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Builth and district
Crime and punishment
  The penalty for being a rogue
  More of the court document from the last page is shown here. It comes from the Session Roll of the 1866 Breconshire Quarter Sessions and it tells us a bit more about the charge against Mary Ann Phillips for being a "rogue and vagabond" at Builth. Viable - feasible or practicable.
Drawing by
Rob Davies

This first part of the court record below reads -
"The said Mary Ann Phillips on the 18th day of August instant at the parish of Builth in the said County of Brecon did wander abroad and lodge in a certain outhouse there situate not having any viable means of subsistence and not giving a good account of herself"...
The words "wander abroad" just means travelling around the district, though nowadays "abroad" means a foreign country !
By "not giving a good account of herself" the Justices meant that she couldn't say where she could stay or how she could pay for her lodging and food.

Sleeping on straw

Court paper,1866
Court paper,1866

"...contrary to the form of the Statute, and for which said Offence the said Mary Ann Phillips is ordered to be committed to the House of Correction at Brecon in the said County for the space of Seven days".
The words "contrary to the form of the statute" just means that this was against a particular law.
A week in prison just for sleeping in someone's barn seems like pretty harsh treatment these days, but at least she didn't get hard labour ! The authorities would have made sure that Mary Ann was sent over the county border after she was let out of prison !
Henry Hooper was another Builth rogue in 1854...

Begging for alms in 1854...


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