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At Every Bloody Level: A Magistrate, a Framework-Knitter, and the Law


In November 1806, Nottinghamshire magistrate Sir Gervase Clifton was visited at his house by one of his poorer neighbours, “a pauper of the village of Wilford.” (Wilford is about three miles from Clifton village and Clifton Hall.) William Kirwin was attempting to sort out complicated domestic arrangements within the framework of the law that governed his family's life. He told the magistrate about his mother-in-law, a widow, currently living in Tollerton. “She is in a very distressed state,” he said; he and his wife wanted her to come and live with them, “so that she may be better taken care of & kept from want.” He had asked the Wilford overseer for permission to take her in but had been refused. The family had tried to help after her husband died: her son (with wife and children) had moved into her cottage on the understanding that “they would take care of her during her Life & allow her good victuals drinks firing & good cloathing.” Something had evidently gone wrong with that arrangement, but we are not to know what, or how, as the entry in Clifton's notebook breaks off here (as is the case with many pieces of magisterial business he recorded). Kirwin was aware of local ratepayers and tensions between parishes in regard to their financial responsibilities under the old Poor Law: what he proposed would keep his mother-in-law from “troubling the … parish of Wilford,” he said. She was financially independent, or at least on marriage she had “brought a many good with her & such as a beds & other goods.” He knew that a justice of the peace was a point of appeal in the vast, complex edifice of ancient statutory law (poor and settlement law) that dictated the way he lived his life. We can discern something of William Kirwin's understanding of these matters from the fragmentary, incomplete account of what he said, and the strategies he used in telling his story; we can discern some of Sir Gervase's from the action he did not take in this case, and what he did not have his clerk record.

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1. Nottinghamshire Archives (hereafter NA), Notebooks of Sir Gervase Clifton JP, M8050 (1772–1812), M8051 (1805–1810). Undated entries are referred to by the cataloguer's pagination. For the William Kirwin entry, M8050, November 17, 1806.

2. NA, DD 311/1-6, Diaries of Joseph Woolley, framework knitter, for 1801, 1803, 1804, 1809, 1813, 1815.

3. Thompson E. P., The Poverty of Theory and Other Essays (London: Merlin, 1978), 288–89.

4. Using “bloody level” may have been an aspect of his self-presentation (indeed, self-parody) as a doughty, down-to-earth Englishman, speaking truth (on this occasion) to the power of Continental Theory. The idea of “level” ridiculed in these passages was part of Thompson's attack on the structural Marxism of Louis Althusser. Palmer Bryan D., E. P. Thompson. Objections and Oppositions (London: Verso, 1994), 118; Althusser Louis, Pour Marx (Paris: François Maspero, 1965); and For Marx, orig. pub. 1969 (London: Verso, 2005), 254–56. Also Jonathan Rée, “A Theatre of Arrogance,” The Times Higher Education Supplement June 2, 1995.

5. Brooks Christopher, “Litigation, Participation and Agency in Eighteenth-Century England,” in The British and their Laws in the Eighteenth Century, ed. Lemmings David (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2005), 177.

6. Lemmings David, “Introduction,” in Lemmings, British and their Laws, 35; Lemmings David, Professors of Law. Barristers and English Legal Culture in the Eighteenth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 19.

7. Rule John, “Edward Palmer Thompson (1924–1993),” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: University Press, 2004); Hay Doug, Linebaugh Peter, Rule John G., Thompson E.P., Winslow Cal, Albion's Fatal Tree. Crime and Society in Eighteenth-Century England (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1975); Thomson E. P., Whigs and Hunters (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1977); and Linebaugh Peter, The London Hanged. Crime and Civil Society in the Eighteenth Century (London: Penguin, 1991).

8. Lemmings, “Introduction,” 8.

9. See, for example, Hindle Steve, The State and Social Change in Early Modern England (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000), 236–37; Sharpe James, “The People and the Law,” in Popular Culture in Seventeenth-Century England, ed. Reay Barry (London: Routledge, 1988), 89.

