By AJ.Standley

This article first appeared in the journal of the Staffordshire History group (Volume 41, Spring 2005). It appears on our website with the permission of both the group and the author. I want to thank both for giving me permission to reproduce the article. Please visit the group's website for more information on their activities.

Stafford Gaol was very important to the Black Country as it was one of the prisons where those offenders who committed crimes in the area were incarcerated, either while they were awaiting trial, or following conviction at their trial at Stafford Assizes (now Stafford Crown Court).

The association of the office of High Sheriff of the County with the function of the County Gaol is not one of which people nowadays may readily be aware. Indeed the connection is now perhaps slight, but over several centuries until reforms of recent times altered matters, the gaol, or more accurately the prisoners within it, were the responsibility of the High Sheriff.

When from the Assize of Clarendon, held in 1166, there was issued the instruction that in every shire where there was no gaol one was to be made at the king's expense, it was to enable the sheriff of the county to detain those persons who had been arrested by officials and ensure that such accused would in fact stand trial (1). The control of these gaols, however, was not necessarily a matter for the sheriff. In some cases the gaoler may have held his office by inheritance. Nevertheless, under an Act of Edward III, the sheriff of each county was to have the keeping and charge of every of the king's common gaols in the county where he was sheriff and for the term of his office (2).

The sheriff of those days had a high responsibility for law and order within the county, having charge of the county court, twice-yearly tours of the hundred courts, and was often associated with the king's justices when they were sent to the county on their various commissions. Additionally he had many administrative duties dealing with coinage, highways, commerce, Exchequer debts and other matters (3).

One of the powers that the sheriff held between the visits of the king's justices was the exercise of bail. Under the common law of the land it was not always clear who, or for what offence, was bailable, but this was remedied by the Statute of Westminster, issued in the reign of Edward I. This statute clearly defined those prisoners that could be allowed bail and, other than the king's justices, the sheriff was the officer responsible for authorising such release (4).

With the development of our present legal system others became involved in duties that had been the sheriff's. The introduction of the justices of the peace (5); the office of Lord Lieutenant (6); the prohibition of any stranger on the bench when the king's justices held court (7); the decline of the County Court in favour of the king's courts and the transfer of the sheriff's tourns to the justices of the peace (8). Each of these contributed to change, but while the sheriff's power may have fluctuated, his term of office and his term of office reduced to a single year (9), the responsibility of the office holder towards the county gaol remained.

The introduction of imprisonment for debt under the Statute of Merchants further added to the duties of the sheriff (10). This Act was aimed at protecting the interests of commerce. Although by no means the fault of the sheriff of the day, the consequence of the Act was the imprisonment of many persons who may otherwise never have seen the inside of a gaol. Various temptations to circumvent the legal process arose and inevitably there was legislation to amend deficiencies in the system. This came in the form of 'The Statute of Negligent Escapes, For Keeping of Gaols' during the reign of Henry VII, when the sheriff's control of the gaol in his county and responsibility for the prisoners therein was restated (11). The liability of the sheriff and gaoler respectively in relation to the security of the prisoners was firmly set out, with fines and penalties stipulated in cases of negligence. Neither sheriff nor gaoler, however, had any responsibility in respect of feeding or clothing the prisoners. If prisoners were unable to provide for themselves, or if their relations and friends did not do so, it was left to the Christian charity of the community. During the reign of Henry VIII the justices of the peace were given authority to have gaols 'edified and made' with the specific consideration that this should be where there was a greater number of people dwelling, not only to help prevent escapes but also that sufficient charity was more likely to be forthcoming in more populous areas. Later the Elizabethan Poor Laws allowed for the prisoners to be provided for from the county rates and at Stafford some £20 annually was given to the gaoler in quarterly instalments for this purpose (12). At the end of the seventeenth century an additional allowance was granted to the debtor prisoners and the sums in respect of both felons and debtors was increased later (13).

