Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 20 February 2018), April 1785, trial of WILLIAM BROWN (t17850406-59).

WILLIAM BROWN, Theft > grand larceny, 6th April 1785.

472. WILLIAM BROWN (aged fourteen) was indicted for feloniously stealing, on the 26th of March last, one pair of stockings made of silk and worsted mixed, value 5 s. one pair of silk and cotton, value 10 s. 5 s. three pair of mixed cotton, value 10 s. and one st ocking, value 2 s. 6 d. the property of John Butler .


On Saturday the 26th of March, between seven and eight in the morning, the prisoner came into Mr. Butler's shop and asked for a half-pennyworth of worstead, and gave me a shilling to change; and then asked me what a pair of stockings would come to that would fit him; I told him a pair of wove hose would cost twenty-pence; I shewed him some; he said they were too narrow ribbed; then I shewed him a second parcel, and he said, they were too large stockings; I went to the bottom of the shop, and as I returned, I thought his apron looked rather bigger than it was; I asked him to let me look at his leg, and when he held out his leg, I looked over the compter, and saw the top of one of the blue and white random cotton stockings under his apron; I laid down the parcels, and was coming from behind to shut the door; he immediately seeing that ran out of the shop as fast as he could; I followed him, and cried stop him! stop him! he was stopped in my sight, he was not out of my sight hardly; he dropped the stockings in three different places; I saw him drop them all; he was the same boy, I have no doubt; I took the stockings home, and put them in this paper; and I have kept them in my own possession ever since.

(The stockings produced and deposed to.)


I was coming by Bishopsgate church, and I heard the cry of stop him! I let the boy go by; I turned round and saw him throw down some stockings; then I returned after him, and when I got to the corner of the church-yard, I saw him throw down some more; another man crossed to him, and stopped him; he was out of my sight, just turning off the stone the corner of the church-yard.

The prisoner called four witnesses who gave him a very good character.


To be twice whipped .

He was humbly recommended to mercy by the Prosecutor and Jury.

Tried by the first London Jury before Mr. RECORDER.