The Forres Heritage Trust needs your help.
As part of its redevelopment of the old police office and cells in the Tolbooth, the Trustees have been undertaking some very serious research involving the 19 Crimes wines.
The 19 Crimes wine was inspired by those who, beginning in 1787, were transported to Australia for a life of hard labour and the Trust has found some stories of that very thing happening to some local folk and want to make a feature from the corks.
Transportation was an alternative to hanging during the Victorian era. Convicted criminals were transported to the colonies to serve their prison sentences. It had the advantage of removing the criminal from society and being quite cheap – the state only had to pay for the cost of the journey.
One such local chap who was transported was Robert Innes as The Forres Journal reported on 7 May 1851.
“Theft by House Breaking. Robert Innes was charged with breaking into the house of Earlsmill, Dyke, Moray on the night of the 9th or morning of the 10th December last by forcing the window and with stealing four pounds in sliver, a sovereign, a half sovereign and a foreign gold coin from a lockfast desk opened by means of a chisel.
Pled guilty – the panel, a middle aged resolute looking man. He could sign his name. Sentenced to seven years of transportation.”
Ainsley James, a Trustee who is working on the project explained: “It has been fascinating working on the police office and cells project and myself and the team have found so many exciting and interesting stories from the past and the link to transportation was just one of them. We plan to do a display with the 19 Crimes corks. There is one cork for each of the 19 crimes a person could commit to be sentenced to ‘Punishment by Transportation,’ but we have been unable to find that elusive cork number 19 and hope that someone locally may have one or if they find one, be willing to give it to the Trust.”
Can you help? We urge you to drink responsibly but if you do happen to enjoy a tipple of the 19 Crimes wine, please feel free to pop ANY of the corks, but in particular the elusive number 19, through the door of the Tolbooth.