Tag Archives: trial

Celestina’s trial – verdict and sentence: a Christmas tale pt 18

It was on Thursday, 10 April, 1856 that Celestina Sommer’s fate was to be decided: death by hanging or incarceration in an asylum. The evidence against her, and her own confession, made her guilt plain. But what would the verdict … Continue reading

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Celestina Sommer’s trial for murder: a Christmas tale pt 17

Celestina Sommer was eventually tried for the murder of her daughter, Celestina Christmas, at the Old Bailey on Thursday, 10 April, 1856, over a month after her first appearance in the Central Criminal Court. The newspapers reported the trial with … Continue reading

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Celestina at the Old Bailey: a Christmas tale pt 16

In the last episode of this true story, Celestina Sommer was in Newgate Prison awaiting her trial at another iconic bastion of London’s penal system – the Old Bailey. The Central Criminal Court, as it was, and is, more formally … Continue reading

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Celestina in Newgate Prison: a Christmas tale pt 15

In the last episode of the Celestina Sommer story, we left Celestina in the police van being carried off to Newgate Prison to await trial for wilful murder. Today I’m going to look more closely at what that notorious place … Continue reading

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New evidence against Celestina: a Christmas tale pt 14

On Tuesday, 26 February, 1856, ‘the avenues of Clerkenwell police court were [once again] crowded to excess by persons anxious to obtain a sight of the murderess’, Celestina Sommer. She was there to be re-examined for killing her daughter, Celestina … Continue reading

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Another murder: a Christmas tale pt 11

Could Celestina Sommer have been inspired to cut her daughter’s throat by another child murder? I believe that it’s at least possible. In the last episode of this story, I mentioned that the two policemen, Inspector Hatton and Sergeant Edward … Continue reading

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Who killed Celestina? A Christmas tale pt 9

So far, at the lengthy procedures at Clerkenwell Police Court, the evidence against Charles and Celestina Sommer given on Monday, 18 February, 1856, has covered the arrest of the couple for the murder of little Celestina Christmas and the witness … Continue reading

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The body in the cellar: a Christmas tale pt 7

Clerkenwell Police Court was crowded on Monday, 18 February, 1856, when two prisoners were charged with the murder of a young girl – the Islington Murder, as it came to be called. Some of the spectators were neighbours of the … Continue reading

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The thief up the chimney: Old Bailey Online 10th anniversary post

This is a tale of larceny and pubs – and a certain amount of naivety. The combination was disastrous for James Thomas Richards, a 20-year-old Thames waterman, and lucky for me, since he’s my great-great grandfather and met my 2x … Continue reading

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So was Nicholas Delaney murdered? Did John Kennedy hang? (Trove Tuesday post, part 2)

Last Trove Tuesday I started to tell the story of how Nicholas Delaney was attacked and robbed on September 2, 1834, and died the next day. It’s a story about my own ancestor I came across using the National Library … Continue reading

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Family myths, cover-ups – what did Nicholas Delaney really do?

I’m researching my blog post for Twigs of Yore‘s Australia Day challenge. This year it’s about work. Shelley says: Choose someone who lived in Australia (preferably one of your ancestors) and tell us how they toiled. Your post should include: … Continue reading

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2011 – what a year it’s been!

What a year – and what a lot I’ve learned in this first full year of blogging. When I started this blog in November 2010 I knew I wanted to talk about topics related to the life of my great-great-great … Continue reading

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Two surprise finds

I’m excited by this. OK, perhaps I’m easily pleased, but it was a real delight to find the clip of Graham Norton’s Who Do You Think You Are? in which he learns about his yeoman ancestor in Carnew, just days … Continue reading

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Me, Graham Norton and an infamous massacre

Well, Graham Norton’s great-great-great grandfather and my g-g-g grandfather, to be strictly accurate. They would have known each other. They probably wanted to kill each other. (Luckily, I quite like him and he doesn’t know I exist, so that’s all … Continue reading

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New look

Have you noticed? Did you wonder if you’d come to the right site? After using a custom (very attractive) header, I’ve changed it to match the header on the website for A Rebel Hand: Nicholas Delaney of 1798. Images used … Continue reading

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