The Newgate Calendar - SARAH PENELOPE STANLEY

SARAH PENELOPE STANLEY

The Female Trooper, convicted at the Old Bailey, in October Sessions, 1796, of Petty Larceny

THIS woman was born at Mercival Hall, in Warwickshire, the seat of Mr Stratford, to whom her father was steward, whose name was Brindley. She was apprenticed to a milliner at Lichfield, and married to a shoemaker. Her husband being an idle, dissolute fellow, they were reduced to very indigent circumstances. She left him to come to London. Having had a good education, and writing an excellent hand, she put on men's apparel, and for some time wrote for gentlemen in the Commons, but meeting with a recruiting sergeant at Westminster, she engaged to serve in a regiment of light horse, then being raised, called the Ayrshire Fencible Cavalry. She served upwards of a year with great credit to herself, and was promoted to the rank of corporal. She rode extremely well, and had the care of two horses; but was discovered at Carlisle to be a woman, when she was honourably discharged, after many marks of friendship shown her, not only by Major Horsley, in whose troop she rode, but by the other officers and many of the inhabitants of Carlisle.

She came to London, was much reduced, and, through mere necessity, stole the cloak for which she was tried and convicted. She acknowledged her crime, and said it was the first offence of the kind she had committed, and had meant to make satisfaction. The Court passed a light sentence upon her, and she was discharged from Newgate. The two under-sheriffs and the keeper gave her some money to provide her with a few necessaries, and she left the court, promising henceforward to seek an honest livelihood in the proper habit of her sex. She was a masculine-looking woman, of about thirty years of age.

 

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