Find your ancestors in Britain, Newgate Prison Calendar Vols 1 & 2, 1780-1841

The Chronicles of Crime, or The New Newgate Calendar

Did your ancestor serve time at the notorious Newgate prison or was your ancestor one of the prisoner’s unfortunate victims. Discover stories of arson, murder, piracy, embezzlement, conspiracy, and treason.

The Chronicles of Crime, or The New Newgate Calendar. Being a series of memoirs and anecdotes of notorious characters who have outraged the laws of Great Britain from the earliest period to the present time by Camden Pelham, Esq., was published in 1841. The publication is presented in a searchable Portable Device Format (PDF).

Each entry will provide a biography of the prisoner. Many will include birth place, education, and a description of his/her family life. Each entry will also give you a description of the crime and the investigation and trial. Not all trials recorded resulted in convictions. You may also learn about the circumstances around the alleged crime (for example, how the prisoner knew his or her victim or relevant events that led up to the crime).

In some entries, the author continues to recount the lives of the prisoner’s family or victims after the trial and includes his own opinions of the prisoner’s actions or motives.

Discover more about this publication

Camden Pelham’s The Chronicles of Crime, or The New Newgate Calendar, volumes one and two, were published in 1841. The two volumes begin with an introduction followed by a table of contents, listing each convicts’ name in alphabetical order and the offence alleged against the person. The entries are recorded in chronological order throughout the book. Some entries will include illustrations, such as the apprehension of Jerry Mershaw or shooting a ghost. The volumes include cases from Newgate prison between 1700 and 1841.

The Newgate Calendar was first published in 1774 and became a widely popular publication. Initially, reports of cases from Newgate prison started as a bulletin of the executions created by the Keeper of Newgate Prison. Through the years this was expanded into broadsheets and then full publications. The Newgate calendars are filled with sensational stories of robbery and murder. Editions were printed in 1824, 1826 and 1841. Some publications plagiarised from previous authors and repeated cases. Today, the public are still intrigued by these cases of murder, deception, shadowy figures and innocent victims.

The Chronicles of Crime, or The New Newgate Calendar includes the story of Captain John Kidd, the wizard of the seas, who was hanged for piracy; Francis Smith, condemned for the murder of a supposed ghost; Robert Emmet, executed for high treason after the Irish rebellion of 1798; and James Lovelace and the other ‘Dorchester Labourers’ or ‘Tolpuddle Martyrs’, who were sentenced to seven year transportation for administering unlawful oaths.