Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

Legal History: Anglo American Juries Research Guide

This guide identifies general and primary sources for jury legal history.

Criminal Records of Trials at the Old Bailey

The Old Bailey Sessions House and the adjacent Newgate Prison in London witnessed the proceedings of the criminal trials for the City of London and County of Middlesex. The Sessions were held eight times a year, starting roughly each November, following the election of the Lord Mayor of London. The criminal court system was completely overhauled in 1834 with the creation of the Central Criminal Court.

These proceedings were occasionally published during the 1670s in pamphlet form, under titles such as News From the Sessions House in the Old Bailey. These commercial publications were poorly printed, but very popular, and few of them survived. By the 1680s, booksellers negotiated with the Lord Mayors for the right to print the criminal sessions, eight times a year, in a more regular format, under the title The Proceedings on the King‰s Commission of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery of Newgate, Held for the City of London and County of Middlesex at Justice Hall in the Old Bailey, commonly called The Proceedings, also called The Old Bailey Session Papers [OBSP]. The title changed in 1834, with the creation of the Central Criminal Court, but the coverage remained the same.

The library has The Proceedings in complete volumes from 1729 to 1888 in Special Collections. There is also a microfilm copy of The Proceedings from 1714 to 1834, so that the library has all published trials in a continuous fashion from 1714 to 1888.

The Old Bailey Proceedings are also now available online at http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/. This is a searchable online edition of The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, which covers the years 1674 to 1834. It contains accounts of over 100,000 criminal trials held at London's central criminal court. These are transcripts of the trials, including digital images of the original pages. The transcripts are keyword searchable and can also be browsed by date.

The occasional pamphlets for the years 1670 to 1714 are very rare in the United States, but they can be found using FirstSearch, as well as checking individual academic libraries‰ catalogs online. Check the Online Guide to Legal History Research for more details on these databases.

INTL MEDIA
KD370.O62 1984 Pts. 1-2
The Old Bailey Proceedings, Parts One and Two [1714-1834] (Brighton, Sussex, England: Harvester Microform 1984).

Microfilm ed. of the Old Bailey Sessions Proceedings from 1714 to 1834, filmed from the set at Harvard Law Library. A Listing and Guide to the Harvester Microfilm Collection accompanies the film.

SPECL
The Proceedings on the King‰s Commission of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, and Gaol Delivery of Newgate, Held for the City of London and County of Middlesex at Justice Hall in the Old Bailey, , 1729-1888 (167 vols. London: Printed for T. Payne, [and others] 1729-1888).

Published eighth times per year, and bound together in 2-3 years. An index to each session and general annual index is attached.

INTL MEDIA
KD370.G7 1816 Mfilm
Central Criminal Court Sessions Papers (London: T. Booth, etc., 1816-1913).

Popularly known as The Old Bailey Sessions Papers. Overlaps the microfilm and original edition coverage of the Old Bailey Sessions Papers, 1714-1834.

INTL
HV6943.C6 1926
The Complete Newgate Calendar (5 vols. London: Navarre Society 1926).

INTL
KD8454.N4 K55
Andrew Knapp & William Baldwin, Criminal Chronolgy. Or, the New Newgate Calendar: Being Interesting Memoirs of Notorious Characters, Who Have Been Convicted of Outrages on the Laws of England, During the Seventeenth Century, Brought Down to the Present Time (5 vols. Buffalo, N.Y.: Dennis & Co., no date) (reprint of London: J. & J. Cundee 1809).

INTL
HV6945.N48 1974r
The Newgate Calendar (London: Folio Press 1974) (reprint of London: Folio Society 1951).

INTL
KD8289.O36 1950
Bernard O‰Donnell, The Old Bailey and Its Trials (London: Clerke & Cocheran 1950).

INTL
KD370.S45 1985
Select Trials at the Sessions-House in the Old Bailey (4 vols. New York: Garland Pub. 1985) (Reprint of London: John Applebee 1742).

Covers trials from 1720 to 1741.

SPECL
KD8454.N44 K55 1800 Octavo
George T. Wilkinson, The Newgate Calendar Improved: Being Interesting Memoirs of Notorious Characters Who Have Been Convicted of Offences Against the Laws of England, During the Seventeenth Century, and Continued to the Present Time, Chronologically Arranged (6 vols. London: For Thomas Kelly 1825).