Exploring Archives Workshop – Quarter Sessions

  • 12th June 2018

Stolen ducks, theft of acorns and disputes between parishes are some of the fascinating stories contained with Quarter Sessions. This is the latest in our Exploring Archives series, on Wed 20 June, helping you to discover more about some of the historical sources and how they can help you.

You may never have heard of Quarter Sessions, and we know from people who use our resources that often they are overlooked. However anyone doing family and local history could find the useful. Not only are they a great source of stories (such as the ones above), but they also contain thousands of names of ordinary people and just about every town or village in the county will be included, so the people or places you are looking for may be in there.

Witness statement of Joseph Jones of Badsey, reporting the theft of his ducks to the court.

The Quarter Sessions were a combination of a court, trying criminals, and a forerunner of the county council, looking after roads and bridges and adjudicating in disputes between parishes. Within them are a wealth of stories about crime, road and the poor law, such as the man arrested for stealing ducks after being traced through his shoeprint, a goose stolen on Christmas Eve or the ladies charged with stealing acorns on the Pakington Estate. When we go out and give talks we regularly look up a few stories with local connection to share with the audiences, which usually goes down well.

Volunteers have created indexes to the records, making it easy to search for ancestors or to look up a place, but they are often underused as many are not sure how to use them.

This workshop will help by explaining the background to them, how to search them, as well as looking into some of the more intriguing stories. We’ll have some original documents out too.

The workshop is on Wednesday 20th June 2-4pm. To book your place, which costs £6, please go to

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