Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Llanwrtyd and district
Crime and punishment
  Law and order in a remote area.  

At the beginning of Queen Victoria's reign this wild upland area was policed mainly by parish constables. None of these men were paid or had any training. They had to do their duties as well as their own jobs, so you can imagine that not many people were keen to be a constable.
They served for one year without pay, and often were not allowed to finish their duties by the courts unless they found someone else to take over.
The Breconshire court records have very few cases from this part of the old county. This could mean that the area was very law abiding and there were few crimes. Or it could mean that crimes were dealt with by local people who gave out their own punishments to the people they thought were guilty.

  By 1856 the government could see that county constabularies were much more effective at dealing with crime, and all counties were instructed to set up such a police force.
Breconshire's new County Constabulary was set up the following year with 29 professional policemen working full time across the county. They still had little training however and the Llanwrtyd area was badly served. The nearest policemen to Llanwrtyd were based at Builth and Trecastle. If you wanted to report a crime in Llanwrtyd in early Victorian times it meant a long walk to get a policeman.
  Tramping the roads of Breconshire in all weathers, the men would need stout boots and a thick greatcoat. They worked between 10 and 12 hours a day, and 7 days a week!
There were strict rules about behaviour and they were not allowed to go for a drink in a pub when off duty. It could be a hard life for a policeman!
  After the opening of the railway through the area in the 1860s this quiet rural area found itself with two new resorts and thousands of visitors. (See pages on taking the waters). In response to this a police station was built in the new spa town of Llanwrtyd Wells. You can see it marked on this map from the 1880s.


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