This article appeared in The Ipswich Journal in 1849 ...
MONDAY, August 6. The Court was opened at ten o’clock.
HOUSEBREAKING AT REDLINGFIELD
Joseph Baldwin, 47, a man of Herculean proportions, was charged with breaking into the house of John Barnes, at Redlingfield on the 6th of May, and stealing therefrom five shillings’ worth of penny-pieces, six buns, a piece of linen and half a pound of pickled pork.
Mr. Palmer conducted the case for the prosecution. On the 6th of May Mr. and Mrs. Barnes quitted their house for the purpose of going to church, leaving the door and windows secured. On their return they opened the door and were surprised to find the marks of two or three very large footprints on the drugget (mat) in the keeping-room. Satisfied that someone must have gained access to their house in their absence, they searched about the room, and soon ascertained that a cupboard had been forced open in which was kept a key of another cupboard. This key still hung on it’s accustomed nail, and nothing was missing from the cupboard. The other, however, when opened with the key, showed that the intruder had visited it’s shelves for the various trifles mentioned in the indictment were missing from them. The next question was how to account for the entrance and the exit of the thief, and a minute inspection of the window, which was found bolted as usual, satisfied Mr. Barnes that a pane had been taken out of the lead close to the hasp. Through this aperture a hand could easily open the fastening, and then the window afforded an aperture of 15 inches by 30. The pane, however had been carefully replaced, and the lead knocked together again, thus showing that the robbery had been effected with considerable precaution, and most probably through the agency of a boy or small man, who had afterwards admitted a larger man through the door. Information having been given, it was discovered that the prisoner had been seen going at 12 0’clock on the day in question in a direction from the house of the prosecutor towards his own house. The police accordingly searched the latter on Tuesday, but they found nothing in it. Afterwards, however, it was ascertained that the prisoner had paid an arrear of 1s.6d for poor-rates to the overseer in penny pieces, and his house was searched again, when a piece of linen was found which exactly corresponded with that lost by Mrs. Barnes who recognized it as a piece of her husband’s shirtsleeve, which she had only removed from that garment on the Saturday night, and then placed in the cupboard. The prisoner in his defence, contended that it was physically impossible that he should have committed the robbery, as he could not have got through the window, “if he had tried ever so;” and as for the payment to the overseer, he had paid him with coppers received from his deceased master on Saturday. He also accounted for the possession of the linen, by saying that he had picked it up in a ditch while at work, between the first and second search. The Jury found the prisoner Guilty, and he was sentenced to 10 years’ transportation, a previous conviction having been proved: his lordship remarking that it was a hard thing that persons not keeping servants, when going to Church should be watched that depredations might be committed on them; in the case of the poor, if the fear of such depredations prevented their going to places of worship, it would be a great privation.”
This incident took place at Green Farm, as it is known these days, in the original farmhouse before the crash during WWII in which the U.S. aircrew lost their lives. The census for 1841 shows Joseph Baldwin living in the village with his wife and two sons. I have not been able to trace Joseph after the trial either here or in Australia.
Linda Hudson (Published in Athelington, Horham & Redlingfield News Spring 2019 issue No 45).