Quarter Sessions’ Record Index
Our Bookstall Manager, Elaine Boyes, has indexed some of the Hampshire Quarter Sessions records and they are now available in the Members’ Area of the website as well as writing an article about the records
As many of you know my area of research is the Swing Riots. Since the archives opened again, and HGS made their move, my first project was to collate information from two fantastic family history resources; Quarter Sessions and Removals & Settlements. If you have Hampshire ancestors, chances are that you have discovered some “Ag Labs” on your family tree. This find often provokes a groan, “oh there won’t be any info on them”, but if you know where to look there is a wealth of records that will give some insight into their lives.
The news in today’s papers would be familiar to our early 19th Century ancestors; soaring prices, low wages, shortages; fear of jobs being lost to technology; conflict abroad; political division. People found themselves needing financial support for the first time, or breaking the law, whether to feed their family or as a form of protest. Just a couple of records and a knowledge of the past can be enough to build a picture of the life of your ancestor and explain why they got involved in a protest movement.
William Broadhurst was charged with robbing Benjamin Canning in East Woodhay on 23rd November 1830. He was acquitted.
In January 1806 Frances Dance married Charles Broadhurst in Hurstbourne Tarrant. Charles was 26 years old and from Highclere. Frances had recently turned 20. She moved from her home parish to that of her husband and 4 children followed in regular succession, the first, Elizabeth, was baptised in June, just 6 months after the marriage, followed by Mary in 1808, William in 1810 and Hannah in 1812. On 16th March 1818 Charles was arrested for poaching and sentenced to 3 months in gaol. On 7th April 1827 their son William, now 17 was also gaoled for poaching. Although Charles was not arrested it’s not unreasonable to hypothesise that he may have joined his son and the others.
John Chalk was charged with breaking a threshing machine belonging to Thomas Pink in Durley on 22nd November 1830. James Varndell was charged with breaking the threshing machine belonging to William Gosling in South Stoneham. William Varndell was charged with riotous assembly, but no particular location was given. John Chalk was gaoled for a year, James Varndell for 18 months and William for 6 weeks.
John Chalk was born in Twyford on 2nd March 1798, the son of George and Hannah. His older two siblings had been baptised in Owslebury, but at some point between 1795 and 1798 the family had moved to Twyford. In May 1821, when he was 23, John married Ann Varndell in Durley. Ann was the last daughter of William and Ann Varndell. She may have come as something as surprise, 25 years after the birth of eldest living brother William. By the time she was baptised in Bishops Waltham in 1802 her elder brother William had already been married for 6 years. She was 3 years younger than her nephew, also called William who was born in 1799. Her next nephew, James was born in 1807. In January 1822 John and Ann’s son John was baptised in Bishopstoke. But at some point in 1822 they began to struggle and sought help from the parish. The vestry committee decided that John was not entitled and began proceedings to have him removed and they decided that Durley was responsible for him and his family. Later that year Ann’s nephew William was sentenced to 3 months in gaol in poaching. The petitions for both John Chalk and James Varndell state that their families have been left destitute.
Edward Tarrant was charged with assaulting Richard Twitchin in Micheldever on 19th November 1830. He was acquitted.
Edward Tarrant was born in 1800 and baptised in Hunton. He married Ann Brooks in Wonston in December 1825 and by 1827 they were living in Stoke Charity where their first son, John was born. Edward was working as a shoemaker, a profession well-known for their support of political reform. Jane was baptised in February 1829. When Jane was just 13 months old they were removed from Stoke Charity to Micheldever. In September 1830 both Edward and his brother James signed the petition sent from the Barton Stacey Radical Musical Society to the King calling for reform. Although only Edward was charged for assaulting Richard Twitchin it is highly likely that both brothers took part in the protests.
In total I have collated information on over 1500 names that will be available in the members area of the website. Please bear in mind that this is not a complete list of the all the people mentioned in either record as my research is focused on specific years, and in the case of Removals and Settlements, certain parishes. But as a member you have free access to our volunteers in the Hampshire Record Office. If your ancestor isn’t mentioned on my list simply drop us a line and we will search on your behalf.
And don’t forget, if you have research that you think would be useful to other members, drop us line and we can help you find the best way to share it.