Wednesday, 1 March 2017

1st March 1817: The High Sheriff of Nottingham writes to the Home Secretary about re-siting the Assizes to Newark

Flintham House
March 1st 1817.

My Lord

I had the Honor of receiving your Lordships letter of the 25th Feby, in obedience to which, I have with my underSheriff & Gaoler, been at Newark, and inspected the Gaol, Town Hall, &c and have this day been at Nottingham, for the purpose of laying before the County Magistrates, a Plan of such preparations, as appear to be requisite, for holding the Assizes at Newark—

Previous to the receipt of your Lordships letter I had attended a Special meeting of the County Magistrates for the purpose of making arrangements for preserving the peace at the ensuing Assizes, supposing them to be held, as usual, at Nottingham, and I entertained a confident hope, that the arrangements, then proposed by the Magistrates, added to an increase of my own attendants, beyond the number which my immediate predecessor had employed, would have been effectual for the maintenance of order Tranquillity—

Were I to venture to offer an opinion to your Lordship upon the impression produced by the removal of the Assizes, I should say, that the factions, & desperate, would represent it, as the effect of the intimidation produced by their former attempts, & regard it as a kind of triumph; which I understand they have openly manifested—

I beg leave to represent your Lordship, the necessity of a strong Guard for the removal of the numerous prisoners, now in the Gaol at Nottm, from that place to Newark—The number I understand at present to be 18 & that there is a probability of an increase. Amongst these are many desperate Characters, and 5 frame breakers—I conceive a Strong Escort of Soldiers to be absolutely requisite, & indeed the Gaoler informs me, that he cannot be answerable for their safe conduct, without such protection—The Gaol at Newark is very small, but I believe with a proper watch, it is perfectly secure the principal inconvenience would arise, from placing together a number of prisoners, whom it might be desirable to keep Separate—

I beg leave to conclude this letter by soliciting your Lordship's advice, & directions, on this occasion.

I have [etc]

Mr B Hildyard

High Sheriff of the
County of Nottingham

[To] The Right Honble
The Secretary of State
for the Home Department
&c &c &c

This letter can be found at HO 42/161.

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