Contact Us

We hope you enjoy the resources on this website and welcome constructive feedback and suggestions. If you have a story from your own research that you’d like to share, please do get in touch. You can email us at

Professor Helen Johnston, University of Hull
Professor Heather Shore, Manchester Metropolitan University

(Please note, we are not a genealogical research service and therefore we are unable to undertake research on your behalf.)

Latest Updates on Twitter

In 1835 'Thomas Muluoy, a Scotchman, was charged stealing a cheese from the shop of Mr. F. Thompson, grocer, #Ripon. The case was proved, & the Jury returned a verdict of Guilty. Sentenced prisoner to 3 months hard labour at the treadmill.' @ourcriminalpast

In a corner of the men's yard in #Ripon House of Correction was a tread-wheel. It operated machinery in the governor's,Thomas Stubbs, workshop. Stubbs was also inspector for Weights & Measures. It was replaced with 4 work cells for oakum picking in 1862. @ourcriminalpast


Researching your prison ancestors: an introductory guide - Our Criminal Ancestors #ancestors #familyhistory #Genealogy

In #Ripon an offenders were whipped an ‘at
the tail of a cart’ which meant being pulled, on foot,
behind a small cart whilst being whipped. This was carried out around the Market Place.Whipping of females was abolished in 1820 & all public whipping in 1830. @ourcriminalpast


The last time the stocks were used in #Ripon Market Place was in September 1859 when 2 individuals suffered 6 hours in them for drunkenness. At this time the use of stocks as a punishment was scarce. @ourcriminalpast


I've just published a new case study of Caroline Pulley

Mary Barclay from Huntly is the focus of the latest Criminal Portraits blog...

My column on 'Records of Illegitimacy in England' has just been published in 'British Connections', the journal of @ISBGFH. An illegitimate ancestor need not be the end of the line for that branch of your research! #genealogy #familyhistory #research

Enough niceness, back to the docs!
I twote last week about the statutory ban on Law French. It applied to Latin too: here's a before and after from a Herefordshire manor court. Raymond LCJ was appalled by this "dumbing down", saying people would want to use Welsh next!


Received confirmation today from @uniofleicester that I am officially Dr McKay!! See how this (factually accurate) comic drawn by @AmyAMcKay perfectly mirrors the shifting naval/penal debates concerning prison hulks with the changing role of Javert/Aubrey! ⛵🌊🎉🍾