Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire

The Bloody Code in Cheshire: The Chester Court of Great Sessions 1805–30

Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire (2014), 163, (1), 55–71.

Abstract

The Bloody Code of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century has generated a great deal of interest from historians of crime for a number of decades. The aim of this article is to explore the operation of the Bloody Code in Cheshire between 1805 and 1830, the last quarter of a century of the Chester Court of Great Sessions. The article argues that, belying an image of the criminal justice system dripping in the blood of the condemned, the majority of those found guilty at the Chester Court of Great Sessions were sentenced to periods of imprisonment. Those who subsequently expiated for their crimes on the gallows had typically been convicted of either a serious crime against the person or burglary. Males were also more likely to receive harsher sentences, and be executed for a broader range of crimes, than females, even when convicted of the same offences.

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Author details

Walliss, John