Details of the gaol at Stafford in early times are vague. The county gaol was established after the Assize of Clarendon. Stafford Borough, by a charter of Edward II, was also granted the right to have and maintain a prison (14). How long both establishments continued in existence is not clear. There were times when two gaols were in being with the Borough gaol at the North Gate and the County gaol at the end of Crabbery Lane near to the Broadeye (15), but detailed information on them is not readily available. When Elizabeth I passed through Stafford in 1575 however, only one gaol was in use, that of the borough at the North Gate, which was being used by the county as well, so perhaps a sensible compromise had been reached (16).

Another aspect of the relationship of the High Sheriff and the gaol was that concerning the gaoler and how that official acquired the office. The gaoler held a post that was an office of profit under the Crown (17). He received no salary as such, his returns coming from the prisoners in his charge by means of fees imposed for admission and discharge and for supplying them with beer, spirits, beds and bedding. The gaoler may not personally have conducted the day-to-day routine of the gaol. Even if he did, he would have required assistance from under-officers, who may also have paid for their post in return for what they could gain (although that arrangement may well have been more appropriate in the establishments of much larger towns and cities). Yet the sheriff had to approve the gaoler holding office as the gaoler gave security to the sheriff for the prisoners in his charge. Again, the exact situation at Stafford is vague. The Act of Negligent Escapes, by laying down minimum fines for the escape of prisoners in accordance with the offence for which committed, tied sheriff and gaoler firmly to each other in their duty. Litigation may have resulted in any situation where the conduct of the gaoler was unlawful or the sheriff place at financial harm. Yet legally the office of gaoler could be bought and sold. It seems that so long as the gaoler could give proper security, that was sufficient (18).

There was a case at the end of the sixteenth century when the keeper of Stafford of Gaol was Ralph Sneyd, which may to a degree illustrate matters. At the Michaelmas Quarter Sessions in 1597, during the shrievalty of William Crompton, a writ of Distringas was tested by Robert, Earl of Essex, requiring Ralph Sneyd to appear before the justices of the peace at the following Epiphany Sessions, to answer touching the escape from the gaol of John Massye and Ann Tydd. Ralph Sneyd was required to enter into sureties for his appearance, these being John Doo and Richard Roo. At the Epiphany Sessions 1597/8, Ralph Sneyd appeared and was pardoned, on payment of 3s 4d (19).

Edward Lee was gaoler in 1600/1, when William Chetwynd was sheriff. Certainly by this time and very possibly for some time before, the gaoler entered into a formal obligation to the sheriff for the time of his shrievalty, in which he undertook to keep all prisoners in fast custody without escape, until they had been delivered or executed according to the laws and statutes of the realm; to save harmless the sheriff, his heirs, executors and administrators, as well against the Queen as every other person. The gaoler was to attend personally upon the sheriff, his under-sheriff or other ministers at the execution of any person condemned to die, or to be otherwise punished, the gaoler to find a sufficient topman or hangman or other executioner; provide halters, boxes and all other engines and instruments necessary as occasion should require; bury or cause to be buried the dead bodies of prisoners, and was required to undertake not to suffer any prisoner to go at large or be at free bail without the licence of the sheriff or under-sheriff first had in writing. The gaoler was to carry - without escape - such prisoner or prisoners as required before the sheriff or a justice of the peace within the County of Stafford to be examined at any place within the county appointed for the arraignment or deliverance of prisoners. The gaoler was to well and truly preserve and keep all manner of chains, shackles, bolts, irons, locks and keys and all other instruments and employments belonging to the gaol and not to let go at liberty or suffer a prisoner to escape out of his custody after acquittal or discharge until all fees due had been fully satisfied. There was one small additional item, perhaps associated with the County using the Borough's gaol, namely that the gaoler was, at his own expense, to cause the gates of the gaol to be cleaned and painted as often as need should require (20).

