Win a copy of ‘Crime, Clemency & Consequence in Britain 1821-39’

About the book

From the woman who steals a cloak, to the middle-class forger, this book allows us a glimpse of the rich mix of criminals, their crimes and sentences, in early 19th Century Britain. With no statutory right of appeal against either the verdict or sentence at this time, the prisoner’s only hope for relief was to petition the Crown for mercy via the Home Office, and with sentences including death and transportation, the stakes were high. Many of the thousands of petitions, held by the National Archives in Kew, reveal fascinating incidental information about the prisoner’s personal life or circumstances which cannot be found in other records. As cases are followed in this book, the criminals, supporters, prosecutors and judiciary are brought to life, occasionally with surprising results.

Read as individual cases, each subject is fascinating; viewed together, the collection reveals a unique, intimate and vivid insight in to life in 1820s and 1830s Britain.

About the author

West Sussex author, Alison Eatwell spent many years working for BBC Television before becoming a writer. At the BBC she was an award-winning drama producer as well as having roles in drama-related management. She has been a volunteer cataloguer/editor at the National Archives in Kew since 2011, and is part of the Local History Research Group currently working on the Criminal Petitions for Mercy project. Her passion for social and criminal history has led her to write her fascinating new book.

Book available from the publisher at

Just fill out the form below to enter! Closing date is 31st March.


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