Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 22 February 2019), April 1772, trial of SAMUEL GRATRIX JOHN SHARPLESS, otherwise HALL (t17720429-37).

SAMUEL GRATRIX, JOHN SHARPLESS, Theft > grand larceny, 29th April 1772.

357. 358. (1st M.) SAMUEL GRATRIX , and JOHN SHARPLESS, otherwise HALL , were indicted for stealing six pair of silk stockings, value 3 l. 10 s. the property of Owen Hudson , March 14th . *

Owen Hudson . I am a hosier and haberdasher , and live in Bridge-street. When I came into the shop on the 14th of March, I found an order left for some silk stockings, to be sent to a gentleman's lodgings, at the Red Lamp, in Queen's-square ; I took the stockings there. Gratrix, who acted as the servant, opened the door; I told him my business; and he shewed me immediately up stairs. Mr. Sharpless was sitting with his hair a good deal powdered, and his face powdered; he was in a linen gown, to keep the powder from his dress, I suppose.

Q. What, was his face powdered?

Hudson. Yes, a good deal, rather more than there was a necessity for, I think. He asked me if I had brought some silk stockings, and bid me shew them; I opened several papers of stockings; he looked out three pair of coloured stockings, and three pair of white.

Q. Was Gratrix in the room all this while?

Hudson. He was in and out at the door; he asked me the price; I told him; then he asked me if I had silk pieces, and if I had not some black silk stockings with French clocks; I told him I had; he desired I would fetch some, and be pretty quick, for he should be in the house but a very short time.

Q. Had you sold him these silk stockings before you went away?

Hudson. No.

Q. When he asked the price, what did he say?

Hudson. He bid me fetch some silk pieces; I put the stockings on a chair.

Q. Did he say any thing whether he would have the stockings?

Hudson. There was no agreement made about the stockings; I did not take the marks off, but put the stockings on the back of a chair till I came back. When I came down stairs, I asked the servant Gratrix his master's name; he said Sharpless, and that he was a Berkshire gentleman. Then I went home, and brought the silk pieces, and the silk stockings; I suppose I was not absent more than ten minutes; I knocked at the door; the woman of the house opened it; she said the gentleman was gone out, and the servant had left word that I was to leave the things there, and the gentleman was to be at home at three o'clock; I told her I did not chuse to leave them, but would be back before three. I went home, and returned at about half an hour after two; I knocked at the door; the woman of the house opened the door; she said he was not come home; I asked her if she recommended them to me; she said she knew nothing of the matter; I asked her to let me go up stairs, to see if my goods were there; I went up; but my goods were not there; I would have taken them if they had; I searched the drawers and bed-chamber; there was nothing there; she told me, as I was coming down stairs, that, if he was a gentleman, I should serve him no more; I met another hosier as I came down, who had brought another parcel of goods; when he came out, he and I had some talk. I went to Sir John Fielding 's, and gave him an account of what had happened; the name of Sharpless was down in his book in two or three places before. I received a letter afterwards from Sir John; I went there; there I saw three pair of stockings; I have seen three pair more since at a pawnbroker's in Castle-street, Oxford-market; I saw them a few days after; they had my marks to them, as I left them in the room.

Joseph Jenkins , who is a servant to - Murthwaite, a pawn-broker, in Poultney-street, produced three pair of silk stockings.

Prosecutor. These are three out of six pair that I carried to Sharpless that morning.

Q. From Sharpless to the Prosecutor. Whether they were not agreed for, for half-a-guinea a pair, before you lost them?

Prosecutor. No. I must have sold them for less than they were worth if I had; I sold them for 14 and 13 s. there was no agreement made at all.

Sharpless. He agreed to leave the coloured ones for half-a-guinea, and the white for 12 s.

Q. To Jenkins. Whom had you these stockings of?

Jenkins. I had them of Dunbar on the 14th of March in the afternoon; he was alone; I have seen Gratrix and Sharpless, or Hall, with him at other times in pledging goods.

Q. How near this 14th of March?

Jenkins. I believe both before and after a few days.

Q. What was lent on them?

Jenkins. A guinea on three pair.

Court. To the Prosecutor. Your marks remain on the stockings now?

Prosecutor. Yes; the same marks.

Jonathan Dunbar . I knew the prisoners; about five or six weeks before this happened I saw them at their lodgings; they came there the night before this affair; I was in the room when Sharpless gave Gratrix directions to go to Mr. Hudson's, to order some silk stockings; he acted as servant, Sharpless as master.

Q. Was Gratrix always the servant?

Dunbar. No; at other times he has been in the same situation as Sharpless was then.

Q. Can you tell us for what purpose that lodging was taken?

Dunbar. The same purpose it answered, to have some stockings there. We were, the day before, in St. James's Park; they had not any lodging at that time as I know of; it was agreed amongst us all, that the lodging should be taken; we had not proposed any particular lodging; we were all together when we found out this lodging; it was mentioned over night to get some stockings of Mr. Hudson. I went to their lodging next morning between nine and ten o'clock; they wanted me to go with the message to Mr. Hudson's; I went out with a pretence to go; when I came back, it was settled between them, that Gratrix should go as the servant, and Sharpless was to appear as a gentleman. Gratrix went, and brought word back that the stockings would come immediately. Mr. Hudson came about a quarter of an hour after; when he knocked at the door, I went into another room; I could hear their voices there, but not so as to distinguish any thing that passed; I came into the room again when Mr. Hudson was gone; I saw the stockings lie loose upon the chair; they agreed then to leave the lodgings; I put some of the stockings in my pocket, and Sharpless I believe had some; Sharpless and I went first; I think we went to the Yorkshire Grey at Buckingham-gate, and Gratrix came to us; we left the lodgings entirely. I went and pawned the three pair of silk stockings that have been produced, for a guinea; the prisoners stood at the corner of the street whilst I went into the pawnbroker's; Sharpless pawned the other three pair in the name of Hall at a pawnbroker's near Oxford-market; I gave him a shilling for the pawnbroker's ticket.

Sharpless's Defence.

I have nothing to say.

Gratrix's Defence.

We both agreed for the goods.

Both Guilty . T .

There were six or eight other indictments against them for offences of the same kind.