View Full Version : The 18th century traffic warden

24-10-2013, 7:41 PM
Whilst hunting for something else on SEAX I stumbled across a "book of Endictments transferred to higher courts" from Easter 1770 to Epiphany 1790 Easter 1799 to Epiphany 1813 Ref: Q/SPb 33

The catalogue doesn't list the people named in the book, so I'll be making a list of names as I make my way through it.

Just reading the first few pages, it would seem that one man is essentially dealing with "traffic" offences. It seems there was a law passed that meant you could only have 4 horses pulling your waggon or cart on a turnpike road, and if you had more than 4 horses and was caught, you had to pay a fine! So, I would guess that many of these people would be reasonably well off to be able afford a cart and more than 4 horses, and be able to pay the fine.

The book goes into detail where the "offenders" were travelling from and to, along which road, and details about the length of the road and how many horses they had.

The book is also supposed to contain other offences such as highway robbery and assault.

I would assume this that every county would have a book like this, which may be a useful source of information.

24-10-2013, 8:03 PM
Reading it a bit more, it seems it wasn't the offenders in court, but a certain Edward WHESTON who was taking money off these people without consent or order from any courts..So he was essentially a fake traffic warden using extortion to get money out of people who had breached the law.

24-10-2013, 11:28 PM
Hi Michelle
You do find some interesting bits and pieces don't you?

So the bloke in Sale who issued fake parking tickets was not the first person to dream up this scheme. He didn't get away with it either.


25-10-2013, 9:07 AM
I think because these things have been scanned and are online with a brief description of contents, it is easier to have a quick look. I think if I was in another record office, it just wouldn't occur to me to say "where is you book of indictments moved to higher courts?"

Going through the Essex records like this is making me more aware of what other sources are available.

So far it has the case against Edward WHESTON (fake traffic warden), the case between Stondon Massey & Nevestock overseers regarding the settlement of John FAIR and his family. Essentially it highlighted the fact that the employment fair at Navestock was held on the day after Easter, and a person was employed till the following Easter...i.e. one year minus a day, to get out of giving someone a new place of settlement.

And the last case was the brutal assault on Hannah HUTCHINGS of West Ham.

I am recording all names, including the constables or justice of the peace etc. and a brief description of each case.