10. Brooks, “Litigation, Participation and Agency,” 155–81.

11. Prest Wilfrid, “The Experience of Litigation in Eighteenth-century England,” in British and their Laws, 133–54; Brooks, “Litigation, Participation and Agency,” in idem, 155–81; and Champion W. A., “Recourse to the Law and the Meaning of the Great Litigation Decline, 1650–1750. Some Clues from the Shrewsbury Local Courts,” in Communities and Courts in Britain, 1150–1900, ed. Brooks Christopher and Lobban Michael (London: Hambledon, 1997), 179–98.

12. Muldrew Craig, “From a ‘Light Cloak’ to an ‘Iron Cage’: Historical Changes in the Relation between Community and Individualism,” in Communities in Early Modern England, ed. Shepard Alexandra and Withington Phil (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000), 156–79.

13. Brooks, “Litigation, Participation and Agency,” 175–76.

14. Devereux Simon, “The Promulgation of the Statutes in late Hanoverian Britain,” in British and their Laws, 80101.

15. Lemmings, “Introduction,” 2, 12, 16.

16. Hay Doug, “Legislation, Magistrates, and Judges. High Law and Low Law in England and the Empire,” in British and their Laws, 63.

17. Morgan Gwenda and Rushton Peter, “The Magistrate, the Community and the Maintenance of an Orderly Society in Eighteenth-Century England,” Historical Research 76 (2003): 7576.

18. Prest, “Experience of Litigation,” 136.

19. We still do not know how many courts (borough courts of record, county courts, hundreds courts, manorial courts) were active. Prest, “Experience of Litigation,” 138.

20. Steedman Carolyn, Labours Lost. Domestic Service and the Making of Modern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 172–98.

21. Hay, “Legislation, Magistrates, and Judges,” 72.

22. Ibid., 64–65.

23. Lemmings, “Introduction,” 14; Prest, “Experience of Litigation,” 176; Hay Doug, “Dread of the Crown Office. The English Magistracy and King's Bench, 1740–1800,” in Law, Crime, and English Society, 1660–1830, ed. Landau Norma (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 1945.

24. Steedman Carolyn, “Lord Mansfield's Women,” Past and Present 176 (2002): 105–43.

25. Prest, “Experience of Litigation,” 177.

26. Samuel Whitbread's Notebooks, 1810–11, 1813–14, ed. Cirket Alan F. (Ampthill: Bedfordshire Historical Record Society, 1971); The Deposition Book of Richard Wyatt, JP, 1767–1776, ed. Silverthorne Elizabeth (Guildford: Surrey Record Society, 1978); The Justicing Notebook of William Hunt, 1744–1749, ed. Crittall Elizabeth (Devizes: Wiltshire Record Society, 1982); The King's Peace. The Justice's Notebook of Thomas Horner, of Mells, 1770–1777, ed. McGarvie Michael (Frome: Frome Society for Local Study, 1997); “The Justicing Notebook (1750–64) of Edmund Tew, Rector of Boldon,” in Publications of the Surtees Society, Vol. 205, ed. Morgan Gwenda and Rushton Peter (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2000).

27. See Anon., “The Journal of a Gloucestershire Justice, A. D. 1715–1756. Journal of the Rev. Francis Welles, Vicar of Presbury, Gloucestershire, and Justice of the Peace for the County of Gloucester, A. D. 1715 to 1756. Folio. MS,” The Law Magazine and Law Review or Quarterly Journal of Jurisprudence 11 (1861): 125–42; 12 (1861): 99–126; 13 (1862): 247–91. Welles used his journal to think through points of law encountered at quarter session. The justicing notebooks of Thomas Parker, kept between 1805 and 1840, contain just one note of his legal thinking in the 653 items of magisterial business he recorded. Shrewsbury, Shropshire Archives, 1060/168–71, Justicing Notebooks of Thos. N. Parker, 1805–40. See discussion of Welles and Parker (and Clifton) in Steedman, Labours Lost, 172–98.

28. The Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters was incorporated in 1657. It was reincorporated and its privileges extended to the provinces in 1663 as “The Master, Wardens, Assistants and Society of the Art or Mystery of Framework Knitters of the Cities of London and Westminster and the Kingdom of England and the Dominion of Wales.” Binfield Kevin, ed., Writings of the Luddites (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004), 2032.

