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Quarter Session Report (Extract) 1869 Epiphany

Quarter Session report from Epiphany Sessions 1869 on Huntingdon County Gaol, with reports from the Governor, Surgeon and Visiting Justices.


These SESSIONS were opened at Huntingdon, in the usual place and manner, on Monday last. the proceedings commenced at 12 o'clock, and lasted for not more than two hours. there was little on the Agenda paper beyond the customary routine of magisterial business, such as the reading and adoption of reports, the appointment of committeees, and the like. In Quarter Sessions it is the ancient rule to take the civil and criminal business on separate days, but the growth of railways and the increased activity of modern life is gradually inducing the feeling that all the proceedings might easily be accomplished in one sitting. In ordinary cases two hours is ample time for the disposal of county business, and two or three more would suffice for a moderate calendar. In one of the Midland counties this course has been adopted during the past year, and the change has resulted in a great improvement. The court there now opens at 11 o'clock, the grand jury is at once sworn, and after the Charge of the Chairman, retire for the finding of bills while the court is transacting the county business. At 1 o'clock at least one court commences the trial of the prisoners, and thus the whole proceedings are satisfactorily concluded within a single sitting. What is easily done in a moderately large county may be more easily accomplished in a small one.

There was a short attendance of members of the Bench on Monday. The Justices present were:- Col. the Hon. Octavius Duncombe,M.P., Chairman; Philip Tillard, Esq.,Vice-Chairman; G. Rust, Esq.; J. Rust, Esq.; G.J.Rust, Esq.; Dennis Herbert, Esq.; J.M. Heathcote, Esq.; Rev. A.F. Stopford; rev. G. Johnston; Wm Wells, Esq., M.P. ; Rev. G.G. Winkfield; W. Ward, Esq., and Rev. T. Woodruffe. E. Maule, Esq., Clerk of the Peace, was also present.

The minutes of the last meeting were read, and several reports were then taken. In noticing the proceedings we have followed the order prescribed by the Agenda paper, but one or two deviations were in fact made.

This report was very satisfactory; it stated that the health of the prisoners was good, that there had been four cases of typhoid fever, but that the Gaol was now entirely free. The conduct of the prisoners had been orderly. The daily average number in confinement had been 64, being an increase of 16 over the corresponding quarter of 1868. The highest number in prison on any one day had been 75; the total number committed, 95 - an increase of 25. The number actually in gaol was 66, 61 males and 5 females - an increase of 21. The cost of the dietary per head was 4½d., showing a decrease of ½d.

This report was as follows:
In conformity with the Prisons Act of 1865, I beg to report that all criminal prisoners have during the past quarter been kept in separation, and all convicted prisoners have been employed at labour of the 1st and 2nd class for ten hours daily.

The following tabular return shows the number of committals, re-committals, and daily averages during the last five years:

Qr. Ending committalsDaily AverageRecommitals


The report of the surgeons, signed by M. Foster and Herbert Lucas, Esqrs., stated that the health of the prisoners was good, and it also mentioned the cases of typhoid fever. Those attacked had recovered in every case, and there was no sign of the fever spreading.

D. HERBERT, Esq., made some few remarks on the outbreak of fever, and these reports were severally adopted by the court.

The Visiting Justices for the year were re-appointed without any alteration.