Ancestry UK

Borough Gaol, Daventry, Northamptonshire

Daventry's Borough Gaol was in existence by 1776, although its location at that date is unclear.

In 1784, John Howard wrote:

A room 3 feet under ground called the dungeon, 17 feet by 11. No fire-place : no court : no water, The constables are keepers.

1776, Jan. 5, 1779, Nov. 24, 1782, Nov. 27, No prisoners.

In 1828, a new gaol was erected in on the Market Square, Daventry. In 1832, it was recorded that:

There is a small borough gaol at Daventry, which contains four sleeping cells and two yards. It is used principally for petty offenders, and prisoners for re-examination. Felonious offenders are committed to the county gaol.

In 1837, the Inspectors of Prisons reported:

This is now only used as a lock-up house. It has two yards; each yard contains two cells, and a privy is in each yard. The constable supplies the prisoners with food, and makes a charge for the amount. There are wooden bedsteads, with straw mattresses, and rugs. Prisoners usually only remain here a few hours, or a day and night.

The prison was finally closed in 1870s.


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.