Saul Vagrant Sentenced to be Whipped
From Norman Saul
This article was originally published in the December 2004 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society
On 31st March 1757 Sarah Saul, a vagrant woman, the wife of Jonathan Saul of Beetham, Westmorland, allegedly stole two pewter plates valued at 10d. The plates were part of the goods and chattels of Mabel Willan of Kirkby Lonsdsale, Westmorland.
Mabel Willan was a widow and an Innkeeper in Kirkby Lonsdale and her hired servant was Agnes Smith.
On the afternoon of Thursday 31st March 1757 Agnes Smith noticed that two pewter plates were missing from the porch of the dwelling house of Mabel Willan. The value of the plates in total was 10d. Agnes Smith suspected that they were taken by Sarah Saul, a vagrant woman. Agnes went to see John Battyson, a constable of Kirkby Lonsdale and told him her story.
They went in pursuit of Sarah Saul and found her in an alehouse kept by Mark Bauch. Sarah was found to be in alcohol and admitted to taking the plates. She produced one and admitted selling the other for 3d to Elizabeth Dodgson wife of John Dodgson Innkeeper.
Elizabeth Dodgson denied that she had bought such a plate but on being informed that Sarah Saul would be appearing before a Justice of the Peace went into an inner room and brought out the plate.
Why she took the plates only she knows. Possibly as a vagrant she was hungry and at the end of March, probably cold as well. For the 3d she got for the plate she could buy a good meal and gain warmth from the alehouse. However justice 250 years ago was harsh and for this poor Sarah Saul was sentenced to be whipped.
The IGI records show marriage of a Jonathan Saul, who was baptised on 13 March 1719 at Arnside, Beetham, Westmorland to a Sarah ? about 1747 again at Arnside, Beetham, Westmorland.Could this be the same couple?
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