The Old Bailey Trial

Richard Allott had a residence in Orchard Street London and resided there in 1817.  A most unusual episode resulted in him appearing at the Old Bailey.  Perhaps, at this period he had left the old Deanery in Raphoe to live in London permanently or he was on holiday.

A young teenager called James Cotterell was indicted for stealing a waiter, the goods of the Reverend Richard Allott, Dean of Raphoe.

Jane Coulin, who was servant to the Dean, found this young man behind the door of the house with a waiter (a tray or salver for serving wine) in his hand.  When questioned about this he replied that he was searching for bread and only took the waiter up to look at it.

The lad was accused of planning to steal the item and was then put into charge.  On the 2nd of July 1817 he was found guilty of theft, simple grand larceny and was sentenced to Transportation for seven years.

(Reference: The Proceedings of the Old Bailey: T18170702-26).

The incident, though somewhat trivial by to-day`s standards, implies that Rev. Dean Allott did not possess the compassion as indicated by his worthy religious position.  The case occurred as a mild blemish on a most secular upbringing.  Forgiveness of the boy could have presented the Dean as a more acceptable personality.  Perhaps he felt that transportation might lead to the reformation of the youthful offender. I wonder if it ever did?  The new destination for transportation around this period in 1787 led to exile in Australia.

In retrospect, the punishment certainly appeared harsh but of course, this period of history in London portrayed hard and difficult times especially for the poor.  Seen as a heavy punishment yet it was an attempt to provide a deterrent to crime.

In fact, many punishments of this period seem like obvious social injustices compared to the present day.