Royal pardon, signed by Queen Victoria (1819–1901) and issued by M E Grimshaw [?] to Henry Justice, High Sheriff of Shropshire, 18 March 1842.
Victoria was the only child of Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, and Mary Louisa Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Her father and William IV both died in 1820, and Victoria inherited the throne at the age of eighteen after her father’s elder brothers all died without surviving legitimate issue. Victoria’s coronation took place on 28 June 1838. Two years later she married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Their nine children and twenty-six of their grandchildren married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the nickname ‘the grandmother of Europe’. Queen Victoria’s reign of sixty-three years and seven months is the longest in British history, and the Victorian era (as her reign became to be known) was a period of great change in nearly every aspect of British society.
Queen Victoria’s signature looms large over the text of this royal pardon. The first of the two women named, Eleanor Bradshaw, was convicted of larceny, and sentenced to seven years transportation to Australia. The second woman, Margaret Jones, was found guilty of embezzlement, and sentenced to twelve months imprisonment. Regarding their release, the document states that ‘We in Consideration of some Circumstances humbly represented unto Us, are Graciously pleased to extend Our Grace and Mercy unto [Eleanor Bradshaw and Margaret Jones] Our Free Pardon for their Crimes’.