22nd April 1789
Reference Numbert17890422-18
VerdictGuilty > lesser offence

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304. SARAH NATCHELL was indicted for stealing, on the 14th day of March , ten pieces of linen cloth, value 12 d. and 45 l. 12 s. 6 d. in money, the property of Joseph Crank , in his dwelling-house .

(The Case opened by Mr. Knapp.)


I keep the Bartholomew coffee-house in West-Smithfield ; I know the prisoner, she was my servant , she lived with me about a month; on the night of the 13th of March she went to-bed before I did, it was about 11 o'clock; at half past 12 I fastened up the house; I and my wife were going up to-bed; and I said to her, it does not appear that the dining room windows are shut; and my wife said, she had sent Sally, she had been up stairs three times; I saw a light which appeared through the window; the dining-room door being open, which gave me reason to know it was not shut; my wife then went and shut it; we went to-bed; and about half past six in the morning, the prisoner came and knocked very violently at the door; my wife said, what is the matter? she said, the house was broke open; the dining-room window, she said, was open, and the bar-door had been broke open, and there were thieves in the house; I went down, and observed the bar-door to be open; I saw the street door was a-jar; and I told the prisoner to go, and get me a light; then I went into the bar, I found the till on the floor, and a bowl which we put silver in, and sometimes gold, that was on the floor, and I found a number of loose pieces of paper; there were three bills, among them one for 49 l. another for 66 l. and another for 9 l. 12 s. they were not gone, they were all thrown about; I found a large quantity of money, which I had left on a shelf, was not gone; and another sum of 70 l. which was safe, they were all in the bar, but not in the till; they were put in different parts of the bar, it had not been in the bowl, or in the till; there were several other things of value in the bar, which was not touched; afterwards I went up stairs, and dressed myself, and my wife came down, and saw the things in the same state, as I did; the prisoner went about her business as usual; I had not just then any kind of suspicion; on the Sunday following she went out, and I attempted to watch her, but lost sight of her; she staid out till about nine o'clock; she asked leave to go out: on the Tuesday following, the night of the illuminations, she asked leave to go out then; she went out, I believe, but I will not be positive that it was the night of the illuminations, she staid out till near 11; when she came home she went to-bed; and the next morning

she got up, and complained she was sick, she did part of her business in the house, and she then went to-bed, and lay there the whole day; in the evening she came down, and got some refreshment, and then went to-bed again; the next morning she did not get up, and a person went up to her; she said that she was very ill, and that the town did not agree with her, and she would go away, and go into the country; she called a coach herself, and she put her box in it, and a hat-box; I followed the coach to No. 36, James-street, Bedford-row, it stopped there; there was a footman came out to the coach to her two or three times; then the coachman drove her to a public-house, a Mr. Farrell's in Red-lion-street, Holborn, the sign of the Dolphin; I came home again, and staid 'till the Friday; she got out there, and her boxes were taken out; the next day I went to Mr. Farrel's, but did not find her there; she was not taken 'till the Saturday, she was taken at No. 16, James-street, Oxford-road, in company with one Stevens, a Mrs. Wood, and a soldier, they were at dinner; I lost 22 guineas and a half in gold; 20 l. 14 s. 6 d. in silver, and in half-pence 1 l. 5 s.; I had taken an account on the Sunday before; there are nine or ten cloths we lost; we call them tea-cloths.

Mr. Keys, Prisoner's Counsel. How long had the prisoner been in your service? - About four or five weeks; the prisoner said she had no money, but a guinea and a half-crown when she came to us, she said, that was all she had in the world.

Did not you make her any promises to induce her to confess? - I said this to her, Sally, if you have any person concerned with you in breaking the house, inform me who it is, and I will shew all the lenity I can; this was after the money was taken; I had suspicions, for I had heard of her keeping this soldier's company; she told me, nobody was concerned at all; she acknowledged it fifty times; she said she had robbed me, and the Devil must be in her to do it.


I am wife to the last witness; on the 13th of March lost my husband lost 45 l. and upwards, it was in a drawer underneath the till; you must take the till away to put the money in, there was no money in the till but sixpence and a few half-pence; there was sixteen pounds in the dish, the greater part was in a check bag, in a box under the till; my husband went up before me, he called me; the windows were all shut when I went up to-bed; there was one open before we went to-bed; it was the right-hand window, I shut it, and fastened it, it goes in with a hook, and I looked at the other, and that was fastened; the maid went up about ten minutes before eleven, and she went up three times before, and said she was going to fasten the dining-room windows; I said I thought she had fastened them before, and she went to-bed half an hour after.

Mr. Keys, Prisoner's Counsel. Was not there a person in the house on whom suspicion fell? - No, none at all.

