Wednesday, August 8, 2018

A2 In The Beginning Robert Jillett/Gillett/Gillet/Thomas Elston England His Crimes

Robert Jillett/Gillett/Gillet/Thomas Elston

His Trials and His Pardon

From Research in 1990 to Modern Day

Robert Jillett and Prison

In the words of Joan Jillett from 1990.  Consider how much work went into this 28 years ago.

Joan Jillett's notes 1990.  Joan was one of the original compilers of Jillett history.  Joan's husband Robert was a descendant of John Jillett. 

"In 1760 (the year of birth of Robert Jillett) George 111 was crowned King of England.  Times were very hard and many people were starving.

Australia had been discovered by Captain James Cook in 1774 and a settlement was made at Port Jackson (Sydney) in 1788.  Also in 1788, Lieutenant King was ordered by Captain Arthur Phillip, the first Governor of New South Wales to occupy Norfolk Island, about 1,000 miles north east of Sydney, in anticipation of a French settlement there.  This was done and free settlers and convicts went there.  

In 1795 (or earlier) Robert Jillett was arrested for burglary at Addington in Surry at the house of Mr Trecothie.  He was sentenced at the Surry Assizes to Transportation.

While waiting in Ilchester Gaol, Somerset, for a ship he escaped.

In 1795-96 he spent the winter at Plymouth working with a shoemaker, he had changed his name to Thomas Elston (his mother's maiden name was Elston).

On 26th December 1796 at East Smithfield, Robert was apprehended.  At the time he stated he had a wife and 5 children.  (Nothing can be found of this family).

1797 he was retaken and committed for trial on January 7,1797, at Newgate Prison by Magistrate Williams for being feloniously at large before expiration of the term for which  he had been ordered to be transported.

On January 11, 1797, he was tried at the Old Bailey, Middlesex, before the Chief Baron. Found Guilty, but recommended to Mercy, but he was sentenced to death. 

When convicted on January 11, 1797 he was aged 36 years, he was 5 foot 6 inches in height, a dark complexion, brown hair and grey eyes.  His Criminal Register said the above, but also stated he was from Kingston on Thames and was a shoemaker.

His Indictment reads:  Robert Gillett late of the Parish of Clapham, Surrey, labourer, and John Markham late of the same, labourer on 17th March 1795 at Clapham did steal: 9 woollen blankets value £3, one muslin toilet value 5 shillings, one woollen stuff petticoat for a toilet table,
value 2/- one muslin cover for a toilet table value 1/0- one woollen coverlid for a bed value 2/-,
two cotton window curtains value 10/-, one set of furniture for a tent bedstead of linen and wool value 15/-, all belonging to David Feltham.


He was then sentenced to Life Transportation.

On September 28th 1797 he was transferred to the Prison Hulk Prudentia, at Woolwich.  Hulks were old ships no longer good for taking to sea and were tied up in Harbours.  Men were usually sent to Hulks for two years, but Robert Jillett's time was less.

On 26th July 1799, Robert Jillett arrived at Port Jackson, New South Wales from Portsmouth on the vessel Hillsborough                  

This was the worst Transport Ship to arrive in New South Wales in terms of lives lost on the journey.

There was typhoid on board.  Men had been taken from other Hulks as well as the Prudentia, and there were quite a few fever-ridden convicts.  On the journey to New South Wales, out of 300 prisoners, 95 died.

The convict's quarters were deluged and their bedding soaked.  At one stage a youthful informant told the Captain that many convicts were out of irons and intended to murder the Officers.  Those out of irons were flogged, receiving from one to six dozen lashes each were then doubled ironed, (shackled to someone else and handcuffed - or hands and legs both shackled).  Some had iron collars around their necks and were kept closely confined."

By the 1760's England had lost her American Colonies - she had been sending the overflow from her gaols to America and now she had to find somewhere else to send them.  In many cases it was STEAL OR STARVE.  Penalties for stealing were:

Stealing goods up to 1/-   Gaol
Stealing goods up to 5/-   Transportation
Stealing goods over 5/-     Death.