Robert Sneyd was gaoler when in January 1614/5, following an escape of prisoners, he was criticised by the sheriff, Robert Fox, as prisoners had escaped through a window that was not sufficiently secure. The sheriff considered that the gaoler should have anticipated this eventuality. As the gaol belonged to the Borough of Stafford, the sheriff sought the assistance of the mayor to improve security immediately, assuming that there would be a proportionate increase in rent as a result of this episode. Mr Fox also requested that additional watch be provided for the gaol and that if the gaoler would not defray the charge then he as sheriff would. Richard Fox also sought a meeting with Robert Sneyd's sureties that they might join in bond for him, implying that Sneyd had not met with his obligation to date and that such a state of affairs was not acceptable. There is indication in Fox's letter that Robert Sneyd was connected with the principal Sneyd family at Keele (21).

The overall difficulties posed by the county using the borough gaol, as in this last instance, may have led the county authorities to order the erection of a new gaol. This was indeed in hand by the Michaelmas Sessions of 1615, although it may not have been finished until 1620. While the sheriff had the legal responsibility for the gaol and the prisoners, the justices of the peace had to raise the necessary money and supervise the work (22).

How the gaoler came by his post at this time is uncertain. Thomas White was granted the office of Keeper of the Common Gaol at Stafford in September 1622, according to an official record (23), although White actually appears to have acquired the position by virtue of a lease from James Almond, the previous keeper. Later there was a dispute between the two men over arrears of rent and the condition of the gaol, the matters being referred to the justices of the peace at their sessions meeting. James Almond returned to office as a result. Almond, incidentally, was also keeper of the Stafford house of correction (24).

Burton Goodwyn had been the gaoler at Stafford - certainly from 1636 and throughout the difficult period of the Civil War, when for part of that time the whole town of Stafford was under the authority of a Parliamentary Committee with a Provost Marshall given control of the gaol and such other places as were used for confinement - when he died during the early part of 1645. His widow, Mary, handed over the prisoners in the gaol to Simon Rugeley, then sheriff, on 1 April 1645. Rugeley signed for eight prisoners. These included one man detained under various suits of debt; two men held for murder; a husband and wife charged with burglary; a man charged with sheep stealing; one for theft and one for horse stealing and manslaughter. Who the sheriff handed the prisoners over to is not clear but the next person to be mentioned as the gaoler was Thomas Cowper in 1649: he could have held office following Goodwyn without record of his appointment having survived (25).

Mary Alport had continued as keeper of the county gaol on the death of her husband in 1688, but in those uncertain times leading up to the downfall of James II, a local panic concerning Papists led to rioters breaking open the gaol and releasing all of the prisoners. It was upon the gaoler that the onus fell and Mary Alport lost over £675 in suits and expenses. Mary petitioned the county justices for financial aid and they supported her plea duly recommending to the Crown that letters patent be granted for a collection to be made for Mary throughout such counties as considered appropriate (26).

The medical treatment of prisoners at Stafford is first recorded in 1728 and was in connection with prisoners held for transportation. The expense was borne by the county but when in 1733 a man named Parrott, presumably a debtor prisoner, sought to have a nurse attend him in gaol, the justices approved his request but nevertheless stipulated that it was conditional upon him giving security to the satisfaction of the sheriff (27).

When each year the outgoing sheriff handed over to his successor, it was done on the formal basis of an assignment duly attested by both parties. This may well have been an age-old practice, but the earliest document that seems to have survived is one of 1743/4, when Sir Robert Lawley handed over to Thomas Webb. The document however only contains the names of the prisoners in the gaol held for debt or some similar suit, not criminal prisoners (28).

There is little difference in the indenture entered into by Thomas Hackett, gaoler, and Charles Bosvile, sheriff, in 1745, and the available preceding obligation of Edward Lee. The later document is longer and perhaps more formal, but the general requirement seems the same. This time however, the gaoler was additionally to supply the sheriff on demand with a true and perfect calendar of all the prisoners within the gaol showing the cause of their imprisonment. The sheriff could also, on six days notice, require further security of the gaoler, while the gaoler in turn is shown formally to be allowed all lawful perquisites or fees due to him (29).

