Friday, 1 June 2012

1st June 1812: The final prisoners stand trial at the Lancaster Special Commission

On Monday 1st June 1812, the final set of prisoners took their trials at the Lancaster Special Commission.

Three men were accused of receiving an unlawful oath at Bolton on 14th April 1812. It seemed that only one of then, Thomas Holden (20) could be ascertained to have been present by a witness, Isaac Crompton, who said that he was present when he was twisted-in. This was enough for the Jury to find him guilty.

The evidence was not strong enough for the Jury to convict the other two accused - Peter Smith (46) and Thomas Shelton (19), but they now stood charged with riotously assembling on the same night, along with Arthur Holden (33), James Holden (20), William Holden (17) and James Isherwood (26). Their defence pointed out there was a flaw in the indictment (it didn't state that they were assembled for an unlawful purpose), so the prosecution was given up, and the men were acquitted.

This has been compiled from the Lancaster Gazette of 23rd May and 6th June 1812 and Tomlinson (1967, p.103).

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