The outlook for Robert Jillett must have seemed uncertain.  He was nearly 40 years of age and had been transported for life, leaving a wife and five children in England.  He was fortunate, however, in taking up with a Mrs Elizabeth Bradshaw (widow ), (née Creamer) not long after their arrival in Sydney.

Robert Jillett   -   His Crimes in England

Tried at the Lent Assizes Surrey


[ASSI 35/235/7]  Lent Assizes, Surrey 1795, Robert Gillett s conviction

"Calendar of Prisoners:  Robert Gillett and John Markam, brought from Kingston Goal, committed by Joseph Mackrill and Francis Searle, Gentlemen, charged on the oaths of David Feltham and others on suspicion of feloniously stealing one pair of Window Curtains, bed furniture, several Blankets, and other things his property in the County of Surrey.


Robert Jillett late of the Parish of Clapham, Surrey, labourer, and John Markam, late of the same, labourer, on 17 March 1795 at Clapham did steal  nine woolen blankets value £3, one muslin toilet value 5/-, one woolen stuff petticoat for a toilet table value 2/-, one muslin cover for a toilet table value 1/-, one bed coverlid of wool and linen value 5/- one woolen rug value 1/-, one woollen coverlid for a bed value 2/-, two cotton window curtains value 10/-, one set of furniture for a tent bedstead of linen and wool value 15/-, all the goods of David Feltham.

Gillet and Markam were sentenced to seven years of transportation each".

[PRO HO 26/5 Reel 2371]
January Sessions, Old Bailey, London
1797, Jan 7

GILLETT, Robt., vide  ELSTON,  Thos.
Jan 7                                      Elston, Thomas alias Robert Gillett aged 36,
                                                5f 6in, dark complxn., brown hair, grey eyes, Kingston-upon-Thames, a   Shoemaker
                                                Place Committed             Newgate, tried before Williams, Old Bailey
                          for                Returning from transportation before his time had expired
                           on                Jan 11,
                          Before                Chf Baron
                         Sentence                Death.  Respd. (=respited) on the Report and pardoned 24 Febry                                                                            1797, to be  transported for life.
                                                Transferred        28 Sept 1797 (to Prudentia?)

Note Is an old offender escaped lately out of Ilchester Goal where he was  committed for a burglary - he broke open the house of Mr Trecothie at  Addington in Surrey
From the Old Bailey Records online

ROBERT GILLET, Miscellaneous > returning from transportation, 11th January 1797.

Reference Number: t17970111-2
Miscellaneous > returning from transportation

63. ROBERT GILLET, otherwise ELSTON , was indicted for returning from transportation, before the expiration of the term for which he was ordered to be transported .

THOMAS CAVE sworn. - I am a Police-officer; I remember the prisoner being tried at the Lent assizes at Kingston, and convicted, (produces the certificate of the conviction): I am sure he is the same man; on the 12th of April I took him down to Langston Harbour, and on the 13th I delivered him on board the Fortunee hulk, Captain Bunn, and I had a receipt for him; (the certificate read).

Q. You have not the least doubt that this is the same man? - A. None in the world.

EDWARD SMITH sworn. - I apprehended the prisoner on the 26th of December last, in East Smithfield ;  I took him to the Public-office, Lambeth-street, Whitechapel; he was committed on suspicion of having returned from transportation, and I got Mr. Cave to come forward, and he identified him.

DANIEL WEBB sworn. - I was in company with Smith at the apprehending of the prisoner in East Smithfield; I went with him to the office in Lambeth-street, and he was committed for re-xamination.

Prisoner's defence. I acknowledge that I am the person, and hope your Lordship will forgive me.

Q. (To Cave). Do you know any of the circumstances under which this man got away? - A. No.

Prisoner. I did not know that I should be tried till Thursday or Friday, and I have no friends here; I have got a wife and five children; I am a shoemaker; I was at Plymouth, and worked with Mr. Wake all last winter.
Smith. He has behaved extremely well since he has been in custody.

Prisoner. There was a ship came in, and a man there that knew me, and I was drove away for fear of being taken.

GUILTY . Death . (Aged 36.)

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury, before The LORD CHIEF BARON.

