Quarter-sessions were local courts usually held four times a year, which generally sat in the seat of the county or county borough. Trials were held before a justice of the peace, judge or recorder.

Quarter-sessions dealt with a range of crimes which were too serious to be dealt with summarily at the petty sessions but were usually less serious crimes than those tried at the Assize Courts. They also had civil jurisdiction to deal with matters such as licensing, supervision of highways, and offences against the poor laws.

The records relating to the quarter-sessions are extensive and can include many different types of document, such as

  • indictments (formal accusations)
  • calendars of prisoners
  • punishment orders
  • depositions and examinations (witness statements usually required for felony cases – the survival of these documents is very uneven)
  • recognizances (bonds to keep the peace or similar)
  • sessions court rolls or books.

These records can contain a great deal of personal information on individuals (including both victims and witnesses of crimes). For example, information may include:

  • name
  • date of crime
  • county
  • parish
  • occupation
  • offence
  • name of presiding magistrates
  • names of witnesses
  • outcome (whether found guilty or acquitted)
  • sentence.

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This is a glorious thread fro Swansea Workhouse Punishment Book but this one had to be my favourite @Prison_Voices @TheirWrite @upsetvictorians https://t.co/sWOI3zUwnH

'I'd get a room at three bob a week and then enjoy meself — go to the theay-ter and that.'
Two poor lads overheard in 1895 in #Shoreditch discussing what they'd do if they earned £400 a year (a very good wage).

Explore Australian prisons through time #maps #crime #history #DH https://t.co/3TcNXfsZVf

More photos from @ourcriminalpast's excellent talk on the institutional & cultural history of borstal at @LeedsTownHall @Centrcultureart

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Illustration from A Report on Sanitary Conditions in #Preston by Rev. John Clay 1842. Your old friend @Traceyhughes200

My colleague Heather Shore @ourcriminalpast talking about the creation of the borstal system @Centrcultureart @becketthistory #CulturalConversation

Love these remarkable cartoons of Preston Lockout 1853 though of course rights of English workers pitted against Irish 'knobsticks' like this poor shoeless lass. From Preston Digital Archive on Flickr https://t.co/YcZ6MMlCA5

@cccjhull Professor Helen Johnston shares her experiences in developing @ourcriminalpast funded by @ahrcpress at @UniOfHull Digital Humanities workshop

Want to know more about the new @BritSocCrim Historical Criminology Network? The 'About' page on #HCNet should help: https://t.co/epqfuP3vwR
Want to know more about Historical Criminology generally? Network Chair @dchurchill01 says "it's about time...": https://t.co/SXXKJ2K82F

Check out Our Criminal Ancestors, a UK-based project that supports those exploring the criminal past of their families @ourcriminalpast #crimehist https://t.co/8p9886nxy9