Crime and Daily Life in Early Modern Cardiganshire 1542-1659

  • Keziah Garratt-Smithson

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This research is an exploration of the surviving criminal records from the Court of Great Sessions for the county of Cardiganshire. It is a social and cultural history of the way in which the Great Sessions functioned on a day-to-day basis, but also a study of what can be learnt about how early modern communities functioned. In the first chapter it was found that livestock theft made up the majority of cases, and that most people and crimes were associated with the parishes surrounding Caron, or the boroughs. It also discusses aspects of early modern coronership.
Chapter two explores the disparity between the perceptions of the mountain landscapes of the county, and the reality of life there. Chapter three highlights the nuances within community relationships, and how criminal prosecutions would often stem from long term disputes in a similar fashion to how witchcraft prosecutions occurred. Finally, the fourth chapter is an onomastic study of personal naming culture in Cardiganshire, describing the name pool of the area, and discussing the evidence for the decline of the patronymic system.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorEryn White (Supervisor)


  • Wales
  • Early Modern Crime
  • Court of Great Session
  • Wedding practices
  • Justices of the Peace
  • Gentry
  • Cardiganshire
  • Highway Robbery
  • Rape
  • Murder
  • Grand Larceny
  • Theft
  • Jurors
  • Depositions
  • Witness
  • estimony
  • Onomastics
  • Patronymics
  • Namin Culture
  • Mountains
  • Bridges
  • Repairs
  • maintenance
  • roads
  • fairs
  • gender
  • alehouse
  • la
  • order
  • house-breaking
  • burglary
  • arson
  • livestock
  • coroners
  • coroner reports
  • time keeping
  • clocks
  • local government
  • gaol files
  • Tudor
  • Elizabethan
  • Stuart
  • Jacobean
  • Interregnum
  • social history
  • assault
  • travel
  • communal memory
  • gossip
  • neighbourliness
  • drowining
  • suicide
  • currency
  • public spaces
  • hafod
  • arbitration
  • landscape
  • baliff
  • sport
  • pastimes
  • presentments
  • jury lists
  • indictments
  • accidents

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