12 Days of Criminal Christmas: A Beaver Hat and Chick Lane

Thomas Dennis was indicted for stealing a man’s beaver hat in 1740. On appearing at the Old Bailey, he told a convoluted tale:

” I bought it off a boy in Chick Lane, who asked me 3d for it. I gave him 3d and carried it to Jemmy Birt at Com-Cross; he pawned it for me, and brought me a shilling.

“The next night I happened to be at Ben How’s, and he wanting a hat to wear on Christmas Day, I offered him this hat.”

Did Dennis really pawn his hat, and then suggest that another man wear it on Christmas Day? The jury at his trial clearly thought not. He was found guilty of theft and transported.

Source: Trial of Thomas Dennis on 16 January 1740, Old Bailey Online.