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Prisons and prisoners in Norfolk

Other records and calendars of prisoners

Norfolk County Constabulary lock-ups

Suspects were held in these lock-ups only briefly, before being transferred to Norwich Prison.

  • Harleston, cell book, 1882-1915 (C/PO 1/18)
  • Docking, cell book, 1882-1937 (C/PO 1/21)
  • Wells, cell book, 1892-1944 (C/PO 1/22)
  • Cromer, cell book, 1883-1923 (C/PO 1/24)
  • Loddon, returns of criminal cases heard, 1893-1909 (C/PO 1/38-39)
  • Loddon, receipts issued by Norwich Prison to Loddon constables for prisoners and their belongings delivered, 1891-1912 (C/PO 1/40-44)
  • Pulham, register of charges, 1883-86 (C/PO 1/49)
  • North Walsham, register of charges, 1886-88 (C/PO 1/56)

County treasurer’s abstracts of accounts, 1835-1882

Includes lists of persons tried by the County Assizes and payments to policemen for transporting prisoners (sentenced at petty sessions, quarter sessions and assizes) between various lock-ups and the County Gaol. (C/T 1/1-7)

Petty sessions

The less serious offences were tried before the petty sessions courts. Norfolk had 25 petty sessional divisions which were based on the old hundreds. 

The Boroughs (Great Yarmouth, King’s Lynn, Norwich and Thetford) had their own petty sessions.

Please note these records are closed for 100 years.

Records

The records of petty sessions courts do not survive very well.

Some, such as North Erpingham, have records dating from the 1840s while others, such as Freebridge Lynn, have nothing before the 1950s.

  • Registers of convictions at county petty sessions (giving little detail), 1855-1915 (C/S 6/4-5)
  • See lists PS 1-30

Calendars of prisoners

Norfolk Assizes

  • 1693-94, 1748-50, 1752-67, 1769, 1771-85, 1788, 1794, 1796, 1798, 1806-11, 1813-16, 1818, 1820, 1823, 1832-8, 1840-4, 1846-8, 1852-3 (microfilm copy of a private collection available on MF/RO 36/1)
  • 1808, 1816-92 (with gaps) - microfilm copy of collection in NHC, available on MF/RO 611/5
  • December 1863 to January 1922, October 1952 to April 1971 (C/S 10/17-18)
  • July 1888 to March 1890 (MC 21118/1 available on microfilm MF/RO 611/4)
  • 1927-64 (HMP 6/1-18)

Norfolk Quarter Sessions

  • 1826-96 (with gaps) (microfilm copy of collection in NHC, available on MF/RO 611/5)
  • January 1862 to December 1971 (C/S 10/1-16)
  • July 1888 to March 1890 (MC 21118/1 available on microfilm MF/RO 611/4)
  • 1927-64 (HMP 6/1-18)

Norwich City Assizes

  • 1823-95 (with gaps) (microfilm copy of collection in NHC, available on MF/RO 611/5)
  • July 1888 to March 1890 (MC 21118/1 available on microfilm MF/RO 611/4)
  • 1927-64 (HMP 6/1-18)

Norwich City Quarter Sessions

  • 1823-95 (with gaps) (microfilm copy of collection in NHC, available on MF/RO 611/5)
  • July 1888 to March 1890 (MC 21118/1 available on microfilm MF/RO 611/4)
  • 1927-58 (N/S 4/7)
  • 1927-64 (HMP 6/1-18)
  • May 1963 to July 1971 (C/S 10/19)

Great Yarmouth Borough Quarter Sessions

  • July 1888 to March 1890 (MC 21118/1 available on microfilm MF/RO 611/4)
  • 1927-64 (HMP 6/1-18)
  • March 1965 to September 1971 (C/S 10/20)

King’s Lynn Borough Quarter Sessions

  • Printed, 1868-1933, included in Sessions files (KL/C22/77-272, available at King’s Lynn Borough Archives)
  • 1927-64 (HMP 6/1-18)
  • Written or typed at front of each Sessions file, 1937-71 (KL/C22, uncatalogued, available at King’s Lynn Borough Archives)
  • January 1965 to April 1968 (C/S 10/21)

Transportation

People were often sentenced to transportation ‘beyond the seas’ for what we would regard as minor crimes.

They could be sentenced by the assize courts or the various quarter sessions courts.

An index of transported persons is available in our searchroom. It has been compiled from the quarter sessions minute books and from the accounts of the trials in the local newspapers.

However, it is not comprehensive because a number of people sentenced to death had their sentence later commuted to transportation for life by the Crown. It is difficult to pick these cases up in the local records.

References to these cases can be found in the Assize judges’ reports, 1783-1830, in TNA (see HO 47) which are searchable on their online catalogue.

For further information on transportation, see our guide to ancestors transported to Australia.