MARY PARROTT from Cork. Dark complexion, brown hair, dark hazel eyes. Sentenced 9 Dec 1801 to be whipped and imprisoned for 6 months in the house of correction at Newgate for stealing a loin of pork from the shop of John Drew.
It’s often rewarding to a family historian to find a criminal amongst the ancestors. Not of course because of any sympathy with their crimes but simply because it makes them seem more real to us and not simply a name and a date. Why did they do what they did? Was it common or garden criminality ? Did they have hungry children at home? Were they mentally ill?
As more and more material becomes available on the Internet we can gain a better insight into the lives of our forebears. Now available on www.ancestry.co.uk are the criminal registers for England and Wales 1791-1892 and the details of the unfortunate Mary’s punishment described above are amongst the cases listed there.
Was 20 year old Yorkshire labourer John Parrott an out and out villain when he stole a shirt in 1793? Whatever his motive he paid dearly for the crime – he was sentenced to one month in Newgate and to be publicly whipped. His is one of the earliest crimes committed by a P*RR*TT that I have so far found on the site. The records always give a brief description of the accused: in this case he had ‘brown hair, grey eyes and a pale complexion.’
Because of the availability of transportation as a form of punishment I can see that our overseas members may well find material of direct interest to them on this site. For example Robert Parrott, who used the alias ‘Samuel Barrett’ was a 48 year old man who could read and write was tried at Boston (Lincolnshire) Borough Sessions on 30 Oct 1835 for larceny and sentenced to transportation for 7 years. Regrettably the record does not show to where he was deported, but at that date Australia seems a likely destination. Does any member claim him as an ancestor?
A sentence of transportation was also handed down to Peter Parrott, born about 1789 and tried in Bedford in 1834 on a charge of receiving stolen goods. He had a previous conviction for felony. The judge was not given to leniency and Peter was sentenced to transportation for life.
Although the justice of the times seems harsh to us there were numerous instances of acquittal. 19 year old Rhoda Parrott was found not guilty at the Old Bailey of child stealing in 1817, as was 18 year old Emma Parrott, tried in Middlesex in April 1822 on a charge of larceny.