The Assizes was a regional court circuit held twice-yearly at Lent (March/April) and Trinity (July/August). They could also be held in winter if there were a large number of cases.

On the whole, Assizes dealt with the more serious offences such as murder, rape, infanticide, felonies, highway robbery, coining, forgery, vagrancy and witchcraft. However, just like the Quarter Sessions, they were also places where civil actions, often relating to issues around land or money, were heard.

Most of the counties of England were grouped together into six Assizes circuits, which included Home, Midland, Norfolk, Northern, Oxford and Western. The exceptions were London and Middlesex, where trials were held at the Old Bailey or Middlesex Sessions House, and Cheshire, Durham and Lancashire, who did not join the Assizes circuit until the 19th century.

While this system remained unchanged in England for hundreds of years, there was a reorganisation of the Assizes in the 19th century with some counties forming a new North-Eastern circuit (Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland) and some circuits, including Home and Norfolk, combined to create the South Eastern.

Wales also became part of the Assizes system in 1830, eventually separated into North Wales and South Wales circuits. Prior to 1830, cases were held at the Court of Great Sessions.

Judges who presided over cases heard at the Assizes were state-appointed, selected from 12 prominent central court judges who travelled the Assizes circuit.

When they were in town, the local dignitaries would treat the judges to the best hospitality they could provide. The grand rituals and processions associated with the Assizes were a visual manifestation of the power of the law.

The seriousness of many of the cases held at these courts could mean that the accused could be held in prison for a significant amount of time if their case was referred there.

The National Archives holds most of the records relating to Assizes in England and Wales. They have produced a detailed guide to finding and using these records, which provide different levels of information relating to cases heard at the courts, such as name of the accused, their address, the charges against them, and the verdicts and sentences.

The nature of the cases held at the Assizes often generated a great deal of interest among the general public and, of course, the local and national press. This means that it may also be possible to track down details of a particular case or individual by searching through old editions of the relevant newspapers.

The British Library Newspaper Archive has now digitised many regional and local newspapers and these can be accessed via a subscription fee or through local libraries and archives. Some of these archives may also hold microfilm versions of their local newspapers.

Assizes, along with the Quarter Sessions, were abolished by the Courts Act of 1971 and were replaced by a single Crown Court.

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Another moment in #maritime #history the #SpurnLightship leaves #Hull #Marina after 34 years and heads down the River Humber ⁦ahead of her preservation work and onward journey @HullMaritime
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Celebrating the Centenary of the Howard League for Penal Reform & the Howard Journal: Vol 60, No S1 open access articles from ⁦@sysgak⁩ @ourcriminalpast⁩ ⁦@HistorianCrime⁩ ⁦@ashleytrubin⁩ & many others! ⁦@howard_journal⁩ ⁦ https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/toc/20591101/current

This Thursday we celebrate 100 years of the Howard Journal. A host of fantastic experts will join us to discuss long-standing and contemporary issues in crime & justice, including @sysgak @mdhanuka17 @jonbcollins @ashleytrubin @ourcriminalpast Register at: https://howardleague.org/events/100-years-of-the-howard-journal-lessons-for-contemporary-penal-policy/

So excited to see a sneak preview of @RachelDixonGood's excellent book "Infanticide: Expert Evidence and Testimony in Child Murder Cases, 1688-1955" is already available before it is published next month!! 🤩🥳 Check it out here:
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=vcBEEAAAQBAJ&newbks=0&printsec=frontcover&pg=PP5&dq=Rachel+Dixon+infanticide&hl=en&source=newbks_fb&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Rachel%20Dixon%20infanticide&f=false

This photograph from our collection was taken from what is now our car park and shows the restoration of bottle oven No 4 in 1978.
#PhotoFriday
#Stokeontrent #bottleovens #ceramics #pottery #industrtialheritage

Based on her excellent PhD @lawhulluni (supervised by @ourcriminalpast), this provides an invaluable long duree analysis of how expert witness testimony was variously shaped, accepted and denigrated in infanticide cases heard in London and Hull between the late 17th & mid-20th C

Early boys from the black stuff, roadmaking in Liverpool 1890.
Literally, a load of cobblers today
https://liverpoolmiscellany.blogspot.com/2021/09/boys-from-black-stuff.html

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(Left) Major John James Grieg, Head Constable of Liverpool from 1852-1881. (Right) Liverpool's Main Bridewell on Cheapside. Major Grieg would visit here on Sunday afternoons to loudly reprimand drunk and disorderly prisoners in the manner of the parade ground. @ourcriminalpast

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