Ancestry UK

County Gaol and Bridewell, Northampton, Northamptonshire

By 1347, a County Gaol was in operation at Northampton Castle, in the area of what is now the rail station car park. By 1630, a Bridewell, or House of Correction, was established in or near the old Bell Inn, near the south-east corner of All Saints' Churchyard, on what is now George Row. The bridewell also served as a supplementary county gaol and probably used to imprison Quakers between 1655 and 1664. The premises were formally conveyed to the use of the county in 1670 but were destroyed by a fire in 1675. In 1676-8, a County Hall was erected on the site, with Sir Roger Norwich as architect. At the same time, a new county bridewell was erected behind the Sessions House, and a house to its west was used as a gaol and wads bought by the county in 1691.

In 1784, John Howard wrote:

GAOLER, John Scofield.

Salary, now £30. He pays the county £40 a year.

Fees, Debtors and Felons, £0 : 15 : 4

Transports, If two, £7 each; if more, £6 : 16 : 6 each.

Licence, Beer and Wine.


Allowance, Debtors, none.

Felons, two-pennyworth of bread a day (wt. Jan. 1775, 1lb. 1½oz.) and now two pence for meat.

Garnish, Debtors, £0 : 6 : 0.

Felons, 0 : 2 : 6.

Debtors.Felons &c.Debtors.Felons &c.
1773, Nov. 15,9,8.1779, Mar. 25,14,9.
1774, April 5,6,4.1779, Nov. 24,15,15.
1775, Jan. 2,8,7.1782, July 14,19,10.
1776, Jan. 5,7,12.

CHAPLAIN, Rev. Mr. Miller.

Duty, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday.

Salary, £40.

SURGEON, Mr. Kerr. Salary, none. Makes a bill.

APOTHECARY, Mr. Breton. Ditto.


This gaol is also the county bridewell; but petty offenders are kept separate from felons. Mr. Scofield had a salary of £36 : 10 : 0 as keeper, and now as gaoler he has £30 added. Three courts; but the two for felons are too close. No straw. The county have built seven commodious rooms (7 feet 9 inches by 6 feet), for felons; yet there are still two horrid dungeons u steps under ground, over which is a day-room for felons, and the condemned room. The bridewell part consists of one room, with a close bed-room, and a room over them, all made very offensive by a fewer. The prison was clean, and the gaoler attentive and humane to his prisoners. Debtors, felons, and petty offenders were at work, spinning, making pegs for shoe makers, &c.

The chapel was the upper room in the gaoler's house, when it must have been painful for prisoners loaded with irons to go up and down the stairs; but now it is more conveniently situated. No infirmary, nor bath. The act for preserving the health of prisoners, and clauses against spirituous liquors, not hung up. A table of fees is now signed and hung up: that which the gaoler shewed me on my former visits was neither dated, signed, nor hung up; which occasioned my saying in the first edition, "no table of fees."

Northamptonshire, to wit. At the General Quarter Sessions of the Peace — holden at Northampton, in and for the said County, on Thursday — the Sixteenth Day of January, in the Seventeenth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third — before the Reverend John Hill, Doctor of Laws; Ambrose Isted, Esq. Brook Bridges, and Charles Addington, Clerks; Justices of our said Lord the King, aligned to keep the Peace within the said County, &c.

It is ordered, by this Court, that the following Rates and Fees be taken by the Keeper of his Majesty's Gaol for the said County; and no other:

£ : S. : D.
For the lodging of every prisoner for debt, in his house, per week0 : 2 : 0
For the discharge of every such prisoner out of custody for debt,0 :13 : 4
Ditto to the turnkey,0 : 2 : 0
For the copy of every warrant0 : 1 : 0
For signing a certificate, in order to obtain a supersedeas,0 : 2 : 0
For registering a declaration,0 : 1 : 0
For attending with every prisoner in order to give bail, or be otherwise discharged for debt, within the town of Northampton0 : 2 : 0

In 17924 a new gaol and bridewell were erected at the south of the County Hall, and the old gaol became the turnkey's house. The new gaol, which housed 120 inmates, was constructed in line with recommendations from John Howard.

In 1812, James Neild wrote:

Gaoler, John Wright. Salary, 200l. for both Gaol and Bridewell.