Then how happened it that you did not suspect this maid before? - So I did, but Mr. Crank did not wish it, because it was taking away her character.


I keep the Dolphin in Red Lion-street, Holborn, I am married; on Sunday the 13th of March the prisoner came to our house, she called for three-penny-worth of brandy and water, there was nobody with her, she looked about, and asked where she could go into; I told her to go into the back kitchen, she asked me for a needle and thread, she was making up a parcel, I did not give attention to her; she came back and said she wanted some twine; she had two three-penny-worths of brandy and water; she sent my maid for two shilling cakes and some oranges, she gave the maid 6 d. and asked me to drink, I refused it; she came to our house on the Thursday following, she came to the bar, she came in a backney coach by herself, she had some boxes, and asked me

to let her boxes stand there for a little time, as she had left her place; she sent for a gentleman's servant who lived at No. 8, in Red Lion-square; he was a stranger to me, he came, I cannot tell what passed; they went into the parlour, but the door was not shut, but what passed I do not know, they staid there about half an hour; then I saw the gentleman's servant go away, he did not take the boxes; after that she asked me to let the boxes stop a little longer; I did so, and they were taken up into the dining-room; in about an hour after she brought a man, a porter, to take them away, and she went up with him; there was a wooden box and a hat box, the prisoner left one box on Thursday night, and the other the middle part of the day, I believe it is about a month ago, one was a leather trunk, and the other was a large deal box; they were the same that were found at my house by the officer.


On the 21st of March I went with the prosecutor into Little James-street, Oxford-road, to No. 16, the prisoner at the bar was sitting in the right hand parlour, with another woman and two soldiers; I took the prisoner out of that parlour on the staircase, and in her pocket, tied up in this silk handkerchief, were seventeen guineas, and eight half guineas, in her pocket two pounds nine shillings and sixpence in half crowns and shillings; I then went with the prosecutor and the prisoner where the boxes were, in Stonecutters-alley, in a Mrs. Smith's house; there I found in half crowns, shillings, and sixpences, five pounds and sixpence; in a little box, in one of her own large boxes, I found ten of these clouts; there were some new stockings, and six silver tea-spoons, which were new ones, a new umbrella, and a pair of new cotton stockings; the prisoner was not with me.

When these clouts were found, was any promise made her? - The prosecutor prosecutor promised her he would be as favourable as he could, if she would tell where the boxes was.

Court. Then I shall not enquire what she said after that? - I believe that was after some part of the money was found.

But before she said any thing what she had done? - He asked her where the best part of the money was; and she begged he would not take her life, but be as favorable as he could.

(The clouts deposed to by Mrs. Crank.)

Mrs. Crank. I know them by a particular mark with one iron mould at the corner, this is my own work; they were in the garret, they were not in the same place with the money.


My box came up the 16th of March, my prosecutor pretended he had lost some money the 14th of March, the clouts were in my box, and a person is in Court that I promised to give some of them to; her name is Sarah Brown ; the money I had by my young master, who is gone to Bengal, to maintain a child I had by him, his name is Richard Morgan , a lieutenant in the army; he was ordered off with his regiment, he has been gone about a month; my childbed linen was in my box, the prosecutor and his wife have my boxes in their possession; Sarah Brown saw some of the cloth.


I am a country woman of the prisoner's, she came up about two months after I came up; she always bore an exceeding good character, as far as I know; I know nothing at all but some bits of cloth that she had in her caravan; I asked her to give me some, she said when her box came up, she would give me some.


I have known the prisoner since she has been in town, I never heard but she was a very sober, honest servant.


I have not known her a long time, but heard a good name of her by all her country people.

Mrs. LAMB. sworn.

I knew her when she was an extraordinary good servant in Windsor, to Mr. Morgan, I know of no money he gave her.

Court. Had he a son an officer? - Yes, his name was Edward Morgan , I heard say he was gone to Cork; I have been out of Windsor five years.

When did you hear he was gone abroad? - About six months ago.

Court to Mr. Crank. How is your street-door fastened? - With a strong iron bar that goes across the door as well as the lock, the dining-room window fastened with a hook; they were not broke that I saw.

GUILTY, Of stealing the clouts only .

Court to Prisoner. You have been convicted on very strong evidence of a part of the charge contained in this indictment against you; the Jury, though there were strong circumstances that went to the whole of the charge, in mercy to your life, have acquitted you of the most penal part; it will depend on yourself how far that mercy will or will not be beneficial to you; it remains with the Court to consider the whole of your case; the offence of a servant breaking that trust reposed in them, is so dangerous to the peace and security of individuals, that it is the rule of the Court to treat it with the utmost rigour of the law; the sentence of the Court upon you, therefore, is, that you be

Transported beyond the seas for the term of seven years .

Tried by the London Jury before Mr. RECORDER.

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