Wednesday, 24 April 2013

STAFFORDSHIRE. Lock-ups at Alton, Gnosall, Penkridge and Stafford..

There are four remaining lock-ups in Staffordshire of varying design.

The lock-up at Alton reverts to the roundhouse style reminiscent of those in the West Country.
Quite majestic with its cupola and ball finial, it is known as The Round House. It is situated in Dimble Lane, ST10 4BL and dates to 1819.


OS Grid Reference: SK0722042114
OS Grid Coordinates: 407220, 342114
Latitude/Longitude: 52.9763, -1.8939

Photo by Roy Pledger
It was Grade 11 listed 3.1.1967 (No.275009) and described as :
Shown on OS Map as Round House.
Lock-up. 1819. Rock faced ashlar with ashlar dome and cupola.
Circular plan. One-storey with hemispherical dome surmounted by a
cupola with ball finial; door to the north (A.M.). B.O.E. p. 55
Listing NGR: SK0722042114
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.

See also :

The lock-up at Gnosall dates to the 18th century and was originally situated in Station Road. It was moved to its present position in Sellman Street, ST20 0EZ near to the A518 Stafford Road in 1971.


OS Grid Reference: SJ8286520686
OS Grid Coordinates: 382865, 320686
Latitude/Longitude: 52.7835, -2.2555

Photo by Roy Pledger

It was Grade 11 listed 10.1.1972 (No.443423) and described as :

Probably C18. Square on plan. Rubble and rough ashlar with stone pyramidal roof.
Nail studded door, formerly with iron grille .
Listing NGR: SJ8286520686
Source: English Heritag
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.

In March 2011 the parish web site recorded :

You may have noticed that The Lock Up, our ancient monument building has recently had "a makeover".  In conjunction with English Heritage, Gnosall Parish Council identified that the Lock Up was in need of repair and some remedial drainage works.   The exiting oak door has been dismantled and repaired, some of the old door has been saved and is built into the new door.  The door has been fitted with better security to prevent vandalism - something that was happening far too frequently last year.  We need to look after this precious building and are pleased that English Heritage have agreed to pay an annual sum to the parish council to help with any maintenance the Lock Up requires.

History of the Lock Up
At the meeting of the Select Vestry on June 10th 1820 it was ordered that a proper building shall be erected for the proper confinement of criminals etc.  By the time it was finished and paid for the Captain Swing Riots in the South of England were over, people were less afraid and the navvies were behaving themselves so it was not used often.  Probably last used over 100 years ago when a local shepherd was put in for the night and let out the next morning.  It is said the custodian the sole key holder rode out from Stafford (7 miles away) to bring victuals or release the prisoner.  The windowless prison did not allow any relatives to provide sustenance. 

In the 1950's/60's it was used as a henhouse and fell into disrepair.  In 1964 Staffordshire County Council wanted to move the Lock Up to the County Museum at Shugborough as it stood in the way of road widening.  Gnosall W.I was strongly opposed to its removal from the village.  They decided to raise money to purchase a piece of land of which to re-site the Lock Up - their project to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the first W.I in this country in 1915.  It proved impossible to purchase a piece of land and members were beginning to lose hope when, in 1969, Mr Downs of Parkside Sellman Street offered to give the W.I the piece of land where the Lock up now stands.  Staffordshire County Council gave a grant for the removal of the Lock up and the money raised by the W.I covered legal expenses and fencing around the building. 

Disaster struck before the Lock Up could be removed when a lorry ran into it and almost demolished it.  Removal was now more difficult.  The work was carried out by a Lichfield firm specialising in restoring old buildings.  Each stone had to be numbered.  In December 1971 restoration began, the W.I put in a plastic bag a 1/2p, 2p and 10p piece, the Home and Country Magazine, a daily paper and the following note "This Lock Up was built in the 18th Century and was moved to its present site in 1971.  These coins were placed by the Women's Institute to commemorate its Golden Jubilee at the relaying of the first stone"  Signed Brearley, Edge and Winter.  


Image produced from the Staffordshire Past Track service with permission of Landmark Information Group Ltd. and Ordnance Survey where Staffordshire Past Track is hyperlinked to,  Landmark Information Group Ltd. is hyperlinked to  and Ordnance Survey is
hyperlinked to

See also :  


The lock-up at Penkridge, known as the Old Gaol, is situated at Bellbrook, ST19 5DL. It was originally a barn which was converted to a lock-up in 1785. It was restored by Penkridge Civic Society in the late 1990's and was opened as a Heritage Centre in 2000 (Open Wednesday and Saturday from March to September Tel: 01785 713558).





OS Grid Reference: SJ9252414164
OS Grid Coordinates: 392524, 314164
Latitude/Longitude: 52.7251, -2.1121

Photo by Ray Cotton
 I am grateful to Paul and Ray Cotton for giving me permisssion to copy the photograph.

It was Grade 11 listed 2.1.1986 (No.271692) and described as :

Lock-up. Early C19. Red brick with ashlar dressings; plain tile roof.
One storey with dentilled eaves; roughly 2 bays, central boarded door and
small square window immediately left of it with iron bars, blocked
segmental headed window to right. The lock-up is situated opposite the
Old Cottage (q.v.) and is included for group value.
Listing NGR: SJ9252414164

 Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.
It is interesting to note that the Old Cottage referred to was originally a farm house which at some stage was converted into a police station with cells. 


The lock-up at Stafford is very similar in design to Gnosall. It is situated on Lichfield Road,
ST17 4BH in an area known as Forebridge which was formerly a separate parish. It dates to the late 18th century and was restored by Staffordshire County Council in 1980.



OS Grid Reference: SJ9247422818
OS Grid Coordinates: 392474, 322818
Latitude/Longitude: 52.8029, -2.1131

Photo's by Roy Pledger

It was Grade 11 listed 16.1.1951 (No.384001) and described as :

Lock-up. C18. Ashlar. Rectangular structure with short wall
ends to left return. Stone roof is offset with hipped right
end. Entrance in plain surround with gabled lintel. Rear has
large unglazed and barred window. Left return retains wall
ends of the C17 White Lion Inn, now demolished.
 Listing NGR: SJ9247422818
  Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is ©

An information board outside the building reads :
" The lock-up, which dates from the late 18th century, is built in dressed sandstone with a pyramidal roof of thick stone slabs. On the interior it possesses a brick vaulted roof. The structure dates from the time when the Forebridge area belonged to a separate parish from the remainder of the town ( it was part of Castle Church until the 19th century ) and therefore required its own facilities, including a place in which to detain wrongdoers. Nearby, were a set of stocks and a pinfold for impounding stray animals, whilst on the opposite side of White Lion Street was a workhouse.
The lock-up was once attached to the north-west end of the White Lion Inn, a building that was removed during the construction of Queensway in the 1970's. It has been suggested that both the White Lion and the lock-up were constructed out of re-used stone from the medieval Hospital of St John the Baptist which previously stood in the area. It seems likely that the Hospital was founded by a member of the Stafford family in the 12th century. However, the first direct reference to it occurs in a document dated 1208."


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