Poaching and Petty Thieving in St Albans

A Talk by Chris Reynolds

The Stratton Family

Another chicken for the pot in 1882


Before Mr T P Marten  (in the chair) and the Rev W S Wade.

An Old Offender

Joseph Stratton, and elderly man, was charged with having been on the premises of Mr Park Deanes  for an unlawful purpose.

The case came on by adjournment from the 10th inst. The evidence of a man named Leanard, in the employ of Mr Park Deanes, was to the effect that about half-past two on the morning of the 10th he was watching his master’s fowls at that place when he discovered the prisoner in the yard. Stratton went to the hen’s house, looked in at the window, and lighted a match. Witness went to him and locked him in the stable. Several fowls had been missed of late from the farm. Prisoner had in his possession the bag (produced), and during the time he was in the stable, where he was locked up, he cut the bottom of the bag out.

Mr Park Deanes, the prosecutor, also gave evidence. Prisoner feigned to be very deaf. It was said he could hear well enough if he chose. His defence was that he merely went into the yard to lay down. Mr Park Deanes said that to have obtained access to the yard prisoner must have got over a gate six foot high. No fowls were lost on the morning he was discovered on the premises but on previous occasions there were several stolen.

A list of more than 20 previous convictions was produced against the prisoner, who seems to have spent about half his life in goal. He was now committed for a month with hard labour.

Herts Advertiser 18th November 1882