Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 13 November 2018), December 1765, trial of Catherine, wife of Nathaniel Wilks , otherwise Catherine Bolton (t17651211-10).

Catherine Wilks, Theft > grand larceny, 11th December 1765.

(13.) (L.) Catherine, wife of Nathaniel Wilks , otherwise Catherine Bolton , spinster, was indicted for stealing, in company with Nathaniel Wilks ; 100 yards of flowered gauze, value 12 l. 200 yards of striped gauze, 20 yards of plain gauze, 48 gauze handkerchiefs, 6 yards of Scotch lawn, 50 linen handkerchiefs, 30 gauze caps, 50 yards of thread lace, 5 yards of silk ribbon, 5 yards of silk lace, one duffil cloth cardinal, 36 pound weight of butter, and two pieces of serge ; the property of Charles Beal , October 5 . ++

Elizabeth Beal . I am wife to Charles Beal ; we live in Newgate-market, but keep a milliner's shop in the Fleet-market . I left that shop safe on the 4th of October at night, and on the 5th, between 6 and 7 o'clock in the morning I found it broke open in the back part of it; there were a great quantity of goods taken away; all that are mentioned in the indictment. On the Wednesday following Mr. Bruin, a pawn-broker on Snow-hill, sent for me; I went and found the prisoner and two pieces of gauze, but cannot take upon me to sware to them; but recollecting a woman had made some things for me of that gauze, we sent for her, she knew it to be my gauze. The prisoner said she bought the gauze in Rag-fair; we took her before the sitting Alderman, he gave me a warrant to search her house. We found a housewife upon the table, with some of my lace, and two pieces of ribbon, which were my property, also several lappets made of gauze, and several remnants of lace which I can swear to. In a box we found one cap, under the bed another; in the pocket of a blue coat we found some pieces of lace. Under the dresser one plain gauze flowered bordered handkerchief, one gauze laced mob, one queen's mob, one queen's round cap, and about 5 yards of blue ribbon, 5 yards of black edging was found in the room, and the trimmings of my red cardinal, which I can swear to. (The goods produced in court, and deposed to by the prosecutrix.) Mr. Kennet was at the finding the rest. I asked her whose coat that was, in which the piece of lace was, she said it was the man's she lived with. I asked her if it was her husband's, she said no, that she sometimes lived with him, and sometime swent away. There is the mark of a woman's foot on a piece of board, that lay just under the window, where she came into the shop. (Produced in court with a dirty print of a woman's foot upon it. Inspected by the Jury.)

Mr. Kennet. On the 9th of October in the evening, I was sent for to Mr. Bruin's, he described the woman that had brought the gauze. I said I knew her, and mentioned where she lived; I sent for her, (it was the prisoner.) She said she bought the gauze in Rag-fair; I took her in custody on suspicion of being concerned in this robbery. The next day we took her before Sir John Cartwright , he granted a search-warrant. I went to the house where she lived, and found part of the things; a poor woman came down and said, O sir, I have found the rest of the things, there was a place broke in the garret, up into a cockloft, a hole was broke through, and it had a communication with the next house; then the woman handed the things through a hole out of a room even with the floor I was in. The things she handed through were a sack of butter, and 2 pieces of blue serge, a red cloak, a small piece of cheque, a great number of caps, a large quantity of other gauze, a little box with caps and ribbons. I took them home, and carried the woman at the bar next day to be examined; there was a man appeared in her behalf, and wanted it to be made up, his name was Wilks, he is a kind of a carpenter, and now he is turned quack-doctor, and was going to open a shop in Chick-lane. I have heard nothing of him since.

Mr. Bruin. I am a pawn-broker on Snow-hill. On the 5th of October Sir John Fielding sent a warning to acquaint me a shop had been broke open in Fleet-market, and lawns and things taken out. The prisoner that goes by the name of Catherine Bolton , brought a piece of gauze, about enough for an apron and handkerchief; she told me she bought it at a linen-draper's in Cheapside: I said it was very particular for a linen-draper to sell gauze, she said she bought some linen with it. I sent for Mrs. Beal, she said she could not swear to it, but said it was the same pattern; she sent for a woman, that if it was her gauze would know it. I bid the prisoner fetch her husband, she walked out very orderly. The person came and said it was Mrs. Beal's property; after that a warrant was got from Sir John Cartwright , and searched the prisoner's apartment, and some of the things were found. I have known the prisoner a year and a half, she is a woman of the town; she has not lived long with that man.

Anne Hunsdon . I make gauze caps for the shops. I made eight for Mrs. Beal of this piece of gauze found upon the prisoner. (She produced one of them, it matched for quality and colour.)

Mrs. Beal. The lace that was found in the housewife, in a coat pocket, was my property; the housewife is not.

Prisoner. The housewife is mine.

Prisoner's defence.

My husband came home late at night, I chid him for staying out so late. He said he had been at his sister's, and had brought something for me; then I was reconciled: he produced several things. I asked him where he got them, he said of his sister. The next morning when he was sober, he said he bought them in Rag-fair; he went out the next day, and I wanted a little money. I went to the pawn-broker with this housewife and handkerchief. If I had known them to have been stolen, I would not have carried them there.

She called Jane Dimson , Hannah Bentley , Catherine Kingcart , and Catherine Tharrol , who gave her a good character.

Guilty . T .