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TitleConviction Certificates
DescriptionJustices of the Peace had been granted powers, under various Statutes during the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries, to convict summarily out of Sessions for various offences, subject to the right of appeal to Quarter Sessions. In the 19th century there were a number of recapitulary Acts dealing with these offences, some of which specifically required the Justices to transmit the Conviction certificate to the Clerk of the Peace to be filed with the County Records - a practise which had probably long been customary. For example, the Vagrancy Act of 1824 (5 George IV, cap. 83) and the Licensing Act of 1830 (11 George IV & 1 William IV, cap. 64) both contain this provision which, however, was made general for all offences dealt with summarily by the Summary Jurisdiction Act of 1848 (11 & 12 Victoria, cap. 43). The chief classes of offences, for which Conviction certificates were transmitted, were (besides large numbers classed as Miscellaneous) Offences against the Game Laws, Assaults, Licensing Offences, Drunkenness, Malicious Injury, Stealing Fruit and Vegetables and Vagrancy and Idle and Disorderly Persons. The requirement to deposit the Conviction certificate was repealed in 1914 by the Criminal Justice Administration Act (4 & 5 George V, cap. 58).
According to an Inventory of County Records compiled about 1850, bundles of Convictions for the years 1832-1847 were then stored at the Castle, bundled according to year and offence, but these bundles had disappeared by 1871 when another Inventory was compiled, and the extant bundles of Convictions do not start until 1878. The surviving bundles are not a complete series, and are not made up in a uniform manner. However, each bundle is arranged alphabetically and then chronologically within each group of names beginning with the same letter. In many cases certificates seem to have been sent to the Clerk of the Peace years after the date of the conviction, but while these earlier dates have been indicated in the list below, the bundles have been arranged in accordance with the dates of the bulk of the certificates in each bundle.
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Related MaterialRelated Material
Registers of these convictions were kept by the Clerk of the Peace from 1842 to 1915 - see QS85/2/.
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