Courts and justice

County Justice

Assizes

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 to 1838 (with gaps), catalogue prefix 44M69/G3
  • calendars of prisoners, 1840 to 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 to 1971 (with gaps), catalogue prefix Q7/1
  • Indictments, 1600, 1658, 1678 to 1972, catalogue prefix Q9/1
  • Book of indictments, 1646 to 1660, catalogue ref Q4/1
  • Index of prisoners and victims, 1788-1847

Except for the period 1778 to 1786, records of trial proceedings, witness statements, 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 to 1848 and 1915 to 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 to 1838, now listed on our online catalogue

Access restriction

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

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