Crime, Clemency and Consequence in Britain 1821 - 1839

A Slice of Criminal Life

Alison Eatwell

 
Date Published :
October 2017
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Language:
English
Illustration :
20 illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Paperback
ISBN : 9781473830318
Pages : 192
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ISBN : 9781473830332-epub
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eBook (PDF)
ISBN : 9781473830356-pdf
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Overview
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From the woman who steals a cloak, to the highwayman and the middle-class forger, this book allows us a glimpse of the rich mix of criminals, their crimes and sentences, in early 19th Century Britain. With no statutory right of appeal against either the verdict or sentence at this time, the prisoner's only hope for relief was to petition the Crown for mercy via the Home Office, and with sentences including death and transportation, the stakes were high. The petitioner's objective was to prove the prisoner worthy of mercy, usually by establishing their respectability, and it is upon these petitions this book draws. Many of the thousands of petitions, held by the National Archives in Kew, reveal fascinating incidental information about the prisoner's personal life or circumstances which cannot be found in other records. The supporting documentation, witness depositions or character references, often give us rare details of everyday routines, working conditions, illnesses, relationships, and life in a locality. As cases are followed in this book, some far beyond the Home Secretary's decision, the criminals, supporters, prosecutors and judiciary are brought to life, occasionally with surprising results. Read as individual cases, each subject is fascinating; viewed together, the collection reveals a unique, intimate and vivid insight in to life in 1820s and 1830s Britain.

About The Author
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Educated at both Warwick and London University (Bedford College), Alison spent many years working for BBC Television before becoming a writer. At the BBC she was an award-winning drama producer as well as having roles in drama-related management. She has been a volunteer cataloguer/editor at the National Archives in Kew since 2011, and is part of the Local History Research Group currently working on the Criminal Petitions for Mercy project. She is currently working on a portfolio of non-fiction and fiction projects, independently and as part of a team. Alison lives in Sussex and is a long-term supporter of Arsenal FC.

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