During the course of our researches we have collected information about various crimes that were committed in the Thornbury area. Some of these were not committed by Thornbury people and there are instances in which the victims were not Thornbury people either. However we wanted to include as many of these reports as we could on this website. We did not intend to sensationalise some very unpleasant crimes, but to use the material to show the attitudes towards crime and punishment that prevailed at the time. We also found the crimes of interest because the witnesses, policemen and crime scenes were local and it was possible to get some insight into the daily life of the town when reading the very detailed newspaper accounts. We have included many extra details about the families of the perpetrators and the victims. This was because the effect of losing a main breadwinner had a disastrous effect on some of them. It was all the more sad because some of the crimes, especially the thefts, were committed to relieve very pressing poverty and often to feed a large and growing family.
We have compiled several lists of information of people from Thornbury and the surrounding areas who got into trouble. Click on the links below to see the detailed lists.
Gloucester Quarter Sessions Convictions: Records extracted from the Quarter Session records at Gloucester Archives which relate to people living in Thornbury:
Transportees – details extracted from the book ‘Transportees from Gloucestershire to Australia 1783 – 1842’. Click here to read moreWe have used newspaper reports and the records that are available at Gloucester Record Office and on line from the various Australian convict websites to piece together quite detailed stories of the crimes committed and the punishment meted out. We are also grateful to the Trove website for extracts from the Australian newspapers. The articles in these newspapers have provided valuable insights into the lives of some of those transported to Australia from Thornbury. We have found to our surprise that some of the transported convicts not only survived the experience but made it into an opportunity for a more successful life than they could have experienced in rural Gloucestershire.
Click on the green links below to read more.
- 1787 James Cleaver transported to Australia for house breaking
- The mysterious murders committed by the son of Thomas Walker shoemaker of Thornbury
- 1816 Dinah Riddiford ‘the Granny Hanging’ and Luke Riddiford transported to Australia
- 1832 The sheep stealers – Nicholas Lanfear and Henry Tudor
- 1835 The sheep stealers – George Trayhurn and Joseph Birt
- 1836 James Hayman – transported for stealing potatoes
- 1842 Charity Hogg – transported for receiving stolen trousers.
- 1864 The murder at Rudgeway of Mary Curthoys by Lewis Gough
- 1879 The murder of Lucy Derrick by Edward Smart (alias Saunders)
- 1887 The murder of Richard Rugman and attack of Eliza Smith at Lower Morton
- 1891 The murder at Thornbury Villa
A group of Thornbury men were transported or executed after a poaching affray at Berkeley in 1815. We have written more below about three of these men and the roles they played in this well known crime. We also have more details of the crime itself which was reported at some length in the Gloucester Journal of 15th April 1816.