Category Archives: Crime

John Black and “The Lady Shore”

John Black was born on 31 October, 1778, in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. He spent his childhood at Woodbridge in Suffolk. His father, also called John, was curate at Butley from 1789 to 1813, Chaplain at the Woodbridge House of Correction, … Continue reading

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The Georgian Way with Debt

Imprisonment for debt has become a commonplace in historical novels set in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. How common was it and why were debtors thrown into gaol? Debtors were probably the largest element in the eighteenth-century prison population. Some … Continue reading

Posted in Crime, Georgian Society

Eighteenth-century Prosecution Associations

All my Georgian-era mystery stories share one element: the fact that England at the time had no system of public prosecution for crimes. Not only were there no police to investigate criminal acts, there were no official prosecutors to bring … Continue reading

Posted in Crime, Keeping the Peace | 1 Comment

Pirates of the … North Sea?

Many of us were brought up on romantic tales of pirates sailing in various exotic parts of the world, whether through “Treasure Island” or “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Yet the business of being a pirate could be just as profitable, … Continue reading

Posted in Crime

Dealing with Habitual Offenders in Georgian Times

One of the benefits of reading through eighteenth-century newspapers is the way they reveal what actually happened, as opposed to what ought to have happened, according to the letter of the law or the grand overviews of later historians. No … Continue reading

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More about Norfolk Smugglers

This post is a follow-up to my recent article on the heyday of smugglers along the Norfolk Coast in the 1780s. Looking through the local newspapers of the time shows graphically how violent and desperate the smuggling gangs could be. … Continue reading

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The Heyday of Norfolk Smugglers

Smuggling is usually associated with the south coast of england, from Kent to Cornwall, where the crossing to the French coastline was shortest. Yet East Anglia was also a popular haunt of these criminal gangs. Norfolk, in particular, offered long … Continue reading

Posted in Crime