29. Ibid., 47, 65–69, 71, 133.

30. NA, DD 311/5, March 1813.

31. Prest, “Experience of Litigation,” 136.

32. Clifton's notebooks are unusual in not detailing the action he took. There are many deposits like his in the county record offices of England that have so far not been thought worthy of publication. But all of them, no matter how short, partial, and fragmented, detail what the magistrate did in the majority of cases. Berkshire County Record Office, D/ED 031, Papers of Robert Lee and William Trumbull as justices (the former acting in Surrey as well as Berks), 1735–1739; Lincoln's Inn Library, Misc. Ms.592. Manuscript Diary of Philip Ward of Stoke Doyle, Northamptonshire, 1748–1751; Warwickshire County Record Office, CRO CR300/36 Notebook (“Memorandum”) containing brief entries of an unnamed Justice of the Peace in North East Warwickshire, 1761–1766; Wiltshire Record Office, 383:955, “Justice Book” kept by R.C. Hoare as a justice, 1785–1815; East Sussex County Record Office, AMA 6192/1, Notebook of Richard Stileman of Winchelsea, JP, 1819–1827.

33. Whitehall Evening Post, November 29, 1796.

34. “Nottingham May 21,” St James's Chronicle & British Evening Post, May 22, 1766; ”Thursday, May 1,” London Chronicle, April 29, 1766–May 1, 1766; “Wednesday,” Gazetteer & New Daily Advertiser, February 16, 1766; and NA, QSM 1/29, Quarter Sessions Minute Books, Mich. 1767–Mids. 1773 (January 8, 1770).

35. “Deaths,” Lloyd's Evening Post, September 10, 1779; NA, QSM 1/31, Quarter Sessions Minute Books, Mids. 1778–Epiph. 1782 (January 21, 1781).

36. Clifton spent his absences in London and Bath. His arrival in Bath was noted by the London and Bath press in 1780, 1782 (twice), 1787, 1788 (twice), 1790, 1791, and 1793. Woolley and his friends believed that he had picked up his new “Lady or other wis his hore” in Bath––“the daughter of poor parents but a very fine woman I am very Credditable informed that She is the daughter of a man that Came with Six oxen that Sir Gerves bought in Summersetshire these Severel years a Go … this man was Sartenly the father to the Lady … for a inkeeper told it to mr Langford when he was at bath and Thomas told it to me and said that he thaught that it was So for the man Cold tell him all the perticerlars about it and hir parents.” NA, DD 311/3, September 1804.

37. NA, M8050; DD 311/6.

38. NA, M8050, 176.

39. A one-line reference to George Jardine, professor of logic and philosophy at the University of Glasgow (1774 to 1826); a recipe for making what looks leather polish; and a note about someone being at Eton College on a particular day.

40. NA, M8050, 7.

41. NA, M8050, 86. Lambley is approximately 12 miles north east of Clifton, on the other side of Nottingham.

42. Costock is 6 miles south of Clifton. NA, M8050, August 10, 1772; July 22, 1776.

43. NA, M8050, July 31, 1777.

44. NA, M8051, 26.

45. NA, M8050 (blotting paper between two pages dated 1773).

46. NA, M8050, April 22, 1773.

47. Steedman Carolyn, “Enforced Narratives. Stories of Another Self,” in Feminism and Autobiography. Texts, Theories, Methods, ed. Cosslett Tess, Lury Celia and Summerfield Penny (London: Routledge, 2000), 2539; Tomkins Alannah, “‘I mak Bould to Wrigt’: First Person Narratives in the History of Poverty in England, c.1750–1900,” History Compass, 9/5 (2011): 365–73.

48. For legislation governing labor relations from the medieval period onwards, Hay Douglas, “England, 1562–1875. The Law and Its Uses,” in Masters, Servants and Magistrates in Britain and the Empire, 1562–1955, ed. Craven Paul and Hay Douglas (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 59116. For eighteenth-century “law of master and servant,” see Deakin Simon and Wilkinson Frank, The Law of the Labour Market. Industrialization, Employment and Legal Evolution (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 6263. The first modern master and servant legislation was enacted in 1747––“modern” in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century use of “Master & Servant” to describe a complex of laws regulating the employment relationship, and providing criminal sanctions against workers (not against employers) for failing to perform what had been agreed at the hiring. An act of 1758 extended jurisdiction to servants in husbandry hired for less than a year (31 Geo. 2 c. 11). 1776 saw legislation making it an offence for a servant to quit before the end of an agreed term. In 1823, after Clifton's time, came new crimes: absconding from work; refusing to start work agreed between two parties (4 Geo. 4 c. 90).

