Mugshots show town’s criminals during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries – including a seven-year-old given hard labour for stealing SWEETS

June 21, 2016 | by | 0 Comments
Edgar Kilminster (7). Sentenced to seven days hard labour and given twelve strokes with the birch for stealing sweetmeats (Victorian sweets) (SWNS)

Edgar Kilminster (7). Sentenced to seven days hard labour and given twelve strokes with the birch for stealing sweetmeats (Victorian sweets) (SWNS)

These are the historic mugshots of a town’s most feared criminals – including a seven-year-old boy given a flogging and hard labour for stealing SWEETS.

More than 235,000 prison records and photos from the past 180 years have been published online – giving shocking details of past crimes and punishments.

Little Edgar Kilminster was only 3ft 10in when he was banged up in 1870 – for stealing ‘sweet meats’.

The seven-year-old was given a week’s hard labour and twelve strokes with the birch alongside his nine-year-old brother Joseph.

On the other end of the spectrum was 79-year-old William Lord, who was charged with stealing timber.

He was sentenced at Gloucester Gaol to six months hard labour – but due to bad health, he was pardoned by the Queen.

The records, held by Gloucestershire Archives, have been digitised for the first time with the help of family history site, Ancestry.

The ‘Gloucestershire, England, Prison Records, 1728-1914’ collection contains registers of prisoners from several gaols and ‘houses of correction’ – institutions set up for the punishment and reform of those convicted of petty offences through hard labour.

It also contains photos, beginning in 1870, that were passed around between police forces to identify habitual offenders.

George Soule (31) One month for stealing coals and Thomas Grant (36) 6 weeks for stealing books (SWNS)

George Soule (31) One month for stealing coals and Thomas Grant (36) 6 weeks for stealing books (SWNS)

Ray Theodoulou, Gloucestershire County Council Cabinet Member on behalf of Gloucestershire Archives, said: “We’re thrilled that these fascinating archives in our care are now accessible worldwide.

“Also thanks to this relationship with Ancestry, people in Gloucestershire have free access to Ancestry at their local library, at the Gloucestershire Family History Centre and at Gloucestershire Archives itself.

“The collaboration is also supporting our ‘For the Record’ project so that we can continue to preserve and share Gloucestershire’s wonderfully rich documented heritage.”

James Hyde (34) - sentenced to penal servitude for stealing pigs cheeks (SWNS)

James Hyde (34) – sentenced to penal servitude for stealing pigs cheeks (SWNS)

Other miscreants include James Hyde, sentenced to penal servitude for stealing pigs cheeks, and brothers Samuel, 18, and Alfred Taylor, 14, who served hard labour for nicking rabbits.

A 14-year-old servant, Elizabeth Crowder received hard labour as a result of stealing a purse “from her master”.

Elizabeth Crowden (14) - stole a purse from her master. These are the historic mugshots of a town's most feared historic criminals - including a seven-year-old boy given a flogging for stealing SWEETS. See SWNS story SWMUG;  More than 235,000 prison records from the past 180 years have been published online, giving sometimes shocking details of past crimes and punishments.  Little Edgar Kilminster was only 3ft 10in when he was banged up in 1870 - and the seven-year-old was given a week's hard labour and 12 strokes with the birch alongside his nine-year-old brother Joseph.

Elizabeth Crowden (14) – stole a purse from her master (SWNS)

Miriam Silverman, Ancestry’s Senior Content Manager, said: “This collection provides rare insight into prisoners and their convictions, as well as providing astonishing imagery of habitual offenders, helping us to get a better understanding of the stories and lives of people in Gloucestershire during the 18th and 19th centuries.

“Whether you’re looking to find more information about a crime in your family history or discover more about some infamous criminals, these records can help add colour to Gloucestershire’s criminal past.”

Gloucester Gaol was converted from Gloucester Castle in the 17th century.

Jane Norton (27) stealing a tablecloth and Kate Wheeler (16) stealing a blanket (SWNS)

Jane Norton (27) stealing a tablecloth and Kate Wheeler (16) stealing a blanket (SWNS)

However, a new prison was later built on the same site in 1791, which contained a gaol, penitentiary and house of correction.

Until 1878, the Gaol was under control of the Gloucestershire Quarter Sessions, but it was turned into a men’s prison in 1915.

To search any of these collections, and more than 17 billion other historical records worldwide, visit www.ancestry.co.uk.

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