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Crime and Punishment in Beaumaris

Manylion a Disgrifiad y Llyfr | Book Details & Description

  • Author: Margaret Hughes
  • Publication Date 2006
  • Format: Paperback, 208x147 mm, 84 pages

A volume which gives an account of the criminal and judicial history of Beaumaris on the isle of Anglesey, concentrating on its historical courthouse and gaol which date back to the middle ages.

Gwales Review

Dostoevsky once said a society could be judged by entering its prisons. It’s hard to imagine what verdict the modern-day visitor would have passed on a society that allowed the sort of conditions suffered by inmates over the years at Beaumaris Gaol on Anglesey.
The history of the gaol and courthouse is a grim one and this book reflects that. It’s a fascinating collection of facts and episodes from the centuries of crime and punishment on the site. There are many tales of harsh treatment, but perhaps the most poignant are those describing how children were treated by the court over the years - children like fourteen-year-old William Jones who stole a shilling and paid for it with a month’s hard labour and several years at reform school. It makes today’s ASBOs seem pretty lenient. But at least young Jones escaped with his life. Hugh Owen was hanged in 1832 for sheep stealing.
Both the courthouse and gaol are now museums, attracting many thousands of visitors. For those who wander round the stark buildings, this book will surely make the walls echo with the voices of the many who have suffered there. And even if you can’t visit in person, this book is well worth a read to remind us all of crime and punishment in darker days.

Kevin Ashford