Crime and Punishment in Romsey Shoe Shop

Reports of boot and shoe theft were commonplace in the newspaper articles of Victorian time and demonstrates the value of footwear to people who often had to walk  many miles to schools or places of work.  The author, Thomas Hardy, for example, had a daily walk to and from his school in Dorchester which was 12 miles from his home.
  • Salisbury Journal 8/8/1846 Committed to the Gaol: Abraham and Phoebe Shephard, for stealing seven pairs of boots, the property of Henry Harding, at Romsey.
  • Hampshire Advertiser 19/10/1872 Stealing Boots. — Emma Sillence, of Newtown, was charged with stealing a pair of boots, the property of Mr. James Read. The prosecutor had, however, taken from the prisoner 12s for the boots, and told her he should not prosecute. — The bench gave Mr. Read a severe lecture, and discharged the woman.
  • Hampshire Advertiser 4/1/1851  John Jackson, aged 18, was indicted for stealing a pair of boots at Romsey, the property of Joseph Robinson, and further charged with stealing nine pairs of cotton, and ten pair of webb braces, the property of William Crarie, in the same parish, both on tbe 9th of November last. The prisoner was found guilty, and being an hardened character the Court sentenced him to be transported for the term of seven years. On receiving bis sentence the prisoner commenced a volley of curses at the Chairman and was proceeding to the more dangerous course of throwing his shoe at the Bench, when he was timely tripped up by one of the turn-keys, and immediately removed to the safety of the new cells under the Castle.
  • Hampshire Advertiser 29/8/1885 Theft of Boots.— An elderly man, named Thomas Kenchington, was charged with stealing a pair of boots, value 13s, the property of James Read, shoemaker, of Romsey.— Prosecutor sent the boots in the care of a guard to Bishopstoke, but they were overlooked, and carried to Swathling, where they were given to a porter, and placed on a seat, from whence prisoner was seen to take them.— Prisoner said he was going to return the boots on the Monday, and he was committed for trial at the next quarter sessions.
  • Hampshire Advertiser 4 January 1879  STEALING BOOTS. Elias Stone, 49, labourer, was indicted for stealing two pairs of boots, the property of James Read, he being the bailee thereof, at Romsey, on the 24th October. Mr. Warry prosecuted. Prisoner left the boots at an inn for 1s as security for debt. The defence was that if prosecutor waited prisoner wonld have brought the boots back. There was never any intention of robbing him  of a " varden."— Guilty, but recommended to mercy. There was a previous conviction against him. Sentenced to three months' imprisonment.
Sources:
  1. British Newspaper Archive Online
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