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The Yorkshire witch: A story of murder and witchcraft

Before the modern police force in Leeds

 From the 1700s to early 1800s each village appointed a single constable who served for a year.

These early constables caught criminals and made sure that they attended court. They did not prevent crime. They carried a decorated truncheon as a symbol of authority.


The truncheon is made of dark brown wood.  Then handle is carved so that it can be easily gripped.  On the baton end is painted a crown in gold, red and white paint, with the letters WIVR in gold paint.
Police truncheon from 1830 - 1837

Wealthy people could pay for a night watchman in their area to deter criminals.

Night watchmen usually also called out the time and the weather for the general public.  By 1790 there were over 1000 parish night watchmen just in London. They were employed by 70 different organisations. They didn’t work together or with the constables and so they could not cope with serious or organised crime.

Read a 1914 Yorkshire Post article "Leeds in the Making  and the Men who  have helped" by Frank Kidson, featuring the Turnpike Riots, Foster Powell (The Horsforth Pedestrian), and Mary Bateman