Ancestry UK

County Bridewell, Clare, Suffolk

The Suffolk County Bridewell, or House of Correction, at Clare, was probably established in the seventeenth century and stood on Goswell Street (now Bridewell Street) at the south side of its junction with Sheep Cott (now Sheepgate) Lane.

In 1784, John Howard described the establishment:

A work-room. Two lodging-rooms with boarded bedsteads. No chimneys. The workroom close-glazed and made offensive by a closet in it. No court. Prisoners have no access to the well of fine water. The prison is thatched, the walls are clay, but the men's lodging-room boarded; and the whole of it is ruinous: the prisoner in 1776, a woman, at work, in irons. No allowance. Each prisoner pays a penny a day for straw, &c. Keeper a weaver: salary, £13 : 13 : 4 : no fees. Clauses against spirituous liquors not hung up. At my first visit in 1779, the three prisoners, though they were women, had each a heavy chain, and the two impressed men had chains and logs. No justices have visited this prison for many years.

1776, Dec. 6,Prisoner 1.
1779, April 6, "  3.
1779, Sep. 25, "  1.
1782, July 10, "  0.

The bridewell closed in about 1787 and was then converted into a private house.


Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.

  • No individual records identified for this establishment — any information welcome.
  • The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU. Has a wide variety of crime and prison records going back to the 1770s, including calendars of prisoners, prison registers and criminal registers.
  • Find My Past has digitized many of the National Archives' prison records, including prisoner-of-war records, plus a variety of local records including Manchester, York and Plymouth. More information.
  • Prison-related records on Ancestry UK include Prison Commission Records, 1770-1951, and local records from London, Swansea, Gloucesterhire and West Yorkshire. More information.
  • The Genealogist also has a number of National Archives' prison records. More information.


  • Prison Oracle - resources those involved in present-day UK prisons.
  • GOV.UK - UK Government's information on sentencing, probation and support for families.