National Library of Wales

Organisation: Archive, Library

Collections held: Courts, Police, Prisons

Dates: 1700-1799, 1800-1849

The Crime and Punishment database comprises data about crimes, criminals and punishments included in the gaol files of the Court of Great Sessions in Wales from 1730 until its abolition in 1830. The Court could try all types of crimes, from petty thefts to high treason. In practice, most of the petty crimes were heard at the Courts of Quarter Sessions, whose records are held by the Welsh county record offices.
Details about these records can be searched at Archives Network Wales.

The records of the Court of Great Sessions do not include cases tried in Monmouthshire since that county formed part of the Oxford Assize circuit, whose records are held by the National Archives. There are, however, a number of cases of Monmouthshire interest on this database. The database is available at

There are also a number of collections which include information relating to crime and punishment, which can be searched by using the Library's catalogue.

The Library has held exhibitions about Crime and Punishment in the past

As a copyright library, we also have numerous books on the subject, which can be searched through the catalogue.

We also have an active digitisation programme, which includes Welsh Newspapers which is a free online resource from the National Library of Wales which provides access to millions of articles from the Library’s rich collection of historical newspapers.

Aberystwyth SY23 3BU


Any publications or other relevant material about the collection / history of the organisation?

Historic Buildings?

Who can access the collection?

External (public), Registered users

How big is the collection?