Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 6.0, 23 November 2014), April 1790, trial of THOMAS PARKER SOPHIA GIRTON CHARLES GEARING ELIZABETH GEARING (t17900424-6).

THOMAS PARKER, SOPHIA GIRTON, CHARLES GEARING, ELIZABETH GEARING, Royal Offences > coining offences, 24th April 1790.

335. THOMAS PARKER , SOPHIA GIRTON , CHARLES GEARING , and ELIZABETH GEARING , were indicted, for that they, on the 13th of March last, a piece of base coin resembling a shilling, falsely, deceitfully, feloniously, and traiterously did colour with materials producing the colour of silver .

A second count, that they did coin a round blank in base metal, resembling a shilling, against the statute.

(The witnesses examined separate.)

HUGH ANDREWS sworn.

I was one of the city constables, in March last; on the 13th of March, about five in the afternoon, I went to No. 16, Brackney street ; Wilson and me and Ramsbottom went there; when we came there, the street door was open; I went up to the door whistling, as I was told, and Mrs. Gearing opened the door; there was Parker, Gunn, and Sophia Girton ; the man, Gearing, was not there; Wilson not following me so close as I expected, I turned round to see what was become of him; Parker immediately threw some money out of the window, and five sixpences fell from him on the floor; I suppose he threw out sixty, the street was covered with them; I looked out of the window and desired Ramsbottom to hold him; Girton said, Lord have mercy on me; and put a nutmeg grater into her pocket; I found some aqua fortis in a bottle; two hammers, two pair of pliers, and a pair of scissars, a flat iron without a handle, and other things; they have been in my possession ever since: these are the sixpences that fell from Parker, and here are two files, and two punches, scouring paper, cork, and cream of tartar; Wilson has the nutmeg grater: Parker was standing with his back to the door; Sophia Girton had nothing in her hand but the nutmeg grater, Mrs. Gearing was going to make tea; Charles Gearing came in afterwards; here are four sixpences in one paper and two in another: Parker's hands were very dirty, in a state of work; Sophia Girton 's hands were dirty.

Prisoner Parker. Did you take that money of Sophia Girton , or pick it up off the ground? - I was standing by, when Wilson took it out of your pocket.

Prisoner. Oh you base wretch! you cruel villain! you cruel false swearing creature.

HENRY WILSON sworn.

I am one of the city officers also; I went on the 13th of March to Brackney street; when I followed the last witness, Parker was standing by the fire, Sophia Girton a little from him; the woman of the house, Mrs. Gearing, was by the fire; Gunn was on the side of Parker; the first thing I saw was, five sixpences fall from the left hand side of Parker.

Court. How came they to fall? - I imagine by his throwing several out; I saw him throw several out of the window; I seized Parker, and searched him; in his right hand waistcoat pocket I found these filings and cuttings, and some pewter; I searched Sophia Girton , and in her right hand pocket I found this nutmeg grater, with five bad shillings in a paper.

Prisoner Parker. You have forgot the good shilling you found in my pocket. - There was a good shilling.

Prisoner Girton. Did you take it out of my pocket, or off the ground? - I took it out of your pocket, I saw the tools found.

Prisoner Parker. You took it off the ground.

Wilson. I took the housewife, and every thing out of her right hand pocket, and she perfectly knows it.

EDMUND RAMSBOTTOM sworn.

I had the prisoner Parker by the collar, as soon as I went in, I saw five white pieces drop from him, like sixpences, I held him fast while he was searched, in his pockets there were two papers, one containing some white metal, seemingly silver.

MARY CLEMENTS sworn.

I picked up four sixpences in Brackney street, on Saturday afternoon; I do not remember the day of the month; I took them home; I have not got them; a gentleman had them away from me, the constable; it was the 13th of March.

What part of the street? - Right facing the house where they lived, it came tumbling down on my head.

JOHN HAT .

I was thirteen last Christmas.

Court. What will become of you hereafter, after your death, if you take a false oath? - I do not know, I never did yet.

What becomes of bad people after their death? - I am sure I do not know.

What becomes of good people after their death? - I am sure I do not know.

Have you learned your prayers and Catechism? - They go to a place of always torments.

JOHN HAT sworn.

I know Brackney street; I picked up two sixpences, I gave them to Mr. Anderson; I do not know what time it was; I left off work, which is six in the evening; I was going to play; I do not know the prisoners.

WILLIAM GUNN sworn.

I know the prisoners, and the house in Brackney street; I was there when the officers came; I was acquainted with Parker, when he worked journey-work with my master, Mr. Rederick, in Aldermanbury, a watch case maker ; I used to go with him to the flatting mills, to carry brass and silver, when it was melted down, then it was flatted down in sheets; then we used to take it home, and cut them out with these punches, the size of shillings and sixpences on a flat iron, with a hammer, on that flat iron; then after that Mr. Parker used to ask me to side them round, which I did; then Sophia Girton used to polish them; then Mr. Parker used to give me money, and I used to go to fetch aqua fortis to colour them; this is aqua fortis; then I used to rub them out with some salt in a cloth; then after that, with some soap on them and tinder, to make them look as if they had been in circulation.

What did the other people do? - I never saw Charles or Elizabeth Gearing do any thing in the work; but they have been in the premises when they were at work.

Now are you sure, that Parker used to send this metal to the flatting mills, and then have it flatted out, and then punched out and coloured? - I am sure. I remember the afternoon the officers came, I went up to Charles Gearing 's lodgings, and there I saw Mr. Parker, and Sophia Girton, cutting out sixpences; they had just done work when the officers came.

What were they about, when the officers came? - Mr. Parker was standing by the window, when the officers came up, and had the money in his hand, and he chucked it out of window.

Prisoner Parker. Gunn, did you see any made with them punches that day? - Not that day, it was a smaller punch than them.

How long was you there before the officers came up? - Between two and three hours.

Have you not been over-persuaded to swear this against us, to take our lives away? - No.

Did not you send from the counter to me, to know what you was to say, when you come to Court, to save us? - No, I never sent at all, you sent people after me.

JOHN CLARK sworn.

Look at those things, together with these, and explain them to the Jury.

I have done business for the Mint upwards of twenty years; this is what we call cecil, it is flatted down to the size, and cut into round blanks, and afterwards filed round the edges, and scoured with paper, cork and several things that are here, and put into aqua fortis, which produces the colour of silver.

Are those the instruments used for counterfeiting coin? - Yes, this is aqua fortis, when it is put into aqua fortis and water, which leaves it black, it is rubbed with sand, or salt, and then it is white, and it is afterwards rubbed with something to make it black; every thing here is compleat: (looks at the sixpence, in the nutmeg grater) the shillings were fit for circulation.

Prisoner Parker. Are they like the Tower shillings? - The Tower shillings, when they come out of the Tower, are all milled, these are made to imitate old shillings.

JOHN NICHOLL sworn.

I am one of the moiners of the Mint; these shillings are counterfeit, and the sixpencesalso; and these (which fell from the window) are bad also.

PRISONER PARKER's DEFENCE.

A person was up in the room just before, and left a message for Mrs. Gearing; whether any thing was laid down then, I do not know; I went to look out of the window, and something fell.

PRISONER GIRTON's DEFENCE.

The silver I had from a lottery office, for a number, not knowing them to be bad.

THOMAS PARKER , (aged 42) SOPHIA GIRTON , (aged 25)

GUILTY , Death .

CHARLES GEARING , ELIZABETH GEARING ,

NOT GUILTY .

Tried by the first Middlesex Jury, before Mr. Justice HEATH.

[Girton: Death. See summary.]