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|The kinds of things that went on in a Quarter Sessions
Written by Caroline
(9/25/2005 12:08 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, What Mr Sheppard was doing, penned by Caroline
"No. 101.-May 23, 1798. We whose names etc. do consent and agree that a rate or assessment be forthwith made at 8 pence per pound value (amount to £200) for the purpose of making a road leading from Cocklake bridge to James Bartlet's or Yeo bridge, by Order of the Quarter Sessions; and that Thomas Swearse and William Rickard be appointed Collectors of this Rate. John Barrow, E. Edwards, Joseph Wollen, William Stone, Robert Tyley, William Taverner, William Barrow, William Brown, jun., William Pople, Benjamin Banwell, John Wall, James Leigh his mark.
(John Barrow did take it up at the Wells Quarter sessions of April 7 1815)
Bridgewater, Somerset, was also host to a Quarter sessions. I found this:
"There was a prison in Bridgwater c. 1210, (Footnote 43) probably in the castle. A prison was claimed by both the Crown and Roger Mortimer in 1280. (Footnote 44) The gaol was mentioned in 1352, (Footnote 45) 1481, (Footnote 46) the mid 17th century, and 1728. (Footnote 47) Its condition was severely criticized by John Howard in 1789. (Footnote 48) The building, on the south side of Fore Street, had an imposing rusticated classical frontage; it was closed and demolished in 1875. Cells were built at the police station in High Street, and in 1911 at the new station in Northgate. (Footnote 49) A lock-up called the Cockmoyle prison was mentioned in 1575. (Footnote 50) It was later said to be part of an inn of the same name, and in 1687-8 was called the borough bridewell. (Footnote 51) The lock-up was evidently on an upper floor over a lane between High Street and the churchyard, since it was known as the higher prison in the 17th century and Upper Bow in the 18th. (Footnote 52) In 1729 the quarter sessions established a bridewell for the borough and parish, probably an extension to the town's prison, and set up a whipping post there. (Footnote 53) From: 'Bridgwater', A History of the County of Somerset: Volume 6: Andersfield, Cannington, and North Petherton Hundreds (Bridgwater and neighbouring parishes) (1992), pp. 192-206. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=18640. Date accessed: 25 September 2005."
From the Quarter Sessions records at Norwich, Norfolk (and therefore probably of more interest to Mr Crawford than to Sir Walter :-(
"11.10.1808 Resolved at Norwich Quarter Sessions that the next General Sessions "take into consideration the expediency and propriety of providing a Lunatic Asylum..." under the provisons of the 1808 County Asylums Act
More about the Poor Rate and Quarter sessions in the County of Devon, and therefore of interest to Sir John Middleton:
"ASSESSMENTS, RENTAL, &c. - The annual rental of the land in Devon assessed to the property tax in 1811, was £1,217,547, but the annual value of real property, (land, buildings, &c.,) was assessed to the same tax in 1815, at £1,897,515. The parochial assessments of the county in 1823, amounted to £227,425, of which £175,412 was levied on land; £47,461 on dwelling-houses, £2624 on mills and factories; and £1927 on manorial profits. In 1803 the parochial assessments amounted to £179,359, of which £148,565 was expended on the poor. In 1821, these assessments amounted to £272,939, of which £234,097 was expended on the poor. In 1839, after the foundation of the large unions, and the erection of extensive workhouses, the sums collected in poor rates in the county amounted to £2l4,500. The County Rates are levied in Devon on a valuation made under a special act of parliament passed some years ago. They amounted in 1800,to £7031; in 1810, to £23,519; in 1830, to £12,783; in 1838, to £18,459; and in 1849, to upwards of £24,000, exclusive of Exeter, and the boroughs having separate quarter sessions, viz., Barnstaple, Bideford, Dartmouth, Plymouth, Devonport, Tiverton, and South Molton - the latter of which is not a parliamentary borough. The quarter sessions for the county are all held at Exeter, where two assizes are held yearly, for the county, and two for the City. (See page 62.)"
Lastly, see http://www.exclassics.com/newgate/ng346.htm for a lurid account of a court case at the Middlesex Quarter sessions of 1777….
All stuff that a country attourney had to know about!Especially one who has a daughter to marry off and a fortune to make! ;-)
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