The Killingworth, Longbenton and Weetslade Association for the Prosecution of Felons was formed by people in the Gosforth, and Weetslade area. This was a group who would pay a sum of money each year to be able to pay for, rewards and the prosecution of anyone in their area who they see as breaking the law this could include people who drove their wagons recklessly.
The first meeting of the Association was held on the 8th June 1808 Alex Cairns of Weetslade was elected to the committee meetings were held annually, each member paid 10s into the kitty this would be used to pay for any expenses incurred by the treasurer. The association seemed to pay money out yearly to the Newcastle Courant the first was to be an advert stating their intentions the minuets of the meeting said this was to be postponed until Nov. Meetings held at Jos. Baggons house, Longbenton Hall where the cost of a meal also came out of the funds the funds would be used to pay for the tracking down of anyone that stole from or damaged the property of the members and have them prosecuted. In 1824 20s was to be paid by each member, the association also seemed to be a membership of private individuals. It is not until 1858 that they make an exception and allow collieries and manufacturers to become members of the association and each member had to list the premises that they wanted to be protected. Henry Colbeck a farmer from High Weetslade farm was elected onto the committee in 1840, 43, 46, 47, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 59, 60. Colbeck, when the new ruling about property was introduced had a farm in High Weetslade and Kenton. In 1858 there were 58 members.
At the back of the book there was a balance sheet showing how the funds were spent, apart from the expenses of their yearly meal, stamps, envelopes, hand bills and articles in the newspaper.There was money spent on finding the felons and even 4s given to a constable for removing vagrants from the area. In 1812, 15s paid for the apprehension of the highway robbers Hetherington and Wilkinson. In 1841, 7s. 6d were paid to Mr. Robinson for searching for the people who broke into Colbeck's dairy. The members of the association had property all over the area even in Haddricks mill and Walker. In 1843 an article in the Newcastle Journal has an article where two pitmen John Walton of Six Mile bridge and Robert Tweddle, On the 13 September had trespassed on the farm of William Smith of Weetslade High Barns and assaulted him in an outrageous manner, asking his pardon.
The association prosecuted people for many offences by today's standard minor: stealing grass, turnips, potatoes, pigeons, lead and in one instance an assault in one case the punishment for stealing joiners tools was 7 yr. penal servitude. In 1872 5s was paid for information on lads stealing turnips and in 1876 four boys were sent to prison for stealing turnips. (Not necessarily the same boys.)
The first mention of conventional law and order in Dudley was in the 1881 census were living in Telford Buildings in Dudley was a Police Constable, George Robinson, age 42, born Rothbury. Annitsford had its own police constable In 1891 George Renwick aged 33.
This site was created May, 1999 and is maintained by D.J.Kane, BA(Hons) Dip. Eur. Hum. (Open)Contact Dave Kane.