Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 16 September 2021), September 1769, trial of Priscilla Pugh Ann Claxton , otherwise Darlin, otherwise Underwood Margaret Jones (t17690906-83).

Priscilla Pugh, Ann Claxton, Margaret Jones, Theft > shoplifting, Theft > receiving, 6th September 1769.

519, 520, 521. (L.) Priscilla Pugh and Ann Claxton , otherwise Darlin, otherwise Underwood , were indicted for stealing twenty-three yards of printed linen, value 5 s. the property of John Blackhall , privately in the shop of the said John , June 26 , and Margaret Jones , widow, for receiving the same, well knowing it to have been stolen , July 17 . *

Farrington Butterfield. I am servant to Mr. Blackhall, a linen-draper on Ludgate-hill . On the 26th of last June, Pugh and Underwood came into our shop, about ten in the morning, and asked to see some printed linens. We shewed them great variety, among which was a piece which I folded up, and laid on the counter. There was only one woman in the shop at the time, and I am positive she could not take it, for I saw it after she was gone. They were a long time in buying, and at last they did buy two yards of coloured linen. There was not a creature in the shop for half an hour after they were gone, but within ten minutes, after they were gone, I missed this piece, which I had folded up. I went out, but could see nothing of them. The same day I got handbills and distributed about, particularly in Field and Chick-lane. The neighbours described them, and desired me to come again in the evening. I went, but did not meet with them. The neighbours desired me to come again in the morning. I went, and then I saw them both go into the Magpye and Horseshoe, at Holborn-bridge. I got a constable on Snow-hill. I knew them extremely well, they having been in our shop twice before. When we went to them, they owned they bought two yards of linen of me, and seemed surprized I should suspect them. We took them to the Mansion house, and they were committed to the Poultry Compter, but were discharged after three days. During which time we advertised the cloth in all the papers, but could not hear any thing of it; then we gave up the search entirely. On the 17th of July Mr. Ramsden, a linen-draper at the corner of Field-lane, whom I had told of our loss, and described the pattern, sent to me. I came. He told me he thought he had got the linen. He shewed it me; they had cut the sag end off where we had put our name; but there was another mark which wholesale drapers would have known it by. The pattern, and the quality of the cloth and my mark was the same as we lost, with the length of yards. My mark was on the outside. (Produced in Court; he points to the mark he made.) I bought the piece myself, and I made this mark on it. It is the letter B, which I always make with red chalk. I know it to be Mr. Blackwell's property.

John Northill . I am a shoemaker. On the 17th of July I was at dinner, when the prisoner, Mary Jones , came into my house with a bag under her arm. I had been drinking freely in the forenoon, so I went to bed. Coblers cannot help drinking; we cannot work without a little beer.

Q. Do you do your business best when you are drunk?

Northill. No. When I awaked, which was about three, or a little after, I saw a bundle lying on the table. There was a woman that keeps my house said, Mrs. Jones brought it. I bid her open it, and see what it was. She did, and clapt her hands together and said, Lord, master, you will be transported, if this is found in your house. I got up, looked at it, and saw it was new linen. I took and carried it to Mr. Ramsden's, a linen-draper.

Butterfield. When we were going in the coach to Sir John Fielding , Jones said she had the cloth of Underwood.

John Ramsden . I am a linen draper at the bottom of Holborn-hill. On the 17th of July, between two and three o'clock, this Northill came in with a bag, and he said he wanted to speak with me. I took him backwards. He opened the bag, and asked me if I knew any thing of the linen. I said, I supposed I could tell him of a person that had lost such a piece. I saw the letter B. upon it. I sent for Mr. Butterfield, and he said it was his master's property. I told Northill, if he would shew me the woman that brought it to his house, I would set him at liberty; if not, I should carry him to Sir John Fielding . Mr. Butterfield and I went to his house, and while we were there, this Jones came into his house. We asked her if she brought that; she said she did not. Then Northill said she had brought it; then she owned she did. As we were going up the hill, she said, Have you got Underwood? that is, the man of that name; she said she knew where to find him, as he was drinking at a public-house.

Pugh's Defence.

I met this girl, meaning Underwood, as I was coming from market with a bushel of pears on my head. I asked her to go in and drink; after which they came in and took us, and said we had stole some linen, and put us into the Poultry Compter, but we were discharged.

Underwood's Defence.

My friends are all gone home about their business.

Jones's Defence.

I keep a public-house . I have a great many people use my house. I had that bag of a man that belongs to the Chersterfield man of war. I was going a little farther. I told Mr. Northill I would leave my bag, and would call for it as I came back. I had it some years ago.

Butterfield. We can prove the pattern never was printed above a year ago.

See Priscilla Pugh tried for shoplisting, No. 314, in Mr. Alderman Harley's mayoralty.

All three acquitted .