River Can, Chelmsford, 1906Reproduced courtesy of The Francis Frith Collection.
History of Chelmsford >> Chelmsford Snippets
When researching for this website we often find a little snippet of information on a location or subject which may be of interest. Some are quirky, some show that there is nothing new in this world, and some about the attitudes and morals of the time. [index to snippets] Here are some for Chelmsford.
Times March 10 1800.
Henry Hunsden, the boy of eleven years of age, who stole various Bank Notes out of the letters from the Post Office at Chelmsford, was yesterday convicted and received sentence of death; but [Judge] Baron Hotham, informed him that there was great reason to believe that he would receive the Royal Mercy.
The little convict fainted away, and was supported in the Gaoler's arms while sentence was passing upon him.
Before Baron Hotham left the town he respited him until the first of May next, in order that due consideration may be had in what way mercy can be best extended to him, consistent with due administration of public justice.
Food Riots in Chelmsford.
During the 18th century several food riots occurred in England because of the price of corn. One occurred in Essex in 1772. An alarmed correspondent wrote of the riot to the Gentleman's Magazine.
12 April 1772
This night about eleven o clock a mob assembled at Chelmsford armed with bludgeons to the amount of about fifty and were very riotous all night. By four o'clock in the morning they increased to the number of three hundred or more when they set off for Mr Bullen's, Mr Morrage's, and Harrington's mills, from whence they took large quantities of flour meal, etc., and brought it in waggons under a strong guard to the market place in Chelmsford to sell at a price they approved of.
Mr Harrington expostulated for some time with their captain or chief on the unjust and illegal methods they had taken, but to no effect for they grew exceedingly riotous and obliged Mr Harrington to deliver them ten sacks of flour and meal, and also to promise them ten sacks more the next day. They then took his waggon and horses loaded it and proceeded in triumph to Chelmsford.
Such is the miserable situation of people in this part of the country. They have since been at Mr Johnson's at Baddow etc., regaling themselves at every house til they were quite riotous. They now intend paying a visit to the farmers and have this evening begun with Mr John Ward of Bishop's Hall from which place they have taken two loads of wheat. The market place is now filled up with great quantities of wheat and flour which they have plundered.
We have sent to the war-office for troops to assist us, but none are yet arrived. The inhabitants are in great consternation; for this moment a very considerable body are marching into town with colours flying and armed with bludgeons, etc., God only knows where this will end.
Accounts are just arrived from Sudbury, Colchester, Whiteham, etc., that there is great robbing there and that the parties intend to join.
Freeman's Journal and Commercial Advertiser March 17, 1840.
The substitution of the knife and the dagger for the fist, has been gaining ground in England ever since the peace, when "fights" either for fun or money grew out of favour.
At the Essex assizes just terminated, Sir John Tyrell, the foreman, in delivering the presentment, remarked that he was requested by the jurors to call his lordship's attention to the fact that in most caess of common assualt the offending parties had had recourse to sharp instruments, which formerly was of rare occurance. They had deemed it right to notice that fact, but thought it unnecessary to make mention of it in their presentment.
Lord Abinger observed that "it showed the deparavity of the persons using such weapons." No doubt this foreigh fashion is a hundred times worse than the good old plan when fair fighting was the bold Briton's boast.
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Chelmsford - Cary's New and Correct English Atlas, 1798
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Postcard of Duke Street, Chelmsford.
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