Drunkeness & Punishment
James Owen seems to have been on a puritanical crusade but drunkenness was an ongoing problem. The disorderly behaviour - the streets were noisy well after midnight, with singing, shouting and brawling - and social consequences of excessive drinking could not be ignored. Prior to 1872, any ratepayer could open a beer house, free from any control, on payment of 2 guineas. It would appear that the only restriction involved activities on Sundays and it was not until the Licensing Act of 1872 that opening hours were limited to between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., indicating just how lax they were prior to that. This may have gone some way towards reducing the problem, but by then James was close to retirement.
So, what happened to the miscreants?
November 25th, 11 am Llanidloes Petty Sessions (2 miles) - Sentences on Edward George and Catherine Evans. Fined 5s/ and costs. Thomas Jones of the Bell Inn appeared to his Summons served by Constable Owens - Fined 5s/ and costs. John Owen appeared to his Summons - Fined 2/6 and costs. Thomas Evans appeared to his Summons – he was ordered to find bail to keep the peace for six months and to pay 8/9 costs – and in default thereof to be committed to gaol for two months. Morgan Humphreys did not appear to his Summons having absconded.