Catalogue description 2 Reports of George Hardinge on 1 individual petition (Thomas Chandler, the prisoner's...

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Details of HO 47/53/20
Reference: HO 47/53/20

2 Reports of George Hardinge on 1 individual petition (Thomas Chandler, the prisoner's husband) and 3 collective petitions (28 people, comprising the high sheriff of Radnor, members of the grand jury, members of the Kington and Radnorshire Bank and other inhabitants of Radnorshire; 14 people, comprising the prosecutors, principal magistrates for Radnorshire and others; 32 people of Birmingham) on behalf of Sarah Chandler, convicted at the Radnor Sessions at Presteigne in May 1814 for 2 counts of forgery and 2 counts of uttering forged instruments (but acquitted on a third indictment). Evidences supplied by Sarah Gittoe, prisoner's servant; Robert Phillips, schoolmaster; Mrs Phillips, wife of Robert Phillips; Mr Went, printer; Thomas Cooper, baker; Mrs Beaumont, flour seller; Mr Beaumont, husband of Mrs Beaumont; Mr Oliver, clerk to the Kington and Radnorshire Bank; John Owen, Mrs Owen, wife of John Owen; Thomas Meredith, clerk to the Kington and Radnorshire Bank; [?] Cluck, constable; Thomas Beaumont, constable; James Hughes, shoemaker; Joseph Parr, attorney, Thomas Drew Hopkins. [The statement of the case is lengthy and somewhat illegible]. There are letters from Hardinge; C H Price, sheriff of Radnorshire, regarding the circumstances of the prisoner's escape (the removal of a hearthstone, making away into the cellar beneath and from there into the yard where a ladder helped her escape over the gaol wall. The gaol is noted as being 'a very old building and ill constructed for the purpose intended'); a receipt from Price for the respite of 14 days for the prisoner; 3 letters from Harding stating that the respite for Chandler will only make the prisoner think that she will not be executed, he had already respited the prisoner because there was a suspicion the prisoner was pregnant, her death will be an injustice 'if Sus. Chandler escapes half the convicts at least who have suffered in forgery were murdered' and the act the prisoner was prosecuted under has been in effect for some time; 2). suggesting that the gaoler is negligent and enclosing a letter concerning 'maniac prisoners' ( see below) 3). that whilst confined the prisoner was in the habit of inviting soldiers into the prison and other errors in the confinement of the prisoner; a letter from D J Jones, regarding the state of the gaol; a covering letter to a petition from Marford Jones; a legal opinion from A Moysey, Bloomsbury Square; a sworn statement from Sarah Vaughn, that Thomas Chandler kept his wife short of money; a covering letter from Theop. Richards & Son; 2 printed reward handbills (20 guineas (from the sheriff) and 10 guineas, (for the gaoler) includes physical description 'a very jolly good looking woman.') for the prisoner's recapture [Sarah Chandler escaped from Presteigne Gaol in August 1814 and was recaptured late in 1816]. Hardinge notes that two other cases were similar to that of Chandler, those of Linsey and Crawford and in both cases 'execution followed'. Chandler's case appeared to Hardinge to be 'heavier'. Grounds for clemency: the prisoner was illiterate, had seven young children under 10, is pregnant with another, and had behaved well since her arrest; the act under which she was prosecuted had only recently been passed, her husband was a respectable and honest man, but had deprived her of money and treated her with cruelty, after her escape the prisoner had worked hard and kept her large family. Initial sentence: death. Recommendation: no mercy. Annotated: 'Nil'.

Hardinge mentions the 'maniac' William Morgan, in the gaol at Cardiff who has been confined with other [normal] felons and encloses a report by Richard Griffiths on:

William Morgan and Jenkin Morgan 'maniac' prisoners held at Cardiff gaol. Grounds for clemency: no prospect of improvement. Recommendation: free pardon. However there is no prospect of a guarantee for their future good conduct from friends or family. The gaoler has provided them with every comfort 'consistent with their unhappy situation' at a cost of 7/ per week and other prisoners care for them. The Morgans cannot be released and proper care for them will cost 40/ per week. Griffiths asks for further instructions.

Price, the clergyman- although 'apparently inoffensive is as intellectually deranged'. Initial sentence: committed for want of sureties to keep the peace. The prisoner had intended the murder of his wife and children with a large knife. The prisoner is confined by subscription collected by Mr Goodrich from the Grand Jury.

Griffiths pleads 'Legislation provision for the care of maniac criminals would greatly add to the national honour and humanity.'

Folios 138-203.

Date: 1814 June 2-3
Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Closure status: Open Document, Open Description

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