Some history on Edgbaston in Birmingham in the County of Warwickshire


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"James Pattern, a man of about 21 years of age, was charged with violating the person of Ann Atkins, at the parish of Edgbaston, on the 17th of May 1825. Mr. Clarke, Jun. conducted the prosecution. Ann Atkins, the Prosecutrix, who was the first witness examined, deposed as follows: I am a single woman, and lodge at Mr. Tomlin's, in Edgbaston Street, Birmingham; he is a brewer by trade. I work under a person of the name of Smith, who is employed by Mr. Turner, a pearl button manufacturer. I walked out with a man of the name of Griffiths the evening of Tuesday the 17th May last. Griffiths works in the same manufactory as myself. In the course of our walk, we came to a place called Monument Lane. This was about half-past eight o'clock in the evening. I do not know whether Monument Lane is in Warwickshire. From thence we went across a field, where we met with 4 men, among whom was the Prisoner at the Bar. I had never seen him in my life before. On his coming up towards us, he took me away from Griffiths, upon whose arm I was leaning, and clasped me round the waist. He carried me down a bit of a hill, and I caught hold of the stump of a tree to prevent his taking me any further. I was frightened at this time, and begged him to let me go. He then damned my eyes, and forced me from the stump, which I had caught hold of, with considerable violence. Griffiths then came and offered the prisoner a shilling to let me loose, which he refused. Having damned Griffiths and told him to be off, he dragged me into a barn hard by. I resisted and tried to prevent his dragging me in, but without effect. When he got into the barn, I implored him to have mercy upon me and let me go. He said "No, I'll be damned if I do,' and then struck me on the side. I fell by the violence of the blow; but aware of his intentioua I turned my face to the ground for protection. Being very much alarmed I screamed out "Murder;" on which he struck me a violent blow on the other side, and put his hand upon my mouth to prevent me crying. When he struck me the second time he made me turn round. I was then very much exhausted; and could struggle no longer. [The witness then stated such facts to have occurred as constitute the crime of rape.] I struggled and attempted to get away several times before he accomplished his purpose. He lifted me from the ground, and asked me to shake hands with him which 1 refused. He then opened the barn door which he had closed when we entered, and walked out. I followed him; and when I got outside I found the three young men standing near the door, and Griffiths among them. While I was in the barn I heard the men say to Griffiths "Damn your eyes if you go there, we'll serve you out." On getting out of the barn, one of the young men came up to and kissed me. He said, "never mind my wench." I was crying at that time. The three men and the prisoner then went away; but whether they walked or ran I cannot say, as I never took my eyes from the ground. Three of the men were armed with large sticks, and the fourth had a whip. Griffiths and I then went from the barn in a contrary direction; and at the distance of 20 or 30 yards met a young man and woman, to whom Griffiths communicated what had happened. The names of these persons are John Ainsworth and Charlotte Walls. I then walked with Griffiths into the town; and after conversing with him in the street for some time I went home. I do not recollect how long the conversation lasted, nor at what hour I reached home. I made no complaint to any one that evening, but I told my sister all about it the next morning, Griffiths went with me to George Redfern about nine o'clock on the morning after this transaction, and I disclosed to him the whole affair. Mr. Redfern asked if I knew the man; and I told him I did not. I never saw the Prisoner again till three weeks after the transaction, and that was in the Prison. I have a mother-in-law, but did not state to her what had happened. I was not very well. Cross-examined by Mr. Goulbourn - I have worked in Mr. Turner's manufactory ever since a week before Christmas. My daily labour is generally finished by 7 o'clock in the evening. It is not a very new thing for me to go walking about the streets after that hour. I most commonly go straight from the manufactory to my father's house to get my meals. I never walk the streets at night. I have two sisters, Charlotte and Caroline. I sometimes meet them in the streets; I just stop to speak with them, but nothing else, I don't know Ann Adams. I swear positively that I have never had any conversation with her relative to this business; nor told any person now confined in the Bridewell anything about it. It is not true that a washerwoman employed by my mother said to me - "Ann, I wonder how you could send Pattern to Warwick, having a brother there yourself.' I solemnly declare that I never told this woman or any other person, that I should not have sent him to the gaol had he given me money. On Deritend Wake Monday, about a fortnight ago, I was sent for to a public-house, by a fat gentleman, whose name I don't know. He gave me £3, and said he hoped I would not appear against the man. I took the