Christmas was a fairly common first name for those in the past – I wonder why people don’t tend to call their children that now, when there are some far more bizarre names being used?

Merry Christmas! Or not, seeing as he was in a debtors' prison.

Merry Christmas! Or not, seeing as he was in a debtors’ prison.

There are a couple of Christmas criminals in the archives, including Christmas Jones, who was sent to the Marshalsea Prison for debt on 9 January 1815, and discharged a month later.

Christmas Allen was acquitted of larceny at the Norwich Quarter Sessions in July 1819; his 17 year old son, also named Christmas, then appeared at the January County Sessions, also charged with larceny, but was less lucky than his parent, being found guilty and sent to prison for four months.

Christmas appears to have been a particularly popular name in Norfolk, with the Quarter Sessions records also recording a Christmas Asker, Christmas Betts, Christmas Bloomfield, Christmas Brett, Christmas Brummage and others.

 

This echoes research done into the surname Christmas, which has similarly found a particular focus on East Anglian families.

The best Norfolk criminal’s name I’ve found, though, has to be Christmas Crisp, who in 1837, aged 30, received six months in prison for larceny. In 1846, he was then acquitted of another larceny, before settling down to ag lab work.

In 1851, Christmas was living with his wife and children in Wallington. His children all had ordinary names – Sarah, William, Ann, George, James, and, um, Christmas Crisp junior.

I’ve not found any Christmases who committed their crimes on the appropriate day, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time…