Crimes of Violence Datasets

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 1956 Crimes of Violence
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      The collection includes three separate studies, comprising a total of 16 tab delimited files and 96 plain text files.

Scope and Content

SN4483 - Prosecutions for Violent Offences in Selected Petty Sessions' Courts This collates data for 15,862 cases taken from fifteen petty sessions' courts in England, Australia and New Zealand. The petty sessions jurisdictions were: Birmingham; Brighton; Chester; Crewe; Durham; Exeter; Leicester; Nantwich; Reading; Shrewsbury; Stafford; Melbourne (Australia, 1890 only); South Brisbane; Christchurch (New Zealand). Definition of violent crimes included in the dataset were: common assault; threats and threatening behaviour; assaulting a peace officer; abusive, insulting and violent language; indecent assault; rape; manslaughter; malicious wounding; attempted murder and murder for committal. Through this research, Godfrey questioned the apparent decline in violent crime, during the period 1880 to 1920, reflected in the decrease of prosecutions of violent offences in magistrates' courts.

The data has been formatted and presented as follows: 1 tab delimited text file. This is organised according to:

  • Petty Sessions' Courts - 1880-1914: Petty Session Court; Year; Month; Offence; Sex of Accused; Sex of Victim; Related to Another Case?

SN 4376 - Violence in the North West with Special Reference to Liverpool and Manchester

This collates data from a number of discrete sources: registers of prosecutions of the Liverpool Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (March 1913 to December 1914); registers of the Strangeways prison (December 1870 to August 1873); Liverpool Coroner's Court Register. All forms of interpersonal violence were included in this dataset, from common assault to murder. Archer, Jones and Orr had a number of aims in mind when compiling their study, such as questioning the notion of a long-term nineteenth-century decline in violence. They also focused on under-reported crimes of violence directed against women and children.

The data has been formatted and presented as follows: 8 tab delimited text files. These are organised as:

  • Liverpool Coroners Court Register: Case Number; Date of Inquest; Surname of Deceased; Forenames of Deceased; Sex; Place of Death; Date of Death; Age.
  • Coroner's Court 1859: Number; Date; Name of Deceased; Place of Death; Time of Death; Age; Verdict.
  • Coroner's Court 1862: Number; Date; Name of Deceased; Place of Death; Time of Death; Age; Verdict.
  • Coroner's Court 1863: Number; Date; Name of Deceased; Place of Death; Time of Death; Age; Verdict.
  • Coroner's Court 1864: Number; Date; Name of Deceased; Place of Death; Time of Death; Age; Verdict.
  • Coroner's Court 1865: Number; Date; Name of Deceased; Place of Death; Time of Death; Age; Verdict.
  • LSPCC (Liverpool Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) - 1912-14: id number; Date; Offender; Other Parents; Address; Children; Offence; Punishment; Bound Over; How Long Bound over; Remarks.
  • Strangeways Female Register - 1871-73: Id; Monthly no. of committal; Date Received; By whom committed; Name; Charge; Sentence; Town of Birth.

SN 4429 - Violence in Early Modern England: a regional survey

This comprises the coroners' inquests recorded in the Court of Great Sessions Crown Books (Public Record Office CHES 21 and Cheshire Record Office ZCR 580) supplemented by data from the original sessions files (PRO CHES 24) for years when no crown books remain extant. Also included are textual extracts from sources including the crown books (PRO CHES 21), the original sessions files (PRO CHES 24), Cheshire quarter sessions files (QJF), Chester city quarter sessions and examinations (Cheshire Record Office ZQSE) and an account of a murder case in Saighton in 1648, originally published in the Cheshire Sheaf. Homicidal and non-homicidal violence have been included in the dataset. Sharpe's aims were to chart changes in social psychology of the early modern English and thus add to the on-going debate on the history of violence.

