Early Modern Crime and the Law

Women's thefts

Carmarthenshire, late 18th century

NLW Great Sessions gaolfiles: Examinations of witnesses

[GS 4/623/1.13: Sarah Isaac, theft of household goods, Swansea, May 1773]

[Martha Thomas of Swansea, spinster, on oath]... saith that she lost from the dwelling house of her mistress Mrs Martha Popkin on Monday night last one blue cloake of a nap cloth that she haveing heard that one Sarah Isaac, who had formerly lived as a servant with Mrs Popkin had gone early on Tuesday with two bundles towards Neath, this informant went to Neath after her on Wednesday & haveing found her, ask't her about the cloak, she acknowledged she had stolen it on Monday night about ten of the the clock that she came into the house & took it with several other things and then gave it to this informant together with a yellowish callimanto gown which belonged to Anne Morgan another servant, and a brownish white camblet safeguard which belong.d to another servant in the house one Mary Richards, and upon asking her how she come to take them, she said, the Devil tempted her. ...

[Anne Morgan of Swansea, spinster]... maketh oath that sometime in May last she lost out of Mrs Popkins' house in Swansea a reddish yellow callimanto gown, which was return.d to this depont. in a few days after by Martha Thomas, who said, she found it at Neath with the prisoner Sarah Isaac. ...

[Ann the wife of Lancelot Lancelot of Swansea, victualler]... maketh oath that she was at the dwelling house of Mrs Popkin in Swansea on or abt. the tenth of May last at night when several things were stol'n out of the house, that haveing reason to suspect Sarah Isaac the prisoner who had lived there as a servant a litle while before & hearing she was gone to Neath this deponent & Martha Thomas followed her to Neath & haveing found her there, she confessed to this deponent & Martha Thomas that she went into the house of Mrs Popkins thro' the street door, wch. was open between nine & eleven at night & stole from thence a gown of Anne Morgan, a safeguard of Mary Richards, a cloak & colour.d apron of Mary Powells, and a cloak of Martha Thomas, and she then returnd. to them all the things, except the cloak & apron of Mary Powells, which she said she had dropt. ...

[Sarah Isaac of Swansea, spinster]... saith that she lived as a maid servant with Mrs Popkin in the town of Swansea for three months & quitted her service abt. this time twelvemonth, that in the month of May last seeing Mrs Popkins street door wide open between nine & ten o' the clock in the evening she went in, and there being hanging in the passage a blue nap cloth cloak a reddish yellow callimanto gown, a brownish white camblet safeguard and a blue & white cheque linnen apron this examinant took them away, that soon after Martha Thomas & Ann the wife of Lancelot Lancelot came after this examinant to Neath, when she deliverd. up to them all the above things except the blue cloak that she shod. not have taken the above things if she had not been perswaded to take them by Margaret the wife of John Pugh of the sd. town of Swansea joiner, that she had been put on once before by the sd Margaret Pugh to steal some things from the dwelling house of Edward Edwards and that she took from thence a womans stays, a yellowish stuff gown and a blue cloth cloak, which the sd. Margaret Pugh immediatly took from her & she never saw them afterwards, and she believes the sd. Margt. Pugh carried them to the house of Elizabeth Bevan who keeps a small shop on the Strand in Swansea for that she sometime afterward saw the said Elizabeth Bevan with the sd blue cloth cloak about her. ...

[indictment 19: theft 1 gown value 5s of Anne Morgan, not guilty]


[GS 4/623/1.15: Charity Harry, theft from a shop, Swansea, July 1773]

[Joseph Bennet of Swansea, shoemaker, on oath]... saith that about a month ago the prisoner Charity Harry came with a pair of shoes to his shop to mend, that abt 3 days after a shift of his daughters was misst, that suspecting the prisoner he went the next morning with his daughter to the house of one Thomas Jones where the prisoner lodged & finding her just getting out of bed, they charged her with stealing the shift, wch. she at first denyed but soon after deliverd. it up. ...

[Elizabeth Bennet of Swansea, spinster]... maketh oath that abt a month ago a linnen shift of hers was stoln from her father's house, that suspecting the prisoner she went with her father to the house of one Thos Jones where the prisoner lodged & finding her just getting out of bed, she charged her with stealing it wch. she at first denied but soon after confesst it & took it from about her & deliverd it to this examinant. ... [Joan the wife of Thomas Jones of Swansea, labourer]... maketh oath that the prisoner lodged in her house for abt fortnight, that a month ago Joseph Bennet & Elizabeth his daughter came to her house & charged the prisoner with stealing a shift wch she at first denied but soon after took it from about her & said she wish't she had never taken it. ...

[Charity Harry of p. Llandeilo Tal-y-bont in Glamorgan, spinster]... voluntarily confesseth & saith that abt. a month ago, she went with a pair of shoes to the shop of Joseph Bennet shoemaker to be mended, that seeing a linnen shift in his shop & wanting one, she took it that three or four days after she was charged with stealing it, that she then took it from about her & deliver.d it to Elizabeth Bennet. ...

[no indictment on file]


[NLW GS 4/752/5: Mary John, theft of cloth from a shop in Carmarthen, April 1800]

[GS 4/752/5.41: Mary Jones, upon oath]... saith that the prisoner Mary John came to Mr Richard Hughes's shop this day and asked for some muslin from half a crown to three shillings a yard and that examinant answered that there was none in the shop of that price That the prisoner then went to one James Lewis a shopman who stood in another part of the shop where the muslin laid and the prisoner laid hod of a piece of muslin in a clandestine manner of the value of one pound and put it under her cloak and carried it feloniously away that this examinant ran after the prisoner and took the piece of muslin from under the prisoner's cloak, and that the muslin now produced is the very same piece of muslin which the prisoner so feloniously did take and carry away from Mr Hughes's shop that this examinant repeatedly called after the prisoner to return before she took the muslin from her but the prisoner made excuse saying that she wanted to speak to a man that was in the street and that when the prisoner refused to return, it was, that this examinant took the piece of muslin from under her cloak ...

[42: Richard Hughes, upon oath]... saith that a certain piece of muslin of about seven yards and three quarters in length of the value of three shillings and six pence per yard or thereabouts was feloniously taken and carried away this day from his shop marked d/L being the property of this informant and this informant further saith that the piece of muslin now produced to this informant is the very same piece of muslin which had been so feloniously taken and carried away from his shop this day ...

[indictment 35: found guilty, 1 year prison in solitary confinement (also 17, same charge)]