Well actually two, but the main one is a very direct ancestor, so rather shocking!
I was reminded recently of Graham and Emma Maxwell’s Scottish Borders prison database. Obviously I searched for Cavers, and found a few. And then I thought I’d try other family names.
And I found my great-great-great grandfather Hugh Hall (ca1822?-1907) appeared in the database as a prisoner in Jedburgh prison in 1857. I was sure it must be my one: described as a spinner at Wilton Dean, Hawick, and with the right age, and birthplace, it could hardly be any other one.
I’ve just got the full details of his prison register entry, from Graham and Emma, for the 5 pounds lookup fee. Hugh Hall was admitted to the prison on 14th May 1857, having been convicted of smuggling, and sentenced to three months hard labour or 30 pounds fine. Clearly he was in there for the hard labour duration, because he left the prison on 14th August 1857 at expiry of his sentence.
Luckily the prison register entries give lots of extra details about ancestors you don’t usually get. So I now know he was 5 feet 7 1/2 inches tall, dark haired, with hazel eyes. And he put on weight while in there: 152 pounds on admission, rising to 167 pounds on liberation. His religion was Church of Scotland, which fits with the family baptism references we have. And he was described as “Can read a little; Can write a little”. He spent 92 days in prison and his conduct was described as good.
The other relative who showed up in the prison registers was a distant relative of Hugh’s daughter-in-law Agnes Fair. This was Thomas Fair (b. 1816) who inherited the Fair family farm at Swansfield, Coldingham parish. He was convicted of “Malicious Mischief”, which I’m not quite sure about yet, but have the court papers as well to hopefully expand on what exactly he did. He was 36, married, 5 feet 11 3/4 inches, fair complexion, fair hair, and gray eyes. And his education was described as “superior to merely reading or writing”. He spent 60 days imprisoned with hard labour. His conduct was good.
Fascinating records anyway. And a shock for the family history!