Law & Order
In the middle ages the Constable was an officer who was appointed by the manorial court. As the manorial system declined the role of the constable continued. The last constable were appointed at the court of Baron of Bovills in 1732. The constable continued as a junior parish official and was supervised by the justices and churchwardens. The responsibilites were to maintain law and order in the parish. They arrested those who committed crimes and brought them before the courts. They were also responsible for removing vagrants and paupers who had no right to settlement. Also, for supervising alehouses, destroying vermin and organising local ballots. Added to their roles in 1757 came the responsibility for men to serve in the local militia. In 1706 the two Ardleigh constables were from the lower social stratum. In 1839 county police forces were established and gradually replaced the parish constables. The Parish Constable Act required that the constables were appointed by the justices.
Appointed Constables 1768-1836
Policemen - In 1839 county police forces were established and gradually replaced parish constables.
1848-1852 - Ackers, Hugh, Police Inspector. He married Mary Ann James in 1845.
1886-1894 - Harvey, John, Sergeant. Was posted to Ardleigh on 6th January 1886 and promoted to sergeant on the 1st October, 1891. On 5th January 1894 was found dead head first down a well in a snow covered cottage in Ardleigh. Never proved whether he fell or was pushed. For more details and a picture visit: Essex Police Memorial Trust: John Harvey.
1906 - 1914 - County Police, Ernest Ryder, constable
1917 - 1925 - County Police, Ernest Charles Monk, constable
The Last court Leet held in 1732 under Lady of the Manor, Elizabeth Lambe, widow of Thorpe-le-Soken. The 12 man Jury of the Leet were:
1754 - Bovills Court Rolls - William Meekins was accidently killed when his cart ran over him on his brickfield on the Ipswich Road. The cart which had killed William was taken and put in the possession of Lady of Bovills Manor, and the widow was fined.
1780 - Elizabeth Steady was a worry to the Vestry and was taken to the magistrate for ill-behaving, aged 9 years.
1781 - Elizabeth Steady was taken to prison at Manningtree, aged 10 years.
1795 -Widow Mary Griggs had a 'carrying on' with Henry Ling. When she was with child the Vestry had Ling arrested on October 1795. He was taken to Chelmsford, the case wasn't serious enough to make them marry so he had to pay.. The child was not baptised.
1796 - Sarah Jowers had a child and Thomas Williams, son of the mill-hand on Johnny boys Hill is cited as the father. Sarah is examined and a warrant is issued against Williams but he refused to marry Sarah. They extract a bond from him instead. Her parents shut her out of the house so it was arranged that she lay-in at dame Bond's, the tailor's wife. However the infant died.
1796 - Charlotte Lewis (b.1775) had an illegitimate child with James Went (b.1775) the child was Elizabeth Lewis born 1797. He would not marry her so he was warranted to pay maintenance.
1816 - Elizabeth Steady had an illegitimate child Elizabeth by the married man Frederick BOGGIS. He could not made to marry her as he was already married.
1818 - Elizabeth Steady had a second illegitimate child Martha .
1820 - Frederick BOGGIS' wife Lucy died and after a mourning period Jonathan BULL saw that Frederick and Elizabeth Steady married.
1820 - It was discovered that Frederick had settlement in the parish of St George in the East where he and his new wife Elizabeth Steady were removed as paupers.
1791 - John Buss, (1764-1831). In 1791 was summoned for not paying the Poor rate when he had a holding on Crockleford Heath.
1817 - William Strutt (b.1784) assaulted his brother-in-law George BACON.
1817 - William Arnold (b,1793) Was transported for a felony.
1824 - William Brayley under sentence of transportation for burglary. Wife and two children 's care under the parish.
Elizabethan Life - Morals & the Church Courts
Chapter 1 - Sexual Offences - Incontinence, page 11-12
'Thomas Sayer of Frating, having in 1588 'suffered John Greenleaf, incontinent with Elizabeth his late servant, to depart unpunished', alleged that Greenleaf, '...by the way as he had and the constable did go to the justice to have him punished, did run away one Webbe of Ardleigh and his wife, being Greenleaf's parents, know where he is at present.' '
Chapter 1 - Sexual Offences - Incontinence, page 15 
'John Almond was ' suspected to live incontinently' with his maid in his bedchambers.'
Chapter 1 - Sexual Offences - Harbouring unmarried mothers - page 30 
'A married couple of Ardleigh admitted having had 20 marks from a man, presumably the bastard's father, for the lodging of a woman from Lincolnshire'.
