Ancestry UK

Borough Gaol, Maldon, Essex

The Maldon Borough Gaol occupied part of the ancient Moot Hall, located on the town's High Street. The Moot Hall, dating from 1420, was one of the first brick buildings in Essex. It was acquired by the Borough in 1576. A courtroom was constructed in the building in 1810.

In 1837, the Inspectors of Prisons reported that:

This Borough Gaol is under the Town-hall. It contains two rooms, the one 18½ feet by 20¾ feet and 20 feet high, and the other 16 feet by 11 feet. In the latter there is a recess 6 feet by 7 feet. There is a Yard behind these rooms 18 feet by 9 feet. Prisoners under examination only are kept here. All others are sent to the County Gaol at Chelmsford, a distance of nine miles.

We find that in the year 1835 there were 29 persons committed to this Prison. The greatest number at one time confined during that period was five. The longest period of detention was three months. Prisoners of all classes are placed temporarily in these two Rooms.

There is no separate place for any Prisoner who may be sick. The Women, on going to and from their room, must pass through the men’s apartment. No officer is resident. The Magistrates should be enjoined to use this Gaol only as a lock-up house for the separate confinement of Prisoners under examination.

As requested by the Inspectors, the prison was subsequently used only as short-term lock-up, eventually being closed in 1867. The Moot Hall is now a listed building and regular guided tours are available.


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