Courts and justice

County Justice


Serious crimes were dealt with at the Assizes by justices of the Western Circuit sent out twice a year from London. We hold:-

  • Calendars of prisoners, 1710-1838 (with gaps), catalogue prefix 44M69/G3
  • Calendars of prisoners, 1840-1972*, catalogue prefix Q7/2

Surviving trial records date from 1746 and are held at The National Archives

Hampshire Quarter Sessions

Lesser crimes were dealt with at Quarter Sessions by local Justices of the Peace four times a year. We hold:-

  • Calendars of prisoners, 1680-1971* (with gaps), catalogue prefix Q7/1
  • Indictments, 1600, 1658, 1678-1972*, catalogue prefix Q9/1
  • Book of indictments, 1646-1660, catalogue ref Q4/1
  • Index of prisoners and victims, 1788-1847

Except for the period 1778-1786, records of trial proceedings, witness statements etc., do not survive.

Calendars of prisoners

Calendars are the key to researching prisoners. They are snapshot views of all prisoners in the County Gaol and include:

  • those about to tried at a particular Session or Assize. Gives name, age, date of committal to prison and summary details of the charge - often annotated with a note of the result
  • those convicted at earlier or other courts and serving time or awaiting transportation. These appear from the mid 18th century and give name, age, when convicted and at which court, class of crime, sentence

Not all calendars survive. However, a convicted prisoner may be found in subsequent Sessions and Assize calendars.

Other sources

  • Winchester Prison registers, 1836-1848 and 1915-1964* (with gaps), catalogue prefix 88M96W/G1
  • Newspapers, from 1772 - useful for reports of trials where official records are not available.

Great Hall, Winchester
Great Hall, Winchester: scene of many trials up to 1972

Searching online?

Prisoners tried at the Hampshire Assizes, 1710-1838, now listed on our online catalogue

Between 1784 - 1829, details of individual cases where petitions for clemency were made to the Home Office, can be found under series code HO47 at The National Archives.

Important Information

A 100-year access restriction applies to court records. More on access restrictions