Back in August I told the sad and sorry story of a childhood acquaintance who went on to be hanged for murder, in A Curious Incident and I was once thrown into prison myself for witchcraft (I was in Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible when I was a teenager and you can see the picture here.). Apart from that I’ve always tried to be a law-abiding citizen and the nearest I have come to methods of punishment is viewing the castle dungeons on our many visits to castles, or town jails/gaols, when we’ve been on some historical/heritage experience/trail over the years. Other members of my family have been photographed in the stocks and pillories (in 1987: Littlecote and 1989: Lacock).
This week’s Sepia Saturday has a legal theme and a prompt picture of a courtroom. I was once foreman of a jury but there were no photographic records of the occasion; there are strict rules in English Law about that sort of thing!
Referring once more to the book I introduced you to last week,* I found this interesting case.
Fortune Teller Held in Pillory
Last Tuesday at the Sessions held at Newbury, came on the trial of Elizabeth Sevens, otherwise Dame Cryer, a noted fortune-teller for several years past, being prosecuted by one Mondy of the Parish of Kingsclere, for having charged him with robbing his father of some Household Goods and Gammon of Bacon, the Father upon losing these Things having applied to the said Fortune-teller for information concerning them. She was tried by Special Jury and found guilty, was sentenced to be imprisoned for twelve Months and to stand four Times in the pillory within the time of her imprisonment. From The Ipswich Journal 16 December 1758
Not much of a fortune-teller; she should have seen that coming! It seems rather a harsh sentence for just making some bad guesses and I expect there is more to this case than meets the eye. For more tales of law-breaking and rough justice, visit other Sepians to see what they made of the prompt.
*News From the English Countryside 1750-1850 by Clifford Morsley
Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."