49. NA, M805, “Taken and made upon Oath before me this day of May 1805.”

50. Hay, “England, 1562–1875,” 87.

51. Bird James Barry, The Laws Respecting Masters and Servants, Articled Clerks, Apprentices, Manufacturers, Labourers and Journeymen (London: W. Clarke, 1799), 3; Williams Thomas Walter, The Whole Law Relative to the Duty and Office of a Justice of the Peace. Comprising also the Authority of Parish Officers, 3rd ed., 4 vols (London: John Stockdale, 1812), 3:893.

52. Hay, “Legislation, Magistrates, and Judges,” 63; Lemmings, “Introduction,” 14.

53. NA, M8050, January 21, 1773.

54. Steedman, Labours Lost, 172–98.

55. Griggs of Kelvedon, General View of the Agriculture of the County of Nottingham, with Observations on the Means of its Improvement. By Robert Lowe, Esq. Drawn up for the Consideration of the Board of Agriculture and Internal Improvement (London: C. Clarke, 1794), 223.

56. NA, M8051, August 31, 1807.

57. NA, M8050, February 1775; December 28, 1779; and June 28, 1784. The Hardys had been this way before. Noted later in the volume was “March 28th 1774 John Hardy Stockiner for Misbehaving him self against his Wife & Child paid the Constable for the Warrant.” NA, M8058, March 28, 1774.

58. Halliday Paul D., Habeas Corpus. From England to Empire (Cambridge, MA and London: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2010) emphasises case law over the heroic, immemorial story of habeas corpus (as the fountain of liberty and aligned with the Magna Carta) discussed by earlier legal historians.

59. Burn Richard, The Justice of the Peace, and Parish Officer. By Richard Burn, L.L.D. One of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the County of Westmorland, 8th ed., 2 vols. (London: A. Millar, 1764), 1:76. For law literature “in which legal topics were arranged alphabetically, and in which cross-references were the height of systematisation,” Meiring Jean, “Conversations in the Law: Sir William Jones's Singular Dialogue,” in The Concept and Practice of Conversation in the Long Eighteenth Century, 1688–1848 (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008), 128–50, esp. 130–32.

60. Shaw Joseph, The Practical Justice of Peace: or, a Treatise shewing the present Power and Authority of that Officer, … Compiled from the Common and Statute law, 5th ed., 2 vols. (London: Thomas Osborne and Edward Wicksteed, 1751), Vol. 1. The last edition of Shaw omitted comparison between common and statute law: The Practical Justice of Peace, and Parish and Ward-officer: or, a Treatise shewing the present Power and Authority of these Officers, …. The sixth edition, corrected and very much enlarged (London: James Hodges and Edward Wicksteed, 1756). But it proceeded as before.

61. Burn Richard, The Justice of the Peace, and Parish Officer. By Richard Burn, LL.D. Chancellor of the Diocese of Carlisle, and one of his Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the Counties of Westmorland and Cumberland. The fourteenth edition: to which is added an Appendix, including the Statutes of the last Session of Parliament (20 G. 3.) and some adjudged Cases. 4 vols. (London: T. Cadell, 1780).

62. Burn Richard, The Justice of the Peace, and Parish Officer. 12th ed., 4 vols. (London: T. Cadell, London, 1772), 1:24.

63. Lemmings, “Introduction,” 2, 12, 16; Hay, “Legislation, Magistrates, and Judges,” 63. In “England, 1562–1875,” 71–77, Hay uses Clifton as case-study of magistrates using master and servant legislation in the period 1608–1871.

64. NA, M8050, 24.

65. NA, M8050, January 20, 1773.

66. 6 Geo. 3 c. 25 (1766); Deakin and Wilkinson, Law of the Labour Market, 63; Burn, Justice of the Peace (1772), 4:139–40.

67. NA, M8050, 122.

68. NA, M8050, June 30, 1779; Burn, Justice of the Peace (1772), 1:xiii; 4:120.

69. There was an enactment of 1766 that made it a felony punishable by transportation to assault someone in the street with the intent of damaging (and actually damaging) their clothes. 6 Geo. 3 c. 23 s.11; Burn, Justice of the Peace (1772), 1:107.

