Ancestry UK

Town Gaol, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

A Town Gaol or Lock-up in Henley was authorized under a charter of 1568 charter. By the 18th century it stood in Middle Row, just west of the guildhall.

It was replaced in 1796 by a provision beneath the new town hall, described in 1812 by James Neild:

Keeper, Charles Stokes, the Town Sergeant. Salary, 5l.

Fees, 1s. the first night, and 6d. every night after.

Allowance, eightpence per day.


Under the Town-Hall are two rooms, or cages, of 11 feet by 4 feet 10, with lofty arched roofs, and straw for sleeping on the boarded floors: a sewer in one comer. The rooms ventilated by iron gratings over the doors, which open to the cornmarket. No court-yard. August 18th, 1803, no Prisoners.

In 1835, the facility was described as a 'small dungeon... used merely for purposes of temporary restraint or security.' Longer-term prisoners were sent to Oxford.

Exactly when the gaol ceased use is uncertain. The town hall was replaced by a new building on the same site which was opened in 1901.


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