Tuesday, 2 July 2013

KENT. Lock-ups at Cranbrook, Dover, Fordwich,Goudhurst and Lenham.

The lock-up at Cranbrook is now preserved in the grounds of Cranbrook Museum, Carriers Road, TN17 3JX. It has been fully restored.
Photo's by Julia Collard with expressed permission.
I am extremely grateful to Julia Collard of Cranbrook Museum for sending me these very interesting photographs and the following information :

"Perhaps the most important acquisition by the museum recently is the lock-up, formerly called ‘the cage’. In The census of 1851 it refers to two unknown males who slept in the cage. It was used by parish constables who policed the area before the Kent County Constabulary was formed in 1857. Mr C.F. Turner, the late clerk of the local council, says that his great-great-grandfather, a Mr George Dadson was for many years head parish constable in Cranbrook. This was only a part-time job which only warranted expenses.

The précise age of the cage is not known although it could be two or three hundred years old. It is known that the stocks and cage stood on the south side of the road (by the Old Bakery) at St David’s Bridge early in the last century and they were later moved to the north side near to the gasworks entrance. A new police station was built in Waterloo Road in 1865, which included cells for prisoners and so the cage became redundant. At some time after this it found its way to Wilsley Farm and there had many uses - garden shed, hen-house and even a ferret hut. When the farm was bought by Mr Herbert Alexander from Mr Fred Winch in about 1935, the cage was brought across the road to the grounds of Wilsley and restored by the Alexander family. It was given to the museum in 1986 by Mrs Camilla Alexander and with the aid of local firemen and a tractor and farm trailer driven by James Wilson, it was finally manoevered into the museum garden where it now stands.

The lock-up was best described by F.C.Clark in his book ‘Kentish Fire’ published in 1947. ‘Framed of oak, with a tiled roof, the building 8 feet by 6 feet is lined with oak boards fixed with heavy nails.The door is studded irregularly with hand-wrought iron studs. Two heavy hinged iron clamps could be padlocked across the door on the outside. Small hand-wrought iron grids are inserted, one on each side and one at the back. One of the side grids, quaintly hinged, and fitted with a hasp for a padlock was obviously used as a serving hatch. The three grids totalling about a square foot in area provided the only light and air for the prisoners.’

In spite of its robust construction, the base had suffered from long contact with bare earth and it had to be strengthened with matured oak, donated by Dr Hattersley-Smith. A great many hours have been spent by Peter Wright, assisted by Edward Ryan, in restoring the lock-up during 1987".

The lock-up at Dover is situated at the rear of the Town Hall (Maison Dieu),
Biggin Street, CT16 1DL
Nothing more has been found.
The lock-up at Fordwich is situated on the ground floor of the Old Town Hall
which was built in 1544, probably on an earlier site.
Photo by Paul Anthony Moore with expressed permission.
I am grateful to Paul Moore for allowing me to copy his Flickr photograph.

