Monday, 8 July 2013

WALES. Lock-ups at Bagillt, Barmouth, Caernarfon, Clynnog Fawr and Hawarden.

I have so far located ten former lock-ups in Wales.
The lock-up at Bagillt in Flintshire , known as The Old Gaol, is near to a house called Windy Ridge, Bryn Celyn Lane, CH6 6HU and close to the old main road between Flint and Holywell.

OS Grid Coordinates: 321725, 375503
Latitude/Longitude: 53.2705, -3.1738

The building seems to be in a poor state and as yet no photograph is available. I am grateful to Colin Sheen from Bagillt History Society ( for sending me the following information :
Controversy surrounds the building locally refered to as 'the Gaol', recently claims have been made that this was originally an armory, however no evidence has yet been presented to support this. Below is reproduced the text of the survey made by the Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments into the building;
Village lock-ups are a distinctive minor public building-type, intended to serve as temporary gaols, that were generally built from `county funds' after approval of a scheme at the Quarter Sessions. Early examples are late-eighteenth-century in date but the building-type extends into the late nineteenth century becoming obsolete with the construction of purpose-built cells or `strong-rooms' within police stations. Description The lock-up at Bagillt is a purpose-built single-storeyed rectangular structure. It is stone-built on a plinth with prominent dressed-stone quoins. Internally there are two intercommunicating cells, separated by a brick wall, each lit by a high slit window in the long elevation. Access from the outside was by a single doorway in the south gable end. The lock-up is strongly built. The stone walls are set one a plinth that provided a secure stone-built foundation, the windows are very narrow, and the doors were of iron. The roof is particularly remarkable. Four tiers of diminishing, cantilevered and iron-cramped sandstone slabs provided a secure roof with a capstone over seven feet above floor level. Dating This lock-up is difficult to date but probably belongs to the later phase of lock-ups. Early examples tended to be single-celled and were sometimes designed as eye-catchers (e.g. the circular and vaulted `clinks' at Ruabon and Barmouth). The architectural details at Bagillt - internal brickwork, pecked quoins and machine-cut sandstone slabs - are consistent with an early or mid-Victorian date. Quarter Sessions records (Flintshire and Denbighshire Record Offices) show that lock-ups were provided for industrial settlements in north-east Wales ca. 1860-80: at Saltney (1864), Rhosllannerchrugog (1870-3), and Connah's Quay (1878). The construction date of the lock-up at Bagillt is not recorded in the Session's records but in March 1878 at the Petty Sessions `it was announced that there was a growing need for providing a lock-up in the populous neighbourhood of Bagillt, (More About Bagilit, compiled by Ceridwen Eluned Meese, 1991). This is, however, difficult to reconcile with the depiction of the lock-up on the O.S. 25-inch map based on survey in 1870. Further research may provide a construction date but it is reasonable to suppose from the details of construction that Bagillt lock-up was built sometime later than 1850 and probably after 1860. It is therefore an unusual survivor from the last phase of lock-up construction. Condition: roof collapsed but plan preserved. Visited 13th January 2000 (GAW) at the suggestion of Peter Jones Hughes/Victoria Wheale, Flintshire County Council. Emergency Recording Case ER/FL/1999. Plan, elevations and sections (GAW) Geoff Ward & Richard Suggett

It was Grade 11 listed 15.6.200 (No.23488) with the following notes:

Street Name and Number: Bryn Celyn Lane,
Built into slope of ground below the house Windy Ridge; about 50m from old main road between Flint and Holywell.

