Prisoners as Voters

Edward Coleburn won the 1718 by-election for alderman of the ward of Mancroft in the city of Norwich, beating his opponent William Chamberlayne by 28 votes. There was only one problem. Many of the votes cast for Coleburn had come from prisoners in the city gaol, which lay within the boundaries of the ward. As … Continue reading Prisoners as Voters

Becoming a gaoler I: the City of London

Gaolers are certain to be recurring characters on this blog, and likely to be perennial are questions of why and how individuals became keepers, wardens and marshals of some of early modernity’s most infamous institutions. What led them to take up posts where their income largely consisted of demanding fees from those already so hard-up … Continue reading Becoming a gaoler I: the City of London

Pushing the Boundaries of the Fleet Prison

In 1745 John Latham and some other debtors residing in the Fleet prison petitioned the Court of Common Pleas, asking that the "rules" of the Fleet be expanded. The term "rules" (or its synonym, "verge") denoted an area physically outside the prison's walls but conceptually within its boundaries. As long as he or she stayed … Continue reading Pushing the Boundaries of the Fleet Prison