James Bunyard at the Old Bailey, 1763-1764

James Bunyard, theft: simple grand larceny, 14 Sep 1763.

James Bunyard was indicted for stealing one man's hat, value 10 s. and 10 s. in money, the property of Edward Jones , September 1.

Edward Jones deposed, that he was asleep in a night-house on the outside of Temple-bar, when every body were going to be turned out, about 3 in the morning, he was awaked by the prisoner; that he proposed to treat him for his civility to him, but missing his money, and finding he had an old hat on which the prisoner owned, and the prisoner had got his new one on, he charged him with robbing him; that taking him down Fleet-street, to get the assistance of a watchman, he ran away up Shoe-lane; but he was taken again, and delivered in charge of a constable. (The hat produced and deposed to.)

Edward Sumpter, the constable, deposed, that the prosecutor charged the prisoner with stealing 10 s. from him, that there was a half crown among it, and one Birmingham shilling; that in searching he found such upon the prisoner.

The prisoner in his defence said, he was a watch graver, and worked hard for the money found upon him; that he had been asleep by the prosecutor, and as his hat had fallen from his head, he, by mistake, took up the prosecutor's instead of his own.

He called John Smith, who deposed, he had brought him up from six or seven months old till he was fit to go apprentice; that he was then an apprentice to Francis Stedman, in Clerkenwell; and that he never heard any ill of him in his life.


Source: Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, 7 April 2004), September 1763, trial of James Bunyard (t17630914-12).


James Bunyard, Joseph Price, theft: housebreaking, 22 Feb 1764.

James Bunyard and Joseph Price were indicted for breaking the dwelling house of Harbin Elderton, and stealing 24 yards of silk for handkerchiefs, value 24 s., the goods of the said Harbin Elderton, in the said dwelling house, February 8.

Harbin Elderton. I am a haberdasher and hosier, and live in Bishopgate-street. Yesterday was fortnight, about six in the evening, I was coming out of my parlour, my apprentice said, the thieves were at the window, that had been there before (we suspected some fellows that had been at the window the Monday before) I gave a look, being within a foot of the door, and saw Bunyard take some goods through the glass, and run away with them: candles were lighted in the shop, I went to the window, and found a bit of glass broke out, and some goods gone, I cannot swear to all that was taken; I asked my apprentice if he had seen the thieves? he said, he had; and said, he should know them again: then I thought it necessary to be a little upon the watch, in case they should return. In less than five minutes, Bunyard returned, and took the residue through the hole; he put his hand in, and pulled them out. I saw him move with them in his hand from the window: I followed him immediately. In his running, I cry'd, Stop thief: he ran against a woman, knocked her down, and fell over her; I had not lost sight of him. He was taken, brought back, and committed; he had conveyed the goods away. I can swear he is the man that put his hand in, and took goods out. My goods were taken up by a person and brought into the shop; the prisoner said, he heard the cry, Stop thief, and he ran, in order to catch the thief, and so he fell down. I saw no man running but him, nor none by him, when he took out the goods. (The goods produced.) These are my property, and were lying by the glass which they had broke, within the shop. He told me, he was a watch engraver.

Nathaniel Brittain. I am apprentice to the prosecutor. He sent me to the Compter, to see whether I should know the prisoner, Price; I looked through the rails, and saw all the prisoners together; as soon as I saw Price, I knew him; I believe he is the man I saw with Bunyard, on Wednesday night, when these handkerchiefs were lost. I saw him at the shop window; I cannot swear particularly to Bunyard, but I believe upon my oath, Price was one of the two. I heard the other say, which I suppose to be Bunyard. Where is Joe? at the window, just before the handkerchiefs were taken.

Nathaniel Elbone. Yesterday fortnight, I was going through Bishopsgate-street, about 20 yards from the prosecutor's door, I heard the prisoner, Bunyard, hallow out, Stop thief. There was a gentlewoman, she not giving way, he knock'd her down, and fell over her, and I laid hold of him: the prosecutor came up, and said, he had robbed him of some handkerchiefs, from his shop window. The prisoner said, he was running after a thief that was gone before: there was no other person past me, but the prisoner. As I had hold of his collar, I saw him pull his hand out of his pocket; I said, are you going to pull any thing out? he took his hand out; I did not see any thing fall; but in about ten minutes after he was in the prosecutor's shop, the handkerchiefs were brought in by a stranger.

Bunyard's Defence

I was going past the shop, and heard the gentleman run out, and cry, Stop thief: a man ran; he was within three yards of me. I should have laid hold of him, but a woman was in my way; I ran against her, and threw her down, and fell myself. Then they came and took hold of me: the man ran down Spittal-square. I live in Cross-lane, High-Holborn, and can earn a guinea and a half a week. I was going to meet one James More, at the Coach and Horses, in Shoreditch, the house of Richard Swift.

Bunyard guilty of Felony only. Sentence: Transportation for seven years.

Price Acquitted.

Source: Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, 7 April 2004), February 1764, trial of James Bunyard (t17640222-21).



And thus James Bunyard was transported on the ship Tryal in March 1764 to the colonies in the west.
It is probably this same James Bunyard who resurfaces some ten years later, in North Carolina, as James Beal Bunyard,
married to Hannah Larkin.

Francis Stedman, to whom James was apprenticed (as claimed in court) was a book engraver of Red Lion Street,
Clerkenwell who died in 1787. Cross Lane in High Holborn no longer exists.

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