame was, because it was a cut up.

Job. at Bramcote

The Sunday before this took place there were many talking that man at Bramcote had got cut ups; Bill Towle said they should break them, & shew they could do a job without Jem; (meaning James Towle who was at that time in Leicester Jail) heard nothing more of it, till returning home from Arnold the Saturday following, saw Danl Diggle on the Parson’s flat, he said his brother Nathan & Bill Towle were gone to Chilwell to fetch pistols, for the job, they were to get them from his brother in laws where some had been left after the Loughbro job; James Shaw came to us & said we were to meet at the lane above Browns bleachyard, at ten oclock, we did meet there; the party then consisted of deponent, Danl Diggle, Chas Elliott, Joseph Widdowson, John Lomas, James Shaw, Robt Sugden, Jonathan Austin, & one Sam, (who run away for robbing the tent on the Race ground with Bill Towle, he has since enlisted into the guards at Derby, he has a mole on one side of his face, & is very pale looking, a good deal like, Saml Caldwell.) they then set off, went thro’ cherry orchard as they call it, past Aspley field, straight to the canal side; when they got to the top of the canal where the road to Trowel crosses it; Shaw, Danl Diggle, Chas Elliott & another, thinks it was Austin; went over a bridge to a public house, & got some ale, said they had a full quart & paid 6d for it; they drank it at the door & did not go in; Shaw said it was the last measure in the parish; this night be about eleven oclock it was in July; when these came from the public house they all went together along the cut side, for some distance till they came to a Lane, which they went down till they came to a place where they met Nathan Diggle & Bill Towle, who had brought pistols & cartridges & an hatchet; they gave pistols to those were to stand guard out of doors, namely Dan Diggle, Chas Elliott, & Bob Sugden, Jonathan Austin was also outside but had a gun of his own, Sam had a pistol & went into the house, Bill Towle had a pistol, James Shaw an iron crow, deponent the hatchet; the others had candles; coming towards the house, they saw a light in the chamber window, but it was put out before they got to the door; Bill Towle rattled the door, called out desiring them to come & open the door, they did not come, Towle took the hatchet giving deponent his pistol to hold, (this pistol Towle afterwards lost in the house) & broke it open; when they got into the house they got a light; they had things for striking a light with them; Towle went up stairs, Nathan Diggle, Widdowson & deponent followed, they broke 4 frames in the shop, the people in the house were in bed, thinks they never got up as they saw no one; they were there about 20 minutes, it was between 12 & 1, when they had done the frames, they went into another chamber, where the children lay, there was a machine there for winding silk they broke it, & as they were throwing it out of the window some of their own party fired at them, supposes by some mistake, did not hit them; they then came away, the children lay quite still & never made any noise; Bill Towle said he never saw any children lay so quiet before; they all went home together the same road they came, saw no one & no one saw them as he thinks; it was about 4 oclock when they got home; does not know the man's name whose frames they broke—.

As they were going to break the frames (after Diggle & the others who had been to the public house had joined them) they met a man on the canal bank, thinks he was drunk as he laid hold of several of them, & shouted, hallo lads, he went singing down the cut side towards the public house they had left, does not know if he went in, he was a middle sized man, had a short white frock on which only came down to his waist, & thinks a white hat it was moonlight; he looked like a miller thinks he was miller. The next day they took the pistols to Jack Hill’s, where he worked being in the same yard at the sign of King George on horseback; Hill was gone out, the master, (Hill’s brother in law) took them up into a cockloft.

One of the pistols bought by Savage at Derby for the Loughbro’ job; fellow to the one supposed to be at a gunsmiths in Nottm Mitchel, had with him at the shop where he worked, at the time he was taken,—

