Ancestry UK

Town Gaol and Bridewell, Lydd, Kent

Lydd's Town Gaol and Bridewell, or House of Correction occupied the lower part of the Guildhall (town hall) which was erected on the High Street in 1792.

In 1812, James Neild described the establishment as follows:

Keeper, John Leper, Town Serjeant. Salary, none. Fees, 6s. 8d.

Surgeon, when wanted, sent from the Town.

Number of Prisoners, 1804, Aug. 27th, 1806, Aug. 9th, 1807, Sept. 11th,—None.

This Prison, built in 1792, is under the Town-Hall; and has a court-yard, 20 feet by 12, surrounded by a wall about 15 feet high, with a sewer in the corner. Two rooms, or sleeping-cells, 10 feet by 9 each, and 8 feet 6 inches high; with wooden bedsteads and loose straw to lie on: an iron-grated window to each, of about 2 feet square, with inside shutters opening to the court-yard. No water: the Keeper carries it three times a day. The Gaol has never been whitewashed.

By the 1830s, the gaol as only used as a lock-up house prior to committal.

The Guildhall building is still used as local council offices.


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.