costumes mentioned in courtcases

This list was compiled following searches for the word ‘bedgown’ in court records, newspaper and other sources. They include references to items of clothing which were either stolen and were listed in court cases, or were worn by the victims of crimes. They give some indication of the financial value of clothes (although the quality is not rarely recorded), and their value in terms of the severity of the sentence (one thief of a bedgown was imprisoned for a year and another committed to 8 weeks hard labour).

1773 Pentraeth
Mary, the wife of Richard Hughes, late of the parish of Pentraeth, labourer, for theft from Catherine Williams of the same parish, of one bedgown values six pence, one waistcoat, value three pence and one cap value two pence.
Anglesey Quarter Sessions, 7.7.1773

1795 Guilsfield Montgomeryshire
Accused: Mary Thomas; Parish: Guilsfield; County: Montgomery; Status: Spinster
Offence: Breaking and entering prosecutor’s house and stealing wearing apparel, a bedgown and a waistcoat.
Location and date: Parish: Guilsfield; County: Montgomery; Date: 12 November 1795
Prosecutor: John Smith
Plea: Not guilty.
Verdict: Guilty of stealing a bedgown
Punishment: 1 year imprisonment in the House of Correction
Court of Great Sessions, File number: 4/195/7, Document number: 5

1799 Llanasa, Flintshire
Accused: John Williams; Parish: Llanasa; County: Flint; Status: Labourer
Offence: Theft of wearing apparel, a bedgown drying on the gate of the churchyard.
Location and date: Parish: Nantglyn; County: Denbigh; Date: 15 February 1799
Prosecutor: Elizabeth Lloyd, Nantglyn, widow
Plea: Not guilty.
Verdict: Not guilty.
Court of Great Sessions, File number: 4/65/5, Document number: 28

1807 Llangefni
Sarah Owen, late of Llangefni, for stealing one mixed coloured stuff bedgown, valued at two shillings, one mixed coloured stuff apron, valued at six pence and one pair of blue woollen stockings valued at one shilling, the property of Elinor Williams …
Anglesey Quarter Sessions, 21.5.1807 (Huw Roberts)

1824 Llangystennin, Caernarfonshire
Items stolen by Charlotte Davies, widow, included money, food and 1 Stuff bedgown 1s 0d; 1 woollen bedgown 6d; 1 Stuff gown 10s. 0d. Total value £13/6/1.
Transported for 7 years
Court of Great Sessions, 4/282/2, 2nd July, 1824
Quoted in Deirdre Beddoe, Welsh Convict Women: A Study of Women Transported from Wales to Australia, Barry, 1979, p. 60

1825 (July)
Peggy Williams of Ffrydiau was murdered. Her body was found with the help of John Harries the local surgeon and dyn hysbys [wise man]. She was wearing a gown, petticoat and shift.
Breconshire Great Sessions report. (Bethan Phillips, The Lover’s Graves, 2008, p. 77)

1862 Anglesey
Grace Parry found guilty of stealing a bedgown was sentenced to eight weeks hard labour in Beaumaris Gaol.
Anglesey Quarter Sessions, 5th May, 1862 (Huw Roberts)

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