Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Conviction of Mary Katesby

There are a few documents about Mary's conviction available.

The first is1798 Lancashire Record book:

Whereas Mary Katesby late of the parish of Manchester in this County of Lancashire, Singlewoman had at this session been convicted of Felony, this Court doth therefore order and adjudge that the said Mary Katesby shall be sent and transported to some port beyond the Seas for the space of seven years next pursuant to the Statute in such case made and provided.

She is listed in 1798 in the Lancashire Prison Order Books as being employed as a weaver.  Prisoners were put to work whilst awaiting transportation.

Prison Order Book

The following, gives us an insight into life at the gaol, and  is taken from  'The Gaol at Lancaster Castle' by Eric R.Wilkinson MA

Large numbers of prisoners in the 18th and 19th Centuries went from the gaol to Transportation to Australia, after trial in the Castle's Crown Court. This was Lancashire's Bastille.

Conditions in the prison must have been grim. Surviving cells, of considerable antiquity, are small and probably originally had earthen floors. Sanitation, water and light were lacking, and prisoners were crowded into the cells, particularly just prior to the start of the Assizes. Until the late-18th Century, little consideration was given to the segregation of prisoners, and at times men, women and even children were confined together. The notion of prison as a long-term punishment is comparatively new. Until the 19th Century short sentences were passed on misdemeanants - more serious crimes were dealt with by death sentences or Transportation. Prisoners normally wore their own clothing until about 1810, when a blue and yellow uniform seems to have been introduced, but the Gaol Rules of 1785 mention a prison uniform being supplied even then. The cloth was made on looms in the prison, which were powered by one of the gaol's treadmills.

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