December 22, 2007

December 22 | Constantia Jones

1708 - December 22, 1738: Age 30

Constantia Jones was a prostitute living and working in London in the 18th century. She was sentenced to hang for stealing 36 shillings and a half-guinea (about $600) from a customer.

The evidence for her conviction was the say-so of the gentleman in question, who stated that "As I stood against the Wall, [she] came behind me, and with one hand she took hold of . . . --and the other she thrust into my Breeches Pocket and took my Money."

Prostitution was very common (when hasn't it been?) and was tolerated in general, although the women in the profession suffered the kind of discrimination evident in Jones' conviction on the testimony of one person. Robbing the clients was not uncommon, as most gentlemen were unwilling to endure the humiliation of giving evidence. Guilty or no, Jones was 30 years old when she was executed, yet had already been in jail 20 times previously: a hard life, and one that ended in a noose on December 22, 1738.

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