William Scott, the gaoler, had three sureties to support him in his obligation to Sir Edward Littleton in 1762. Whether this was the first time these had been required or a continuation of a previous practice is perhaps a matter of conjecture. Thereafter, where such records survive, it is a customary procedure for at least two sureties to be shown, the gaoler entering into a bond for £500 (30).

In 1782 when Charles Tollett was sheriff, he engaged with Littleton Scott, then keeper of Stafford gaol, for the period of the shrievalty. The body of the deed remained very similar to that cited above, but there was now reference to an Act of Parliament which came into force in 1759, dealing with legislation against exactions by gaolers upon debtor prisoners and which, by its very inclusion, shows also that the sheriff was conveying to his servant what was required by law (31).
During the latter part of the eighteenth century and into the nineteenth, transportation had become increasingly impractical following the American War of Independence and there was a need to replace it (32). It was hoped that the more constructive policy of hard labour would do this and with this came the concept of penitentiaries (33). While transportation did resume, mainly to Australia, the distance and cost involved led to it being reserved more for longer sentences rather than for the shorter terms (34).

At this time there was an overall increase in population (35) and this fact may well have been reflected in the crime rate, as towards the end of the eighteenth century it was found necessary to replace the gaol at Stafford with a new establishment, significant overcrowding being one of the major contributory factors in this decision. The new prison opened in 1793 (36). Significantly, while the justices of the peace appointed Littleton Scott as governor of the penitentiary and house of correction, which were technically separate institutions, they did not trespass upon the office of sheriff by making mention of the gaol itself, even though by this time the gaoler was receiving a salary in lieu of fees funded from the county rates (37).

Increasingly the justices of the peace had become involved in the gaol and in 1823 another Act of Parliament gave them authority to make rules for its governance, subject to the approval of the Assize judges. The Act required them to set apart different parts of the gaol for different classes of prisoners, and to improve behaviour and training. In general it was the responsibility of a panel of justices, known as the visiting justices, to see that these requirements were carried out. The visiting justices reported back to Quarter Sessions at its regular meetings. These changes were to be binding on the sheriff, although he retained the right to remove a person from office in that part of the gaol which remained under his authority. Thus if debtor prisoners were to be removed from the gaol because of building work or the outbreak of contagious disease, for example, the justices were required to give the sheriff sufficient notice in writing. By and large the Act left the sheriff with the responsibility for carrying into effect capital punishment and for those prisoners who were in custody for civil actions (38).

The Prison Act of 1865 abolished houses of correction or Bridewells, incorporating them into the prison and revised the definition of a prison to include what had been the gaol or the penitentiary. Justices of the peace were now to appoint the governor of the gaol. All prisoners were now deemed to be in the custody of the gaoler, with the exception that nothing contained in the Act was to affect the jurisdiction or responsibility of the sheriff in respect of prisoners under sentence of death, or the sheriff's jurisdiction over the prison and the officers of the prison, so far as it was necessary for the purpose of carrying out the sentence of death! Security was still given to the sheriff in respect of debtor prisoners (39).

When in 1868 Parliament abolished the public execution of condemned felons, requiring instead that executions be carried out within the walls of the prison where the condemned person had been held during and after trial, the sheriff's responsibility remained unaffected apart from the fact that a declaration, signed and dated by the sheriff (or his under-sheriff), a justice of the peace, the gaoler and the chaplain, was to be forwarded to the Secretary of State. Nevertheless the Act also allowed the Secretary of State to make rules for the execution of prisoners. Issued separately from the Act, these were that for the sake of uniformity it was recommended that executions should take place at 5am on the first Monday after the intervention of three Sundays from the day on which sentence was passed; that a black flag be was to be hoisted at the moment of execution upon a staff place on an elevated and conspicuous part of the prison and to remain displayed for one hour; and that the bell of the prison, or if arrangements could be made for that purpose, the bell of the parish or other neighbouring church, was to be tolled for fifteen minutes before and fifteen minutes after the execution. An official notice that the execution had taken place was also to be pinned to the gate of the prison (40).

