Garrow in Essex (1829)

September 18, 2011 at 9:09 am (diaries, history, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

This past weekend I’ve given myself a “filler” job – to read through the diaries of Charles and Mary Smith which overlap each other, namely, the years 1829 and 1830.

Charles Joshua Smith began his (extant) diaries July 1826 — on his wedding day to Mary Gosling, although you’d NEVER know it from his matter-of-fact comment about driving Mary to Suttons.

Mary’s (extant) diaries begin January 1829, following the birth of her second child, Mary Charlotte (called Mimi). That other diaries exist — or at least existed — I have no doubt. Charles may have destroyed his former diaries; a loss if the case – as they would have contained comments of his Continental and Russian travels (if going back to the early 1820s), his marriage to Belinda Colebrooke, her death, his engagement (about which I’d KILL to know more) to Mary Gosling in the spring of 1826. Mary’s diaries surely began far earlier than 1829, and given the “holes” in the series, her diaries must have been dispursed between her children – maybe even were resident at Suttons (sold mid-20th century) until the estate was sold out of the family. A couple mysteries still awaiting solution.

So only two years exist in which husband AND wife comment on their daily lives. A lot of illness — and more to come with the decline of Charles’ health (he died in January 1831); some visits to Suttons by Emma and Edward Austen. The marriage of Margaret Elizabeth Gosling, Mary’s elder sister, with Langham Christie, and visits to Suttons by the Smiths and Goslings; and visits to ‘Town’ by Mary, Charles and the children. Charles attends some agricultural courses; obtains new livestock and looks after farm matters; and does his duty at the Law Sessions.

It is March 1829, and Charles writes of travelling to CHELMSFORD (Essex):

“Judges, Chief Baron Alexander & Sir William Garrow; a heavy calendar  about 150 Prisoners, not many very heavy offences”

Sir William Garrow (died 1840), now judge at Assizes, would not retire until 1832.

Charles arrived at Chelmsford on 9 March (a Monday); the following day he writes of the Grand Jury being charged and that he “Dined with the Judges who seemed anxious to have another {unreadable} Sessions established”.

Wednesday, the 11th, was “all the morning” on the Grand Jury; he noted “A very full attendance”. Court was “dismissed” the next day (Thursday, the 12th) at noon.

Garrow first appears in Charles’s 1828 diary, when he is one of the Judges at the Chelmsford Assizes in July. Again the session ran Monday through Thursday. One prisoner (whose case Garrow did not preside over), John Williams, was sent for execution.

Garrow appears by name for the last time in December 1829, when Charles notes his Grand Jury work on Wednesday the 10th. By this time, Garrow, born in 1760, would have been 69-years-old.

Can’t wait for the third season of Garrow’s Law — in December 2011, I heard; will now relish it for yet another different reason: Sir William Garrow and Sir Charles Joshua Smith of Suttons actually met!

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Check this out

December 14, 2010 at 2:38 pm (books) (, , , , , , , , )

For fans of period drama, courtroom drama, British drama — check out this 2009/2010 series Garrow’s Law (the DVD pictured is series one). Andrew Buchan stars as William Garrow; the always excellent Alun Armstrong is his solicitor, Mr. Soutous.

If, like me, you can’t get enough (the DVD not available in the States until early 2011), try and find it online. You’ll really want to see the entire two series, trust me!

If you’re the history buff who wants more about Garrow’s actual life (was there a Sir Arthur and Lady Sarah Hill, for instance, you might ask), then see Hostettler & Braby’s biography Sir William Garrow: His Life, Times, and Fight for Justice.

Why is it the US gets so-so shows quickly, and programs like Garrow’s Law are kept under wraps? Many thanks to the fans who post such shows! The second series ran in the UK only in the fall; but I know I’m not alone in waiting for the next series. Hope the BBC doesn’t keep us waiting. Those of us hungry for quality writing and acting have few things to look forward to at the best of times.

Find the Old Bailey records online; they have long been a great source to my research. Sir Francis Gosling shows up numerous times (the accused often brought before him); there are many Goslings in the records — some accused of theft, others are the victims; a careful reading finds the Goslings who make up this family. See, for instance, this case about the stolen clothing of Mary Ann Hardcastle.

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