Fees, Debtors pay one shilling for a copy of Commitment to the Gaoler, and two shillings for signing a Certificate in order to obtain the Sixpences. Be sides which the Under-Sheriff demands eight shillings and eight pence of every Debtor for his liberate! Felons pay no Fees. For the conveyance of Transports, 1s. per mile, if only three; but if exceeding that number, 6d. a mile each.

Garnish is prohibited, but not yet abolished. If the Prisoner has money, 2s. 6d. is generally exacted by his "Brothers."

Chaplain, Rev. John Watts. Salary, 50l.

Duty, Prayers twice a week, and Sermon on Sunday.

Surgeon, Mr. Hardin. Salary, 26l. for all.

Number of Prisoners,

Debtors.Felons &c.Debtors.Felons &c.
1801, Aug. 18th,10311808, July 29th,1425
1802, Jan. 31st,10381809, Aug. 17th, 624
1805, Sept. 26th, 6241810, Aug. 13th, 728
1807, July 24th,1321

Allowance. To Debtors, none whatever, till lately; but, in cases of very great distress, the Magistrates now allow one pound and half of bread per day.

To Felons, 3s. 2d. each; viz. Three pence in bread daily; in meat, eight pence per week; the remainder in soup, potatoes, &c. Convicts for Transportation have the King's allowance of 2s. 6d. a week.


This Gaol is also The County Bridewell. It adjoins to the Town Hall. The Turnkey's lodge is in front, and the Grand-Jury Room on the first floor: also three rooms, each about 23 feet by 14, for Men-Debtors, on the second floor, and a smaller one for the Women Debtors. To these the Keeper furnishes beds and bedding, at 28. per week, two sleeping together. If the Debtor finds his own bed and bedding, he pays is. per week. Common-side Debtors, if very poor, are sometimes allowed by the County a straw bed, a sheet, and a rug each.

Every Criminal Prisoner who comes in ragged, or dirty, is put into one of the reception-rooms. Their own apparel is then hung up, after being fumigated or purified in a most excellent stove, and the County clothing is put on. They have clean linen once a week, and all are directed to wash themselves daily, before they receive their bread. Here is fine water in every court-yard; and mops, brooms, pails, and soap are allowed, to keep the Prison clean.

On the ground-floor is a day-room for the Debtors, of about 28 feet by 20; and a work-room 15 feet by 10. The court-yard, for both Men and Women Debtors, is 51 feet by 42, and well supplied with water carefully laid on.

To the honour of this Gaol, and for the great benefit of all its inhabitants, Debtors and Felons are constantly kept separate.

The Felons' Gaol and Bridewell, is enclosed by a boundary wall, 15 feet distant from the court-yards.

The Keeper's house is stationed in the middle of the Prison; and has, on the first floor, the Chapel, of 31 feet by 25. But it is not properly partitioned off, according to the respective classes of Prisoners, so that they are here seated in sight of each other.

In the Chapel there is a gallery provided for the Town's People, and another for the Gaoler and his family. The Debtors and Felons sit opposite each other, on benches in the area below; and some of the Town's People are frequently placed in the centre. The Women have a small space pewed off, so high as to be entirely out of view of the Minister, but they are in sight of the Gaoler.

Over the Chapel are three small Infirmary-Rooms, supplied with iron bedsteads, that have screws in their construction, (which is very considerate and humane,) to raise occasionally the head of the sick Prisoner; and in two of these rooms is a fire-place. Also an excellent warm bath, a tub for a cold bath, and an alarm-bell in the centre of the building.

In this ample Gaol there are many peculiar advantages; viz. A spacious court yard, with a cookery and wash-house, boilers, &c. A yard adjoining is for the drying of clothes; and nine others are appropriated for the due separation of the several classes of Prisoners, of the average size of 25 feet by 16; five day-rooms, of about 17 feet by 10 feet 6 inches; three working-rooms, about 28 feet each by 22; and seventy single sleeping-cells. Of these latter, Male Felons have twenty upon the first floor, and the same number on the second story, divided by lobbies or passages, nearly 6 feet wide.

The Female Felons have five cells on the first floor, and five on the second, which open into an iron-railed gallery, 4 feet wide. The other cells are for Bridewell Prisoners, excepting twelve upon the ground-floor, which are set apart either as reception-rooms, or for separate confinement; and two dark cells for the refractory.

