« PredošláPokračovať »
fended by Mr. Vaughan and Mr. Erskine. The Northern Circuit has given a greater proportion of Judges to the Bench than any other circuit, many of the greatest legal luminaries, while yet unknown to fame, having chosen this large and profitable field as the avenue to future wealth and renown.
In August, 1819, shortly after the memorable affair of Peterloo, Hunt and some of his followers upon that occasion were brought to Lancaster Castle, to take their trial for high treason. They were brought up at the autumn assizes before Mr. Baron Wood, but traversed to the next assizes. The venue was
subsequently removed to York, where they were tried for conspiracy and sedition, and found guilty. Hunt was sentenced to imprisonment for two years and a half in Ilchester Gaol, and Healey, Johnson, and Bamford, to one year's imprisonment in Lincoln Gaol.
An equal degree of excitement of another kind was caused by the trials at the Lancaster Assizes in March 1827 (before Mr. Baron Hullock), of Mr. Edward Gibbon Wakefield and Mr. William Wakefield, for the abduction of Miss Turner. Mr. Sergeant Cross (in the absence of Sir John Copley, now Lord Lyndhurst) led the case for the prosecution, assisted by Mr. (now Lord) Brougham. The defendants had the advantage of the forensic experience and talents of Mr. Scarlett (now Lord Abinger), for many years a leading counsel on the northern circuit. It will be in the recollection of our readers that the defendants were found guilty, and were sentenced-Mr. E.
G. Wakefield to three years' imprisonment in Newgate, and Mr. Wm. Wakefield to three years' imprisoninent in Lancaster Castle.
At the Lancaster Autumn Assizes 1836 (before Mr. Justice Coleridge) the Great Will Cause of Tatham v. Wright, was finally settled, after ten years' litigation, by a verdict in favour of the late Admiral Tatham. Sir Frederick Pollock was specially retained for the legatees under the will of Mr. Marsden; Mr. Cresswell (since elevated to the Bench) conducted the case for the gallant Admiral. This Will Cause involved the possession of Hornby Castle, and of a large estate in the Vale of Lune.
The latest political trial was that of Mr. Feargus O' Connor and his brother Chartists, who were tried at the Lancaster March Assizes, 1843, before Mr. Baron Rolfe, for being concerned in the outbreaks in the manufacturing districts of the previous August.
Previous to the erection of the new Crown Court in 1796 and the Nisi Prius Court in 1798, the Courts for the trial of prisoners were within the Castle, and were approached by the Gateway Tower and through the Castle Yard. The old Shire Hall still remains, a spacious and lofty apartment in the Lungess Tower, with its deeply recessed window and strong iron bars. It is now the hospital for male criminals.
The new Courts, erected at vast expense, were found to afford ample accommodation for transacting the business of the populous county of Lancaster. Great objections were, however, made, from time to time, to the costs
incurred in bringing jurymen, witnesses, plaintiffs, and defendants from the southern extremity of the county, from which the greater proportion of the causes and criminal offences came. The Corporation of Lancaster warmly opposed the removal of the assizes from the county town, pleading among other reasons the charter of Edward III. that causes should be tried no where else in the county, and other charters from subsequent monarchs confirming the same. In August, 1835, however, the transfer so much dreaded was made, the Assizes being adjourned from Lancaster to Liverpool, where all the civil and criminal business from the southern division of the county has ever since been taken. The result has been deeply prejudicial to the county town. The Assizes, before their removal, used to last a fortnight and occasionally three weeks; and during that term a great influx of visitors— grand jurymen, barristers, attorneys, and others having business-brought profit as well as animation and gaiety to the town. The advantages anticipated to result from the adjournment of the Assizes have not only not been realized, but grave dissatisfaction is expressed at the innovation, not only by suitors but by the members of the legal profession.
THE CASTLE AS IT IS.
Lancaster Castle occupies, as we have stated, an elevated situation to the west of the town. It is approached either by a steep ascent from the higher end of Market street, or by the Church steps from Church street, which also conduct to the Church yard. The approach from