Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 8.0, 09 February 2023), September 1798, trial of SARAH LAWRENCE MARY SMITH (t17980912-56).

SARAH LAWRENCE, MARY SMITH, Theft > theft from a specified place, 12th September 1798.

523. SARAH LAWRENCE and MARY SMITH were indicted for feloniously stealing on the 2d of August , four pair of silk stockings, value 44s. the property of John Garton , in his dwelling-house .

JOHN GARTON sworn. - I live in Cheapside ; I am a hosier ; I can only swear to the property.

ROBERT WHITE sworn. - I work in Mr. Garton's shop: On the 2d of August, between four and five, the two prisoners came into my master's shop, and asked the price of some cotton stockings; they would not suit them; they saw some silk gloves, and asked the price of them; they would not do; Lawrence said, she wanted a little flannel, about 1s. 6d. a yard; she took the shopman to the window next Lawrence-lane, to look at the flannel; in the mean time I happened to turn my head, and saw Smith put some silk stockings under her bonnet upon her head; I thought it was time for me to jump from my frame; I tapped her on the shoulder, and said, madam, what have you got in your bonnet? she said, nothing at all; I said, I know better than that, I took her bonnet off her head, and there were four pair of silk stockings, I laid them upon the counter separate from the rest, but desired the shopman to call my master.

Q. Do you know that they were your master's property? - A. I saw her take them off the counter, I saw them brought in that morning by the trimmer, there were fifteen pair of them.

Cross-examined by Mr. Gurney. (For Lawrence.) Q. You do not mean to say that these two persons came in together? - A. Yes, they came in together as night as possible at the same time.

Q. Smith asked to look at some stockings and gloves? - A. I did not pay attention which asked that.

Q. It might be Smith for any thing you know? - A. I cannot say.

Q. Lawrence asked for flannel? - A. Yes.

Q. She was in a different part of the shop? - A. Yes.

Cross-examined by Mr. Alley. (For Smith.) Q. Whereabouts in the shop was Smith? - A. If you will go to the shop I will shew you, I cannot tell you exactly without; I saw her take the shopman to the window next Lawrence-lane.

Q. Where about were you in the shop? - A. I was at work in the frame in the shop.

Q. You were making stockings? - A. No, we make but one at a time.

Q. You were not behind the counter serving? - A. No.

BENJAMIN DIXON sworn. - I am constable of the Ward of Cheap: On the 2d of August, between four and five, I was sent for to take charge of the prisoners, which I did; I have had the stockings ever since. (Produces them.)

Mr. Garton. These are my stockings, I can swear to every pair; they have my own private mark.

Mr. Gurney. Q. Have you any partner? - A. No.

Q. No other person has any share in your busisiness? - A. No.

Q. Is this your dwelling-house? - A. Yes.

Mr. Alley. Q. You sell your stockings rather dear, I think? - A. I do not know for that; they cost me eleven shillings a pair.

Q. Do you mean to say this pair of stockings is worth eleven shillings? - A. That is not worth quite so much, but they cost me that.

Lawrence's defence. I was at a different part of the shop, I do not know any thing about it.

Smith's defence. It was only through the constable's persuasions that the gentleman did not forgive us and let us go.

The prisoner Lawrence called one, and Smith two witnesses, who gave them a good character.

Lawrence, GUILTY (Aged 18.)

Smith, GUILTY (Aged 16.)

Of stealing goods, value 39s.

Transported for seven years .

Tried by the London Jury, before Mr. COMMON SERJEANT.