Chapter 1 - Sexual Offences - Other sexual offences , page 47 
'The wife of Thomas Evered of Ardleigh was accused (1589) as 'a scold amongst her neighbours, and for that she did openly make water in a glass before men and in their sight, and then threw her own water out and filled it with drink, and then drunk to the said men'
Chapter 3 - Religious Offences - Absence and rejection from communion - page 109 
'Mr William Pennett of Ardleigh', presented by the wardens in 1589, gave a long-winded answer: 'Divers suits and troubles have been maliciously by sundry of his illwillers and enemies commenced against him without cause, and thereby being troublrd in conscience and finding himself unfit to receive he durst not proceed the last Easter time, not of any contempt or misliking; whereupon he humbly desires the judge to forebear and give him some reasonable time to receive after those suits were ended, protesting that he would be ready to receive so soon as he could find in his heart ans conscience to receive.'
Chapter 4 - Font to Grave - Baptisms - page 140 
'When Lawrence Lyde, vicar of Ardleigh, was complained of by a woman, 'because her child was baptized without any gossips (godparents)', he claimed ' There were gossips', and was enjoined to prove it under the hands of six parishioners'.
Chapter 9 - Trial and Punishment - Penance - Page 284 
'In 1590, James Gammes of Ardleigh exhibited the attestation document, viz. 'by letters from the minister and parishioners'; but whereas the certificate on inspection showed that he had not performed penance in a white sheet, the judge ordered that 'he shall receive the holy communion at the greatest number of receiving of communicants and there in his usual apparel shall kneeling in audible voice penitently confess his fault, and to certify'; clear proof that the court did not regard certificates as merely routine papers to be filed by the register'.
Chapter 9 - Trial and Punishment - Purgation - Page 293
'As an illustration of a minor and straightforward presentment, John Almond of Ardleigh pleaded not guilty to 'living suspiciously with Helen Sawye his maidservant' in 1590. Assigned to 'purge fourth hand his neighbours', he produced three and the 'intimation' published by Mr. (Geoffrey) Alderton the vicar, and he was vindicated; but the court commanded him 'not to be in company with her except in market, church and other public places'.
Chapter 9 - Trial and Punishment - Purgation - Page 296
'A fourth isolated remission is seen in the case against John Allen junior of Ardleigh in 1599. Ordered to produce five men to swear with him, he alleged that 'he was first convented for the matter before Mr. Commissary; there was, neither is, any public fame of his incontinent living with Mr. Whetle's wife; since his first convention he never was in her company; and Mr. Commissary upon the hearing of the matter and his good name being proved by two honest witnesses, did discharge him of the said fame'. So Colchester court [also] dismissed him'.
Elizabethan Life and Disorder
Chapter 3 - Presentments - Roads - Page 17
'The Coggeshall and Feering lists are quite exceptional in the early Sessions rolls of Essex. There are no similar lists until 1575. Only two parishes presented any defaulters : one in Brentwood (1566) and one in Ardleigh (1568)'.
Chapter 3 - Sedition - Page 64 
'The famine condition conditions continued and gave rise to another indictment at Quarter Sessions two years later . Henry Wemt, a weaver from Ardleigh near Colchester, was charged with these seditious words: 'It would never be better until men did rise and seek thereby an amendment, and he wished in his heart a hundred men would rise, and he would be their captain to cut the throats of the rich churls and the rich cornmongers, for he had served as a soldier divers times beyond the seas and could lead them.' The case went to the Assizes. He was found guilty, survived the terrible gaol fever which killed thirty-one prisoners in the following year, and escaped from prison in 1600.'
Chapter 11 - Barratry - Page 145 
'Lawrence Lyde of Ardleigh clerk (vicar, 1569-1602) 'is a common barrator and incites his neighbours to murder, homicides and contentions' (1574). At his trial he pleaded not guilty by his attorney and was found not guilty'.
Chapter 17 - Abduction, Rape & Immorality - Page 195
'An indictment of 1597 corresponds with the Middlesex case. Margery daughter and heir of John Ardleigh of East Hanningfield deceased was under 14. She was in the guardianship of Jeremy Fennyng, who had married her widowed mother also deceased, and she possessed lands of the annual value of £14. The girl was taken away against her will by Matthew Hedge and Richard Segrave, yeomen of Goldhanger. Hedge was aquitted, but Segrave was at large. Margery is not mentioned in the will (1586) of her father, John Ardley, a husbandman of East Hanningfield'.
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