Mike wrote to ask why his ancestor, Charles Hawkins, was in prison in Hertford at the time of the 1871 census. I often get questions like this but in this case there was a difference. I have had to tell him that Charles may have thought my great grandfather, Jacob Reynolds, was responsible ! ! !
What seems to have happened was that Charles, and his brothers John and William, had a walk through Symondshyde Great Wood, on the parish boundary between Sandridge and Hatfield. And on the far side of the wood there were fields - with rabbits in them, and they all thought how delicious rabbit stew would be. The problem was a farm labourer, William Minall, who said they were poaching, and most unfairly told his employer, Jacob Reynolds, of Hammonds Farm, who spoke to P.C. Day.The magistrates obviously felt the hungry poor had no right to fresh rabbit meat and fined them all. As they didn't pay they ended up in prison.
Well that is one way of looking at what happened. For more information about the case, with details of other offences by members of the Hawkins family, the problems farmers faced from poachers and theft from their fields, etc., see HAWKINS, Hertford Goal, 1871.