Tough on crime
WITH reference to the Judges Lodgings and its place in history (The Press, January 1), the very name during the late 18th century and 19th century struck a chord in many a criminal awaiting trial at the Quarter Sessions for sentences to be imposed.
For example, not unlike its counterpart, the Old Bailey Sessions in London, the archives reveal for February 1814, Morris, aged eight, Solomons, aged nine, and Burrell, aged 11, as having been condemned to death for burglary and stealing a pair of shoes.
Among children sentenced for transportation, you find William Biggen, 14, sentenced to seven years for stealing one silk handkerchief; Matilda Seymour, to ten years for stealing one shawl and one petticoat, among many others.
There was a breakdown in law and order at this time before the new police force was formed in 1829. In the first 50 years of the 19th century, there were three ways in which one could be punished: hanging, transportation and imprisonment.
As for the Judges Lodgings, if only the walls could talk, along with the Castle Museum and the Law Courts which overlook the Eye of York.
Keith Bowker, Vesper Walk, Huntington, York.
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