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.

Latest Updates on Twitter

Emily & Mabel Seed, arrested for shoplifting in Scarborough in 1920, feature in a criminal record book in @RiponMuseums collections. I've pieced together as much of their story as I can: https://riponmuseums.co.uk/blog/stories_from_the_archives_emily_and_mabel_seed #SpotlightOnCollections #MuseumFromHome

We're pleased to say that the run of #PrisonersOnPrisoners has now been extended to December to give everyone a chance to see it #YorkshireTogether https://twitter.com/fayeclaridge/status/1244934801079099393

Calling for proposals on a brand-new series: "Emerald Advances in Historical Criminology" Series editors: @dchurchill01 and @profviolence For more information: https://bit.ly/2wxujIc #historicalcriminiology #HCNet

For our first #TranscriptionTuesday Weekly Challenge, we're teaming up with @AncestryUK to transcribe early 19th century prison records. Click here to find out more and sign up to put records online on 31 March!

http://www.whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine.com/blog/transcription-tuesday-weekly-challenge-ancestry-prison-records

Her archive is described here http://www.ellenterryarchive.essex.ac.uk This is the AHRC Ellen Terry and Edith Craig database with follow-on AHRC Searching for Theatrical Ancestors @ahrcpress @FederationFHS @britishlibrary https://twitter.com/SmallhytheNT/status/1243584832061542402

By no means the first time in history - here's #policeorders for the coronation of Edward VII in 1902, which saw retired officers drafted into temporary O and Z Divisions. #DYK #DidYouKnow #MuseumFromHome #ExploreYourArchive #FridayThoughts #FridayFeeling https://twitter.com/BBCLondonNews/status/1243444819843780608

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We would also like to encourage any local businesses and organisations, to document and keep copies of their response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and consider depositing the material with us for future generations. #CoronaLockdown Please get in touch!

Convict prison lives in Victorian London - Our Criminal Ancestors https://ourcriminalancestors.org/2018/04/convict-prison-lives-in-victorian-london/

Petitioning for mercy in mid-nineteenth century Yorkshire - Our Criminal Ancestors https://ourcriminalancestors.org/2019/05/petitioning-for-mercy-in-mid-nineteenth-century-yorkshire/