Filed under true crime

Imprisoning the Mentally ill

This is from Patrick Cockburn, award winning war correspondent with the i paper. It seems a far cry from his usual topic, but not really. The criminalisation of the mentally iill is one of the cruellest and most easily avoidable tragedies of our era. He discusses a number of cases of impending executions for the … Continue reading

Blind House

Blind House

This stands beside the bridge at the edge of Trowbridge centre, a rare survivor of the many that were built to detain overnight local drunks and other ne’er do wells, so thought it was apt for today.  It is really impressive, and I wonder if there used to be a ducking stool nearby on the … Continue reading

Female Criminals

Women form a small component of today’s criminals, and their crimes are often linked to poverty. It seems things don’ change.The world was still small, and it seems that once you fell on hard times it was difficult – or impossible – to recover. This is from the Caledonian Mercury of December 1774: Anne Mackenzie … Continue reading

Executions on Newcastle Moor

Newcastle had a temporary gallows built on the Town Moor, near the barracks of This is a list of the people who were despatched there. It is a varied and pretty comprehensive list of the types of crime that were designated capital offences at the time. It is also interesting how few there were for … Continue reading

Curious English Laws

This is some more from Thomas Platter’s Travels in England 1599. Not sure about this first law. A handless man may be able to read, but can’t turn the pages.  There are many curious laws and customs in England which fill up many volumes, for my part I will only relate what was told me. If … Continue reading

Crime and Punishment in Elizabethan England

This is some more from a German physician’s journal, Thomas Platter’s Travels in England 1599 Especially every quarter when the law courts sit in London and they throng from all parts of England for the terms … to litigate in numerous maters which have occurred in the interim, for everything is saved up till that … Continue reading

A Strolling Woman Thief

This is from the Newcastle Chronicle, august 1766. I thought children were taken to the fields during harvest, but maybe it was a long walk for them. Hard to imagine this woman could not be found: On Wednesday afternoon, whilst Mr Francis Holmer, farmer, at the Nag’s Head, near Plausworth, in the road from Durham … Continue reading

Law Abiding in Yorkshire, 1766

This is from the Newcastle Chronicle of July 1766. It is noteworthy as soon after this, the south and west of England erupted in food riots. This region remained calm as they ate mostly potatoes instead of suffering speculation in wheat which caused bread to skyrocket in price. York, July 22 Last Friday the assizes … Continue reading

Market Fraudsters

Sale of goods in open markets was seen as a means of ensuring fair trading – the goods were in clear sight, they could be investigated, but there were many scams to cheat this system. I have read of butter being sold that had a core of lard with only a surface of butter around … Continue reading

Protecting Poor From Fraud

Eighteenth century England was riven with class differences, and the only people with a good education were those with wealth and with this came responsibility for protecting those less fortunate. Preventing the poor from being conned was not purely altruistic; if a person lost all their money to a con artist, they risked losing their … Continue reading