THE HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD - Online Book

The rise and progress of the town and the history of its institutions & people.

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222                    HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD.
Lewes, were sentenced to death, but a reprieve, as was usual in such cases, was granted.
East Grinstead Fair yielded its troubles then as it does now. On December 20th, 1824, William Thompson was transported for life for stealing, in the Fair, a pocket book from Mr. John Hillman, of Lewes; and on March 19th, 1832, George Robinson and Robert White were sent beyond the seas for 14 years for stealing 80 in bank notes from John Wickens, a farmer, who had come to the Fair to trade.
For a burglary at East Grinstead in 1826 William Harvey and James Smith were transported for life, but for the less serious crime of housebreaking at Withyham, on December 18th of the succeeding year, John Holmes was sentenced to be hung. A year later, on December 19th, a like penalty fell to the lot of Samuel Thompson and Edward Moon, who were convicted of horse stealing at East Grinstead. Exactly a year later, for a similar offence in the same town, William Payne was also ordered to the scaffold. Two years later, for cattle stealing at East Grinstead, James Booth got off with transportation for life, but on December 14th, 1833, Charles Arnold incurred the death penalty for stealing the paltry sum of 4s. 6d. from the person at Worth.
It is given to but few men to be twice sentenced to death, but such a record is connected with this town. On January 3rd, 1827, Cufty Brooker was ordered to be hung for housebreaking at East Grinstead. He was reprieved and imprisoned for six months only. On August loth, 1829, he was again sentenced to death for an exactly similar offence in the same town, and a second time he got off with imprisonment. Whether he eventually died on the gallows cannot be traced.
On October 19th, 1829, was executed Richard Gifford, aged 26, whose father was for many years butler to Lord Colchester, at Kidbrooke Park. Lord Colchester had got young Gifford into a Government office, but he went wrong and was hung for obtaining two sums of 125 and 27 by fraud.
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