TRANSCRIPT OF ROYAL PARDON [AJCP HO PRO 420], death sentence respited to transportation for life.
                 "George R (signature)
                 William Smith & oths                      pardon.
 Whereas William Smith Robert Gillett alias Thomas Elston Nathan Jacklin Thomas Smith Tate Corbett and Thomas Bales were at a session held at the Old Bailey in January last tried and Convicted of divers felonies and had severally sentences of Death passed upon them for the same We in Consideration of some favorable Circumstances humbly represented unto us in their Behalf are graciously pleased to Extend our Grace and Mercy unto them and to Grant them our pardon for the Crimes of which they severally stand Convicted on Condition of their being respectively Transported to the Eastern Coast of New South Wales or some and or other of the Islands for and during the terms of their respective natural lives. 

Our will and pleasure therefore is that you give the necessary directions accordingly and that they be inserted(?) for their Crimes on the said Condition in our first and next General pardon that shall come out for the poor convicts in Newgate and for doing this shall be your warrant given at our Court of  St James s the twenty fourth day of February 1797 in the thirty seventh year of our Reign

                To our Trusty and well beloved Sir
                John-William Rose  Kirk(?) recorder
                 of our City of London. The Sheriff of our   By His Majesty's   P. City and County of                             Middlesex & all others      Command   whom it may concern                                                                    George R
                                                                                                                (Signature)        "

Modern Records Confirm the transcripts

 The Pardon


Kentish Gazette 3 March 1797

Illchester Prison 1792

Eleven prisoners escaped from Ilchester gaol on 26th April 1792.

Conditions in Illchester Prison were very bad.  It was built on 3 sites from 1166 - 1843. Ilchester Gaol and House of Correction was situated at Northover, on the north bank of the river Ivel, by 1615. The prison was extended by the addition of 26 cells in 1789.  Prisoners were chained to the floors.

In all likelihood, Robert Jillett was one of the eleven escapees.
Unfortunately the records are not digitised, if they exist, and are held at the National Archives, or at the Surrey History Centre.

According to Somerset County Council...

"Disused by 1843 when the county jail was moved to Taunton. Little now remains except bakehouse and wash-house which are cottages."

The Jail in 1910
For the most part, prisoners were not segregated.  Men, women and children were often thrown into the same communal cell.  To make matters worse, those already convicted and sentenced were often in the same cell as those awaiting trial.  Only important prisoners were placed in a cell alone. What this means is that a woman who was awaiting trial for something like stealing a fish from the market could be in the same cell with a man who was to be hanged for rape and murder.  Some women tried to get pregnant so that they could 'plead the belly.'  This meant that if found guilty, she would be transported rather than executed.

Prisoners were regularly chained together, reducing the need for warders and making a saving for the private organisations that ran the prisons.

Prison life was made worse, if that were possible, by the fact that most jailers received no pay and so were dependent upon bribes, tips, and various fees for their livelihood.  Profits on the open sale of gin; the procurement of prostitutes, and “weekly charges for ‘release from chains’ were among their chief sources of revenue.”  It attracted the most unscrupulous type of person to the job. It also meant that many people were incarcerated for months or years after they had served their sentence because they could not pay their accumulated jailer’s bill.  This was true, too, for those who ran up prison debts whilst simply waiting to have their cases heard, even if they were then pronounced innocent.  

For many, prison could be a virtual life sentence.

As well as making money from the inmates, prison staff accepted payments from their friends and relatives on the outside, for the purpose of improving their quality of life on the inside.  Some prisoners were even allowed to leave the prison and work, as long as they paid the right fee, and brothel owners could keep their business going - despite being imprisoned for working in prostitution - so long as a cut of the profits went to the jailers[1].

