Category Archives: Crime

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

Posted in Crime | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Crime | 3 Comments

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

Justices of the Peace in Georgian Norfolk

It’s hard to imagine a time when there was no police or detective force, no system for public prosecution and no official means to investigate crimes and collect evidence to bring the criminals to justice. But that’s just as it … Continue reading

Posted in C18th Norfolk, Crime, Keeping the Peace