A Glossary

Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO)  An order that prohibits certain kinds of behaviour or acts and is used to curb 'anti-social behaviour'.

Court session held once every quarter in each county of the country. The Assizes tried both civil and criminal cases. They were replaced in 1972 by the Crown Court system.


Common name for a House of Correction. They were called Bridewell's after the House of Correction in London which was near St Bridget's (Bride) well. Houses of Correction were supposed to reform the behaviour of people convicted of minor misdemeanours or crimes.


Classification was the term used for separating prisoners into various categories, eg, men, women, boys, girls, debtors, felons etc.

Convict  A condemned criminal serving a sentence of penal servitude. Convicts were often transported.

In this case, someone who has been imprisoned for owing someone else money.


To deter. Something that might stop people from doing the same, to impede.

Felon  A person convicted of a felony (a more serious crime).

A prison

House of Correction

Houses of Correction were supposed to reform the behaviour of people convicted of minor misdemeanours or crimes.


The philosophy or science of law.


Loose hemp or jute fibres which were obtained by disravelling old ropes. Prisoners were given this task. It is where the expression 'money for old rope' comes from.


The people making the request in the petition.

Pillory Wooden framework on a post with space for arms and head. Offenders were put in the pillory as a punishment for minor offences.
Religious Census A headcount of all the people attending Church. It has only been undertaken once, in 1851, when it revealed that less than half of the population was attending Church. The Victorians thought that this was shocking.
reviled Not liked, disapproval expressed in very strong language
Sabbath In the Christian faith, the Sabbath is Sunday and was traditionally observed as a day of rest.
stocks Wooden frame with holes for ankles (and sometimes wrists). People were put in the stocks as punishment for minor offences.
transgressors People who break the law.
Treadmill A mechanism moved by people treading on moving steps. The treadmill was used in prisons as a means of 'hard labour'.

A road which you had to pay a toll to use. The money was supposed to be used for the upkeep of the road.


A life-threatening illness which is spread by contaminated food and/or water. It causes fever, headaches and stomach upsets.


A beggar, someone who wanders from place to place with no means of supporting themselves.



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