Ancestry UK

Town Gaol and Bridewell, Shrewsbury, Shropshire

In 1636, a Town Gaol and Bridewell, or House of Correction, was established in Shrewbury's Upper Castle Gate.

In 1784, John Howard wrote:

On the front is inscribed, "In this house the poor of the town are set to work.—He that will not labour let him not eat. An. Dom. 1636." It consists of sundry rooms on two floors over the gateway. A small court: no sewer: no water, though water is laid in to several houses very near: no employment. Allowance to criminals, three halfpence a day. Fees, debtors 5s.6d. criminals 3s. 6d. no table. Gaoler's salary, £5.

1779, May 15,Prisoners   0.
1779, Aug. 24,Debtor    1.
1782, June 23,Petty Offenders 12.

The gaol closed not long afterwards, as Howard reported in 1791:

Shrewsbury Town Gaol is taken down, and the prisoners are sent to the county gaol and bridewell, which before were far too much crowded. One debtor and seven other prisoners were in the county gaol, and five in the bridewell. The town allowance is only 10½d.aweek, in bread, which is served by the county baker.

The building was demolished in 1825.


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  • 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.