Family History Federation

Register of Vagrants Committed To Gaol – 1820-1822

This booklet was compiled by members of the Devon Family History Society in co-operation with the Devon Records Office. The booklet provides an extract of some information and further details may be obtained from the Devon Records Office. The Register of Vagrants committed to Gaol, 1820-1822 (DRO reference: QS 130/1) is found among the County Quarter Sessions records in Devon Record Office. It serves as a reminder of the treatment that was once meted out to those who were thought to be unwilling to earn an honest living. Vagrants or wanderers were dealt with very harshly. They were apprehended in the city or countryside by constables, who were responsible for making sure the statutes for the punishment of these ‘rogues and vagabonds’ were carried out. Quarter Session papers record vagrants who were taken into custody for wandering and begging, and who were sometimes sentenced to a public whipping. At the end of their sentence they were conveyed or sent back to their place of settlement by a vagrant’s pass. This Register begins in June 1820, and ends in July 1822. It records the name of the vagrant, who was in many cases a female, sometimes accompanied by her children; the place of destination to which the vagrant was to be conveyed or sent; and the date on which his or her custodial sentence was to expire. The Register includes vagrants from all over Devon, from many of the counties of England, a reasonable number from Ireland, a few from Scotland and even some small groups of wanderers from Italy and France.


SKU : D007

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