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Is there a photo of my maternal great grandfather on his prison record?
is a member of the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA).
QEnoch Jones, born in Kemble, Wiltshire, in 1854, was found guilty of bigamy at the Old Bailey in September 1889 and sentenced to seven years’ penal servitude. The Morning Star stated that Enoch “appeared to have treated both women in the most brutal manner”. In 1891, he was in Dover gaol. He married Angelina Bertha Rudland in June 1895, so when was he released? Would I find a photo of him on his police or prison record? He died in Hammersmith in 1913 but I can’t find a grave. Paul Moxam, by email
AIn passing a sentence of penal servitude, the judge at the Old Bailey clearly took an extremely dim view of Enoch Jones’s bigamy. He probably also took account of Enoch’s brutality as the courts were seeking to clamp down on domestic abuse and male violence in the Victorian period. Penal servitude had been introduced by an Act of Parliament in 1853. It meant anyone previously liable to a sentence of transportation for seven years or less, henceforth had to serve their sentence at home doing public works in a convict prison such as Dover.
However, all convicts had the opportunity of early release if their conduct was good. Such release was on licence, known at the time as a ‘ticket of leave’ with convicts reporting monthly to a police station.
The criminal records at findmypast.co.uk contain three references to an Enoch Jones sent to Dover Prison, including his release date of 8 December 1894 and a physical description from the 1894 Register of Habitual Criminals – unfortunately, there is no photograph.
Dover Prison was opened in 1885 so Enoch would have been among its earliest inmates. The records of convict prisons are to be found in The National Archives (TNA) at Kew, although there appears to be precious little for Dover Prison for the 1880s and 1890s and there are no inmate registers listed in the Discovery catalogue ( discovery.nationalarchives.gov. uk). Equally dispiriting, there’s probably no surviving police record. Occurrence books, crime books and charge books are like hens’ teeth. Some exist for the late 19th century and the surviving Metropolitan Police ones are at open.ac.uk/Arts/history-from-policearchives. Click on ‘MPHC’ under ‘Resource Material and go to ‘Station Records’.
As for where Enoch was buried, if the burial sites in and around Hammersmith cannot help, then this will probably remain a mystery – especially if he used different names. Clive Emsley
The Habitual Criminals Register includes a physical description of Enoch Jones