Tuesday, 31 January 2012
In this case there are 7 witness statements as well as the statement of the accused.
The below list is of statements from this case. They may sound like random statements but it's the little details which help build a bigger of picture of what was happening at the time.
* George Stonebridge had been making the dough for Mr Crowley of Wilshamstead on 15 March, as his man was ill.
* Henry Harris was described as having hair on his top lip.
* We frequently come across the police using footprints to help identify the offender. In this case the footmarks are quite unusual. "He examined the window and found footmarks. He took their dimensions. There appeared to be 2 different footmarks evidently made by the same person."
* It was later determined that Harris, wore 2 odd boots, one longer than the other.
* William Clark lived at Wilstead with Benjamin Gilbert, whose father lived with him. So we now have a family picture building. We now know John Franklin, Ann Jepps, her sister in law and Benjamin were all living in the house. As well as a boy (presumably a servant).
* James Kitchener boarded with John Franklin Gilbert and had employed the accused about 8 weeks previously. He was Mr Gilbert's foreman. So we now have added another member of the household and his job role, he had previously just been described as a labourer.
* Henry Harris had gone into the house to have his dinner on the day he had been employed by Mr Gilbert. This gives us an idea of the daily routine of the farm.
* The window was a lattice window and the lead work was lying on the floor. Giving us details regarding the appearance of the house.
* Mr Crowley lived between 200 to 300 yards from the gates to Mr Gilbert's.
* There had been a heavy fog that morning. So we know the weather conditions on 15 March 1853.
For those of you interested in the outcome of the case, Henry Harris pleaded Not Guilty but with a mountain of evidence, and the incriminating footmarks, he was found Guilty. He was imprisoned and kept at hard labour at the House of Correction for one calandar year.
Friday, 27 January 2012
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).
Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Quarter Sessions took place 4 times a year.
These are numbered as:
QSRyear/1 - Epiphany
QSRyear/2 - Easter
QSRyear/3 - Midsummer
QSRyear/4 - Michaelmas
e.g. 1842 Epiphany session would be QSR1842/1
The documents contained in the sessions have then been further separated as follows:-
• Writs/Warrants to hold the session
• Things about Justices of the Peace
• Appointing Juries - Jury Lists
• Lists of Constables
QSRyear/session/2 = Judicial business
• notices• estimates
• appointment of adjudicators for establishing wheat prices
QSRyear/session/3 = Prisoners
• calendar of prisoners to stand trial
• sentencing documents
QSRyear/session/4 = Recognizances
QSRyear/session/5 = Depositions
QSRyear/session/6 = Indictments and Juries Presentments
QSRyear/session/7 = Articles of the Peace
QSRyear/session/8 = Appeals
QSRyear/session/9 = Poor Law & Bastardy
QSRyear/session/10 = Highways/Road & Bridges
A useful piece of information.....
The Calendar of Prisoners which appears in QSRyear/session/3 lists all the prisoners to be tried at that Quarter Session.
The Calendar allocates each case a number.
The cataloguers of the project have attempted to keep this number the same for the case through the Recognizances, Depositions & Indictments sections.
So for example.....
QSR1853/1/3/1 is the Calendar of Prisoners for the Epiphany Session of 1853.
Case number 48 is Sarah Emery.
will all relate to the case of Sarah Emery.