British Executions

William Cubitt

Age: unknown

Sex: male

Crime: stealing

Date Of Execution: 13 Nov 1805

Crime Location:

Execution Place: unknown

Method: hanging

Executioner: unknown



Executed in November, 1805, for stealing valuable Jewellery from the Earl of Mansfield

   WILLIAM CUBITT was in the service of the Earl of Mansfield, and was convicted of stealing a gold snuff-box, set with brilliants, the property of that nobleman.

   Lady Mansfield appeared upon his trial, and stated that the prisoner lived in their service, and was chiefly employed by her as groom of the chambers. She discharged him by Lord Mansfield's directions, who was then at Ramsgate. Some time between the 26th and 30th of July she had the snuff-box in question in her care. It was blue enamel on gold, with a miniature of the Emperor Joseph II. on the top, set round with brilliants. The last time she recollected seeing it was some time in May, before they went to Caen Wood. She kept it in a cabinet, in the organ-room, at their house in Portland Place. She knew nothing of the loss of it until they received the magistrate's letter at Ramsgate, and then, upon a search, she found that the box had been lost.

   J. Dobree, jeweller, stated that on the 15th of August the prisoner came to his house and wanted to purchase a gold chain which was in the window. Having agreed for the price of it, he asked if he would take old gold in return. Being answered in the affirmative, he produced the fragments of a snuff-box, which the witness saw had been of curious workmanship. He called his journeyman aside and conversed with him for a moment on the subject, and then asked the prisoner where he had got that gold. He replied that he had got it from a servant. The witness, in answer, said he was sure it was no servant's property, and that he should not go away until he had given an account of it. The prisoner then snatched up the pieces of gold that lay upon the counter and ran out of the shop. The witness followed him, overtook, and apprehended him. He was immediately carried to Marlborough Street office.

   Foy and Lovatt, the two police officers belonging to Marlborough Street office, said that the prisoner, on his examination, told the magistrate he lived at No. 21 Bolsover Street. They, in consequence, went to search his lodgings. They found in a drawer twelve brilliants, the crystal of a miniature picture, and under the fire, half-burned, discovered the remains of a miniature painting.

   Lord Mansfield examined the broken pieces of gold found on the prisoner, and declared he was convinced, from the workmanship, that they were part of the box he had lost. The brilliants were the same sort as those round the miniature, but he could not swear that they were the same. He was positive, however, to the remains of the miniature. The face was destroyed; but the breast, with the Austrian orders, remained visible. He added that the box was a gift from the late Emperor Joseph II. to his great-uncle, on leaving Vienna. He did not know the exact value, but he presumed somewhere about two hundred guineas. The jury found the prisoner guilty.

   He and two other malefactors were executed, pursuant to their sentence, on Wednesday morning, 13th of November, 1805, at half-past eight o'clock, at the usual place in the Old Bailey.