There is an ebook, for free, which can be downloaded to read about the prison.
Investigation at Ilchester Gaol: In the County of Somerset, Into the Conduct of  William Bridle

Robert Jillett Timeline

Arrested for robbery at Addington    Sentenced to 7 years Transportation
1792  Escape from Illington?  (In the town of Northover)
From the records it seems Robert was tried at the Kingston Assizes - found guilty - was sent to Illington Prison where he escaped.   Year unknown
1792 - Did he escape with the 11 other escapees?
He had been taken to Portsmouth to Langston Harbour, to the Hulk "Fortunee"
Is there another trial which has not been located?
Was he recaptured and tried, and then taken to the Hulk "Fortunee"
OR was the court records taken to mean he escaped from the "Fortune" being the jurisdiction of the Illington prison? and he did not actually then escape from the prison building but the hulk.
His words imply  - There was a ship and he went somewhere on it, presumably to Plymouth where he worked as a cordwainer.
From the records he was arrested at East Smithfield for stealing at Clapham.
 (Plymouth is 256  miles away from East Smithfield)

How did he get from Plymouth to East Smithfield?

1797     January A Trial at the Old Bailey   Sentenced to death for escaping transportation
1797-  September a reprieve
1797/1798  In Newgate Prison
1798 November - Sent onboard the "Hillsborough".

From 1776 to 1802 all English hulks were operated by private individuals such as the shipowners Duncan Campbell and James Bradley, under contract to the British government. These included the Justitia, Censor, Ceres and Stanislaus on the River Thames at Woolwich, the Chatham and Dunkirk at Plymouth, the Lion at Gosport and La Fortunee at Langstone Harbour near Portsmouth.

A Fellow passenger - Convict William Dean.

William would have been moved to the bleak death row cells of Newgate Prison. After another year on death row, in September 1797, William received the King’s mercy and his sentence was commuted to transportation to New South Wales for the term of his natural life.

On 28 September 1797 William was moved from Newgate Prison to the Fortunee Hulk which was moored in Langstone Harbour. The hulks were old, often rotting and disease ridden, ships hulls which were anchored in a harbour and used as convict prisons. The prisoners were often given short rations and sometimes had to wear rags and no shirts. William, while waiting to be transported, would have been employed doing hard labour working on Cumberland Fort in chain gangs of 2, 3 or 4 convicts.
On 24 November 1798 William was moved from the Fortunee hulk to the Hillsborough convict transport ship. The Hillsborough became known as “The Fever ship” because of the huge number of deaths on the voyage caused by typhoid or gaol fever brought on board by the convicts from William’s hulk. Out of the 300 convicts boarded onto the ship 95 of them died during the voyage and many more after the ship landed in Port Jackson. Typhoid fever is characterised by a very high temperature, delirium, diarrheal and abdominal pain which can last for a month.[2]

The Home Circuit contained the Home Counties of Hertfordshire, Essex, Kent, Sussex and Surrey. The Lent assizes were held at Hertford, Chelmsford, Rochester (alternately with Maidstone), Horsham and Kingston upon Thames, and were generally attended in that order. The summer assizes were held at Maidstone, Lewes and either Croydon or Guildford, and were generally attended in that order.
There are some records of 1789 in the book mentioned.  It may contain the Kingston Records.
A Kalendar of the prisoners: Surrey Lent Assizes, ... 1789, etc. MS. notes.  Great Britain. Assizes (Surrey)   [Southwark?, 1789]

Criminal cases in Surrey (including those resulting in transportation) could be heard either before the Court of Quarter Sessions or at the Assizes. As a rule more serious cases were heard at the Assizes. Surrey History Centre holds the records of the Surrey Quarter Sessions (QS).

Trials at the Old Bailey

Trials at the Old Bailey were often almost theatrical performances.

Meetings of the court at the Old Bailey were always preceded by the City and county sessions. 

Before these sessions commenced, the clerks of each court drew up indictments, according to set formulas, based on the identity of the accused (provided by prison keepers) and information about the nature of the alleged crime from pre-trial depositions. Decisions taken at this stage of the legal process were important, since the way the offence was defined would determine the punishments the defendant might receive if convicted, and particularly until the early nineteenth century, whether or not the offence was punishable by death.

For those convicted at the Old Bailey, judges could choose from a wide range of punishment sentences in this period, though their options were often limited, both by statute and by choices made at an earlier stage in the judicial process. It is important to remember that the actual punishments convicts received often differed from their original sentences. While punishment sentences are provided in the Old Bailey Proceedings, for the actual punishments a convict received it is necessary to consult their "Life Archive".

