Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
Crime and punishment
  Strangers on the tramp  

The most common entry in the journal of Constable Jones is "nothing to report", which is an indication of how peaceful life in the borderlands was most of the time. Constable Jones had to deal with things like quarrels between neighbours and stray animals on the road.
He was instructed to keep a look out for strangers in the area who might be up to no good. His journal records many of the strangers he met on the road. Below is an entry for December 1843 when he met two men on the road by Crew Green...

PC Jones' spelling
was not too good
and he probably
had not had much
education himself
entry from PC Jones' journal "I saw two men on the road by the Fir Tree Beer Shop. They looked to be labours [labourers]. They stated thay ware from Shropshire and thair names was John Thomas and David Jones, And thay ware going to Llanfyllin to try to get a job to drive some cattle."
We can see from this that most people "on the tramp" were poor people looking for work or a way of making a living.
  Mr Jones suspected that poor strangers might be desperate enough to steal from local people so he kept an eye one them. (See the case of theft in Welshpool for evidence of strangers doing just that).
In June 1844 he was sent to deal with strangers at Criggion...
  "I was sent for by Messrs Ridge and Jones of Criggion. Thare was a lot of som[e] tramping people with donke[y]s and horses tresspassing on them. I sent them all clier [clear] a way. Thare was a large Beef given to The Poor at the Ardline Public House. I attended"
No doubt the strangers were passing through the area, buying and selling small items and doing odd jobs. They were probably camping on the lands of these two local farmers.

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