Each of the numerous cells before noticed, is 10 feet long by 7 wide, and 8 feet 10 inches high. They are alike fitted up with a plank bedstead, flock-bed, one blanket, and a rug each; and all well ventilated and lighted, by an iron-grated window, about 2 feet square, with a semicircular iron grating over each door; and in each door is a grated aperture, about 4 inches square.

That aweful part of this Prison which is appropriated to Convicts under Sentence of Death, and left for execution, consists of three cells, or day-rooms, of a similar size with those already described: they are airy, well ventilated, and to each of them is attached a small court-yard. It is a singular circumstance, and very striking, that when locked up for the night, the Prisoner ascends, by a ladder of fourteen steps, through a grated trap-door made in the ceiling of his day-room, up to his sleeping-cell, which is of the same size.

I found, to my no small concern, that in this capital County Gaol, no Employment was provided either for Debtors or Felons. In some of the rooms, indeed, at my visit in 1801, I saw looms, with their work, like Penelope's Webb, half finished. It had an odd appearance to a stranger; but the lesson it inculcated was painfully instructive. Our Hogarth might have improved upon it.

It seems that the profits of an infant manufacture were found to be less than its expenditure; and therefore the County of Northampton was necessitated, or induced, to discontinue the only visible means of checking idleness, and of adding the comforts of diligence to the sad privations of imprisonment.

In a case like this, how was it possible not to ask, "And have they, in Northamptonshire, no domestick, no publick nurseries of human infant debility? and do they there look for Profit only, whilst aiming at the attainment of Health, at the security of Life, and the consequent increase of Vigour and of Happiness? "My own ideas could have suggested an answer; but it might be deemed intrusive to proclaim it. To my mind, however, its meaning has long since been fully summed up in that one comprehensive line of Doctor Young:

Do Good; and let Heaven answer for the Rest."

The Dungeons and Condemned Room, sunk to the depth of eleven steps under ground, were not stopped up at some of my former visits, neither are they now; but Mr. Wright, the Gaoler, has assured me that they have never of late been made use of This however is no security, that, under some less lenient Administration, they may not again be applied to aggravate the pains of incarceration.

I found very few of the Prisoners ironed; and the irons so used were comparatively light ones.

The Gaol is regularly visited every Saturday by the Magistrates, and the Surgeon; who enter their several remarks in books kept for so very useful a purpose. They would prove wholesome memoranda in every other Prison.

This is whitewashed once a year. No Prisoner in it ever received the Benefit of the Lord's Act, or sixpences, till lately; and the good office was effected through the exertions of our Society for the Discharge and Relief of Debtors.

I do not find that there are any Legacies or Donations to these Prisons; and no money is given to Prisoners, at the time of their being discharged, to carry them safely home.

The Act for Preservation of Health, and Clauses against Spirituous Liquors, are neither hung up here, nor at the Town Gaol.

In 1837, the Inspectors of Prisons reported:

The total number of cells is 75
The number of dark cells for the male prisoners.15
The number of single cells for males11
Cells which hold three men54
The number of cells for females is10
The total number of day-rooms11
The number of wards11
The number of yards11
Cells for females suffering from itch 2

These are exclusive of debtors' cells. The debtors have—

Of day-rooms2
Of yards1

The number of bed-rooms in use is nine. They are large in size.

If imprisonment for debt should be abolished, the debtors' apartments would, probably, be converted into wards for the female prisoners. The keeper has prepared a plan for making about 70 new cells, of which the dimensions are 8 feet long, 5¾ wide, and about 10 feet high. A new range of building would be raised, enclosing the present tread-wheels, which would not be removed from their actual position. If this idea were realized, the treble cells in the old building might become single ones, and the females would gain space and now cells by occupying ward No. 1, in addition to their present ward.

