Samuel Bowkett joined Gloucestershire Constabulary on 20th January 1860 and retired on 23rd October 1886. We are very lucky to have some of his pocket notebooks in our archive which gives a great insight into what life was like for officers of the time.
Samuel was born in Newent in 1830 and was 30 when he joined the police.
Research has shown that he served in Cheltenham, Dymock, Wotton under Edge and Winterbourne. He retired in after 26 years and 9 months service. He was 56 years old and incapacitated by chronic rheumatism.
He was married twice in 1855 to Selvia and in 1899 to Emily. He had 2 daughters Ellen and Mary with his first wife. In 1908 Samuel died and was buried in Cheltenham
The pocket books of the time show the sorts of duties that were undertaken by the officers.
- foot patrol around the area
- escorting prisoners to prison
- checking beer houses to see that they were obeying licencing laws
- checking that doors and windows on shops and houses were locked at night
- meeting the trains to see who was coming and who was leaving
- attending court
- serving summons
- executing warrants
- checking who was staying at the lodging houses
- checking the crops and the animals in the fields
- attending local events such as steeple chases
- attending church services
- guarding prisoners in the station
- attending regular drill sessions at the main police station in the area
- delivering letters between police stations
- regularly calling on all the local shop keepers
- attending sales and auctions
- and they investigated crime
Looking through the pocket book dated 15th March to 15th June 1869 we found some local cases that Police Constable 195 Bowkett was involved in.
Thomas Williams theft of shoes
The entry in Constable Bowkett’s pocket book about giving evidence at the Quarter Sessions.
The report into the case from the Stroud Journal 20th March 1869
The entry in the prison record for Thomas Williams.
Mary Ann Selman theft of a shawl.
The entry in Constable Bowkett’s pocket book about guarding the prisoner when on night duty.
The entry in the prison record for Mary Ann Selman.
We know that later in his career Police Constable Bowkett was stationed at Dymock and dealt with the murder of a child.
Abia Ibell child murder.
The Stroud Journal 6th May 1876
Police Constable Bowkett’s involvement in the case.
The entry in the prison record for Abia Ibell.
As we transcribe further diaries we hope to add more pages.