Although it is believed that there was an earlier building on the site, the present Guildhall, or Town Hall as it is known today, was built in 1544, during the reign of King Henry VIII.
Originally the building was covered in thick lime plaster, and the roof was thatched. At the rear stands the Crane House with the crane folded back against the building ready to be swung out over the river to unload a boat.
On the ground floor, in the south west corner, is the Town Jail, and next to it the jailer’s quarters and a large store house. Wrong-doers could be sentenced to jail for up to a year and a day. The last prisoners to be held there were three men from Canterbury who were caught poaching the Fordwich Trout, in 1855. They were given fourteen days - and their nets were burnt publicly in front of the Town Hall. On the table, which was made in 1580 at a cost of 8s 0d, are the handcuffs and the baton belonging to the Town Constable, together with the branding iron for branding felons with “R” for Rex or Regina.
On the first floor is the Court Room where all criminal cases in Fordwich were tried until 1886. The accused would stand flanked by the Town Constables, at the “pleading bar” situated at the head of the stairs. (Hence the expression “prisoner at the bar”). The Judge or chief magistrate was the Mayor for the time being and he sat in the chair at the north end of the room, flanked by six Jurats on each side, seated on the “bench”. The mayors seat and bench together with the panelling are early Tudor in origin.
In the corner is a small room used as a retiring room for the jury to consider its verdict. The room above was used to put women to dry out following ducking in the river for being a scold or a gossip. The ducking chair itself hangs on the main beam, and was suspended on the Town Crane over the river when in use. Also on the main cross beam stand the town drums, decorated with the Mayor’s and the Cinque Port’s coats of arms. These were sounded to call the townsfolk to hear a proclamation or to warn of impending danger.
The ancient chest is the old town or muniment chest. In this were kept all the town documents, records, accounts, correspondence and Charters. It is believed to be more than 800 years old, and has three locks each with a different key, thus ensuring that three people were present each time the chest was opened and so guarding against fraud.
A list hangs in the north east corner of the room giving the names of Fordwich Mayors from John Maynard in 1292 to Charles James Cox in 1885 when the Town lost its Corporate Status. The Local Government Act of 1972, however restored the Town Status and Fordwich has had a Town Mayor since 1976, and indeed is the smallest town in the country.
The Town Hall is still used by the present Town Council for meetings, and it is believed to be the oldest and smallest still in use.
There was a lock-up at Goudhurst, a timber building, known as The Cage.
Gill Joye, Archivist of Goudhurst & Kilndown Local History Society has kindly  given me information about it as follows:

'I have dug around in the local history material we hold and have found the
 following information, all of which is gleaned from the memories of the
 villagers alive in 1935 and 1937 and published in the Goudhurst Coronation
 and Jubilee books , by Alfred W Tiffin.
The original location was behind Paine's folly ( the war memorial is now on this site),
which is on the crossroads, near the pond.  At that time it appears to have been called "The Cage".
It was then moved to the site of the Fire Station. Tiffin put this at about 1857. 
The fire station was opposite the pond and was only a few yards away.
It is thought that it was last used as a lock-up about 1862/64.
After that it was purchased by Thomas Bathgate, who was the manager of a
farm at Ballards Hill. He used it as a shed. He subsequently became landlord
of The Chequers Inn and took the  "shed" with him.
It was still there in1935, although disused. 
Thomas Bathgate became landlord of the Chequers in 1901 and went bankrupt in 1910.
Apart from being a wooden building, the only other description of it, says it had "double doors", 
and 2 barred windows about 6" x 8".
I don't have any further information, but I doubt it is there now'.

The lock-up at Lenham is situated at 14 Faversham Road, ME17 2PN.
The building dates to the early 18th century having been converted into a lock-up in the late 19th century. In fact it was originally a workhouse mortuary and was also used as an air raid shelter in  WW11.


OS Grid Reference: TQ8986452239
OS Grid Coordinates: 589864, 152239
Latitude/Longitude: 51.2377, 0.7185

Photo's by Roy Pledger
It was Grade 11 listed 20.10.1952 (No.173888) and described as :
Mortuary, later used as Lock-up, now store. Early C18. Coursed
stone with plain tile roof. At right-angles to road, with stone north
side wall continued as rear ground-floor wall of north row
of Douglas Almshouses. Single storey on moulded plinth, top of
which is now at ground level. Projecting stone band circa 3'6" from
ground. Wall canted out slightly between band and plinth. Tall
recessed door to street, with semi-circular stone head springing
from fluted impost bands. Outer arch of heavy, projecting,
rusticated stone voussoirs with large keystones breaking into
base of pediment. Triangular pediment with projecting stone
coping surmounted by squat stone cross. Wooden double doors
to left end of left side elevation. Associated with an early C18
workhouse on the site, since demolished. Scheduled Ancient Monument.
Listing NGR: TQ8986452239

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


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