John Sole, A Thoroughly Bad Lot!
By Maureen Storey
This article was published in the August 2016 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society
Among Ancestry's recent releases
are the Gloucestershire prison records 1728-1914, which, as you would expect,
give details concerning a number of Sole miscreants. One person, in particular,
stands out as causing his own petty crime wave. John Soul was born in Cheltenham
in 1845 and was the son of Henry Soul, a blacksmith, and his second wife Hannah.
Henry died in 1859 leaving Hannah to bring up their two surviving sons, John and
David. At the time of his first court appearance in March 1862 John was 17 year
old, 5 foot 5 inches tall, with brown hair, hazel eyes, a freckled complexion
and a scar under his right ear. He was convicted of stealing 56 lbs. of hay and
sentenced to one month’s hard labour. His time in prison certainly didn't act as
as his subsequent convictions demonstrate:
· July 1862: 6 weeks for stealing flower pots
· December 1862: 10 days for stealing flower pots
· March 1863: 10 days for refusing to work while in the workhouse
· September 1863: 1 month for stealing apples
· December 1863: 14 days for willful damage to a street lamp
· May 1864: 7 days for offering to enlist in the 15th Regiment of Foot while already enlisted in the militia
· Jan 1865: 7 years for stealing a coat: he was released early on licence but the license was revoked in December 1871 when he didn't notify the local police of his change of address.
· February 1878: 10 days for begging
· June 1881: 10 days for hawking without a licence
· August 1881: 7 days for hawking without a licence
· June 1882: 14 days for begging
· February 1889: 7 days for hawking without a licence
As far as we know John never married and at present we haven't been able to determine what happened to him after he was released in 1889.
Gloucester Prison. Copyright Neil Owen and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic