27 October 2023
The story of a Devizes woman accused of witchcraft and banned from a local shop is one of many revealed by newly published records at TheGenealogist.
TheGenealogist adds to its Court & Criminal records with a new collection of Quarter Session Registers covering a period from 1590 – 1839. Search these records to find your miscreant ancestors brought before the local court quarter sessions.
What are quarter session records?
The Quarter Session Records were produced by the local courts that were traditionally held at four set times each year. These courts, presided over by two or more justices of the peace plus a chairman, would sit with a jury at Epiphany (in January), Easter (March/April), Midsummer (June/July) and then at Michaelmas (September/October). With these records, you can:
- Find the names of indicted persons, witnesses, and the Justices of the Peace
- Search records as far back as 1590, in the reign of Elizabeth I
- Discover indictments including assault, riot, running unlicensed alehouses, not Gging to church on Sunday, and being accused of witchcraft
Unearth Poor Law matters dealt with by the Justices including bastardy, compensation for maimed soldiers and removal of people to their parish of settlement.
Extract from the Quarter Sessions in Wiltshire, 19th April 1653