money, but never agreed not to prosecute. Judge - How came you to take the money? A. He got me into a room, my Lord; and quite forced it upon me. Cross-examination continued - I did not call out at all till I got to the barn. I kept begging him to let me loose. There is a high road runs near this field and a foot-road through it. At this time it was not dark. As soon as I came out of the barn two other persons came up to us; we then all went away towards home. Several people passed us directly after this young man and woman met us. I never sent anyone in pursuit of the man who had ill used me; in about half an hour after I left the barn I got home; I was with Griffiths all that time; the distance from the barn to the first public-street I cannot tell, but I think it took about a quarter of an hour to walk it in; I went straight to my lodgings in Edgbaston Street; it was a quarter of a mile nearer than my father's; I found Mr. Tomlin gone to bed, but his wife, and a young woman with whom I slept was waiting up for me; I did not communicate to my father or mother-in-law that evening what had taken place barn; I did not like to tell them anything about it, I have two sister that are wild, and I did not wish to make them more uneasy than they were. I did tell it however to one of those sisters, and also to Redfern, the constable, the next morning; I was never examined by a medical man, nor had any advice; I went to work the next morning as usual at eight o'clock. Re-examined - I did not tell Mrs. Tomlin of the transaction, became I thought as she noticed to me the dirty state of my dress that she had found it out; I acquainted the girl with it when we went to bed. The money was given to at a public-house at Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham; when I get there I found Tom Liner and his mother [who lives in the same yard as my father] in company with a fat gentlemanly looking man. He called me on one side, and said he understood I was the person whom the man had been using so. I said, I was. He then put the money into my hand. The Judge, [addressing the Jury], - Gentlemen, this attempt to compound felony is a very flagrant offence on the part of this person, whoever he was. The fact has been elicited in the course of the cross-examination but it will not teud either to serve the prisoner or prejudice you against him, inasmuch if it had been done by his authority it would betray guilt; and if not done in his authority, he can neither be called to account, nor ought he to suffer for the improper conduct of others. William Griffiths was next called - I know the last witness; we work together in the same manufactory; I walked out with her on the 17th of May; in our walk we came to field near a land called Monument Lane, leading to Roach Pool; this was about half-past eight; it was then getting dusk; we had not been long in the field before four men came to us, the prisoner was among them; he stepped up to me and said - "you have a nice young woman with you; she shall go with me into the barn;" I said, she should not; but while he was speaking to me he seized her by the waist, and dragged her towards the barn; as he was dragging her along she seized hold of the stump of a tree, I thought, to prevent him taking her any further; I went up to him, and begged him to loose her; on my observing to him that he was very rough with her, he said, "I'll be most damnation rough with you if you are not off." The prisoner then forced her from the stump, and carried her into the barn; in their way she screamed out murder several times and cried very much. He closed the door of the barn after he had entered it, and on my going to push it open, the other three men came up and said if I did not keep back they would serve me out. I heard the prosecutrix groaning and crying terribly; but could not distinguish any words that she said. They remained in the barn about five minutes or more. Judge - Did you make no further effort to save your companion from this violence, than what you have stated? Witness - When I approached the door of the barn, my Lord, all three of the men came up, and I durst not resist any further; they had heavy sticks in their hands, which they raised in a threatening attitude, and would have struck me with had I advanced any further. Examinated resumed - Whilst the prisoner and Ann Atkins were in the barn Ainsworth and Charlotte Walls came up, and afterwards stood 20 or 30 yards distant from it. When Atkins came out of the barn, one of the three other men went up to her, kissed her, and said "never mind wench, you are not hurt." I took the prosecutrix from him, as I thought he had some design upon her; she seemed very much mauled and cried excessively. The prisoner and the other three men then went away; whether they ran or walked I cannot now recollect. The prisoner when he was about leaving offered Atkins his hand, but she turned from it and refused to take hold of it. She and I then went to Ainsworth and the young woman with him; they were standing on the footpath about the middle of the field. I told them what had occurred, in Atkin's hearing. After we had stood talking with them about five minutes we walked on towards the town, in a different direction to that the prisoner and his companions had taken; I had