Convicts and Jane Austen’s doctor.
COUNTY OF SOUTHAMPTON. Calendar of the Prisoners in the County Gaol, at Winchester, tried at the Easter Sessions, holden At the Castle of Winchester, on Tuesday, April 12, 1825. Winchester: James Robbins, .
Small-folio (c. 300 x 200 mm), pp. 9, printed on vellum; a little spotted in places, marginal traces of humidity; loose and disbound.
Extremely rare, with only one further copy recorded, at Hampshire Archives. This prison record, actually not a calendar at all, lists 41 named convicts with their age, crime and sentence on pages two to four, followed by death sentences (40 in all), offences under the revenue law, and convictions for various crimes, such as ‘unlawfully cutting Timber without the consent of its Owner’. The final four pages are taken up by name, age, crime and sentence of 136 prisoners in the County Bridewell. Sarah Russen, aged 36, e.g. had been imprisoned for a year for ‘being a lewd woman’; ‘being a rogue and vagabond’ could result in three months. Other severely punishable crimes were killing rabbits (6 months), ‘having part of a deer in his possession’ (12 months) or ‘leaving his family’ (three months and hard labour). Among the convicts sentenced for transportation are the 26-year old James Fogley for stealing ‘one fowling piece’ or Charles Holloway, aged 23, for stealing a hand-saw.
The publication ends with the confirmation by the surgeon Giles King Lyford (1764-1837), that there is ‘No Putrid or Infectious in the Great Gaol, or House of Correction’. He was Surgeon-in-Ordinary at the County Hospital in Winchester and attended on Jane Austen during her final illness. Jane in fact moved to Winchester in 1817 shortly before her death so that she should be near her doctor. His uncle John Lyford (1740-1829) had been the Austens’ family doctor and the Lyfords had been among the Austens’ neighbourly friends.
Such prison records, especially produced for a provincial prison are usually manuscripts, as not many copies were needed. Why the County of Southampton needed it in print and moreover, on vellum, remains a mystery. – All traces on the internet of another copy being or having been in the book trade have been identified as relating to this particular copy offered here.
Not in COPAC, OCLC, the British Library, or any other database consulted.