This Emma WINDEATT (there are a few) is probably the daughter of William and Selina - they weren't at this address in 1861 but they did have lodgers. Emma would have been about 15 at the time. Silk dresses were expensive and the family was not rich. However, her mother, Selina, was a seamstress and an elder sister was a dressmaker. It is possible that this dress was one that Emma was making for a client.
Link to page about Emma's family
TUESDAY. - Present: H. Hooper, W. Tombs, S.S. Bastard, and W. Kendall, Esqrs.
PHILLIP WOOD, a ship's carpenter was charged with stealing a dress from Emma WINDEATT of Albion Cottage, Old Tiverton-road. The complainant stated that the defendant came to lodge at her father's house on the 21st July last. In a closet in the room in which he slept was a silk dress, and the morning after he left, July 25th, the dress was missed. Mr. SHAW, pawnbroker, St. Sidwell, said the dress was pledged at his house on the morning of the 25th July by the prisoner, and he advanced £1 upon it. He went to the county gaol and identified him. Defendant said he met with a misfortunate some time since by a fall and had not been able to get any work, and had therefore been tempted to commit the crime. Committed to prison for one month.
- Trewman's Exeter Flying Post or Plymouth and Cornish
Advertiser (Exeter, England),
Wednesday, April 18, 1866; Issue 5212