Cornwall Constabulary

1857 - 1967



olonel Walter Raleigh Gilbert, R.A., O.B., J.P., of the Priory, Bodmin, Chief Constable of Cornwall, is a descendant of an old Cornish family and renowned ancestry, whose lineage has been

traced as far back as the time of Edward the Confessor. Sir Humphrey Gilbert, knighted in 1577, was eminently distinguished by his discoveries in the Northern Seas, where Gilbert's Straits were named after him, and by the establishment of the Colony of Newfoundland. This enterprising seaman, who was half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, had ten children, amongst them being Sir John Gilbert, "an officer," as Burke says, "of reputation." The grandfather of the subject of our sketch, the Rev. Edmund Gilbert, was vicar of Constantine, Truro; Colonel Gilbert's father was Prebendary of Exeter, and his uncle, Lieutenant Henry Garnett Gilbert, R.N., was lost at sea in H.M.S. Hawke, which foundered with all hands, in May, 1805.


Colonel Walter Raleigh Gilbert, Chief Constable of Cornwall

Colonel Gilbert was born in 1813, and educated at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, afterwards obtaining a commission in the Royal Horse Artillery, in which he served for the long period of 25 years, for eight of which he was subaltern and for four adjutant, whilst for another eight he was captain of a troop. The Colonel married, in December, 1848, Mariamne Charlotte Isabella, daughter of Mr. William Peters, of Ashfold, Crawley, Sussex, by whom he has one son and three daughters. He was appointed the first Chief Constable of Cornwall in 1857.


In July 1857 just 6 months after the Cornwall Constabulary was established, he issued a handwritten General Order, detailing the supply and cost of meals to persons held in police custody. Our thanks to Peter Hinchliffe who has sent us a copy of the order, which is held at the Devon and Cornwall museum. We have re-typed the order to make it easier to read.


General  Orders

The Chief Constable's Office



19th July  1857



The following scale will show as nearly as possible the Diet which will be supplied to persons while in the custody of the Cornwall Constabulary and the Chief Constable instructs that it shall be strictly adhered to.



One pint of tea or coffee

Eight ounces of bread



Cost 2p


One pint of tea or coffee

Cooked Meat  6ozs

Vegetables  lb


Cost 8p


One pint of tea or coffee

Eight ounces of bread



Cost 2p


Should a prisoner require more,  he may be allowed it,  if he has the money to pay for it.



                                                                                             Chief Constable


Colonel Walter Raleigh Gilbert was the Chief Constable of Cornwall from 1857 to 1896. He died in office.



Cornwall Senior officers

Chief Constable Major Edgar Hare (Cornwall Constabulary), Deputy Chief Constable E J Hosking (Cornwall Constabulary), Supt F G Beale (Penzance Borough Police), Supt R Rowland (Camborne Div), Supt F Hoskin (St Austell Div), Supt F Sloman (Liskeard Div), Supt T Morcumb (Falmouth Div), Supt W H Mallett (Launceston Div), Supt Cobbledick. (Not in order), 1945. (Submitted by Paul Stevens)