Mid C19 lock up; probably datable to 1860s. On OS 25 Inch Map, surveyed 1870. which shows gaol built to abut a narrow lane leading S, about 50m from the former main (turnpike) road from Flint to Holywell. Village lock-ups were small gaols for temporary detention of offenders. Early examples date from the late C18; the building type became obsolete with construction of purpose-built cells within police stations. Other Victorian examples in North Wales were built for the industrial settlements at Saltney (1864), Rhosllanerchrugog (1870-73), Connah’s Quay (1878). At Caergwrle, the gaol was of similar construction, but circular in plan. Although this structure is now built into the slope, the presence of slit windows on both sides suggests the building was free standing when erected. The building was the subject of a restoration scheme in 2000 which repaired roof and replaced iron roof cramps with non-ferrous cramps, limewashed interior, and provided new metal door.

Divided into two connected cells by brick wall with doorway with pair of iron hinge bolts and stone lintel. Stone flagged floor. Interior walls limewashed (during restoration).

Stone-built rectangular structure with plinth, built into slope. Rubble masonry (uncoursed) with heavy dressed stone quoins. Pair of slit windows on opposing sides. Roof of rectangular sandstone slabs in four cantilevered courses, now cramped non-ferrous cramps. There is evidence that the roof slabs were once tarred on exterior. Doorway in SW elevation (replaced stone lintel); indented stone jambs with pair of iron hinge bolts. New studded metal door with strap hinges (dates from restoration); original lock strap bolt still in place. Stone slab threshold to door with water channels.

Reason for Listing
Listed as an example of a distinctive minor public building type which is becoming increasingly rare.
Source: Cadw
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence: PSI Click-use licence number C2008002006

The lock-up or roundhouse at Barmouth in Gwynedd (Ty Crwn) is situated on the quayside.
It dates to 1834 and was last used in 1861. It has been fully restored.


OS Grid Coordinates: 261475, 315491
Latitude/Longitude: 52.7190, -4.0512

Photo by Eirian Evans on Geograph.

 © Copyright Eirian Evans and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

I am grateful to Eirian Evans for the use of his photograph

The circular stone building has a slate tiled conical  roof and a chimney like finial.
An internal wall divides two cells, eash with an air grille high up.
It was Grade 11 listed 4.3.1991 (No.4898) but no notes are given.


The lock-up at Caernarfon is situated beneath East Gate Bridge.
It is now being used as The Eastern Orthodox Chapel.
East Gate was Grade 11* listed 31.3.1983 (No.3889).


Photo by Eric Jones on Geograph.

© Copyright Eric Jones and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
I am grateful to Eric Jones for the use of his photograph.

 The lock-up at Clynnog Fawr in Gwynedd is situated in the churchyard
between the parish church and St Beuno's Chapel.
It is known as Rheinws or Roundhouse.


Photo by Roy Pledger.

No further information is available.


It is possible that a small building behind St Mary's Church in Haverford West, Pembrokeshire
was a lock-up, as it appears to be on the photograph.


Photo by ceridwen

© Copyright ceridwen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

I am grateful to ceridwen for the use of his Geograph photograph and for the following information:

'The blue plaque here behind St Mary's church explains that this was the location of borough's first police station in a dwelling house that was rented for the purpose in 1836. I assume that this cell with the barred door was the lock-up'.


The lock-up or House of Correction, at Hawarden is situated in Cross Tree Lane, CH5 3GX
at the junction with Glynne Way.  It dates to the mid 18th century.
An inscription over the door reads :


OS Grid Coordinates: 331746, 365719
Latitude/Longitude: 53.1839, -3.0215

Photo by John S Turner
© Copyright John S Turner and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
I am grateful to John S Turner for the use of his Geograph photograph.
It was Grade 11* listed 2.7.1982 (ID21) and described as :
A mid-C18 lock-up traditionally ascribed to Joseph Turner, who lived at the Elms in Glynne Way.
Square sandstone building, single storey plus basement with a shallow-domed stone roof. Parapet with moulded

cornice. Central projecting entrance approached by 3 steps and flanked by plain engaged doric columns. Plain
bases and square abaci. Contemporary flush iron-studded door. Plain string-course.
Blocked, square window to W face.
Scheduled Ancient Monument F78.

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



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