The data has been formatted and presented as follows: 7 tab delimited text files and 96 plain text files. The 7 tab delimited files are organised by:

  • Session: Session_No; Weekday; Day; Month; Year; Regnal_Yr; Location.
  • Justice: Session_No; Justice_No; Forename; Surname; Add_Detail.
  • Coroner: Session_No; Coroner_No; C_Forename; C_Surname; Add_Detail; Jurisdict.
  • Inquest: Session_No; Inquest_No; Location; Details; Verdict; Outcome; Hanged; Doc_Ref; Inq_Code_A; Inq_Code_B; Year; Decdt_No; Accused_No; Imprisoned; Prison Term; Executed; Grid_Ref.
  • Decedent: Session_No; Inq_No; Deced_No; D_Forename; D_Surname; Sex; Origin; County; Occupation; Add_Detail.
  • Accused: Session_No; Inq_No; Accd_No; A_Forename; A_Surname; Sex; Origin; County; Occupation; Add_Detail.
  • Codes: Code; Off_type.

Ninety-six transcripts have also been included in the SN4429 dataset. These are organised by folder (6 in number) and file as follows:

  • CHES 21 
    • CHES 21_7 (1776).txt
  • CHES 24 
    • 24_157_4.txt
    • 24_157_5.txt
    • 24_158_4.txt
    • 24_160_5.txt
    • 24_160_6.txt
    • 24_160_7.txt
    • 24_161_1.txt
    • 24_161_10.txt
    • 14_161_2.txt
    • 24_161_3.txt
    • 24_161_4.txt
    • 24_161_5.txt
    • 24_161_6.txt
    • 24_161_7.txt
    • 24_161_8.txt
    • 24_162_4.txt
    • 24_162_5.txt
    • 24_162_6.txt
    • 24_162_7.txt
    • 24_163_6.txt
    • 24_164_1.txt
    • 24_164_2.txt
    • 24_164_3.txt
    • 24_178_1.txt
    • 24_178_3.txt
    • 24_178_4.txt
    • 24_179_5.txt
    • 24_179_6.txt
    • 24_180_1.txt
    • 24_180_2.txt
    • 24_180_3.txt
  • Deposit (Abstracts of individual cases from CHES 24)  
    • Abigail Mellor case, 1754.txt
    • Brian Molloy case, 1750.text
    • Daniel Biggins case, 1749.txt
    • Eliz. Williams case, 1754.txt
    • Elizabeth Wade case, q749.txt
    • George Bell case, 1623.txt
    • John Newton case. 1748.txt
    • Joan Roach case. 1749.txt
    • Joseph Cocker case, 1755.txt
    • Joseph Stubbs case, 1753.txt
    • Leah of Etchells case, 1746.txt
    • Margaret Allen case, 1750.txt
    • Margery Hill case, 1632.txt
    • Martha Roberts case, 1748.txt
    • Martha Tilley case, 1756.txt
    • Mary Antrobus case, 1749.txt
  • Mary Bennet case, 1751.txt
  • Mary Dale case, 1748.txt
  • Riot, Nantwich, Nov. 1753 .txt
  • Samuel Page case, 1750.txt
  • Sarah Dean case, 1766.txt
  • Selected corner's inquests.txt
  • Thomas Bann case, 1755.txt
  • Unknown man, Dishley, 1750.txt
  • Wainwright case, 1753.txt
  • Griffith (Extracts from the Cheshire Sheaf) 
    • Griffith_Calveley case, 1648.txt
  • QJF-CHES (Cheshire QS folder) 
    • QJF 117_2.txt
    • QJF 118_3.txt
    • QJF 118_4.txt
    • QJF 119_1.txt
    • QJF 119_2.txt
    • QJF 119_3.txt
    • QJF 119_4.txt
    • QJF 120_1-2.txt
    • QJF 130_2-131_2.txt
    • QJF 150_2-151_2.txt
    • QJF 172_4-173_3.txt
    • QJF 181_2-4.txt
    • QJF 214_3-215_2.txt
    • QJF 47_4-48_1.txt
    • QJF 46_1-2, 4.txt
    • QJF 49_1.txt
    • QJF 55_1-4.txt
    • QJF 57_1-58_3.txt
    • QJF 69_1-4_txt
    • QJF 79_3-80_1.txt
    • QJF 80_2.txt
    • QJF 80_3.txt
    • QJF 81_2.txt
    • QJF 81_3.txt
    • QJF 81_4.txt
    • QJF 82_1.txt
    • QJF 82_2.txt
    • QJF 82_3.txt
    • QJF 97_3-98_1.txt
    • QJF 98_2-99_1.txt
  • ZQSE-CHE (Chester QS folder) 
    • ZQSE_6_19-22.txt
    • ZQSE_7_8-9.txt
    • ZQSE_9_69.txt
    • ZQSE_10_46.txt
    • ZQSE_10_6-7.txt
    • ZQSE_11.23-4.txt
    • ZQSE_11_71.txt
    • ZQSE_13_20.txt