Imprisonment for debt, with its long history of misery for those caught in its clutches, came to a virtual end by the Debtors Act of 1869. This further reduced the role of the sheriff in connection with the gaol although there were those who could still be imprisoned through debt, but only in default of payment of a penalty (though not a contractual one); or a sum summarily recoverable before a justice or justices of the peace; or where fraudulence was involved (41).

In 1878 the newly-formed Prison Commission took over responsibility for local prisons -the county gaols - from the justices of the peace for the respective counties (42). By this development, justices of the peace were therefore also eased into the background of events.

In 1882, perhaps influenced by a case at Chelmsford prison in 1865, when Ferdinand Kohl was hanged, prison governors were instructed to notify the Home Office of all instances where a person was sentenced to death, in order that the Home Secretary, as dispenser of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy, could obtain some knowledge of the particular case should it be necessary for him to intervene (43). There was further consideration given to the question of insanity where capital cases were concerned in the Criminal Lunatics Act of 1884. This required the Home Secretary to order a medical examination, by two qualified medical practitioners, of any prisoner under sentence of death, where two justices of the peace considered that there was reason to believe that the prisoner was insane (44).

The rules for the conduct of executions were modified in 1888, with a request from the Home Secretary that all sheriffs would observe his latest recommendation that for the sake of uniformity executions should be carried out in the week following the third Sunday after the day on which sentence had been passed, on any weekday but Monday, and at 8am. The other arrangements previously required were to remain (45).

With the removal of the local authority from the administration of the prison, there had come about a greater degree of control via the central authority as to what information might be given to the public by prison staff. A policy was also introduced of denying members of the press access to the execution of prisoners. The first occurred at Stafford in 1901, at the execution of James Shufflebotham for the murder of his wife near Leek. Whether this decision was a personal one of the sheriff of the day, RP Cooper, or taken to conform to a policy originating by or through the Prison Commissioners, was not stated at the time. Under the 1868 Act, both the sheriff and the visiting justices had authority to allow persons, including relatives of the condemned, to be present at executions. This was consistent with the situation that existed before the passing of the Act. That power of the visiting justices had passed to the Prison Commissioners in 1878, so why the sheriff should of his own volition suddenly have broken with tradition is unclear. The Staffordshire Advertiser was critical:

...the High Sheriff, in the exercise of his discretion, decided to depart from the practice observed at Stafford ever since the passing of the Act relating to private executions and did not allow any press representatives to be present. While the reporters were thus relieved from a painful and distasteful task, the duty which they felt they owed to the public was not thereby made more easy of performance. We have always endeavoured to avoid sensational descriptions of unpleasant incidents in life's drama, but we do feel that the public have a right to know something more as to the carrying out of the extreme sentence of the law than transpires at the purely formal post mortem proceedings, which the Coroner himself describes as of a perfunctory nature. We think therefore that it should be an obligation upon one of the officials present at the execution to communicate to the Press officials present at the execution such information as may with propriety be made known to the public. On this occasion the Governor (Capt.Smail) when approached by a deputation from the reporters on duty declined to make any statement or to be interviewed. Let executions by all means be conducted with as much privacy as possible, but in that case the mouths of the prison officials responsible for the carrying out of the law should not be closed to the representatives of the public (46).

The practice of hoisting the Black Flag at the time of execution was discontinued in 1902. Later the practice of tolling the prison bell - or that of a neighbouring church - was also discontinued. When William Frederick Edge was hanged for the murder of an infant child in 1905, it was later said that when the bell started to toll signalling that he was about to be hanged. Edge sent up piercing shrieks that could be heard all over the prison (47).

