The Jury

A brief history of crime and punishment from the 17th to 19th centuries. The Wakefield House of Correction, Rothwell Debtors’ Prison and York Castle Prison are highlighted. The article gives family case histories of those who skirted the edges of the law and were sometimes punished.

A look at the treatment of madness form the middle ages to the present with particular emphasis on the West Riding Asylums and individual cases from the author’s family history.


My interest in researching our family history began with the stories I remembered my grandmother telling me about about my great-grandmother Ellen Wilson Hemingway, who was known as Ellen, daughter of John Wilson, but actually began life as Ellen Fozzard. My grandmother had told me: “She was a mannequin – disowned by her family of wealthy mill owners – her mother had a servant and she was driven about in a carriage”.