seen neither Ainsworth nor Walls before this transaction. We afterwards parted company, and myself and Atkins walked homewards. When we got into Edgbaston Street, we stood talking about the matter sometime. I recommended her to tell her father; we parted at the end of the Court where Atkins lodges, about eleven o'clock. Between nine and ten, the next morning I went with her to Mr. Redfern's to inform him of what had taken place. I afterwards went in quest of the prisoner, and found him a few hours after in the same field where the transaction of the previous evening occurred. He was employed with a great number of other men, in cutting a new reservoir for the Navigation. When I first went up to him he was driving some horses, and on him seeing me he began to laugh at his fellow workmen; and turning to me said, "go and fetch your dame again, and I will take her to the barn." I endeavoured to learn his name, but did not succeed. There were about 200 men near us at this time; but I did not observe any of the other three men who were with him the night before. Cross-examined by Mr. Goulburn - This is a very pubic spot. I should think that about this time there could not be less than 200 persons always employed in the Navigation works in this part, I found the Prisoner at work as usual. He did not attempt to avoid me when he saw me coming up. I have known Ann Atkins about three months, and have kept company with her during the best part of that time. It was our usual custom to walk out together in an evening, after the labour of the day. We had never been that road together before this time. Ainsworth and Walls came up some minutes before the barn door was open, but I did not call to them to give me any assistance, I did not speak to them till all was over. This is a very public road; the nearest house, which belongs to Mr. Lilly, the farmer is about 200 or 300 yards from the spot where the transaction occurred. I did not go there to ask for any assistance. From the bar to the nearest street I think must be about a mile, and to the high road nearly a quarter of a mile. The nearest houses are those on this road. When Atkins laid hold of the stump, she cried out "murder;" she repeated her cries several times, but I did not assist her. Judge - more shame on you. I think you acted a very cowardly and unmanly part. You were paying your addresses to her; and one would think that would have been an additional stimulus to you to endeavour by every means in your power to rescue her. Cross-examination resumed - Four or five years ago, I stood where the Prisoner now stands. I was tried at the Assizes on a charge of robbing my father. There was not the least pretence for the accusation. I never was in confinement before that time here or elsewhere, nor since. I have been in Mr. Turner's employ about six months. Re-examined by Mr. Clarke - I was acquitted of the charge of robbing my father. I am now about 21 years of age. John Ainsworth examined - I now live in London, but at the time of the transaction I resided in Birmingham. I am a workman in a button manufactory. On the evening of the 17th of May, I was walking in Monument Lane with Charlotte Walls. This was between 8 and 9 o'clock in the evening. In the course of our walk we got into a field, where we heard a dreadful hooting and screaming. I could not distinguish any words. The noise appearing to proceed from a barn which was in this field, we walked up to it. When we got near it, we observed 3 or 4 men standing against the door, with sticks in their hands. They appeared to me, by their dress, to be horse jockeys; but I don't know what they were, for I had never seen them before. The cries from the barn continued till we got within a few yards of it. We enquired what was the matter, but no one answered. Walls and I then walked back about 20 or 30 yards upon the footpath, and there remained till the young woman came out of the barn. When she came up to us, she could hardly walk; she cried bitterly, and was not able to speak. Griffiths, who was with her, told us what had occurred. We walked together into the town and then separated. We might have been an hour and a half together from the first to the last. When the Prosecutrix left the barn, I saw three persons going from it in a contrary direction to the one she was taking. There might have been a fourth person, but I did not see him. Cross-examined - No one answered when I asked what was the matter. If any assistance had been desired at the barn I should have rendered it. It was light when this transaction took place. I never knew either the prosecutrix or the prisoner before that night. Charlotte Walls, who lives at home with her mother, corroborated the testimony of the last witness and, in addition, stated that on going near the barn, she was certain that the groans and cries she heard were those of a woman; and that they continued for five or ten minutes while they were stood there. In her cross;examination she stated that to the best of her judgment half an hour must have elapsed from the time she and Ainsworth first entered the field to the time when Griffiths and Ann Atkins came up to them. George Redfern, one of the police officers of Birmingham, proved that Atkins came to him with Griffiths, on the morning of the 18th of May; and