Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 24 February 2018), April 1794, trial of ABIGAIL JOHNSON (t17940430-1).

ABIGAIL JOHNSON, Theft > grand larceny, 30th April 1794.

230. ABIGAIL JOHNSON was indicted for stealing, on the 23d of January , eleven pair of silk stockings, value 4s. the goods of Moses Samuel .


I deal in second hand silk stockings ; I did rent a lower apartment in Mansfield-street , and there I sold second hand silk stockings. On Saturday night, the 18th of January, I opened my shop after our Sabbath was over, and there I hung up my stockings, there were about ten dozen of stockings there, dirty and clean, I had hung them up for sale, on two lines inside of the window, I put a gimblet in the window, to fasten it down, and I went over the water to see my father, and I left my wife alone in the place.

Q. What time did you leave your wife at home? - About seven o'clock.

Q. How soon did you come back? - About ten in the evening.

Q. You did not know any thing that they were missing till you came home? - No.

Q. Have you ever seen them since? - Yes, the prisoner offered some to sell to me the Wednesday following, she offered me first one pair, and then another pair, and then two pair; I asked her if she had any more? she said she had not; says I then, good woman I must stop you with these, because these are my property.

Q. Where was it this woman offered them to you to sell? - In Rosemary-lane, in the street.

Q. Had she any other goods to sell besides these stockings? - Not that I know of.

Q. Is she a dealer in goods there? - I suppose she is, but I don't know.

Q. She offered them to you as such? - Yes. When I told her that I must stop her; she says if you will go with me to Petticoat-lane, I will shew you the person that I bought them of. As we were going along, she said, she did not know the person rightly, but if I would go with her to her father's in Winfield-street, he knew the person; I went with her down to her father's, in Winfield-street, into a back place, and when I came there I again asked her if she had got any more? she said she had not; at the time I spoke to her she had her apron tied up, as all these women have; as soon as we got into the door she whispered something to her father, and I had some suspicion, and I saw her throw seven pair down into the kitchen. I told her what a wicked woman she must be to tell me she had no more, and yet had more concealed; I went down the stairs and picked them up, and I went with her and them into Petticoat-lane, and I gave them to the officer.

Q. Were all the articles that you gave to the constable the same you took from the prisoner? - Yes.

Q. Is your wife here? - No, she is very big with child, she could not come here.

Q. Did you ever see that woman in your house yourself? - No, not to my knowledge.

Q. You never learned from her, or her father in her presence where they came from? - No, she told me she bought them, that is all.


I am a constable; I produce eleven pairand one odd stocking, I believe it is, I never opened them; some of them are silk stockings, some pieces, and some stockings, some only half stockings, legs. and one thing and another; I received them of Samuel, he gave them to me at a place called Stone-lane, Petticoat-lane, the woman was with him; this was on a Wednesday.

Samuel. I can swear to this pair, this dark brown pair, they are such a remarkable pair, they had been mended so in the leg; these are not the whole of what I lost, I lost nine dozen and a half, some new and some old stockings,

Q. How long had you had them old pair that you speak to? - A fortnight or three weeks, it is a remarkable ribbed stocking, and mended with yellow silk in the leg.

Box. This woman deals in the fair with stockings. I asked the prosecutor what I was to do with this poor woman, She said she thought she could find the person that she bought them of, by the next day, and by the prosecutor's agreement I took her word, till next day eleven o'clock, when she came and delivered herself up according to her word.

Prisoner. I wish my witnesses to be called in that see me buy the stockings.


I was in the fair, and knowing of the prisoner I went up and spoke to her, she lived in Whitechapel; she had got these old silk stockings buying of when I went up to speak to her in the fair; this was about three weeks before last sessions began, I cannot tell the day.

Q. What did she give for them? - Just as I was coming away I see her gave the man two shillings, whether she had any change out of it or no I cannot tell.

Q. Are they not worth more than two shillings? - I only see them in her hand.

Q. How long have you known this woman? - About six years, I never heard any thing of her but what she bought and sold stockings , that is her business.

Court to Samuel. I understand you she said she would tell you where the person was that she bought them of? Where did she tell you? - In Petticoat-lane.

Q. Is that by the fair? - No.

Q. She took you to her father's, was not that by Petticoat-lane? - Just by Petticoat-lane.

The prisoner called three other witnesses who gave her a good character.


Tried by the first Middlesex Jury before Mr. RECORDER.