Joe Travis, from Kirton, was tried twice in connection with the murder of his friend, Charles Copeman

In 1847, Joe Travis, a young joiner and cabinet maker from Kirton, was accused of killing his friend Charles Copeman, a well-to-do farmer’s son. Copeman's body had been found, brutally stabbed and robbed of the gold sovereigns he was carrying, the morning after the pair had been drinking together in the pubs of Kirton. After the murder, Travis, who had lost considerable sums of money playing cards, paid off one of his debts ─ with a gold sovereign.

Travis was arrested, imprisoned at Kirton House of Correction, and later transferred to Lincoln Castle Victorian prison, prior to his trial at Lincoln Castle assizes in March 1848. Travis was acquitted, but new evidence emerged, and so he was re-tried in July 1848 for robbery with violence. This time, the jury found Travis guilty, and he was sentenced to transportation for life. Just over a year later, Travis was dead ─ from cholera ─ which he had caught on the prison hulk Justitia, moored at Woolwich.

In 1872 Kirton House of Correction was closed. Prisoners were transferred to the newly opened Lindsey Prison in Lincoln, now called HMP Lincoln. Parts of the original House of Correction remain, and stone from the demolished sections was used to build a new town hall in Kirton in 1897. A series of heritage trails are available from Kirton in Lindsey Town Hall which show the locations.  

Crime, punishment and prisoners

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