Henry Bentham's Crime




This document is the petition of the unnamed constable of Coppull in about 1691. It records the theft of some yarn and the recovery of it at the house of Henry Bentham, together with his imprisonment, whipping and stocking, raising the question of whether or not there were stocks in Coppull (perhaps the stocks outside Standish Church were used on this occasion). It also shows that Constables had to pay money out of their own pocket, perhaps explaining one of the reasons why so many men tried to avoid being constable.  On this occasion, the final scrawled word on the bottom of the record suggests that the anonymous constable was not repaid for his costs.

To the right worspps theirs Majties Justices of the peace for the county Pallatine of Lancs at the Quarter Sessions at Ormskirk now holden.

 The humble peticon of the constable of Coppull in the hundred of Leyland.


 That yor peticoner was required and commanded by a warrant from Henry Farrington to search all suspicious house within Coppull for some yarne stolne which yor peticoner did obey and in his search found the said yarne in one Henry Benthams house which the said Bentham did confesse he had [illgr] and thereupon did seize the said Bentham and bring him before Henry Farrington esq and the said Mr Farrington did by his other warrant command yor peticoner to keepe the said Bentham in custody for three or four severall dayes and the whipp and stocke the said Bentham which yor peticoner did accordingly and was at the charges of twenty shillings in doeing the same.

 Wherefore yor peticoner desires yor worpps order that he may be repaid his charges out of the towne of Coppull and yor peticoner as in duty bound will ever pray &c.