Wednesday, 30 May 2012

30th May 1812: The results & sentencing of the Chester Special Commission

On Saturday 30th of May 1812, the trials at the Chester Special Commission concluded, and the prisoners received sentenced.

Unlike many of the trials, the content of what happened at Chester does not seem to have been published. Many of the newspapers simply reported the outcome of the trials, with even the local Chester Courant detailing the Judge’s initial charge the Jury at the start of the trials, and then going straight to the details of the sentencing.

A Calendar of the accused, their alleged offences, and the outcome of the trials can be found in the Home Office papers, and I have summarised the details as follows:

For riotously assembling at Macclesfield, Cheshire on 13th April 1812: John Jackson (19) a collier from Sutton; William Stubbs (32) a cotton spinner from Macclesfield & Thomas Livesley (19) a collier from Macclesfield. All guilty. Jackson & Stubbs imprisoned for 3 years in common gaol, Livesley for 1 year.

For unlawful assembly & robbery of John Parker Esq. at Edge, Etchells on 15th April 1812: Colin Lindon (45) a weaver from Ireland; James Wilson a.k.a. Roach (23) a weaver from Ireland; Forster Roach (18) a weaver from Ireland; James Bennett (21) a hatter from Edgeley; Richard Wood (27) a weaver from Holdcome, Lancashire; James Tomlinson (28) a weaver from Bolton, Lancashire; William Thompson (23) a weaver from Haslingden, Lancashire. All guilty. Sentenced to death, but recommended to mercy by the Jury & respited.

For riot & robbery at Pownall, Fee & Styall on 14th April 1812: Richard Lowndes (40) a shoemaker from Morley; James Torkington (16) a cotton spinner from Wilmslow; John Henshall (23) a weaver from Wilmslow. All guilty. Sentenced to death, Torkington & Henshall respited.

For unlawful assembly and arson at the home of John Goodair in Edgeley, Stockport on 14th April 1812: Charles Hulme (40) a weaver from Stockport; John Nield (19) a cotton spinner from Stockport. Both Guilty & imprisoned for 1 year in common goal.

For riotous assembly & robbery at Baguley: John Hamlet (21) a weaver from Stretford; Thomas Chadwick (29) a weaver from Stretford; James Chapman (20) a weaver from Sale Moor; William Woodhall (19) a weaver from Stretford; John Graham (17) a weaver from Sale Moor; Peter Lee (18) a weaver from Sale Moor; William Hancock (41) a weaver from Stretford. All pleaded guilty. Discharged on recognizances of £10 each for 12 months & to appear when required.

For riotous assembly and grand larceny at the mill of Joseph Clay in Bredbury, Stockport on 21st of April 1812: Samuel Lees (33) a hatter from Denton; Thomas Burgess (36) a collier from Bredbury; Thomas Brunt alias Etchels (34) a hatter from Denton. All guilty, transported for 7 years & fined 1 shilling each.

For administering an unlawful oath at Etchells on 6th April 1812: Thomas Whittaker (44) a weaver from Cheadle Bulkeley. Guilty, transported for 7 years

For taking an unlawful oath at Etchells on 6th April 1812: John Bradshaw (33) a weaver from Etchels; John Garner (20) a weaver from Stockport; William Bennett (21) a weaver from Stockport. Garner & Bennett acquitted & discharged. Bradshaw guilty, transported for 7 years.

For taking an unlawful oath at Etchells on 6th April 1812 & for unlawful assembly on 15th April 1812: John Parnell (36) a weaver from Gatley. Admitted as a witness for the crown, discharged.

For grand larceny at the mill of Joseph Clay in Bredbury on 21st April 1812: James Radcliffe (22) a hatter from Denton, Lancashire. Guilty, transported for 7 years & fined 1 shilling.

For unlawful & riotous assembly & grand larceny from Ralph Booth at Gee Cross on 21st April 1812: William Walker (59) a collier from Gee Cross. Guilty, transported for 7 years & fined 1 shilling.

For burglary & arson at the house of John Goodair at Edgeley Stockport on 14th April 1812: Joseph Thompson (34) a Weaver from Preston, Lancashire. Guilty. Sentenced to death.

For unlawful & riotous assembly & robbery at the shop of Elice Berry in Tintwistle on 21st April 1812: William Greenhough (48) a weaver from Mottram-in-Longdendale. Guilty. Sentenced to death.

For unlawful & riotous assembly, machine breaking & threatening the life of Robert Thornley, a manufacturer at Tintwistle on 21st April 1812: James Crosland (49) a shoemaker from Padfield, Derbyshire. Guilty. Sentenced to death but recommended to mercy by the Jury & respited.

For riotous assembly & breaking the machinery of Robert Thornley at Tintwistle on 21st April 1812: Abraham Broadbent (49) a cotton spinner from Padfield, Derbyshire. Acquitted & discharged.

For riotous assembly & destroying seven shearing frames, the property of Thomas Rhodes at Tintwistle on 21st April 1812: John Ellis (22) a tailor & volunteer in the Huddersfield Local Militia. Guilty. Sentenced to death but respited.

For riotous assembly & robbery from John Norris at Etchells, Stockport: James Renshaw (29) a weaver from Wilmslow. Pleaded guilty, discharged on recognizances.

For grand larceny at the warehouse of the Huddersfield Canal Company at Stalybridge on 20th April 1812: Nancy Hurst (49) of Stalybridge, widow; Edward Redfern (28) a labourer from Mottram-in-Longdendale. Both guilty. Hurst sentenced to 1 year in the House of Correction. Redfern transported for 7 years.

For burglary at the home of Samuel Wagstaffe in Adlington on 9th May 1812: John Temples (27) a weaver from Ireland. Guilty. Sentenced to death 

For Breaking machinery at the factory of the Brothers Sidebottom at Tintwistle on 21st April 1812: John Heywood (18) a carder from Hollingworth. Guilty. Sentenced to death.

For taking an unlawful oath at Etchells on 6th April 1812: William Bromley alias Banks (44) a weaver from Gatley. No True Bill, discharged.

For riotous assembly at the home of John Goodair at Edgeley on 14th April 1812: William Lomax (16) from Edgeley; William Moles (18) from Stockport; Joseph Schofield (18) from Stockport – all weavers. Discharged and entered into recognizances for good behaviour.

For handling stolen goods burgled from the home of Henry Lomas of Adlington on 28th April 1812: Nancy Wallace (32) from Ireland. Discharged by proclamation.

Of the 16 sentenced to death, 11 were respited, leaving 5 for execution which was scheduled for Monday 15th June 1812.

8 prisoners were sentenced to transportation for 7 years. The 11 whose death sentences were respited would have been transported for life, meaning 19 people were transported.

This has been compiled from the (finalised) Chester Special Commission calendar, which can be found at HO 42/123.

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