Denaby Girl bought for a shilling – Strange document read in court

July 1915

Mexborough times, July 24th

Denaby girl bought for a shilling
Strange document read in court

A story of the purchase of a girl for a shilling was told before Mr Justice Rowlatt at Leeds assizes on Tuesday, when a Denaby miner, Henry Price, age 36, was charged with a criminal offence against a 14-year-old girl at Cadeby.

Mr G.R.C.Yarborough, who prosecuted, stated that the girl had been adopted by prisoner and his wife at the age of two years, and they had bought her from her mother. Among the documents handed to the judge was a properly drawn up receipt, dated January 12, 1903, by the girl’s mother, conveying the girl to prisoner and his wife for the sum of one shilling. They on their part promised in the agreement to look after the girl until she was 16 years of age.

The judge expressed astonishment of such a transaction. “Gentlemen,” he said, there is a document dated 1903, in a civilised country.” To prisoners wife he remarked. “You thought you could buy the child for a shilling.” “You know you can’t buy flesh and blood in this country nowadays.”

The prisoners wife said the girl was a good girl, but witness had had to chastise for staying out late. Two weeks before she went away she gave her “foot and fist”

The judge: you don’t believe in sparing foot and fist and spoiling the child.

The prosecutorix, a well-dressed, pretty girl, admitted in evidence that she could not read. She had not had much schooling, she said. She left school at 13.

The judge: I thought everyone was obliged to do schooling now. What we pay all the money for, I do not know.

The prisoner was acquitted.

The judge afterwards expressed the opinion that it was undesirable for the girl to continue living with people who had bought her for a shilling.