At present it is impossible to afford a separate cell for each prisoner. Nearly all the male cells hold three beds, and are inconveniently small for that purpose. The cells are altogether small, not very well lighted, except when the sun is on them; at other times they would be scarcely well lighted enough to enable the inmate to reader to work without difficulty. The cells might be rendered somewhat more light by improving the windows. Solitary or separate confinement is quite impracticable here as a general system, both on account of the insufficient number of cells and also of the unsuitableness of the cells for that purpose; that is to say, their unfitness to contain a prisoner constantly day and night. Over the door of most of the cells is a large iron grating, by means of which the prisoners can easily converse with those on the opposite side of the corridor. There is no provision, at present, for warming the cells in winter. The yards are small; the supply of water is scanty. The water-closets in some yards do not act well, in consequence of the pump and cistern undergoing some repairs. There is one bath in a bathing-room, and one bathing tub.

Management.—An honourable and happy change has taken place within about 20 years about that time all the prisoners charged with felony are stated to have been confined with irons.

The governor, matron, the upper turnkey, lower turnkey, and baker, reside in the prison. The prisoners are placed together in the day ward to which they belong when not at work. They take their meals at 8 o'clock in the morning and at 12 at noon, in their respective day rooms; and they have free access to their yards.

Prisoners convicted, or committed in execution for three months, or upwards, are not allowed to see their relations or friends oftener than once in three months; if sentenced or committed for a shorter period, they are not allowed to do so during their confinement. As to letters, they have not been withheld, but are previously inspected by the governor.

Silence is enjoined, and tobacco is prohibited. The last set of rules was framed in the year 1826. The master debtors pay the keeper 4s. weekly, and the others 1s. weekly, for which he furnishes them with bedding. There are no combs here, except such as belong to the prisoners. Towels are allowed, and soap is distributed accordingly as it is wanted. None of the male prisoners are said ever to sleep two in a bed: the women do so sometimes. No money is given to prisoners on their discharge.

The male prisoners do not average more than 12 in one company; when under instruction, when exercising, when at their meals, or when engaged at labour, they are under the superintendence of the officers of the prison. The females do not average more than six in one company, and are under the superintendence of the matron of the prison.

Offences and Punishments.—The usual prison offences are quarrelling in the day rooms during the time of meals, talking on the tread-wheels, and calling from their cells. The following is a view of the number and nature of the punishments inflicted during the year:—

Dark cells9--2--
Solitary cells42--12--
Stoppage of diet1015--
Other punishments236131

Whipping.—The number of lashes usually inflicted varies from 30 to 60. It is always executed in the presence of the surgeon and keeper.

Number of Prisoners sentenced by Courts of Justice to be Whipped in the course of the Year.
Publicly whipped --57
Privately2 --

Labour.—The principal labour consists in the tread-mill,—grinding, dressing of corn, flour, &c. Shoemaking, picking hair, carding wool, and other such occupations, are also practised. The labour is productive. One-fourth of the profits is retained by the gaoler; the residue is paid to the county treasurer. Hard labour is observed to operate as a punishment; the lighter labour, above mentioned, is felt as a punishment in a much smaller degree.

A few trades are carried on here, occasionally, when prisoners happen to be versed in them. The washing is all performed by the female prisoners.

Mode in which Prisoners confined in this Prison, in the course of the Year, have been employed.
Hard labour46857
Employment, not being hard labour106 8
Not employed 7316
SCALE OF TREAD-MILL LABOUR, as delivered by the Gaoler.
N.B. The hours of labour are 6½ daily throughout every month of the year.
Number of Prisoners the Wheel will hold at one time. Height of each Step. The ordinary Velocity of the Wheels per Minute. The ordinary Proportion of Prisoners on Wheels to the total number employed. Feet in Ascent per Day, as per Hours of Employment. Revolutions of the Wheel per Day. The Daily Amount of Labour to be performed by every Prisoner. How recorded with precision. Application of its Power.
There are four wheels which hold 32 persons. Seven inches. 48 steps. One fourth. 10,920 feet in 6½ hours. 780. 10,920 feet. It is not recorded with precision. Raising water for the use of the Prison.
N.B. There is no application of this power.
Number of Working Hours per Day Number of Prisoners the Cranks will employ at one time in separate Apartments. The ordinary Velocity of the Cranks per Minute.
Average for the whole year 6½ hours, exclusive of hours allowed for meals. Six. This cannot he ascertained. Six prisoners are allowed about 2 hours to grind bushels of corn.

Solitary Confinement.