Administrative / Biographical History

Violent offenders and violent crime are the principal subjects of these three electronic-format datasets.

  • SN4483 - Prosecutions for Violent Offences in Selected English, Australian and New Zealand Petty Sessions' Courts, 1880-1914.
  • SN4376 - Violence in the North West with Special Reference to Liverpool and Manchester 1850-1914.
  • SN4429 - Violence in Early Modern England - a Regional Survey, 1600-1800, Cheshire.

While thematically related, the three datasets are otherwise unconnected, arising instead from independent research inquiries. All three were however funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC): SN4483 funded by grant R000223300; SN 4376 funded by grant L133251004; SN4429 funded by grant L133251012. The time frame, courts of law and geographical scope of these studies are as follows: SN4483 looks at violent offenders prosecuted at selected petty sessions courts in England, Australia and New Zealand, 1880-1914. SN4376 presents data relating to interpersonal violence in North West England (focusing particularly on Liverpool and Manchester), between 1850 and 1914. The third dataset - SN4429 - is early modern in scope, arising from an investigation into crimes of violence prosecuted at the Court of Great Sessions at Chester, and also includes some supplementary data, which will be described below.

Access Information

All datasets, except the below mentioned, are accessible for teaching, research and learning purposes. The depositors retain the right to be acknowledged and consequently written permission must be sought from them. Restrictions do exist on data taken from the records of the Liverpool Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

Acquisition Information

SN4483: B. Godfrey (principal investigator) Criminology Department, Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire.

SN4376: J. Arthur, J. Jones and D. Orr (principal investigators)Department of History, Edge Hill College, Ormskirk, Lancashire.

SN4429: J. Sharpe and R. Dickinson (principal investigators), Department of History, University of York, Heslington, York.


This record was compiled by David Borg-Muscat, UK Data Archive.

Record entered by Nadeem Ahmad of Qualidata, UK Data Archive, University of Essex.

Other Finding Aids

Conditions Governing Use

No part of the Crimes of Violence Datasets collections may be reproduced, published, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the History Data Service. This may be obtained by application to the Head, HDS.


Some of the data contained in the collection contains personal and identifying information. It is essential that the privacy of all respondents is not infringed. No real names or any other identifiable information used in the studies may appear in public. No attempt may be made to contact respondents directly. Use of the materials to derive information relating specifically to an identified individual or to claim to have done so is prohibited.

Custodial History

The datasets were deposited with the History Data Service at UK Data Archive by the individual researchers between 1998 and 2002, at which point they were reformatted for electronic archiving.


No additional material is expected.


Godfrey, B. (2001) Ethics and transcribed oral history, Journal of the Australian Oral History Association, no. 23, August, p. 74-80.

Godfrey, B. Sentencing, theatre, audience and communication: the Victorian and Edwardian magistrates; courts and their message', IN B. Garnier (ed),Les Temoins devant la justice,(Rennes, France, 2003), pp.161-171.

Godfrey, B. "Rough" Girls: The 'recent' history of violent young women, 1900-1930, in: C. Alder and A. Worrrall (eds), Criminal Girls, State University of New York Press, Albany, 2002.

'Infanticide in Early Modern England: The Court of Great Sessions at Chester, 1650-1800', IN Mark Jackson (ed),Infanticide: Historical perspectives on Child Murder and its Concealment, 1550-2000 (London, Ashgate, 2002).

Additional Information

History Data Service, UK Data Archive, University of Essex.