top of page

Henry Kingshott

Henry Kingshott was actually baptised Henry Kinchett on 18th May 1828 at Chalton in Hampshire. He was the son of Henry & Mary Ann Kinchett and one of six children born to them. 


Henry took the usual life route available to the Kingshott family and became an agricultural labourer, eventually becoming a foreman on a farm in Bosham, Sussex, England. It is whilst working there that he had his "little bit of bother with the law". The story is taken up by the Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle etc (Portsmouth, England), Wednesday, May 22, 1872; Issue 4149.





At Havant Petty Sessions on Saturday, before W. H. Stone and Captain Hodgkinson, Henry Kingshott, a farm labourer, and Edmund Rogers, a beerhouse keeper, of Emsworth, were charged -- the former with stealing four bundles of straw, value three shillings, the property of Mr John Habin, and the latter with having received the same, well knowing them to have been stolen.


Mr Titchener, of Chichester, appeared to the prisoner Rogers.


Prosecutor (Habin) stated that he was a farmer, residing at Bosham, and the prisoner Kingshott was in his employ as a Foreman.  On Saturday the 4th inst., he instructed the prisoner to take 100 dresses of straw to Miss Lyon, of Oak Lodge, in the parish of Warblington. On the following Monday he took away the load of straw.  Prosecutor had never at any time given Kingshott authority to sell straw.


In cross-examination by Mr Titchener, prosecutor said the straw in question was oat straw. There were two sorts to oat straw -- winter and spring -- and there was a great difference between the two.  Winter straw was much whiter than spring straw.  The straw produced was spring straw.


George Edney, a man in the employ of the prosecutor, deposed to having "pitched" a load of straw for Kingshott.  He pitched for 100 trusses; but did not count them.  Kingshott told him when to stop pitching.  He did not notice the kind of straw he pitched.


But James Williamson Deacon, living at Long Copse, near Westbourne, said on the 6th inst. he saw Kingshott bring a load of straw to Miss Lyon's premises, Oak Lodge, in the parish of Warblington. He sent a man to help Kingshott unload the straw.  When the wagon was taken away witness noticed four trusses in it similar to those produced.  The straw taken away in the wagon was not Winter straw.  He could not tell what kind of straw it was that was unloaded from the wagon.


Henry Bishop, a cowman that Oak Lodge, remembers Kingshott bring the load of straw on the 6th inst. P (witness) took it in.  He took 88 trusses into the loft, and put four into the cow store and four into the chaff- house. He said to Kingshott, "is this all for us?"  To which he replied, "yes."  Mr Deacon was standing by, and Kingshott said "who is that?"  And witness said "he is our master when Miss Lyon is away."  Kingshott then said "if he says anything you can tell him that you have got 100 trusses".


Cross-examined by Kingshott: I told you there was some straw in the loft when you brought the load.  It was weak straw.  I did not count the trusses you took away in the wagon.


Cross-examined by Mr Titchener: it was Winter oat straw that was brought to Oak Lodge by the prisoner.  It was not the same colour as that produced.  To the best of his (witnesses) knowledge the straw left by the prisoner was a white colour.  He could not say what kind of straw the prisoner took away with him in the wagon.


Henry Bramston, a constable of the West Sussex police, deposed that on Tuesday 6th inst., he received certain information from the prosecutor, and made enquiries.  He went to the house of the prisoner Rogers.


Mrs Stone: what did you say?  --Mr Titchener objected to the witness saying what took place and that he had previously cautioned the prisoner.  All the judges held that the policeman had no right to put questions to a person who was charged with an offence.  Mr Stone said that it was one question as to whether it was right for the policeman to ask questions, but it was another as to whether the evidence should be left out of the depositions.


Captain Hodgkinson: did you caution the prisoner?  -- witness: no sir.  It was eventually decided that the evidence was admissible, and the witness went on to say that on Tuesday the seventh inst., he went to Rogers' house and asked him if the team of two horses had passed the house on the previous day, and he replied "no."  Witness then asked him if a man had offered him any straw so, and Rogers again replied in the negative.  On the following day he went to the prisoner Kingshott asked him if he had taken a load of straw to Miss Lyons premesis. Kingshott replied in the affirmative, and added that he took 100 trusses.  Witness said he had been informed that the prisoner had not unloaded them all, and prisoner said he had four over and that you'd sold them to the prisoner Rogers, at Emsworth, for two shillings, as he thought it was no good taking them back to it with him to Bosham. He further said he was aware that he had no authority from Mr Habin to sell any straw, and that if he (prosecutor) had waited until Saturday night he would have had the money.


Mr Titchenor - did not Rogers saying more than you have stated?  -- witness: he said if a man came to him with some straw, and said he had a right to service, he (Rogers) for the other right to buy at a fair price.


PC Spinks, of the West Sussex police, corroborated Branston's evidence.


Mr Henry Pratt, superintendent of the police of Chichester, said he went with the last witness to Rogers house and said "I want that straw you bought of a man on Monday."  Rogers twice said he had not bought any.  Witness looked into the cart-house and saw straw produced, and said to the last witness, "here is the straw; pull it out." Rogers then said, "it is no use telling any more lies about it.  I bought the straw and gave two shillings for it."  Witness did not give Rogers any caution.  P "witness" was in uniform at the time.  He left the house to return soon afterwards, when Rogers said he asked Kingshott whether he had a permission from his matter to sell straw, and he "Rogers" said he had.  He told Rogers to come to Chichester on the following day, which he did.


Mr Titchener submitted that there was not a tittle of evidence to show that Rogers well knew when he bought the straw that Kingshott had no right to sell it, and that no jury would convict him if the case was sent to trial.


Mr Stone, after consulting with his brother magistrate, said he did not think that there was sufficient probability of the jury convicting Rogers, and he would, therefore, be discharged.  He advised him, however, to be very careful in the future in his transactions.  His denial to the police looked, to say the least, suspicious.  Kingshott would be committed to trial at the ensuing quarter sessions.


The usual caution having been read over, Kingshott said the prosecutor took the farm from a Mr Bourne, in whose service he (prisoner) had previously been.  He had always been allowed by Mr Bourne to sell straw, and he had never had any orders to the contrary from the prosecutor.  He fully intended to pay the prosecutor the 2s on the following Saturday evening.


The prisoner was committed to trial at the ensuing sessions. Magistrates agreed to accept bail for the prisoner's appearance, himself in the sum of 10l, and two sureties of 5l each.



It is very interesting to read about these Victorian court proceedings. You would not get such a detailed account on such a minor offence these days. In fact, serious offences only get a couple of lines. How times have changed. 


I have been unable to locate the subsequent trial and do not know whether or not Henry was found guilty of this offence. I have to say that it seems very likely, given the evidence.

Henry Kingshott was my 4th cousin four times removed.

bottom of page