With the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the role of the prison at Stafford changed, with part requisitioned as a military prison and detention barracks. By 1916, with the number of civilian prisoners drastically reduced, the prison was taken over fully by the military. Not until 1923 was it handed back to the Prison Commissioners. By then its normal function had been absorbed by other establishments and the decision was taken, much against local opinion that it should not re-open. This remained the situation until 1939 when war broke out once more, but then the prison only took on a limited role, that of special local prison with the function of relieving the strain on other prisons. It did not deal directly with the courts and so was not involved with any further instances of the death penalty - later abolished. From time to time there may have been the occasional 'civil' prisoner, that is a person held in connection with the office of sheriff, but with the return of peace-time conditions and the further development of the penal system, the Stafford prison was given a role as a training prison and this it continues to fulfil. The involvement of the sheriff with the prison was consequently reduced considerably but the legal link nevertheless survives (48).


1 The Assize of Clarendon, 1166. See Stubbs, Select Charters and R.Trevor Davies Documents Illustrating the History of Civilisation in Medieval England In general such gaols became known as county gaols.
2 14 Edward III, cap. 19.
3 See Bellamy Crime and Public Order in England in the Middle Ages.
4 3 Edward I, Statute of Westminster, 1275. That there were inconsistencies in the execution of this order is without question. The power to admit to bail was extended to justices of the peace by cap. 10,17 Richard II (1393). The subject of bail is really an extensive study on its own.
5 The office of justice of the peace dates from 1361 but officials known as keepers of the peace were appointed during the'reign of Henry III and justices of the peace appeared to have succeeded the. See Bellamy, op.cit., F.Milton In Some Authority and B.H.Putnam Proceedings before the Justices of the Peace.
6 The lord lieutenant of the county was an appointment made by the Crown, its need being found in the difficulties experienced by the government of the day in getting together sufficient forces to put down local rebellion.
7 20 Richard II, cap.3. This was to stop any powerful person being seen to influence the decision of the judges.
8 1461. See Bellamy, op.cit.. The county courts appear to have declined gradually almost out of existence until revived by the County Courts Act, 12/13 Victoria, cap. 101.
9 14 Edward II, 1340. Statutes of the Realm. Mention should also be made of the office of coroner, originating in 1194, which also acted as a curb on the sheriff. See T.F.T.Plunkett, English Constitutional History.
10 13Edward 1 and 25 Edward III, cap. 17. This last Act gave the creditor the power of imprisonment over the debtor.
11 19 Henry VII, cap. 10, 'For Keeping of Gaols'.
12 23 Henry VIII, cap.2. 'An Act concerning where and under what manner the Gaols within this realm shall be edified and made. 14 Elizabeth 1, cap.5, 'An Act for the Punishment of Vagabonds, and for the Relief of the Poor and Impotent'. 39 Elizabeth I, cap.3, allowed money to be collected for prisoners of the King's Bench and Marshalsea Prisons. James Almond having being gaoler petitioned the county justices to be reimbursed the sum of £5 'gaol money' that he had distributed amongst the prisoners in the previous quarter in 1626. (SRO MPQ1 Michaelmas 1626).
13 The charitable allowance for debtors at Stafford began in 1699 and was continued thereafter (SRO QSMe/1 f.64).
14 John Bradley, The Royal Charters and Letters Patent granted to the Burgesses of Stafford AD 1206-1828.
15 Victoria History of the County of Stafford, Vol.VI.
16 SRO D1323/E/1 f.20. Allowing the county to use the borough gaol was also a means of ensuring that the profit to be derived from the Assizes and Sessions meeting went to Stafford-based people.
17 F.E.Smith describes this subject in Famous Trials, The Wardens of the Fleet.
18 19 Henry VII, cap. 10, 'For Keeping of Gaols'.
19 Michaelmas 1597; Epiphany 1597/8. Stafford Historical and Civic Society.
20 SRO Hand Morgan D 1798 Chetwynd, bundle 113.
21 SROD1287/10/2,f.l30/l.
22 SRO QSR/138 Easter 1616.
23 CSPD 1619-1623, p.451. The practice of the office of gaoler being sold was prohibited by Act of Parliament in 1730 (3 George II, cap. 15).
24 SRO QSR/186 Michaelmas 1627; SRO QSR/194 Epiphany 1629/30. SRO QSR/198 Epiphany 1630/1 andSROD1323/E/l f. 188. In my view that house of correction was a borough establishment unconnected with the county authority. See also VCH, op.cit..
25 SRO QSR/222 Easter 1636. Goodwyn states in this petition that he has been lately admitted and appointed gaoler by the high sheriff of the county. SRO QSR/262 Easter 1648. SRO MPQ/2 Michaelmas 1649.
26 SRO MFQ/2 Epiphany 1698/9.
27 SROQSMe/lf.251.
28 SRO D 1798/618/88, D1798/HM39/12.
29 SROD1798/HM39/16/2.
30 SROD1798/HM/24.
31 SRO D 1798/598 Under-sheriff's memorandum book.
32 Transportation came from the concept of banishment from the realm provided for in the Act of 39 Elizabeth 1, cap.4, 'An Act for the Punishment of Rogues, Vagabonds and Sturdy Beggars' (although its roots may well have grown from the concept of 'Abduration of the Realm - see Leon Radzinowicz A History of English Criminal Law, Vol.!) and became used to help develop America. By the Act of 4 George 1, cap.l 1 'An Act for the more effectual Transportation of Felons' those ordered for transportation were removed under contract. It seems likely that this then placed a responsibility upon the county to support those held in gaol awaiting removal. Transportation was originally viewed as an act of clemency.
33 A great deal of philosophical argument appears to have taken place. Members of the Society of Friends, with the many experiences of their immediate ancestors to draw upon, may well have influenced considerations. At this time, John Howard, the prison reformer (1726-1790), had become active in this field and was united in his aims with Alexander Popham, MP for Taunton. Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) held to the theory of Utilitarianism, the doctrine that whatever was done was correct if it was useful and led to the greatest happiness of the greatest number. Cesare Beccaria (1738-1794), author of an essay on crime and punishment, was another contemporary reformer.
34 Transportation to Australia began in 1787, sailing from Spithead in the April, arriving January 1788 and continued until eventually phased out and replaced by sentences of penal servitude, the last convicts reaching Australia in 1868. See Bateson, The
Convict Ships. Transportation was ordered for other places such as Gibraltar, Africa, Canada and the West Indies, but the vast majority of offenders went to Australia.
35 See C.P.Hill, British Economic and Social History 1700-1939.
36 VCH.op.cit.
37 SRO MFQ/6 Michaelmas 1785. The gaoler's salary was paid to him in lieu of profits derived from the sale of liquors.
38 4 George IV, cap.64. 'An Act for consolidating an amending the Laws relating to the building, repairing and regulating of certain Gaols and Houses of Correction in England and Wales'.
39 28/29 Victoria, cap. 126, 'An Act to consolidate and amend the Law relating to Prisons'. The Staffordshire county houses of correction were at Uttoxeter (1627-1643), Walsall (1617-1740), Stafford (1649-1793) and Wolverhampton (1745-1821). There was also another county house of correction at Stafford between 1598 and 1626, and also a borough house or correction.
40 31 Victoria, cap. 24, 'Capital Punishment amendment Act'.
41 32/33 Victoria, cap. 62, 'An Act for the Abolition of imprisonment for Debt; for the punishment of fraudulent Debtors, and other Purposes'.
42 40/41 Victoria, cap. 21, 'Prison Act'. Passed in 1877, the Act took effect from 1 April 1878.
43 Essex Record Office, A.J. Standley, "Chelmsford Prison - An Account" (unpublished manuscript).
44 47/48 Victoria, cap. 64, 'Criminal Lunatics Act'.
45 SROD1798/617/86.
46 William Salt Library, .AJ. Standley, "Stafford Prison 1793-1916" (unpublished manuscript).
47 Ibid.
48 Ibid.

email the web master Mick Pearson: