The Parish stocks used to stand outside the west end of the Town Hall and offenders were placed therein by order of the Magistrates. These stocks must have been the property of the Parish and were not the property of the Lord of the Borough.
Two of the photos showing the stocks are of a visit made by King Edward VII. This could possibly have been at the time of the opening of the Sanitorium, named in his honour, or some other celebration as it appears that there are mugs being given away or sold.
‘I produce the Register of Convictions at Midhurst Petty Sessions which is in my possession as Justices Clerk. It shows that Henry Elldridge was convicted on January 24th 1859 of an offence the case being heard before one Magistrate Mr. Thomas A. Davis at the Justices Clerk’s Office as is done now sometimes in trivial casual cases before one Justice. I produce also the information laid by a Police Constable Henry Hayes which contains at the foot a minute in the hand writing of my father the then Justices Clerk and signed by the Justice stating that Henry Elldridge was fined 5/- and 5/6 costs to be paid in a week or else he was to be committed to the stocks for six hours. I also produce the distress warrant and return of no goods.
Henry Ford says:
I used to be called Henry Elldridge and I am 67 years old. I have always worked as a bricklayers labourer for the Cowdray Estate. When I was a young fellow I was locked up by the Police Constable Henry Hayes one Saturday night for making a disturbance. He put me in what we called the cage under the Town Hall. I was there till Monday morning, when I was brought before Mr. Davis the Magistrate at old Mr. Johnsons office. I was ordered to pay 10/6 and given a week, after which if I did not pay I was to have six hours in the stocks. I never paid. Some months after the Superintendent of Police took me and put me in the stocks, fastening my hands. The stocks stood in the Market Square near the church yard railings. A crowd came to see me. I was taken out after five and a half hours by order of the Magistrate Mr. Davis.
Charles Hounsome, Vanzell Cottage, Easebourne.
I am 80. In 1843 or 1844 I was apprenticed to Mr Mercer of Midhurst and under him I did repairs and alterations to the Town Hall in Market Square. It used to be called the Market House. The upper part was unsafe. It was not rebuilt but the roof was renewed and the stone steps now outside were moved from the inside. Hurdles were kept there for the Market. Prisoners were put in the cells there and vagrants. The Magistrates sat at the Angel but after the Town Hall was put right they sat there. The stocks stood by a post in front of the present Rural District Council Office, and vagrants and others who committed offences were put there by order of the magistrates. I have seen several in because they have been tipsy or something.