Sunday, 24 March 2013

WILTSHIRE. Lock-ups at Chippenham, Devizes, Malmesbury and Salisbury.

Some of the larger communities had some sort of civic building where they could locate a lock-up.
Usually in a building where the local court was held, and a handful survive to this day.

The lock-up at Chippenham is situated to the rear of The Yelde Hall, a Grade 1 listed building, 
in the Market Place, SN15 3HD. 
The Hall dates to c1470 and was probably built over the original lock-up.



OS Grid Reference: ST9218373234
OS Grid Coordinates: 392183, 173234
Latitude/Longitude: 51.4580, -2.1139

Photo's by Colin Sinnott with expressed permission.

The lock-up is situated at the rear of the Yelde Hall to the left of the photograph below


The actual lock-up

Interior photographs courtesy of Chippenham Town Council


The following information is provided for the use of Yelde Hall guides :

The Lock-up

 It is known there was a jail in Chippenham from at least the 13th century and evidence in it’s construction may indicate that the blind house, lock-up, is older than the main Hall itself. This also gives weight to the theory that the current Hall replaced an earlier building. The entrance door is a modern reproduction of a Tudor door.

 The lock-up was renovated in 1563 and was also part of the renovations of 1614. At some time the room was given an ashlar lining, which blocked the former internal door, and a yard with the small perpendicular blind window built in the north east corner. To the north is a small enclosed yard (now the toilet). In the 1920’s the southern end was converted to a ladies toilet and then again to an electricity sub-station until 1980.

 Following demolition of this sub-station in 1981, the north west wall was reconstructed. At the same time the removal of remaining ashlar lining uncovered the two large timbers in-front of the south window. Mortice holes in the ceiling indicate that the whole room was once lined with these sections of wooden baulks. This is extremely unusual for a jail and possibly indicates that the room was also used as a store, the lining being insulation to keep goods dry?
In its life as the town jail, the lock-up would hold local drunks and petty criminals. However one intriguing set of prisoners are recorded in the Bailiff’s Account Book of 1709, when the town had to provide, ‘1s 0d for 7 quarts of ale for the six piratts in custody’!

Watercolour c1850. Lock-up to rear right.
Copyright Chippenham Town Council
I am grateful to Paul Connell of Chippenham Museum  & Heritage Centre for information and photographs.
The Yelde Hall was Grade 1 listed 25.4.1950 (No.462345) and described as :
Formerly known as: The Old Fire Station MARKET PLACE.
Town hall. Early C15, re-roofed and renewed 1614. Large panel
timber-framed with irregularly-spaced uprights and various
tension braces on a limestone rubble base with freestone
quoins and dressings, stone slate roof.
PLAN: 5-bay plan with entry to 4-bay open hall with storeyed
end bay.
EXTERIOR: 2 storeys; one-window range. To the inside-right of
the east facade (front) are 2 small gables, that over the door
has a plaster coat of arms, J.S. and date 1776. To the far
right is an ashlar wall to a small lock-up yard, it has an
arched niche with hoodmould and dog-tooth coping to a cornice
The north wall is C16 rubblestone replacing original frame to
the ground floor with 2 segmental arched openings below a
horizontal sliding sash window with 15 panes to each sash.
The north rubblestone wall continues round to the west side
for approx 3m with a loophole to the top. The timber-frame
then steps down to the plinth. Windows to the west wall have
been removed.
INTERIOR: 4-bay collar-truss tie-beam hall roof with 2 tiers
of windbraces, similar 5th bay to the north. At the north end,
upstairs, is the former courtroom and council chamber,
including panelling and bailiff's chair. Beneath it was the
blind house or lock-up.

HISTORY: before 1580, when The shambles was built, the hall
had stood alone in the market place. Records exist of a blind
house in the C16 (1563) and accounts for renovating in 1614
. A
notable survival of its type, remarkable for the retention of
its large-panelled timber-framing and the 1st-floor council
(Chamberlain, Joseph A: Chippenham: Chippenham: 1976-: 31; The
Buildings of England: Pevsner N & Cherry B: Wiltshire: London:
1967-1975: 169).
Listing NGR: ST9218273236

Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence: PSI Click-use licence number C2008002006.



Little is known about the old town lock-up at Devizes. It is situated in St John's Street, SN10 1BT at the rear of the Town Hall which dates to the early 17th century and is a Grade 11* listed building.. The buildings was re-designed in 1806 and maybe the lock-up dates from that time.
OS Grid Reference: SU0043861416
OS Grid Coordinates: 400438, 161416
Latitude/Longitude: 51.3518, -1.9951
Photo's by Colin Sinnott with expressed permission.
There are two single cell lock-ups at Malmesbury, one on each side of the gateway, known as The Tolsey Gate, to the churchyard of the Abbey Church, SN16 9AS.

 OS Grid Reference: ST9328487241
OS Grid Coordinates: 393284, 187241
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5840, -2.0983

Photo by Steve Daniels with expressed permission.
 Copyright Steve Daniels and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
The gateway was Grade 11 listed 18.1.1949 (No.460900) and described as :
Gateway. Late C18; 1789 scratched into impost. Limestone rubble with ashlar dressings, brick arch, roof not visible. 2 storey; 2-window range. Central arch with single-depth roomseach side. Gothick style. A symmetrical front has a round-headed through arch, imposts linked to a cill band and key, plain doorways each side, that to the right with a studded door, small Y-tracery windows above the band, a flat cornice and ashlar crenellated parapet.
INTERIOR: not inspected, but recorded as forming one-man lockups.
Listing NGR: ST9328687243

Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.

The right hand lock-up retains its original door
Photo by Ann Williams with expressed permission
I am grateful to Steve Daniels  for allowing me to copy his Geograph photograph and  to Ann Williams for sending me her photograph.
The supposed lock-up at Salisbury forms an unusual base for a fine Gothic clock tower dating to 1882. It is situated in Fisherton Street, SP2 7SU overlooking the river.


OS Grid Reference: SU1420229946
OS Grid Coordinates: 414202, 129946
Latitude/Longitude: 51.0687, -1.7987

Photos by Roy Pledger
The whole building was Grade 11 listed 12.10.1972 (No.319140) and described as :
1892. Gothic clock tower. Ashlar with bands pointed niche and 2 lancets
to upper register. Buttressed base with niche to street face and inscription.
Clock faces flanked by columns, pierced parapet, pyramid roof with weathervane.
The rectangular ashlar base was formerly part of the County Jail dating from
1631 with Georgian alterations. 2 small rectangular barred windows to east.
Door inserted to street. On west wall a plaque, with shaped top, has relief
carving of 3 leg irons with swagged chains .
Listing NGR: SU1420229946

Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.

It would appear that when the County Gaol was demolished in Georgian times, this part was saved for some reason and it may be that it was used as a lock-up, which seems to be logic, although  not certain. The clock tower was added in 1892 by which time the lock-up would have fallen into disuse.
Maybe you can help to solve this mystery?

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