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Article from the Northampton Mercury dated October 31st 1863

Fowl Stealing - 1863

Home Farm, Kettering Road - the farm where the fowls were stolen

Joseph Clipsham was charged with having, late on Saturday evening, the 17th inst, or early the next morning, stolen three live fowls, the property of Rev. Latimer Harper.

John Buckley, a labourer residing at Burton Latimer, said he had charge of Mr Harper's fowls, which were kept in the farmyard, about 50 yards from the house and near the village. He locked up the hen-roost soon after six on Saturday night last, and found all right then. Went to the hen-roost about half past six on Sunday morning, and found the staples of the door and top board, where the hens go in and out, drawn away. Saw feathers about the hen-roost and blood, and suspected that some fowls had been stolen, and he went and told the housekeeper. There were 67 fowls in all, and when they went into the hen-roost on Sunday evening, he counted them and found three missing, among which were a red-and-white cock bird of a peculiar kind. Saw footmarks on the door, where the staples had been wrenched out.

Mr Superintendent Crocker deposed to visiting Mr Harper's farm premises on Sunday about noon. Found marks where some one had been, and feathers and blood near the hen-roost. Saw in a field adjoining the farm-yard foot-marks leading to a footpath, and there saw feathers as he went along the footpath into the village, and into the prisoner's house; prisoner was having dinner. Asked him what he had got. He said a rabbit was in the pot. Found a flag basket upstairs, with feathers and blood upon it. Found also feathers about the fireplace downstairs. Searched the pot in which prisoner said was rabbit and found the fowl bones produced.

James Osbourn, inspector of police, said: On Sunday morning he went with the superintendent to Mr Harper's premises, and thence to the prisoner's house. Asked him where he was the previous Saturday night. He said "I was at a public house, and left at the same time as the rest of the company." Asked him about what he was cooking in the pot. He said "A rabbit." Told him he was suspected of fowl stealing. Went upstairs and in the little room found a great many hen feathers on the floor, a wet cloth with feathers upon it, and an open knife lying alongside it, smeared with blood. Took the pot from off the fire, and found no rabbit, but six legs belonging to three fowls, and part of the neck of a fowl. Behind the fire, downstairs more feathers, and in his coat pocket blood and feathers - Remanded until Friday the 23rd for further evidence.

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