By John Slaughter
This article was published in the April 2014 edition of Soul Search, the Journal of The Sole Society
We continue our list of Saul criminals which has been compiled from Findmypast’s recently released records of criminals who passed through the justice system of England and Wales. The period 1817– 1931 has so far been covered by Findmypast but eventually they are planning to extend this back as far as 1770.
George Saul was tried at the Old Bailey on 4th April 1870 , aged 18 years and a labourer, he was found guilty of burglary in the dwelling house of George Jacques and stealing therein five half sovereigns. He was sentenced to 12 months in the House of Correction, Clerkenwell.
Old Bailey Online gives further commentary on the proceedings at the trial. The first witness was George Jacques who described himself as a china and glass dealer of 19 Skinner Street, Somers Town, London. George Saul did odd jobs for him and would have known that he kept his money in a small tin box in a cupboard in his bedroom. He had discovered the half sovereigns were missing on Sunday 27th February 1870 on returning to his house and finding the window and cupboard open.
Another witness Thomas Manstill testified that he had been drinking with George Saul on Sunday 27th February and had got into an argument with him. At one stage George Saul had taken out of his pocket two and a half sovereigns and a florin and put them on the counter. A Miss Maw picked them up and told the prisoner to put them back in his pocket. Miss Maw gave evidence in confirmation. The prisoner denied any knowledge of the burglary and of having any the monies but was found guilty.
I can not positively identify the offender.
Herman Saul was tried at Preston on 15th October 1929 on a charge that he, with others, broke into a shop in Blackpool on 2nd October 1929 owned by Henry Ainsworth and stole six razors and other articles. He pleaded guilty and was bound over in the sum of £5 for 12 months. At the time of the offence Herman was described as being 26 years of age and a painter by trade.
Herman died in the Southport Registration District in 1978, the GRO index giving his date of birth as 16th May 1903. Herman does not appear in the GRO birth index nor on the 1911 census so it seems likely that he was an imigrant to the UK. Given his name his most likely origin is Germany, where we know there were/are others of the Saul name.
A John Saul was tried at Clerkenwell on 18th April 1887, he was described as 38 years of age and a shoemaker. He pleaded guilty to stealing a watch of value £2 from Isaac Levy and was sentenced to 18 months in Pentonville Prison plus 2 years of police supervision. He was clearly a seasoned criminal with a string of previous convictions:
On 6th September 1869, as Henry Johnson, he was convicted of stealing a purse at Surrey Sessions and sentenced to 8 years penal servitude.
On 4th October 1876, as Henry Jones, he was convicted of larceny at the Doncaster Quarter Sessions and received a sentence of 8 years penal servitude and 5 years police supervision.
On 6th October 1886, as Stephen Herbert, he was convicted at Clerkenwell Police Court of stealing a watch and sentenced to 6 months.
I can not identify this serial offender, and it may be that the name John Saul was merely another of his aliases.
John Saul was charged, jointly with others, that on Saturday 19th July 1879 in the Borough of Birmingham, he feloniously broke into and entered the warehouse of Charles Gillespie and stole 4 cheeses, 48lbs of butter and other articles. One of those charged was convicted of the offence but the others, including John Saul, were found not guilty. The court records state that John Saul was 16 years of age, a tube drawer. He did though have a previous conviction for assult on 20th January 1877 for which he received 10 days hard labour.
However despite being found not guilty in 1879 the 1881 census finds John Saul as an inmate in HM Prison Winson Green, Birmingham, the reason for which we have no further details.
We can identify John Saul as being the son of a John Saul and his wife Mary both of whom had been born in Horley, Oxfordshire before moving to Birmingham where father John was a green grocer.
Kate Saul appears on a Metropolitan Police list as being an habitual drunkard. A description of her is given (though unfortunately no photograph). She is described as being of 49 years of age, 5 feet 5 inches in height, thin build, dark brown hair (turning grey), straight nose, scars on forehead, fresh complexion, brown eyes and a round face. She was convicted on 29th June 1903 at Clerkenwell and fined 40 shillings or 1 months imprisonment on default. She was said to frequent the Caledonian Road and neighbourhood of the High Street, Islington.
Maud Saul was another habitual drunk who was tried on 3rd January 1922 at Lewes, Sussex. Described as a married woman, aged 48 years she had 12 previous convictions for drunkenness. On this occasion she was bound over in the sum of £50 for 12 months.
I can not make a positive identification of Maud.
This one I can identify. He is described as 27 years of age, a horse dealer and was tried at Northampton on 16th October 1890 that he ‘did unlawfully conspire with others to obtain from Edward Coggins a pony and the sum of £5 and in consequence obtained a pony and the sum of 10 shillings at Northampton on 27th September 1890’. He was found guilty and sentenced to 9 months hard labour.
As might be expected he was a prisoner in Northampton Prison at the date of the 1891 census. He is described as 27 years of age, a horse dealer, married and born in Winslow, Bucks. His marriage appears in the December 1890 quarter in the GRO indexes so presumably he must have married just a few days before his trial, not a great start to married life. According to the indexes his wife was Clara SEWELL. Despite this inauspicious start however he seems to have subsequently prospered as on the 1911 census he is described as a dealer on his own account, resident at 8 Lincoln Road, Northampton. He had been married for 20 years and had four children resident with him and his wife on census night, all daughters, Elsie Clara, Rose, Ethel and Doris.
Silas John Saul
Silas John Saul was aged 18 years, a labourer when he was charged, together with William Morley, of stealing a pair of trousers and vests worth 24 shillings the property of Thomas Lawson. The theft had taken place at Holme Cultram on 16th June 1886. However in the court records it is states that no true bill was presented against Silas John Saul so presumably his trial did not proceed. William Morley was however found guilty and sentenced to two months hard labour.
Silas John Saul appears to be shown on the 1871 and 1881 censuses as Silas John Lawson, a son in the household of Thomas Lawson and his wife Jane. As Thomas Lawson is also the name of the victim it is interesting that the charge against Silas did not proceed. The exact family relationship is not clear nor what became of Silas John (Saul or Lawson).
Tried at Clerkenwell on 30th April 1892 Elizabeth Sawle, a widow aged 37 years was found not guilty of stealing a jar of marmalade and a jar of apricot jam. No further details are given.
To be continued…