Lambley Job

Two or three weeks before this was done, Tom Austin, Jack Plumb, & big Sam alias Saml Caldwell, came to me & said, if I would get chaps to do a Lambley job, they, (meaning the Lambley men) would assist me at any time to do Bulwell; said, I would mention it; did so to the 2 Diggles, Thomas Corson or Corson or Corser. (since enlisted into the 96th) Joseph Mellors, Thomas Henfrey & William Cooper all of Basford; (Cooper has since gone to his parish which is Thringstone near Whitwich in Leicestershire) to Edwd Straw, Isaac Burton & John Wright of Arnold; Wright has since enlisted into a rifle corps at Nottm) & John Lommas of Bulwell; they all consented; the Saturday it was done big Sam, & Jack Plumb came to me at that time at Arnold, & asked if, they would come; said they would; Sam said he would go to Nottm & get pistols & ammunition, saying we were to meet in a particular close, next but one to the town; we did so, Jack Plumb went with us from Arnold, & when we got to Lambley, he went somewhere into the town & brought up two pistols; they soon heard a whistle, Plumb went towards it, the rest followed; about 2 closes off they found big Sam, Tom Austin, George Lovatt, as he called himself & John Blackburn; they brought pistols & ammunition; Sam said he had hid two pistols in Lovatt’s stacks, but had been to look for them, & could not find them; supposed some of Lovatt’s men had got them, & said when they went to break his frames they must get them if they could. They then went to Lovatts house; Henfrey broke open the door, deponent, Henfrey the 2 Diggles, Cooper went directly up stairs & broke the frames; Danl Diggle took a pistol & candle & went into the room where the journeymen & apprentices lay, & said, their general had informed them, they had got two pistols as belonged to them, & said he would blow their brains out if they did not give them up; they denied having; Diggle had an handkerchief over his face, & most of them had their clothes changed; saw no one in the house—Went from thence to Needhams house, knocked at the door, Needham open’d the door himself, they rushed in & Needham run up stairs, & they saw nothing more of them; all the party was more or less in the house at different times, except Isaac Burton, who said he would go into none, for having been apprenticed in the town, he should be known; an handkerchief of Burton's was lost there; they broke all the frames in the shop, went away without seizing any ones

Went from thence to Kirks the door not being open’d they broke it open, does not know who did it; Kirk did not come down, but talked to them on the stairs; said they had come to break his frames, he begged they would not, & said they were [Bergin] James’s; they said they were Shaws, that he was working at under price, & they could do them; Danl Diggle open’d the stair foot door & fired up stairs; it was a Cotton shop, deponent did not go into it; but Henfrey Cooper & Corser went in & broke all the frames; Went from thence to Godbers, desired to be let in, & rattled the door, two women put their heads out of a window, & said, that was not a public house; said, we did not want a public house, but had come to break the frames; the women called some men who put their heads out of the window & asked what we wanted, said we came to break the frames, & desired them to come & open the door; they did not; Henfrey broke it open, with the hatchet; it was one of those bought for the Loughbro’ job; we went in, & broke all the frames; it was a bottom shop, saw nothing more of the men or women; this was about 1 or 2 oclock; were about 2 or 3 hours altogether in the town; saw no one about; all went out of Lambley together number’d ourselves as high as 50 does not know how many frames they broke in each shop, but knows 30 were broke in the whole. then parted, Basford men went one way Arnold men another; before I got home I parted with the others, who went along a lane, & went by myself across the closes; On monday after the job Hill, Mitchel & a Adams Scotchman came over, & gave Mellors 17s to drink for doing the job we all drank it together; About a fortnight afterwards, Jack Plumb, Tom Austin, big Sam & Isaac Burton, met deponent in Arnold, & said Tom Needham could swear to Isaac Burton; and offer’d deponent & Isaac 10s to go & shoot him; Isaac said he would do it himself, if I would put hear him company there & back; said, I would know have no concern in murder; Jack Plumb said, I need have no concern as Isaac would do it himself, & only wanted me to walk with him; said I should be reckoned as bad, as if I did it; he said I had done that already as would hang me; but told him I would have no concern in taking life; they said no more to me about it, but Isaac plagued me very much to go & said he could do it easily, & would shoot him thro’ a hole in the window which was just against where he worked.

Needham might have seen Isaac Burton the night the frames were broken; thinks it was him who said, damn your eyes remember Clumber Street. When they first went into Needhams house, after he open’d the door, a pistol was fired either by Dan Diggle of Burton; thinks Wm Emmet & his wife where D. Diggle lodged will be brought to prove his alibi; & a woman named Hibbet or Herbert, who lives at Nathan Diggles will also be brought; she is married but lives with Nathan Diggle.

John Blackburn says, Jack Plumb & Isaac Burton have often requested him to shoot Tom Needham & one Police of Lambley.

The deponent William Burton is not a member of the Hambden Club.

Mr Rolleston
9 Feb. 1817

This document can be found at HO 42/159.

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