Felonies defined by common law were originally punishable by hanging, but increasingly from the middle of the eighteenth century, statute law curtailed the use of the death penalty. Misdemeanours were punishable by a range of non-capital punishments. Normally, offences defined by statute could only be punished as prescribed by the relevant legislation. The punishments available in any particular case were thus circumscribed by the legal status of the offence with which the defendant was charged (which in some cases was influenced in turn by the choices made by the victim or the grand jury). Juries frequently manipulated the punishment through the use of partial verdicts.

Many defendants were sentenced to more than one punishment. This is particularly common for those sentenced to the pillory, imprisonment, whipping, fines and providing sureties for good behaviour.
A gradually-growing reluctance to use the death penalty in the eighteenth century (except for the most serious cases) encouraged the development of alternative forms of punishment. The criminal law reforms of the nineteenth century, which abolished the death penalty for many crimes, led in the same direction. As a result, new types of punishments for felons, notably transportation and imprisonment, were created and eventually came to take on an ever-growing role in the sentencing of criminals.
These new punishments reflect two trends in the evolution of strategies for punishment. First, there was a shift from physical punishments such as whipping, branding and hanging to attempts to reform the defendant through transportation and imprisonment. And second, punishments became less public, as the spectacle of public hangings at Tyburn, the pillory and public whipping through the streets was replaced by hanging outside and then inside Newgate, private whipping, transportation to foreign lands and imprisonment.

A large number of eighteenth-century statutes specified death as the penalty for minor property offences (the "bloody code"), meaning that the vast majority of the people tried at the Old Bailey could be sentenced to hang (one could be executed for stealing a handkerchief or a sheep). Nevertheless, judicial procedures prevented a blood bath by ensuring that sentences could be mitigated, or the charge redefined as a less serious offence.

Through partial verdicts, juries reduced the charges against many convicted defendants to a non-capital offence. Through the mechanism of pardons many more defendants found guilty of a capital offence were spared the death penalty and subjected instead to punishments such as branding (up to 1789), transportation or imprisonment. Many received no punishment at all.

The standard method of capital punishment was by hanging. Execution was a public spectacle, meant to act as a deterrent to crime. Until 1783, most defendants were hanged at Tyburn (where Marble Arch stands today). Convicts were drawn in a cart through the streets from Newgate, and, after they were given a chance to speak to the crowd (and, it was hoped, confess their sins), they were hanged. 

In 1783, the procession to Tyburn was abolished and for the next eighty-five years hangings were staged outside Newgate Prison. Although these executions were expedited by the use of the sharp drop, they were still very public occasions. In 1868, concern about public disorder led to the abolition of public executions altogether, and subsequent hangings were transferred inside the prison

The decision to despatch the First Fleet to Australia in 1787 was made in the wake of the 1783 British defeat in America. As it became clear that the newly-formed United States would block any further imports of convict labour, a series of alternative schemes were explored for deploying prisoners sentenced to transportation elsewhere in the wider Atlantic. In the early 1780s, a small number were sent to West Africa to man slave forts, although this experiment was abandoned following news of high death rates and lobbying from slaving interests. The alternative to transportation was to house convicts in a system of purpose built penitentiaries along the lines advocated by Jeremy Bentham. 

Despite its distance from the metropole, the British government decided instead to send convicts half way round the world and establish the remote colony of New South Wales (Christopher and Maxwell-Stewart, 2014).


The Bench  by William Hogarth
Categories: Painting Visual Art   Year: 1758

In 1795, another Gillett, a John Gillett was transported to the West Indies, and was appointed to the Navy in lieu of his imprisonment.

Robert Gillett's options were:

Be indoctrinated into the Royal Navy and risk your life as a sailor in the West Indies

Live forever on a Hulk in Portsmouth, because life was very short.

Follow through with the sentence and endure 6 month of hell onboard a ship, with 33% chance of being buried in the Ocean.

Remain in Sydney

Get a free passage to a south sea island

Begin life in yet another land

And become totally reformed!

Some might disagree with the last point!!!

