Did your ancestor serve time at the notorious Newgate prison or was your ancestor one of the prisoner’s unfortunate victims. Discover stories of arson, murder, piracy, embezzlement, conspiracy, and treason.
The Chronicles of Crime, or The New Newgate Calendar. Being a series of memoirs and anecdotes of notorious characters who have outraged the laws of Great Britain from the earliest period to the present time by Camden Pelham, Esq., was published in 1841. The publication is presented in a searchable Portable Device Format (PDF).
Each entry will provide a biography of the prisoner. Many will include birth place, education, and a description of his/her family life. Each entry will also give you a description of the crime and the investigation and trial. Not all trials recorded resulted in convictions. You may also learn about the circumstances around the alleged crime (for example, how the prisoner knew his or her victim or relevant events that led up to the crime).
In some entries, the author continues to recount the lives of the prisoner’s family or victims after the trial and includes his own opinions of the prisoner’s actions or motives.
Camden Pelham’s *The Chronicles of Crime, or The New Newgate Calendar *, volumes one and two, were published in 1841. The two volumes begin with an introduction followed by a table of contents, listing each convicts’ name in alphabetical order and the offence alleged against the person. The entries are recorded in chronological order throughout the book. Some entries will include illustrations, such as the apprehension of Jerry Mershaw or shooting a ghost. The volumes include cases from Newgate prison between 1700 and 1841.
The Newgate Calendar was first published in 1774 and became a widely popular publication. Initially, reports of cases from Newgate prison started as a bulletin of the executions created by the Keeper of Newgate Prison. Through the years this was expanded into broadsheets and then full publications. The Newgate calendars are filled with sensational stories of robbery and murder. Editions were printed in 1824, 1826 and 1841. Some publications plagiarised from previous authors and repeated cases. Today, the public are still intrigued by these cases of murder, deception, shadowy figures and innocent victims.
The Chronicles of Crime, or The New Newgate Calendar includes the story of Captain John Kidd, the wizard of the seas, who was hanged for piracy; Francis Smith, condemned for the murder of a supposed ghost; Robert Emmet, executed for high treason after the Irish rebellion of 1798; and James Lovelace and the other ‘Dorchester Labourers’ or ‘Tolpuddle Martyrs’, who were sentenced to seven year transportation for administering unlawful oaths.
The story of the Dorchester Labourers, incorrectly recorded brothers James and George Loveless’ surname as Lovelace. James and George Loveless were among a group of agricultural labourers who organised together to fight for better wages in 1834. However, the group was discovered, tried and found guilty for administering unlawful oaths. They are attributed with creating the first organised labour union.
Within Findmypast’s records you can follow James Loveless’ life from birth through to his trial and transportation. Loveless first appears in the Dorset baptisms; he was baptised at St John the Evangelist in Tolpuddle, Dorest on 4 April 1808. His parents were Thomas and Diana. Twenty-two years later James Loveless married Sarah Daniel on 6 July 1830 in Tolpuddle. This record can be found in the Dorset marriages. A warrant for James Loveless and a criminal petition on behalf of James Loveless appear in England & Wales, Crime, Prisons & Punishment, 1770-1935. In this record set, you will also find Loveless’ name on a register of convicted prisoners. The register shows that Loveless was sentenced on 17 March 1834 and sent to New South Wales on 29 March 1834.
You can follow the Tolpuddle Martyrs to Australia in the Australia Convict Ships 1786-1849 records on a list of male convicts on the ship Surry. The register states, ‘James Loveless, age 25, can read and write, Protestant, single, native place is county Dorset, trade is farm servant, offence is unlawful oaths, tried at Dorsetshire assizes on 14 March 1834, sentenced to 7 years, no former convictions, dark shallow complexion, brown hair and eyes, eyebrows meeting, small mole lower part of right side of neck, scar back of left hand, scar back of fore finger of left hand, two small moles inside lower left arm.’
In the New South Wales and Tasmania: Settlers and Convicts 1787-1859 records, it is revealed that James Loveless was approved for pardon by the Governor of New South Wales on 24 March 1836. The pardon, written by the governor, can be found in our England & Wales, Crime, Prisons & Punishment, 1770-1935 collection. The governor expressed the following on the pardon: ‘We in consideration of some circumstances humbly represented unto us are graciously pleased to extend out grace and mercy unto them and to grant them out free pardon for their said crime provided the conduct of the said James Loveless, Thomas Stanfield, John Stanfield, James Hammet and James Brine has during their residence in our territory of New South Wales been satisfactory to the governor thereof. Our will and pleasure therefore is that you do take notice hereof’. This is just one example of how you can follow the life of your criminal ancestor through Findmypast’s records.