Special Constables

A List of Names of Special Constables within the Division of Holme Beacon, 1831

The Special Constables Act of 1831 "for the better preservation of the peace" empowered two justices of the peace to appoint as many special constables as they deemed sufficient to combat any "tumult, riot and felony". 

This Act was in response to the government fearing a repetition of the notorious Gordon riots, and in the greatest example of over policing in history 170,000 special constables were sworn in and reported for duty to deal with a possible half a million rioters on Kensington Common, who were due to march on to Westminster. In fact, only 50,000 demonstrators turned up. 

In the East Riding, at least in the Holme Beacon Division, it appears that the justices appointmented every able-bodied man, and so provides a mini-census in an important year, 1831, 10 years before the 1841 census (the first census in which names were collected). 

The full list of Special Constables for the Holme Beacon Division, from which the extract below for the parish of Aughton only is given, is held by the East Riding Archives, Beverley, under reference QAP/8/20. 

HS = Head of Section 

HT = Head of Township


Cotham, George (HT) Lambert, Edward Webster, Simon
Collins, James Lawson, Emanuel Wilkinson, William
Goodland, Marmaduke Maltby, Robert Young, Thomas
Harrison, Matthew Stephenson, William  
Knapton, Thomas Vause, William  
East Cottingwith    
Godfrey, Martin (HT) Hall, Peter Seymour, George
Atkinson, John Hemingway, William Seymour, John
Bailey, Thomas Martin, Henry Webster, John
Bell, William Nottingham, William Webster, Simon
Blackburn, Charles Ogram, Henry Wilson, William
Gill, John Pensey, Robert  
Gell, John (HT) Cook, Matthew Nottingham, R. N.
Blanshard, Robert Halfield, Thomas Vause, Thomas