Four fine silver watches made by the 1781 Cornet, James Wilson, were stolen from the Bull and Mouth Inn in London in 1778
The New Daily Advertiser of 5 June 1778 reported a major robbery from the Bull and Mouth Inn in Holborn early that Sunday morning.
The Bull and Mouth crops up often in the trial records of the Old Bailey. I can’t find any trial record relating to the theft of our Cornet’s watches, but the trial of Elizabeth McDougal in December 1789 for theft from the Bull and Mouth Inn is typica
Found guilty of the Grand Larceny of what we would call second hand clothes valued at £2, she was transported to Australia for 7 years, arriving in 1791 on the Third Fleet
But the theft which involved our Cornet’s watches was more serious, with £21 available from the Blind Beak Sir John Fielding for information. The haul was also considerable – £15 of gold and silver, 24 yards of brocade and other costly materials, a great many boxes and parcels broken open – and 10 silver watches, including four numbered pieces made by James Wilson of Hawick – and Hawick Cornet in 1781.
There is some information available about him – but it would cost £10 to see the record, so I won’t be doing that anytime soon.
The photo below isn’t his long case clock, but a fine one by John Turnbull of Hawick of the same period [who may have been related to the clockmaker James Turnbull, Cornet in 1776. OK – I admit that this is pure speculation]
James Wilson’s two longcase clocks would be very much in the same fashion, though presumably he would have his own style.
The pocket watches of this date would be similar to this one [here Perth in 1790]
And that is it, I am afraid – I can’t find anyone tried at the Old Bailey for the robbery, I don’t have any information on James Wilson’s whereabouts in Hawick, or a marriage, or a birth [though there is a likely one recorded on 18 May 1760, to father Robert Wilson and Sarah Scott]
All I know about him is that he had produced at around 51 silver watches by 1778 [unless he started his numbering system at , say 10 so that people wouldn’t be put off buying his first efforts], and he later produced at least one long case clock.
And we know roughly what his watches looked like, and have a better idea of the long case clocks from one made by John Turnbull [and I cling to the idea that he might ,just might, be in some way related to the 1776 clockmaker Cornet James Turnbull.