10th December 1788
Reference Numbert17881210-83
VerdictGuilty > lesser offence; Not Guilty

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83. ANN (wife of William) CLAPTON , and CHARLOTTE (wife of Thomas) MARSH , were indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 28th day of October last, two muslin aprons, value 10 s. the property of Edward Bowerbank , privily in his shop .


I keep a linen-draper's shop in Newgate-street : on the 28th of October, about half past four, the prisoner came into my shop, and asked to look at some muslin aprons, which my young man shewed them; I was engaged in the back-shop; my young man sold them one; he called to me for change, which I understood to be a signal or mark of suspicion; I went round the counter to him; and the prisoner Clapton had gone close towards the door; and just as she had got to the threshold, he told her she had something which she should not have, and wished her to produce it; she said she had not; I then turned to the other prisoner, Marsh, and charged her; she said, she had nothing; I suspected her, from her having a bundle under her arm, which did not appear to have been folded up by a linen-draper, which made me desire more to see it; it was prints; part of an apron stuck out of the prisoner's pocket, which my young man assisted her to take out of her pocket; I then took the print from her; the old one made answer then, that they had bought it and paid for it, a little lower down in Holborn-bridge; she varied much in her story; I sent for a constable, and they were committed; the young one said nothing, but the old one made a number of excuses, and said they would pay for them; when they found I was resolute in sending for a constable, the old one kneeled down, and they offered to buy and pay for several things.

Mr. Garrow, prisoner's council. Is your young gentleman here? - Yes.

Had you no other in the shop? - Yes; but he is not here.


I am shopman to the prosecutor; I remember the prisoners coming into the shop between four and five; they looked at some muslin-aprons; I brought some; they chose one, and the younger (Marsh) paid for it; she asked me to change half-a-guinea; Mr. Bowerbank, by my request, sent me the change by a young man; while I was busy, the eldest took an apron; I did not see her, but I begged to search her, and pulled her cloak aside, and found it in her pocket; part of it stuck out; I asked her what she was going to do with it, she said to look at it at the door by the light; I told her it was her intention to steal it; and then

she offered to pay for it; then she went to Mr. Bowerbank, and offered all the money they had, which was 15 s. if Mr. Bowerbank would let them go out of the shop; another apron was found in the pocket of the other; another person of the name of Bowerbank was in the shop, who is not here.

Mr. Garrow. The asking for change was a signal? - Yes.

It was a custom, and of course the other Bowerbank knew it? - Yes.

The other prisoner bought an apron for 4 s. 6 d.? - I believe 5 s.

Was the apron you found on the prisoner of the same value as that she bought? - Yes, and of the same quality.

Court to Bowerbank. Were they searched? - Yes, and I took an apron from under Marsh's cloak.

Thomas Pearson . I am a constable, and produce the apron.


I have known the prisoners for seven years, for decency, honesty, and sobriety; I scarcely ever knew their equals.


I have known them for six years; they have a good character.


I have known them seven years; they have a good character.

- FORD sworn.

I have known them six years; good characters.


I have known them four years, good characters.

JOHN PAGE sworn.

I have known them six years, good characters.


I have known them eight years, the best of characters.

ANN CLAPTON GUILTY, not privily .


Tried by the London Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

[Transportation. See summary.]

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