Sunday, 26 February 2017

26th February 1817: The Undersheriff of Nottingham expresses concern to the Home Secretary about the plan to move the Assizes to Newark

Sheriffs office
Thurland Hall
26th February 1817.

My Lord

I have the Honor to acknowledge the receipt at this office of your Lordship’s Letter to the High Sheriff of the 25th Instant.

In the Forenoon this day the High Sheriff and many of the County Magistrates met at the Shire Hall and made several arrangements for the preservation of the Peace by having a large number of Special Constables and alterations in the Court—

I shall immediately proceed, in obedience to your Lordship’s Letter, to Newark to provide Lodgings for the Judge and see what Court House can be provided—I presume one Judge only will attend as usual—

May I be allowed with great deference to submit your Lordship for his Royal Highness the Prince Regent's Consideration the formidable and dangerous business of removing so many Prisoners from the County Gaol to Newark, twenty miles, and the probability of our finding a small and insecure Prison when they each reach that small Borough Town. I would also venture with humility and due respect to remind your Lordship that the Mlitary have remained at the Nottingham Barracks during the Assizes and that these Barracks although out of the Liberties of the Town are very near and a constant communication is easily maintained—I believe there are no Military in the immediate neighbourhood of Newark—and this novel step might possibly put the Luddites and desperate people here upon mischief which otherwise might not be thought of—

Will your lordship allow me to bring to your Lordship’s attention that the Assize Process from the Judges grounded upon their Commission under the Great Seal direct the Juries to be summoned to Nottingham—It is very probable that the opening the Commissions at Nottingham and adjourning to Newark may be intended to meet this point and I presume that the Juries are to be summoned as usual to Nottingham with a Notice that the Assizes will be adjourned to Newark where they are to attend on Monday the 17th day of March.

I desire to apologize for troubling your Lordship with these very hasty suggestions which present themselves to my mind at the moment and in the agitation occasioned by so unexpected an occurrence and

I have [etc]

Robert Leeson

Undersheriff of the
County of Nottingham—

The Right Honble Lord Sidmouth
His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State
For the Home Department.

This letter can be found at HO 42/160.

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