Friday, 27 January 2012

Left Behind

In the 1840s a small but significant proportion of cases heard at the Quarter Sessions ended with the accused being sentenced to transportation. Judy Wright has done considerable research into the ultimate fate prisoners in Bedfordshire placed under this sentence and the convict database on her Selling Sparrows website makes it easy to find out where and when (or if) they were transported. Finding out what happened to the family left behind by a transported criminal is rather harder. Unusually, a document in the Quarter Sessions Roll for Michaelmas 1842 shows the effect of transportation on the dependants of Christopher Kibble, who had been sentenced at the Ephinany Quarter Sessions to ten years transportation for sheep stealing (QSR1842/1/5/50)

Under the Poor Law the parish in which an individual was considered to be "settled" was responsible for his or her upkeep if they became a pauper. This led to settlement disputes between parishes in an attempt to reduce demands on the local poor rate. These disputes often resulted in removal orders stating that paupers should be removed from the parish in which relief was being given to their parish of legal settlement. These documents can be extremely useful to family historians as they often include depositions recording details of relationships and past residence for the individuals concerned, the reason for claiming poor relief, and the amount of relief received. The number of cases relating to settlement and removal that came before the Quarter Sessions was relatively small in our period as under the New Poor Law of 1834 only appeals were heard at this level. However the Quarter Sessions Roll for Michaelmas 1842 includes a removal order for Eliza Kibble and her daughter Mary, the wife and young daughter of Christopher (QSR1842/4/9/1/b).

According to the evidence given in the removal order Christopher Kibble had been born at Waddesdon in Buckinghamshire where his father occupied a house and bakehouse. Eliza had married Christopher at Leighton Buzzard in 1840 and their daughter Mary was now sixteen months old. Since their marriage the family had lived at Billington, where Christopher was a farm servant. In June 1842 Eliza had been receiving relief from the Leighton Buzzard Union for twenty one weeks. The payments made to her had been 5s 6d a week while she was sick and had then reduced to 2s a week after her recovery, with a total of £3 14s 6d paid to that point. As a result of the evidence heard Christopher Kibble's parish of settlement was deemed to be Waddesdon. As a wife took on the settlement of her husband, an order was made that Eliza and Mary should be removed there from Billington. It appears that Waddesdon intended to appeal against this decision, but at the Quarter Sessions the appeal was dropped (QSR1842/4/9/1/a).

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