Robert Gillett - Convict on the Hillsborough



                [AONSW 4/4003  COD 133 REEL 392]
                                    Name recorded as : Robert Gillet  (alias Elston

Hillsboro - Rob. Gillett al. Thomas Elston, Middlesex, 11 Jan 1797, Life.
[On another Hillsborough list, Rob. Jillit, alias Thos Elston, shoemaker].
-Thomas Bradshaw, convicted Warwick Assizes, 31 March  1798, for life. 
[Arr. NSW Hillsborough 1798. (HO 11/1, Reel 87, p.255)]

NOAH, William, 1978.  Voyage to Sydney in the Ship Hillsborough 1798-99, and a Description of the Colony. [Ms. in Dixon Library], Library of Australian History.    
Gives a vivid description of the voyage and conditions endured by the convicts.  It also notes that six women were given permission to accompany  convict husbands to "the Bay"[Port Jackson=Botany Bay], though not Noah s own wife. A Thomas Bradshaw is listed amongst the convicts, transported for life.  While Elizabeth Bradshaw does not appear on formal lists for the Hillsborough, confirmation that she was indeed aboard comes from Noah s diary entry for Saturday 15th June, 1799, "a Mrs Bradshaw caught the Fever by Attending her Husband & it spread among the Women that several of them was very poorly".  Thomas Bradshaw apparently survived to be landed alive, but there is no further reference to him in musters and lists for NSW.  It seems likely that he died soon after arrival at Sydney, a fate of several others who arrived on the infamous fever-ship Hillsborough.  At least 95 out of 300 convicts died of goal fever (typhoid in the course of the eight month voyage.

p.63  Thomas Bradshaw, tried at Warwick, listed amongst convicts sent from the Stanishlaws Hulk, Woolwich, Oct. 20th 1798.
p.64  Robert Jillit {sic, no alias), tried at Newgate, Shoemaker,listed amongst those convicts sent from the Prudentia Hulk, Woolwich, Oct. 20th 1798.
October 1798
p.11       Thurs 18th inst  "......Arrived alongside the Hilsborough laying at the Upper Hope Gravesend ........"
p.12       Frid 19th inst     ".....only a few of the Ship s Company on board besides 6 Convicts Wives going out with their Husbands ....."

"Saturday ye 20 inst  Received on board from the Prudentia Hulk 72 Convicts & from the Stanislaws 56 of Woolwich from a Lighter guarded by a Party of Soldiers &c these Men were truly Deplorable so Rag d & Altered that the several [who] went from Newgate I hardly knew them for Vermin they was Eat up with these to us was no very Agreeable Companions having never experienced the Hardships of the Hulks which by Account is very Miserable.  But kind Hope Paints in our mind a Better Day & leads us thro the Most Disagreeable Pangs and Misfortunes of Life which Death would Otherways be a Happy Relief  "

November 1798

p.15      having left the upper Thames, now lying off Deal (Downs of the Town of Deal)
                Mon 12th inst  "...... Departed this Life and Infant belong g to one Holderness a Convt who was at Langston but his Wife had with 6 other women got permission to go to the Bay with their Husbands and Came Onboard the Day we Came and Allowd a place a purpose on the Gun Deck ...."

17th inst  [arrived off the Mother Bank, Portsmouth, opposite Rye

December 1798
p.19       one wife was charged 150 guineas for the voyage.
p.20       Thurs 20th   sailed from Portsmouth
                Frid 21st  anchored off Portland Roads
p.21       Sun 23rd  sailed from Portland,  by this time Robert Jillett  would have spent 8 months in Newgate Goal, 13 months on the Hulk Prudentia at Woolwich and just over 2 months on the Hillsborough while she was engaged in loading convicts and stores, tending the sick and preparing for sea.

Immediately sailed into a gale which resulted in saturated clothes and bedding
 Called at Funchal (Madiera) taking on provisions - wine and produce - sailed past Tenerife - Called at Island of Mayo, Cape Verde Islands - lengthy time at Cape Town tending sick.
Contains details of food and issue of clothes, discipline, potential mutiny, convict discipline of fellows, etc. etc
p.51       Sat 15th June, 1799, "a Mrs Bradshaw caught the Fever by Attending her Husband & it spread among the Women that several of them was very poorly".