Number of prisoners sentenced by courts of justice to solitary confinement, in the course of the year.93

Diet.—The bread is of seconds quality. It is baked in the prison, where baking is also carried on for a few private persons. The diet has lately received a beneficial augmentation, in consequence of some cases of scurvy, and of the recommendation of the surgeon; of which a notice will be found under the appropriate head. The health will be found to have greatly improved since this change.

Men, Women and Boys Oz.
The allowance is 1d. per day, which is expended in beefs-heads, vegetables, oatmeal, &c. Pints
The allowance is one halfpenny per day, which is expended in oatmeal, &c.

Religious and other Instruction.—The chaplain visits the prison on Sundays, when he delivers Divine service twice, and one sermon. He also attends on week-days generally, except on Saturdays; hut then always, if necessary. On week-days he goes to see the new prisoners, and questions them in the chapel, having a turnkey present; but he occasionally visits them in their own wards. Ho catechises the prisoners and hears them read, and also reads to them in the Bible and explains passages. One of tho prisoners reads aloud a prayer to his fellows twice a-day on tho ringing of a bell. Tho chaplain offers to deliver the sacrament three times in the year; he preaches and distributes tracts for the express purpose of illustrating its object and nature. There is no schoolmaster and no regular instruction. Four pounds are annually placed at his disposal, in order to purchase hooks for the prisoners, and hooks are well supplied. The chaplain has discharged the duties of his office during 19 years. He is a co-brother of St. John's Hospital, at which place he reads prayers once a-week j but this happens at the time of day when the prisoners are at dinner. He has no separate room set apart for his own use. He sometimes attends at the hour when a prayer is read by the prisoner, in order to ascertain that order is preserved. No committee of ladies is in the habit of visiting the female prisoners.

The chaplain has found that some few prisoners have received the sacrament, at some former period; and he has known some prisoners who had imbibed good notions on religious matters before their admission here.

Care of the Sick, Disease, and Mortality.—No female prisoner has been removed to the infirmary during the last seven years; but occasionally, when ill, the female prisoner has been placed in a cell containing a fire-place.

The male infirmary had seven beds in it at my visit, but there are five bedsteads not put up. Sheets are used. There is no water-closet nor night-stool. It is well ventilated.

There occurred only one death from Michaelmas 1834, to Michaelmas 1835, and no death at all from Michaelmas 1835, to Michaelmas 1836.

No lying-in has occurred here for eight years.

The surgeon attends daily; and in cases of severe illness, his visits are more frequent. He attends all corporal punishments. The male patients are placed under a male prisoner, who is held responsible to a certain extent for their behaviour. This person is selected by the gaoler. The cases of sickness are for the most part trivial, such as colds, rheumatic complaints, itch, constipation, venereal cases, and ulcers. One case of scarlatina has recently occurred. Some few cases are met with where a more liberal diet is required; but as the surgeon has full liberty to grant extra allowance, he does not consider that any person has suffered from want. I have been favoured with a very important statement by the surgeon, in reply to my inquiries, respecting some cases of scurvy, which had occurred here;—

"The total number of those who have received medicine during the year, ending on the 11th of December 1837, is 138. The number of those who have kept their bed through illness is 48; and the number who have received extra diet, 28. I beg leave further to remark, that the cases of sickness have been generally of a more important character than I have ever before known them to be. They have been, for the most part, characterised by debility, and have prevailed chiefly amongst those prisoners who have been a long time in prison. In the month of May, a man named Collins, who had been a long time in the hospital, on account of a sore leg (which was unusually indolent, and showed no disposition to heal), spoke to me of a blackness on the calf of his right leg. It was very much discoloured; the surrounding parts were swollen, hard, and painful. Indeed, it looked like the ecchymosis of a severe bruise, and I fancied, it must have arisen from a blow, although the man denied it. It increased, spreading considerably up his thigh. I found his pulse rapid, and very feeble, and shortly his gums became spongy, highly vascular, and disposed to bleed. It proved, in fact, to be a case of scurvy, a disease which has not appeared in this gaol during the 10 years I have held the appointment of surgeon. In the course of the ensuing month, five other cases of scurvy occurred, the symptoms of which, with various modifications of minor importance, corresponded generally with those of the preceding case. Each of these prisoners had been from 8 to 10 months in gaol; four of them sentenced to hard labour, were employed at the treadmill, but the other two had done no work. They all recovered satisfactorily, by the aid of a liberal diet, with bark and mineral acid. Besides these cases, I found a considerable number of other prisoners getting weak and losing flesh. I think several of these would have become scorbutic, had not timely measures been adopted. The season was unusually severe, and the prisoners did not bear up under their deprivations so well as they generally have done. I endeavoured to ascertain what was their greatest deprivation, and I found it universally admitted, as well by the governor and other officers of the gaol, as by the prisoners themselves, that the want of something warm for breakfast was that which they felt the most severely. Gruel was formerly allowed for breakfast, but it was discontinued by an order of the magistrates, and with my concurrence in the year 1834. For a long time, we seemed to go on very well without it, but in consequence of the cases above alluded to, I thought it right, on the 3d of June last, to recommend that a basin of warm gruel be again allowed for breakfast throughout the whole establishment. The magistrates immediately complied with my suggestion, and, I am happy to state, that the most marked benefit has ensued. We have had no further cases of scurvy, and a very good state of general health has, for the most part prevailed."

