Maligned, Marginalised and Misunderstood
Today we are almost deafened by voices, thanks to the internet and of course, social media! But it hasn’t always been like this. Before the mid 19th century, most people didn’t own property, had no vote, and didn’t go to school. This means their lives could leave little or no trace within the written records and so their voices remain silent.
The records of the court of Quarter Sessions are an exception to this. Quarter Sessions were meetings of local magistrates, knows as Justices of the Peace, who met four times a year, hence the name. The court dealt with a great variety of complaints and crimes, from stealing a hat to dangerous rioting. In 2019 we launched a volunteer project called Maligned, Marginalised and Misunderstood to look in detail at a particular series of these court records, the “information and examinations” between 1728 and 1770. We wanted to bring out the voices of ordinary people, especially those at the margins of society.
The five blogs featuring the records of the court of Quarter Sessions allow us to hear the “unheard voices”.
To read the blog series visit gloucestershirearchives.wordpress.com/