(WINCHESTER). ~ Rules, Orders, and Regulations, for the Government of the Gaol and Bridewell or House of Correction, at Winchester, in and for the County of Southampton. Winchester: for James Robbins, 1818.
8vo (207 × 120 mm), pp. 63, , with half-title. Original blue boards with with drab paper spine, letterpress title label to upper cover. Contemporary ownership inscription (W[illia]m Prowting). Rubbed, joints and spine a little frayed, but a very nice unsophisticated copy.
First edition. A series of measures of prison reform at Winchester, resolved by the Justices of the Peace ‘for the prevention, as far as may be found practicable, of abuses and grievances of every description’ through a system of prison visiting by the Justices. The rules make provision for the appointment of a governor at an annual salary of £400 and outline a system of governance. Welfare is in the care of a chaplain and a surgeon (the latter also acting as apothecary); debtors are subject to a lighter regime than other prisoners (convicts, felons and ‘other criminals’). Nine articles are devoted particularly to women prisoners who are under the authority of a matron.
William Prowting (d. 1821) was a Winchester Justice of the Peace — a near neighbour and friend of Jane Austen’s family at Chawton. Austen mentions the Prowtings several times in her letters and it appears that the families visited each other frequently; she apparently sent a copy of the three volumes of Emma to William’s daughter, Catherine Anne in 1816 (Letters, 136). Jisc/LibraryHub lists the BL copy only, Worldcat adds copies at Cornell and Rutgers.