Home > History of Wine > From “socket money” to “unnatural kisses”: Twelve accounts involving a pint of wine

From “socket money” to “unnatural kisses”: Twelve accounts involving a pint of wine


Today I follow up last week’s post “give him part of a Bottle of Wine, it being his Birth Day”: Twelve accounts involving a bottle of wine by looking at twelve accounts involving a “pint of wine”.  There are more proceedings involving a “bottle of wine” than a “pint of wine” throughout the span of the Proceedings of the Old Bailey.  However, for the period of 1674 through 1739, there are more than double the number of proceedings involving a pint as compared to the full bottle.  There reasons for this are surely complex but they do reflect the increasing use of bottles for wine.  A pint of wine would cost less than a bottle which makes it a more affordable unit of drink.  Anecdotally, it appears to be regarded as a unit of “socket money” or a prostitute’s fee.  It also appears there was much pocketpicking surrounding these pints of wine.  No doubt, if one could afford to purchase a pint or two of wine at a tavern, there was money in their pocket to pay for it.

A tavern scene. Charles Grignion. 1748. #1867,0309.1403. The British Museum.

A tavern scene. Charles Grignion. 1748. #1867,0309.1403. The British Museum.

1 – “Bonnyface… met with the prisoner and another Woman in the street, and went into a Tavern with them to Drink, and stayed there to Drink but one pint of Wine, and parted from them, and immediately after missed his Money out of his pocket.”[1]

2 – “The Prisoner and the Deceased were at the Red-Lyon at Brandford , drinking a Pint of Wine, where they fell out about their Pedegrees to such a height, that they fell first to Boxing, and afterwards drew upon each other”[2]

3 – “the Prisoners telling them it was soon enough, took each of than a her Mate, conducting them Arm in Arm into the Cross-keys in Grace-church-street ; but when they were there, they did not like them, being ugly and impedent, yet would give them a Shilling for a Pint of Wine, since they wanted it so much; and feeling for Mony, found they had rifled their Pockets”[3]

4 – “saw him talking with the Landlady at the Bar about a Pint of Wine which she said was left unpaid, and in a short time he heard the Landlady cry out, whereupon he ran up and found the Prisoner and Deceased pretty close together and striking one at the other, the Prisoner leaning backwards to the Window, and Mr. Kelly calling him Rascal, Villain, Scoundrel, and the like”[4]

5 – “he met the prisoners, who stopt him and ask’d him to give’em a pint of Wine; which he refusing, and going forwards, they follow’d him, and stopping him again, told him, if he would not give them a Pint, they’d give him one.”[5]

6 – “He pursu’d them, and calling by the Way, desired another to accompany him, and riding after them, heard of them from Place to Place, as at Hornsey, Edmonton, Stamford, &c. at last pursued them to Hackney, where they had just been drinking a Pint of Wine, at the Meremaid Tavern, and mounted again, and were just gone, but were overtaken, brought back, and apprehended. ”[6]

7 – “The Prisoner desir’d this Evidence to be ask’d if he did not ask him then to give him a Pint of Wine for Socket Money.”[7]

8 – “I enquired the Way as I went along; and somewhere about the Strand I met the Prisoner, and she told me, she’d shew me the Way if I’d give her a Pint of Wine; and so we went together to the Tavern, and instead of one Pint we had four or five.”[8]

9 – “After the Prosecutor’s Return, the prisoner took him to the Rummer Tavern, and treated him with two pints of Wine, giving him some unnatural Kisses, and shewing several beastly Gestures. After this he perswaded him to go to the Talbot Inn , where he called for a Pint of Wine, and order’d the Chamberlain to get a Bed ready, and bring a couple of Nightcaps”[9]

10 – “the two Prisoners and two others caught hold of him, and said, Damn you Jack, you shall give us a Pint of Wine, or we’ll give you one: that he told them he would give them a Bottle if they would let him go”[10]

11 – “and asking me again for a Glass of Wine, we agreed to go to the Crown Tavern in Sherrard-Street , and there an old Man lighted us up Stairs; I called for a Pint of Wine, which was brought, but before we had drank it, Mary Sullivan comes up, and says to the Woman, hussy, what do you do here? get you gone, and then the Woman went away”[11]

12 – “drank 2 Bottles of Wine, and eat Veal-cutlets, and staid there till between 9 and 10 o’Clock, and when they went away, the Prisoner invited him to go to her Lodging, but they agreed to go to the Angel Inn , behind St. Clement’s Church; that they went into a Chamber, drank a Pint of Wine with an Egg, and pulling off their Cloaths, went to Bed, his Friend and Mary Watson going into another Chamber”[12]


[1] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 03 November 2015), September 1686, trial of Woman (t16860901-19).

[2] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 03 November 2015), August 1692, trial of Henry Blagrave (t16920831-52).

[3] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 05 November 2015), February 1717, trial of Martha Nichols Mary Smith (t17170227-58).

[4] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 05 November 2015), September 1718, trial of (t17180910-73).

[5] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 05 November 2015), December 1721, trial of Mary Bun Elizabeth Mob (t17211206-32).

[6] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 05 November 2015), July 1724, trial of James Harman John Davis (t17240708-70).

[7] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 05 November 2015), October 1724, trial of Lewis Hussar (t17241014-80).

[8] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 05 November 2015), April 1725, trial of Isabel Williams (t17250407-16).

[9] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 05 November 2015), April 1727, trial of Charles Hitchin (t17270412-41).

[10] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 05 November 2015), April 1729, trial of Mary Barber , alias Ruffet Martha Lewis , alias Pugh (t17290416-66).

[11] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 05 November 2015), January 1730, trial of Mary Sulivan , alias Wall, alias Stanley Isabella Eaton (t17300116-19).

[12] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 05 November 2015), April 1731, trial of Sarah Cooper (t17310428-56).

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  1. December 10, 2015 at 9:14 am

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