70. Ibid., 106. “Not withstanding the many ancient opinions to the contrary, it seems agreed at this day that no words whatsoever can amount to an assault.”

71. NA, M8050, May 4, 1781.

72. NA, M8050, May 26, 1779.

73. NA, M8050, June 28, 1784.

74. NA, M8050, June 8, 1785.

75. Burn Richard, The Justice of the Peace, and Parish Officer … Continued to the present Time by John Burn … 18th ed., 4 vols. (London: B. Cadell, 1793), 4 (no pagination; “Riot, Rout &c”). Woolley described a similar incident in Dalby in June 1804 after being thrown out of the alehouse; the keeper and his wife “were Glad they Got shut of us.” NA, DD 311/3, June 29, 1804.

76. Indecent offense was an offense (at common law) established during the eighteenth century. It was codified, and made a statutory offense in 1861 in the Offences against the Person Act.

77. NA, M8050, April 30, 1772.

78. NA, M8051, 33.

79. Heathcote Ralph, The Irenach: or, Justice of the Peace's Manual. II Miscellaneous Reflections upon Laws, Policy, Manners &etc &etc. In a Dedication to William Lord Mansfield. III An Assize Sermon Preached at Leicester, 12 Aug. 1756 (London, privately printed, 1781), 188. In what sense was an assize sermon equivalent to a justices' handbook as a guide to magistrates? Heathcote was a Leicestershire clerical magistrate; the Irenach was not a conventional handbook. All three items included in the volume offered a meditation on Christianity and the everyday operation of the law. His own, 20-odd year old assize sermon was equally dedicated to the guidance and Christian education of his fellow magistrates.

80. Burn, Justice of the Peace (1793), 2:256–345.

81. NA, M8050, 17–20. This is one of Clifton's more extended pieces of writing; he was personally involved in these questions.

82. NA, M8050, April 27, 1773. Henry Allcock of Doverridge, Derbyshire was certainly chancing it. Dr Burn greatly liked this 1767 statute. It repealed all highway and turnpike legislation “which was before greatly confused,” and codified it anew very neatly. Burn, Justice of the Peace (1772), 2: 354, 378–79.

83. Devereux, “Promulgation of the Statutes,” 81.

84. NA, DD 311/1, 1–4.

85. He was most likely Joseph, son of Samuel and Elizabeth Woolley, bap. Clifton, 7 March 1773. NA, PR 3847, Clifton Parish Registers, 1573–1944.

86. NA, DD 311/1, 144, August 31, 1801; DD 311/3, 118; DD 311/5, January 8, 1813.

87. NA, DD 311/6, April 17, September 26, October 4, 1815.

88. NA, DD 311/2, April 19, 1803; DD 311/3, 99. “Henerey Allin arived at Clifton from London he was turned away from is place for Being too free with the Cooke or as people say he was Caut with hir in such a place as was no Credit to them it had Been sospected that they was more kind to Each other than they aught to bee before they left Clifton but they was not Caught till they was in London and then Sir Ger Gave poor harey a Bill of shifts.” DD 311/5, January 8, 1813.

89. NA, DD 311/3, January 1804: “a remarkable dream that was dreamt one night in Clifton John rue dreamt that Sir Ger Clifton would turn him out of his cottage.”

90. NA, DD 311/2, September 17, 1803. “The Rector was in no way related to the family, for his patron met him by chance at an inn, and offered him the vacant living, partly no doubt on account of his name.” Bruce Rosslyn, The Clifton Book (Nottingham) (Nottingham: Henry B. Saxton, 1906) III.

91. NA, DD 311/3, October 6, 1804, and 161.

92. Burn Richard LL.D., In Ecclesiastical Law. By Richard Burn, LL. D. … The sixth edition; with notes and references by Simon Fraser, Esq. Barrister at Law, 4 vols. (London: T. Cadell & W. Davies, 1797), 2:412–13; John Strange, Sir, Reports of adjudged Cases in the Courts of Chancery, King's Bench, Common Pleas and Exchequer, from Trinity term in the second year of King George I, to trinity term in the twenty-first year of King George II …, 2 vols. (Dublin: privately printed, 1756), 1: 702.

93. NA, M8050, October 8, 1804.

94. NA, DD 311/3, October 8, 1804.

95. There are arguments to say that all self-writing (letters and diaries as well as autobiography) should be analyzed historically in the light of Samuel Richardson's discovery of the possibilities of epistolarity in the late 1740s. He claimed that in Pamela (1740) he had invented a new form of writing––“to the moment.” Joe Bray, “An Historical Approach to Speech Presentation: Embedded Quotations in Eighteenth-Century Fictions,” Poetics, Linguistics and History: Discourses of War and Conflict. Proceedings of PALA XIX, Potchefstroom University, South Africa, March 1999, Published for PALA by the Oxford Text Archive, 546–56, Woolley had read Richardson: “I read the following books out of Suttons Libbery pamela or virtue rewarded.” NA, DD 311/1, April 12, 1801.

96. Woolley read widely. He clubbed together with his friendly society to buy a weekly newspaper. He bought, borrowed (from Sutton's Library, Nottingham), and read, novels. Most of them were in the later established canon of English literature, including Richardson's Pamela (1740) and Fielding's Tom Jones (1749). He made a note of “Lackington and Co booksellers finsbury Square London” in the first extant diary. For Lackington and his bookshop, see Mascuch Michael, Origins of the Individual Self. Autobiography and Self-Identity in England, 1591–1791 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). Woolley's raucous accounts of drinking, swearing, and (other men's) whoring remind this reader very powerfully of another “comic epic poem in prose,” that of Henry Fielding. See Note 102.

97. NA, DD 311/3, August 22, 1804.

98. Burn, Justice of the Peace (1772), 4:183–84

99. NA, DD 311/3, September 29, 1804.

100. NA, DD 311/3, October 6, 1804.

101. NA, DD 311/3, October 2, 1804.

102. “pd for 3 vol of the history of tom jones.” NA, DD 311/3, October 13, 1804.

103. NA, DD 311/2, September 29, 1803.

104. NA, DD 311/3, October 10, 1805; Phillimore W. P. W. and Blagg Thomas M., Nottinghamshire Parish Registers, Marriages (London: Phillimore, 1905), VII:112, “Sarah Waldram m. William Bradwell October 12, 1805, Clifton, Nott.”

105. Snell Keith, The Parish and Belonging. Community, Identity and Welfare in England and Wales, 1700–1950 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 136, 143–44 for settlement examinations before single justices, and men “cajoled into marriage by the parish.”

106. See Note 102 for Woolley and Tom Jones. The examination of Moll Seagrim by Justice Allworthy occurs in the first volume (Book Four, ch. 11) of the edition that Woolley is most likely to have purchased: Henry Fielding, Esq., The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, 3 vols, (London: T. Longman, B. Law & Son and 14 others, 1792), 1:156–57. Other magistrates were as pragmatic as Clifton appears to have been about statutory limitations on their powers. In April 1751 Northamptonshire JP Philip Ward heard the complaint of a local watchmaker that his apprentice had assaulted him. “I granted a Warrant agt the Apprentice to be brought before Me but it seemed to me upon second thoughts that I as a single Justice can neither punish him upon s. 21 of 5 Eliz c. 4 nor upon the 4 s. of 20 Geo.2 c. 19. but concealing my want of power I had the words of the Statute read over to him and he immediately desir'd he might be admitted to ask his Masters pardon upon promising never to offend more and so was forgiven.” Lincoln's Inn Library, Misc. Ms. 592. Manuscript Diary of Philip Ward of Stoke Doyle, Northamptonshire, 1748–1751.

107. NA, DD 311/6, February 1815.

108. NA, DD 311/1, November 5, 1801.

109. See Note 27.

110. John Taylor, Elements of the Civil Law, 3rd ed. (London: Charles Bathurst, 1769), 407–8.

111. On the relationship of patrician “honour” to plebeian “honesty,” see McKeown Michael, The Origins of the English Novel, 1600–1740 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987), 131–75. For the modern idea of personality or character evolving in regard to the poorer sort's honesty as formulated by their employers in testimonials, or “characters,” see Robbins Bruce, The Servant's Hand. English Fiction from Below (Durham, SC and London: Duke University Press, 1993), 27. For the self-narratives (autobiographies) demanded of the poor in magistrates' courts, see Steedman, “Enforced Narratives.”

