P*rr*tts in prison

P*rr*tts in prison

Nineteenth century gaol registers for Somerset have recently been made available on the Ancestry website and, as one would expect in this part of the country, there are a number of P*rr*tt items of interest.

James Prowse Parrott was admitted to Wilton Gaol on 6th October 1875 for using threatening language. He had been sentenced to six months imprisonment unless sureties could be found … which they duly were and he spent just three days in prison. James was the son of John Parrott and Mary Prowse, baptised at Wilton on 2nd February 1823. He appears on the 1841 census working as a baker in Aisholt. One can only imagine the type of language James must have used to result in such a punishment, as I cannot find any report of this in the newspapers.

In 1854 Simon Perrott of Marston was committed to Wilton Gaol for six months’ imprisonment. He was the son of Thomas Perrott and Ann, baptised as Simon Ashby Perrott in Marston in 1832. At the time of his imprisonment he was 22 years old, 5ft 4½ins tall, with a fresh complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. Records show that he had a cut on his little finger and a mole on his neck, as well as ‘E.G.’ and a heart on his left arm which one supposes refers to a tattoo. His crime, along with Zenus Cliff and Charles Lewis, was “placing a wheelbarrow on the Wells, Somerset, and Weymouth line of railway, with intent to obstruct and injure an engine, tender, and track, and to endanger the safety of persons travelling on the line”. The wheelbarrow was spotted by the driver of a goods train on its way to Frome which smashed into the wheelbarrow without doing any damage to the engine. Following his time in gaol, Simon found work as an agricultural labourer and married Fanny Garrett, with whom he raised a number of children. There is no evidence of any further criminal misdemeanours.

Sometimes the most trivial offences could result in time in gaol. In 1824 Mary Ann Perrott aged 25 was sent to prison for “leaving her work”. Mary Ann was 5ft tall with grey eyes and brown hair. She had been born in Dartmouth, but her most recent place of residence was Kingsbrompton. Her crime resulted in one month of hard labour at Wilton Gaol. She was, most likely, the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth who was baptised at Broadhempston, Devon on 15th December 1799.

A more serious crime was that of Robert Perrott, who was admitted to Ilchester Gaol on 15th July 1808. He was convicted of grand larceny and sentenced to seven years’ transportation. On 27th October 1808 Robert was delivered to the prison hulk H.M. Retribution on the river Thames. The Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette records that his crime was receiving malt and barley from J. Evans which had been stolen from a brewery in Bath, together with a bridle that had been stolen from Mr. Bendall of Widcomb. A search of the prison hulk registers reveals that Robert was never transported – he was, in fact, pardoned on 30th August 1811. He is probably the same Robert who was buried at Walcot St Swithin, Bath on 22nd January 1843.

In 1870 30 year old William Perrott was imprisoned at Wilton Gaol on a charge of bastardy for three weeks or to be released on payment of 6 shillings. The most likely candidate for this offence is William Perrott born 1840 in Clatworthy to William Perrett and Elizabeth Jones, particularly as his three oldest children – William, Elizabeth and Tom – were born prior to his marriage to Elizabeth Jane Stone in 1868. This family had moved to Cornwall by 1872 and afterwards to Salford, Lancashire. William died in Northwich, Cheshire in 1906.

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