July 1799
 Friday ye 26th inst  "at 4 in the Morning Hove to off the Harbour Mouth till Daylight at 7 made Sail & turned up the River which is 7 miles from the Town the appearance is Wild and uncultivated but it made our Hearts glad to think we would now be releast from our unhappy & Miserable Situation in Every Countenance it was Easy to see the Happiness it Created this Voyage was one Continual seen of Harricane Winds that is seldom meet with in any part of the Globe being here the Depth of Winter & a Voyage the Wind set this Way .........    the following Ship laying in the Harbour the Buffalo & Reliance Kings Sloop of War the Supply a Hulk the Albion and Britannia whaler .............  we were now visited by the Gentlemen of the Town & our Irons Knockd Off"

 "Monday ye 29 Inst    ............. We had now got to the End of a Long and Painfull tedious Voyage where Every Distress was to be meet with Heat Cold Hunger Thirst want of Remant Air &ca witch Created in us poor Convicts filth, Vermins & all kind of Diseases wich caused a Hundred poor Souls to be Buried in the Bowels of the Depth"

A search of the Old Bailey Court Records show that there were a couple of mentions of the name Robert Gillett.  One Robert James Gillett was the owner of  pub.

ROBERT JAMES GILLETT . I keep the Queen's Head—Morgan showed me a coin, and I asked the prisoner how many he had of them—he said "What, are they bad?"—I asked where he worked—he said he had not got any work, he had just come from the country—I asked where he lived—he said "In the Mint"—I gave him in custody with the shilling—his face is familiar to me.

And another was a Shoemaker at Kensington in 1773

JOHN PATCH, Theft > grand larceny, 20th October 1773.
Reference Number: t17731020-14
Theft > grand larceny
641. (2d M.) JOHN PATCH was indicted for stealing a pair of leather boots, value 14 s. two pair of men's leather shoes, value 1 s. and one pair of women's pumps, value 4 d. the property of Robert Gillett , Sept. 29 . ~
Robert Gillett . I keep a shoemaker's shop at Kensington . On the 29th of last month, about half an hour after two in the morning, I found the prisoner in my shop; it is at Hampton Court, just under the Park Wall. When I put the key in the door, the prisoner threw down the window and attempted to run out; Mr. Fray and I took him immediately; he had got in at the window and shut himself in, and was packing the things up; it was a very fine moon light morning. I missed the three pair of shoes and boots, and found them about five in the morning hid by the Park Gate. When I charged him with breaking the window open, he said he went in there to ease himself.
William Fray . I went with Mr. Gillet to the shop; as soon as he put the key in the door the prisoner tumbled out of the window; I took him in about fifty yards; the boots and three pair of shoes were gone out of the shop. (The things produced and deposed to).
Prisoner's Defence.
I had been on guard that night, and got in company with a woman that lies about with the soldiers; we had a pint of beer; I went with her to the corner of the place where the shop is; there we parted, and as I stood by the place the men came and found the place broke open, and laid hold of me as I was easing myself under the wall. I am as innocent as the child unborn; I never saw the shoes and boots before.
For the prisoner.
John Mackie . I have known the prisoner six years: he is a very honest soldier as far as I know; I never heard anything laid to his charge before.
Guilty . T .

Shere is a village in the Guildford district of Surrey, England about 6 miles (9.7 km) east of Guildford and 4 m  (6.4 km) west of Dorking, bypassed by the A25.
St Peter and St Paul’s Church West Clandon Surrey has a grave for a James Elston, also a Thomas Elston       

There are several reference for Elston in and around the Shere area near where he robbed the house.  There is evidence that the Elston’s were in fact shoemakers!

14 Oct., 1730. Robert Elston of Shere, shoemaker, bachelor, 30, and Jane Storer of Rygate, spinster, 21 ; at Hedly. John Goddard of W. Horsley, " paganus."
 Both sign.

29 Dec, 1759. David May of Sheere, abode 4 weeks, butcher, bachelor, 24, and Elizabeth Bignold of Sheere, abode 4 weeks, spinster, 25 ; at Sheere. James Elston of Sheere, cordwainer, 2nd s. Both


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