- THE WITHAM FIRES AND THE 1820S
- THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK AND THE WITHAM FIRES
- THE SOCIAL BACKGROUND
Mostly from the published booklet of 1991, with a few updates added in 2004.
J Gyford, Men of Bad Character: Property Crime in Essex in the 1820s, (Essex University MA dissertation, 1982). This described and discussed property crime in Essex as a whole, using the Witham fires as the main example. The version in the published booklet (reproduced in this web version) drew on research carried out for the dissertation, as indicated in the footnotes where appropriate, but also had some new material.
J Gyford, Images of England: Witham, Tempus, 1999, reprinted 2002, and History and Guide: Witham, Tempus, forthcoming. For general history of Witham (these have been published since the dissertation and booklet version of Men of Bad Character).
P J R King, Crime, Law and Society in Essex 1740-1820, (Cambridge University PhD thesis, 1984), and P J R King, 'Decision-makers and decision-making in the English Criminal Law, 1750-1800' in Historical Journal, 27, 1984. Both deal primarily with Essex, in the period immediately preceding the 1820s, and so provide an invaluable background.
C Emsley, Crime and Society in England 1750-1900, Longman, London, 1987. One of the only 'overviews' of the subject. Being relatively recent, it includes most of the other relevant works in its section on 'Further Reading'.
D Philips, Crime and Authority in Victorian England, Croom Helm, London, 1977. Deals with the period following that of the Witham fires, and includes a particularly useful account of the progress of a suspect through the legal process.
L Radzinowicz, A History of the Criminal Law and its Administration from 1730, Stevens, 1948-1986, especially volume i, The Movement to Reform, and volume ii, The Clash between Private Initiative and Public Interest in the Enforcement of the Law. The basic work on the subject; more readable than it looks and sounds, and also includes lists of the relevant Acts of Parliament etc.
A Charlesworth (ed), An Atlas of Rural Protest in Britain 1548-1900, Croom Helm, London, 1983. The most recent, and one of the most detailed, of the works on this subject; it includes its predecessors in its notes and references.
N Rowley, Law and Order in Essex 1066-1874, N. Rowley, Relief of the Poor in Essex, and R G E Wood, Essex and the French Wars 1793-1815, Seax Series of Teaching Portfolios, Essex County Council, Chelmsford, 1970, 1971 and 1977. Give illustrated information of these relevant subjects in an accessible form.
A F J Brown, Meagre Harvest: the Essex Farm Workers' Struggle Against Poverty, 1750-1914, ERO, 1990, and Prosperity and Poverty: Rural Essex 1700-1815, ERO, 1996 (both now essential reading;. they have been published since the dissertation and booklet version of Men of Bad Character)
A F J Brown, English History from Essex Sources 1750-1900, Essex County Council, Chelmsford, 1952, and A F J Brown, Essex at Work 1700-1815, Essex County Council, Chelmsford, 1969. Still the standard works on Essex history in the period, and essential background reading.
A F J Brown (ed), Witham in the 18th Century, W E A, Witham, 1963. Gives helpful background to the town.
L Davidoff and C Hall, Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class 1780-1850, Hutchinson, London, 1987. Uses Witham as one of its case studies, and elaborates on the social and religious character of some of the prosecuting classes.