On my visit I found no prisoner in the infirmary, and none labouring under scurvy. Two or three male prisoners complained to me of weakness, on my questioning them, and appeared to be really suffering from it.

Suggestions towards Improvement.

1. Two more turnkeys are required to be kept, one of whom might act as night patrol. There is a suitable room over the tread-wheel, in which one of them could sleep.

2. I found nine women in prison; there are 10 cells for women; one of which is used as a lumber-room, a part of which lumber belongs to the gaoler's family. Yet, in spite of the ample number of cells, four women were sleeping two in a bed. The general order given is, that all should sleep separate, whenever there is a cell for each. The lumber should be placed elsewhere.

3. Should imprisonment for debt be continued, the two windows looking on the street in the debtors' cell ought to be blocked up.

4. The cell which is now used for the custody of the irons might he properly employed as a punishment cell by making a large grating in the door, protected by a wooden shutter.

5. There is at present no infirmary for the females, a deficiency which ought hereafter to be supplied; but there is a cell with a fire-place, which should be always maintained in a state of preparation for the sick female prisoners, and not be applied to any other purpose.

6. Four of the cells which I have pointed out to the keeper require to have some holes bored in the doors, for the sake of better-ventilation.

7. The appointment of a schoolmaster is desirable; the same individual might also act as clerk.

8. I have pointed out some alterations which would benefit the chapel, such as the erection of a solid division between the untried and the convicted, the removal of the pulpit to another situation, and some other changes, which it is the less necessary here to particularise, because they have since been carried into effect by the magistrates.

9. To place a water-closet in the male infirmary.

10. To define in writing the quantity of exercise to be taken by the prisoners placed in solitary confinement, as well as other points connected with their general treatment, such as the times at which visits are to be made to them by the officers of the prison.

11. It is impossible to enforce silence with the present complement of turnkey's, because one of them acts as miller and baker, another as porter; one must occasionally attend on the surgeon, another, sometimes on the chaplain. For the same reason, an assistant matron is required on the female side, in order to be continually in company with the women in the day-time, and to sleep near them at night.

12. A supply of combs is wanting.

By 1846, the prison had become inadequate and a new block housing an additional 150 prisoners was erected at the the east and south of the existing site. The L-shaped building, constructed in red brick, was designed by James Milne. Male prisoners were housed in the new building, while females were held in the old block.

Following the nationalisation of the prison system in 1878, the County Gaol was designated as the Lower Prison, while the Borough Gaol on Upper Mounts became the Upper Prison. The Lower Prison was closed at the end of 1879, leaving the Upper Mounts site as Northampton's only prison.

Since 1883, parts of the old prison buildings have been home to the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery


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.

  • Northamptonshire Record Office, Wootton Hall Park, Northampton, Northants, NN4 8BQ. Holdings include: Transfer of prisoners by Sheriff (1814); Liberates and discharges (1822, 1823); Registers of male and female prisoners (1856-79); Daily account of female prisoners (1856-19).
  • The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU. Has Registers of Prisoners from national prisons lodged in County Prisons, Northampton (1848-1865)
  • 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.