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England Old Bailey Central Criminal Court (National Institute)

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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course English: Court Records-Criminal, Civil and Ecclesiastical  by Dr. Penelope Christensen. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey)

The Old Bailey in the City of London is England’s most famous criminal court. Between 1674 and 1834, when it became known as the Central Criminal Court, its proceedings were published eight times a year as a periodical. The records are at the Guildhall who have a useful online guide #7 Old Bailey Sessions Papers in Guildhall Library and Other Printed Sources for London Criminals. These records cover 100,000 trials and are now available on the website Old Bailey with indexes to the names of the victims, witnesses, judges, jurors, lawyers and other parties, as well as those indicted; Stockdill (Was Your Ancestor a Criminal, Victim or Trial Witness? Journal of One-Name Studies Vol 8 #2, page 13-15) described the site when it commenced online.

Proceedings of the Old Bailey Online

Edmond Dashwood, defendant, killing: murder, 31 Aug 1688. He was one of five soldiers indicted and tried for the murder of John Snape at Hackney.
Samuel Dashwood, justice in Front Matter from Old Bailey Proceedings; 15th January 1703.
William Remnant appears in trial of Richard Hutton, John Wright, theft: housebreaking 14 Sep 1752. Remnant’s deposition as a witness to the breaking and entering of Edward Salmon’s house in Chancery Lane and stealing two saws is quoted.
William Remnant,juror in Front Matter from Old Bailey Proceedings; Sir Crisp Gascoyne, Session VII, Thursday 6th September 1753.
William Gardiner, victim in trial of Louisa Mears, theft: pick pocketing, 10 April 1828. She stole two rows of coral beads from his daughter Sarah Anna aged two and a half, and sentenced to be transported for seven years.

A Royal Pardon of George IV

This document was offered for sale online by Mullock-Madeley.
George IV and Sir Robert Peel document on paper signed by the King at the head and countersigned by Peel, dated March 5th 1828, being a Royal pardon for Thomas Millgrove Sheppard sentenced to death at the Old Bailey in Dec 1827 for burgling the house of W.H. Fellowes MP at 15 Lower Brook Street. The document commutes the sentence to one year in the House of Correction in Middlesex.

In 1834 the Old Bailey was designated the Assize court for London and the surrounding counties and the name change to Central Criminal Court took place at the same time. Post-1834 records are at TNA and include:

  • After trial calendars.
  • Printed shorthand notes of proceedings.
  • Depositions.
  • Indictments.
  • Court books.
  • Appeals, criminal petitions and transportation records.

Their research guide L27 describes these records.

Court of Criminal Appeal

Cases from lower courts could be appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeal, and a newspaper report of one is shown below. It merged with the Supreme Court Appeal Court in 1966 which sat in two divisions, civil and criminal (see TNA research guide L29).

The Times 27 Aug 1942. pg 8 Issue 49325 col C.
Appeal in Murder Case dismissed

Before Mr Justice Humphreys, Mr Justice Hilbery and Mr Justice Tucker.
The COURT dismissed the appeal by Samuel Sydney Dashwood who, with George William Silverosa, was convicted at the Central Criminal Court, before Mr Justice Wrottesley, of the murder of Mr Leonard Moules and sentenced to death.
[long paragraph of proceedings]


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course English: Court Records-Criminal, Civil and Ecclesiastical offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at

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