Chollocombe and the Workhouse

Hampshire Advertiser 26/8/1885   Felony— John Doling, late porter at the Romsey Union Workhouse, was charged on a warrant, that he did, on the 7th day of August, 1885, aid and abet counsel and procure one Peter Hackett to commit a felony, viz., by stealing certain leather of the value of 6s, the properrty of the Guardians of the Romsey Union.— Peter Hackett deposed that he was a shoemaker and an inmate of the Romsey Union Workhouse, and was there on the 7th August. The prisoner was then porter there. On the 4th he came to the witness and asked him if he could make him a pair of boots. He told him he was not able to do so, that if he was he should not be in there. If he wanted a pair his (witness's) old master (Mr. Chollocombe) would do it for him. On the 7th he came to witness again and asked if he could cut him out a pair of boots. He replied if there was any leather in the shoemaker's shop he could do it. He thereupon unlocked the shop door, and witness then measured his foot and cut him out a pair of boots from the leather in the shop. He said to witness it was all right, the governor knows about it. After he had cut them out he went to him in the boys' room and told him they were ready, he could take them to Mr. Chollocombe's to be made. Prisoner thereupon told him to go, and gave him a newspaper to wrap the leather up in. Witness did as prisoner told him. and took the leather and gave it to Mr. Chollocombe to make up for prisoner.  By the Bench : He offered to pay me if I could make them. I should say the leather was worth about 6s— Prisoner declined to question this witness.— Edwin Chollocombe said he was a shoemaker, living in the Hundred. Romsey. He received some leather from the last witness, and believed it was on the 7th of August, with instructions to make it up into a pair of boots, and he accordingly gave it out to his workman to make up. On the 11th of August the prisoner called for the boots, but they were not done, and he therefore asked witness to forwad them wben done to an address he wrote, which witness accordingly did, by parcel post. Prisoner paid him for making them and also the carriage. The boots he sent were made of the leather which Hackett brought him. By the Bench : There was no mark of the Guardians on the leather, but there was a mark of witness's own on one of the soles, whereby he could swear the leather was bought at his shop, and he had no doubt it was supplied to the Workhouse by him. He supplied leather to the Workhouse in turn with others.  John O'Neil said he was master of the Romsey Union Workhouse. The prisoner had been employed there as porter. He was there on the 7th August, and left on the 11th. Whilst there he had charge of the key of the shoemaker's shop and stores.  He had no authority to cut out the leather or to employ Hackett to do so. From what was reported to him on the 14th inst, he spoke to Hackett about it, and he then told witness. He could not say if any leather had gone out of the shop, as it was not weighed. The leather was for repairs, not for making boots. It was not customary to send boots out to be made up. He reported the case to the Chairman, and was instructed to take out a warrant, which he did.— Cross-examined by the prisoner : Did you not give me permission, when we were walking on the grass, to cut the leather and settle for it at the end of the quarter?  Witness : I have no recollection of your ever asking such a question.— Police-constable Joliffe said on Friday, the 21st inst. he found the prisoner detained at Stone-house Police-station, in Devonshire. He read the charge to him, and he answered "This was done by permission of the Master, and to be settled at the end of the quarter." He also said he hoped Hackett and Mr. Chollocombe would not get into trouble about it, as it was no fault of theirs. He then took prisoner into custody, and brought him to Romsey. — Prisoner elected to be tried by tbe bench, and pleaded guilty to the charge if the Master said he did not give bis permission.  Sentenced to two months' hard labour.— The Chairman called up Mr. Chollocombe, and told him the magistrates were of opinion that he had been very careless in the matter, especially so by not being suspicious when he had to send the boots to Plymouth instead of to the Workhouse.— Mr. Chollocombe, in reply, considered he had not done anything at all wrong in the matter. Source: British Newspaper Archive Online