communicated to him something had happened to her the night before. George Tagg - I live in a farm in the parish of Edgbaston, near Roach Pool. I know the field and barn referred to; they are both in Edgbaston parish, and in this county. Mr. Clarke ; This closes the case, my Lord, on the part of the prosecution. Judge - Prisoner, now is the time for you to make your defence, if you have anything to say. Prisoner - I leave it to my Counsel, my Lord. Judge - The law does now allow your Counsel to address the Jury in your behalf. His duty is confined to the examination and cross-examination of witnesses, which he has done with great ability. You however may say anything you please. Prisoner - I have nothing to say, my Lord. Mr. Clarke then called the following witness on behalf of the prisoner. Ann Adams - I have known Ann Atkins for 16 months. She has walked the streets in Birmingham with me for the purposes of prostitution. She has picked up men repeatedly and gone home with them. About a fortnight after the prisoner was apprehended I had some conversation with her upon the business. I asked her how she could think of sending the prisoner to Warwick. She replied, she should not have sent him there had he consented to have given her some money. Mr. Goulbourn - My Lord, may I now be at liberty to confront the prosecutrix with this witness. Judge - O, certainly. Ann Atkins examined by Mr. Goulburn - Do you know that woman beside you? A. Yes. How come you to tell men you did not? I never knew her name was Adams before this. Juryman - Did you know her by any other name? No. I have seen her occasionally come after Tom Liner, whose mother lives in the same yard where my father's home is. Cross-examination by Mr. Goulburn - This woman called me into Liner's house, the Monday after this had happened, and said, "Ann, I never heard till now that it was you the man had been using so. I would not have gone against him if I had been you." I did not tell her that I never should have though anything about the matter, if somebody had not acquainted my father with it; nor say any words to that effect to her or any one else. Re-examined by Mr. Clarke - the last witness [Adams] never washed for my mother; nor did I ever know her name before now. It is very false what she says about me walking the streets with her. I never walked with her either by day or by night, because I knew what she was. Ann Adams was again examined by Mr. Goulburn - I am quite sure the prosecutrix would never have come against the prisoner today, had not her father been told what had occurred. I have no knowledge of the prisoner or his friends either. I never saw him before. I never had any disagreement with Atkins in my life. Cross-examined by Mr. Clarke - I am committed as a disorderly person. I walk the streets. I was brought here from the House of Correction to give evidence upon this trial. The conversation I have stated as taking place between me and Atkins did not take place in Mrs. Liner's but in her mother's wash-house. I said to her, "I thought, Ann, you would not have sent any man to Warwick without a cause, for you have a brother of your own there." I was in the dungeon at Birmingham, and Atkins's sister brought my tea there. Some of the men who were present asked what her name was, for they knew her. I said it is one of Atkins's daughters, and sister to the girl who had sent the man to Warwick for a rape. I cannot say how long the conversation I had with her about the money was before I was committed to prison. I never told any body of it before I was in the dungeon, and then it came out, as I told you, by accident. I cannot name any one man that she ever had improper connection with. It is impossible for me to say when there are so many men in Birmingham. She is well known to the girls; but not to the police of Birmingham. I don't know whether any of them I have spoken of are here to confirm that part of my story. Ann Atkins again called - I never spoke to the last witness in the streets in my life; nor have I ever met her in the street with my sisters. Mr. Goulburn - My Lord, this is the defence. At the suggestion of the Jury, George Redfern was called to speak to the character of the house in which the prosecutrix lodged. Redfern being examined upon this subject, said he did not know anything to its prejudice or its favour; and that Tomlin was a complete stranger to him. Mr. Justice Holroyd then summed up the evidence with great ability and impartiality. In the course of his observations, his Lordship commented upon the evidence of the last witness at great length, "who, if she were to be believed, [said his Lordship] clearly proved that the prosecutrix was an unchaste woman.- -But, Gentlemen,- [continued the learned Judge] that will make no difference in this case, provided that you are of opinion that the prosecutrix has been used in the manner she has described, against her will. The prisoner is equally guilty of the crime imputed to him, whether she be a chaste woman or woman of abandoned and dissolute character, if he violated her person without her consent." - The Jury retired for about quarter of an hour and returned a Verdict of Guilty - Death"
Birmingham Chronicle : August 18th 1825 Page 5

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