Skip Navigation
 
 

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community archives > Luton > LutonIntroduction > The Pardon of Levi Welch

The Pardon of Levi Welch

Levi Welch [QGV10/4/150]
Levi Welch [QGV10/4/150]

The Bedfordshire Mercury for 7th July 1868 reported that Levi Welch had been pardoned:

Burr Street June 2010
Burr Street June 2010

FREE PARDON TO LEVI WELCH. - The inhabitants of Luton were astonished on Tuesday afternoon to learn the Levi Welch, who was convicted at the Beds Spring Assizes of this year on his own confession of highway robbery with violence (in conjunction with Worsley, who was convicted of wilful murder) had arrived in the town about four o'clock by train. Being challenged by the police, Welch produced the following certificate: "H. M. Pentonville Prison. I hereby certify that I have this day discharged from custody Levi Welch (described on the back of this certificate) in consequence of his having received her Majesty's free pardon. Given under my hand and seal this 30th day of June, 1868. JOHN A. BONES, Governor. Amount paid bearer on discharge, 10s. Conduct while under sentence, good". Welch proceeded to the Saracen's Head, kept by a relative [William Peters], and, after having tea there he went to his home in Burr-street, followed by an immense concourse of persons, the news having spread through the town rapidly. The ground upon which the pardon has been granted is not stated, but it is probably in consequence of the information afforded by Welch which led to the conviction of the murderer of the man Bradberry, although the discerning public placed but little difference between the two men implicated. It was not until Tuesday morning that the prisoner was acquainted with the good news. He received the good advices of the chaplain, a new suit of clothes, and 10s. He was then placed in a cab, in which he was driven to King's Cross, where he took a ticket for Luton. During the evening an enterprising printer sold a large number of handbills, at the price of one half-penny, containing the news of the convict's release. It is reported that Welch has undergone a spiritual change".

Brunswick Street June 2010
Brunswick Street June 2010

Levi Welch continued to live in Luton, at least for a while. The 1871 census found him at 45 Brunswick Street, he was 43 and was still a blocker. Living with him were: his wife Ada A., aged 33, who had been born in Luton; his daughter Letty, aged 11, a scholar and a son, Walter, aged 9 and a scholar. Living at the same address was another family: James Cruse, aged 29, and a blocker, born in Stewkley [Buckinghamshire], his wife Mary, aged 31, from Baldock [Hertfordshire] and their daughter, Caroline, aged 7, a scholar who had been born in London.