Ancestry UK

Town Gaol, Fordwich, Kent

By 1818, a Town Gaol was in operation under the Guildhall on King Street, Fordwich.

The Guildhall, Fordwich

In 1835, it was reported:

There is a small cell under the guildhall, which has been used, once or twice within the last few years for temporary purposes, as a prison. It is quite unfit in every respect for the confinement of any one. The gaoler stated that a person had been confined in it for three or four days on committal by the justices, for wishing to come upon the parish. I was unable to ascertain what the offence really was. The justices, however, have entered into a composition with the county, under the recent Act, for the committal and maintenance of their prisoners in the county gaol.

The prison closed in about 1838. The building in now a heritage attraction.


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.