This one makes me smile, though I can’t imagine eight days in a Regency prison was much fun.
James Herbert is the father of the splendidly named Clementina Penn, and Esther Penn’s grandfather. In 1841, he was living in Ossulston Street, in St Pancras, beside the present-day British Library, with his wife Esther, and six daughters. He describes himself as a tea dealer. By 1851, he is in Phoenix Street, round the corner from Ossulton St,also in St Pancras, with seven of nine children – five girls, and two boys. His eldest daughter Frances, then aged 16 is staying two roads up in Aldenham Road. James is now calling himself a grocer, and gives his place of birth as Gibraltar.
JAMES HERBERT was indicted for stealing, on the 10th of March 1836, 1 fish, value 3s., the goods of Coles Tester. and tried on 4th April 1836
COLES TESTER . I am a fishmonger, and live in St. John-street. (St. John Street is on the edge of Smithfield, and Camberwell, about a mile and a half away from St Pancras, or about half an hour’s walk.) On the 10th of March, about nine o’clock, I was in my back room, and saw the prisoner walk up and down by the shop window two or three times
At last I saw him take a cod fish. worth 3s.(£203.50 in today’s values), off my board, and walk away with it—he went one hundred or two hundred or two hundred yards with it—I walked after him, and said, “What did you take that fish for?”—he said, “I took it thought a lark”—he was quite a stranger to me—I said, “You must take it back to my door, “and I gave him in charge.
Prisoner’s Defence. A little while before this, I was in the hospital with a broken leg—this was the first day I left off crutches—I happened to meet a few friends, and got intoxicated, and this occurred through playing and larking along the street—I had no idea of felony.
GUILTY. Aged 42.—Recommended to mercy.— Confined Eight Days.
Reference Number: t18360404-929 www.oldbaileyonline.org