Minor theme - crimes of the past

crimes of the past

Some of the less pleasant goings-on in Yeovil's past




.... and, in brief


"Order made on 23 April 1614 that Dorothy Wootten, the known mother of a base child... shall be openly whipped at Evell on the Market Day after the next Ilchester Sessions.
Quarter Sessions records, 3-5 May 1614

"A few days ago one Gregory, servant to Mr Symonds, Gardener at Yeovil, aged near 70, was found dead between Yeovil and Ivelchester, much bruised in several places, and his pockets cut off, whence it is believed he was murdered." 
Salisbury & Winchester Journal, 6 May 1765

"Gibraltar, March 6 1768. A private Soldier of the 19th Regiment under my Command here, has confessed himself a Murderer, inclosed I have taken the Liberty to transmit to you a Copy of his Confession, viz. "I Nathaniel Jones, Soldier in the 19th Regiment, in Chapel Norton's Company, do confess, that about the Month of April, 1765, I murdered a Woman dressed in a Stampt Cotton Jacket, and a Check Apron (the Colour of the Petticoat I forgot) near Yeovil in Somersetshire, in the cross Country Road leading from Beaminster to Yeovil; and then having taken what Money I could find upon her, threw her into a Marl Pit near thereto."."
Derby Mercury, 22 April 1768

"To Ivelchester Gaol: Willia(m) Scott and Margery Chapeley, his mother, for burglary; Scott is twenty-three years of age, about five feet high, was born at Yeovil." 
Police Gazette, 29 July 1774

"Whereas William Dickinson stands on a violent suspicion of having burglariously broken open the house of John Hancock, at Yeovil, in the county of Somersetshire, in the night of 13 March 1788. The said W Dickinson is a deserter from the marines, is 23 years of age, five feet seven inches high, by trade a blacksmith, was born at Wolverhampton in Staffordshire, is of a fair complexion, hath grey eyes, light brown hair, and had on a dark brown coat, yellow striped waistcoat, black velvet breeches and grey worsted stockings. FIVE GUINEAS Reward." 
Cumberland Pacquet, 23 April 1788

"Wednesday (was) executed at Ilchester, Alex. Pearce, aged 19, for setting fire to his master's (Thomas Garland of the Greyhound Inn) house and stables at Yeovil.... Alexander Pearce was born at Sherborne, and apprenticed to a taylor, but losing a finger by accident, was obliged to decline that business, and turned labourer. Many strong circumstances appeared on his trial, which plainly proved his guilt, though he declared his innocence to the last of ever having any knowledge of the fact for which he suffered. He appeared very insensible of his approaching fate, and declared that he had never robbed or intentionally injured any one." 
Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette, 2 September 1790

John Hancock, Robert Masters, Thomas Tankins and Henry Hollett were summoned for maliciously damaging a tent erected for the Jubilee festivities on 22 June. It appeared that the defendants cut the ropes while a number of people were in the tent dancing.
Exeter & Plymouth Gazette, 8 July 1887

"A banditti of turnip stealers, forty in number, attacked and cruelly beat on the 10th inst. the four sons of Mr Symes, a farmer, of Yeovil, Somerset, who, with five others, were stationed to protect a turnip field from their depredations. The Captain of the gang gave the word "Close your files, attack, attack!" but although two of the farmer's party were so much beaten that their lives are in danger, they succeeded in repelling the plunderers, and securing three of them, who are committed to Ilchester gaol for trial."
Stamford Mercury, 12 December 1916


33-year-old John Collard of Yeovil, photographed in 1899 at the time of his conviction. Hands had to be shown in the photograph so that missing digits, scars, etc. could be used in identification at a later date if the criminal reoffended.


From my collection

A contemporary sketch of Ilchester Gaol.


Genuine 'mugshots' of Victorian criminals.