Books on Hertfordshire

Crime in Hertfordshire

Volume One

Law and Disorder

by Simon Walker

The Book Castle, 2002

ISBN 0-903747-13-9, 146 pages, 9.99

If you ancestors were involved with the law you will be certain to find something of interest in the book. It starts by looking at the changes in the law over the centuries, and the organisation of courts and trials. There is a long chapter on punishment which not only includes the types of punishment, but also includes descriptions of the surviving cages, brideswells and prisons. The final chapter is on enforcement - including information on the origins of the Hertfordshire Police Force. There is also a useful glossary, and plenty of illustrations. 


Volume Two

Murder and Misdemeanours

by Simon Walker

The Book Castle, 2003

ISBN 0-903747-28-7, 179 pages, 9.99

This volume is a collection of detailed accounts of crimes drawn from across the county, from 1602 t0 1939. Locations include Hatfield, Hemel Hempstead, Hoddesdon, Berkhamsted, St Albans, Ware, Hitchin, Datchworth and Bishops Stortford - some of the incidents may be familiar, most will be new to the reader. The rape of Maria Wells by her own father, and the publicity given to her testimony in court, was a tragedy for all concerned. Did Jane Norcott commit suicide, or was it murder? Why did Mary Boddy stab five-year-old George Hitch?

Included too are lesser offences, such as theft and poaching, though in the past these have attracted serious penalties in their own right. There is a chapter on highway robbery. Child cruelty, counterfeiting and "riding a horse whilst under the influence of alcohol" all appear in this book.

But this is more than just a collection of bloody crime; it provides an insight into the way in which many of our Hertfordshire forebears lived their lives.

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Page updated November 2007