112. NA, DD 311/1, December 10, 1800.

113. NA, DD 311/1, February 7, 1810.

114. NA, DD 311/2, September 29, 1803.

115. NA, DD 311/4, May 1809.

116. NA, DD 311/5 records two Clifton women setting off to Nottingham one February Saturday to get a warrant against a man who had badmouthed one of them; perhaps Sir Gervase was not at home. They “thaught to have Got a deal of money” out of the man—at least two guineas and the price of a new gown––but Nottingham magistrates found the older woman's “Caracter … so bold … Caut … [her] in so maney lies that they would not believe aney thing she said.” She “was disapointed,” said Woolley; she saved face by saying that “they did not whant to hurt [the man]… onley to humble him.”

117. Seventy-two boxes and forty-six volumes hold the Clifton family and estate papers––correspondence, deeds, manorial records, political papers, and accounts from the twelfth to twentieth century. University of Nottingham, Manuscripts and Special Collections, Clifton of Clifton. Cl A and Cl E are informative on Clifton's relationship with his tenants and the solicitors who managed them, for example Cl A 572/1–3; 572/2/1, “Solicitor's Accounts 1810–1812.”

118. Comaroff Jean, Body of Power, Spirit of Resistance. The Culture and History of a South African People (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985); Murray Sally Engle, Getting Justice and Getting Even. Legal Consciousness among Working-Class Americans (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1990); and I. Idit Kostiner, “Taking Legal Consciousness Seriously: Beyond Power and Resistance,” paper presented at the annual meeting of The Law and Society Association, Chicago, May 2004,

119. Halliday, Habeas Corpus, 90 discussing the distinction drawn for early modern England between equity and common law remarks that “equity, as away of thinking about the nature and provision of justice, infused common law.”

120. Paul John, The Laws relating to Landlords and Tenants … With considerable Additions and Improvements, from the Reports of Sayer, Burrow, Blackstone, Lofft, Douglas, and the Term Reports, both in the King's Bench and Common Pleas …, 8th ed., (London: W. Richardson and G. G. and J. Robinson, 1795).

121. Burn, Justice of the Peace (18th ed., 1793), Vol. 2, no pagination, “Frame work Knitters;” Bird, Laws, 66–67; Williams, Whole Law, 3:280–81; Toone William, The Magistrate's Manual; or, A Summary of the Duties and Powers of a Justice of the Peace. To which is added a copious Collection of Precedents of Summonses, Warrants, Convictions, &c (London: J. Butterworth, 1813), 164–65; Henson Gravenor, The Civil, Political and Mechanical History of the Framework Knitters in Europe and America (Nottingham: Sutton, 1831), 257425; and Chapman Stanley D., Hosiery and Knitwear. Four Centuries of Small-Scale Industry in Britain, c.1589–2000 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).

122. Binfield, Writings of the Luddites, 20–32.

123. Malcolm I. Thomis, “Luddism in Nottinghamshire,” (London and Chichester: Thoroton Society Record Series, Vol. XXVI, 1972); and Weir Christopher, “The Nottinghamshire Luddites: ‘Men Meagre with Famine, Sullen with Despair,’” The Local Historian 28 (1998): 2435. The classic account of Luddism in Nottinghamshire and elsewhere remains Thompson E. P., The Making of the English Working Class, orig. pub. 1963 (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968), 472575. Also Binfield, Writings of the Luddites, 19–32, 69–166.

124. Corporation of Nottingham, “Corn Riots: Town Clerk's Correspondence,” Records of the Borough of Nottingham, Vol. VII, 1760–1800 (Nottingham: Thos. Forman, 1947), 394404; “Letters from Nottingham,” Lloyd's Eve Post and “Riots,” Morning Herald, September 12, 1800; “Riots at Nottingham,” Morning Post and Gazette, September 13, 1800; “Riots,” Bell's Weekly Messenger, September 14, 1812.

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Law and History Review
  • ISSN: 0738-2480
  • EISSN: 1939-9022
  • URL: /core/journals/law-and-history-review
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