~ THE SESSIONS HOUSE & GAOL ~
LONGPORT - Erected in 1808
Gaol of the Eastern Division of Kent
Keeper of the County Gaol of St. Dunstan's
1640-1648 John GILBERT
Thomas SIMPSON c. 1660 *he let two prisoners escape, Robert Twesnode and Henry Cruttenden
Lancelot Kenniston of Holy Cross Westgate, former barber surgeon of county gaol
(single women were put in the jail for pregnancy out of wedlock)
John Barrett of Canterbury, locksmith, has expended in repairs at the gaol and house of correction £10 17s. Ordered that Mr. Ginder, Treasurer of the gaol and house of correction, pay him £10 17s - 1663/1664
Surgeon to the Gaol
Treasurer to pay gaol keeper
John Wren, surgeon, has administered physic and surgery to the prisoners in the county gaol for the past year to the value of £9 10s. as appears by his bill. Ordered it be referred to Sir William Man, Sir Edward Master, Mr. Hardres and Mr. Best, justices of the peace, or any two or more of them to examine the bill and allow the same if they see cause. 1667
Ordered that it be referred to Sir Richard Hardres, Sir William Man, Sir Edward Masters and Mr. Hardres or any two or more of them, justices of the peace, to take the account of Mr. Richard Ginder, Treasurer of the gaol and house of correction of this Eastern division for two years last past and Mr. Ginder appointed Treasurer for the next year. 1668
It appears to this court by the petition of Mr. John Wren, surgeon, that he has expended in physick and surgery on sick prisoners in the gaol £10 16s. 6d. and desires an order that the Treasurer of the gaol and house of correction may pay him. Ordered that it be referred to Sir Richard Hardres, Sir William Man, Sir Arnold Brames, Edward Masters and Mr. Hardres, justices of the peace, or any two or more of them to examine and take such order for the reimbursing of Mr. Wren. 1668
Whereas the gaol and house of correction for the Eastern parts being lately bought with the county stock of this division, was soon after burnt down and for want of a house of correction idle and disorderly persons can neither be safely committed nor yet set on work, for remedy whereof and that a house of correction may be rebuilt in convenient time at the charge of the Eastern division, the justices of the Eastern division or any five or more within the next month survey the ground where the gaol and house of correction stood and take for their assistance such able surveyors or workmen as they think fit to estimate the charge of rebuilding a house of correction and certify their proceedings at the next Quarter Sessions that the money may be raised by some assessment on this Eastern division. 1668
New gaol to be built
Map detail from Felix Summerly's Canterbury 1843
The city of Canterbury was made a county of itself by King Edward IV. but has several places within its walls exempt from its jurisdiction, one of which is the castle and its precinct. The sessions house is now turned into a private dwelling, a new one having been built in the dissolved monastery at St. Augustine's.
The old Sessions house on the castle grounds (building on the left)
....These buildings were erected in 1808, and are much larger, and far more convenient than the former ones.
William Gostling 1825
"The Sessions House, common gaol, the house of correction, form an extensive pile within the precincts of the abbey of St. Augustine. The prisoners committed within this borough were formerly confined in the West gate, at the entrance of the city. The county gaol and house of correction, situated in St. Augustine's, a suburb of the city of Canterbury, was erected in 1808, and is on the radiating plan, with the keeper's house and chapel in the centre. It adjoins the courthouse, in which are held the quarter-sessions for East Kent, and is surrounded by a boundary wall 20 feet high. The prison is divided into 9 wards, with day-rooms and airing yards attached, and contains 51 cells, or sleeping apartments. The description of hard labour consists of 4 tread-wheels, which together will hold 42 prisoners, and a crank-mill for grinding corn. At the period when the gaol-commissioners inspected this prison there were very few juvenile offenders. The number of prisoners, in 1836, was 440."
Parliamentary Gazetteer of England and Wales 1851
1812 - James Collard, of West Langdon, Kent, was lately convicted before John M. Fector, Esq. in the penalty of ten pounds, for poaching in the Earl of Guildford's woods, at Waldershare, and committed to his Majesty's gaol, at St. Augustine's, near Canterbury, for not paying the penalty.
Thoughts on the Defective State of Prisons, and Suggestions for their Improvement, with Hints for the Discipline, Police, and Labour of Prisoners, &c. &c. By Thomas Le Breton, Keeper of the County Goal, and Governor of the House of Correction at St. Augustine's, near Canterbury. 8vo. 7s. Edinburgh Magazine Jan-June 1822
The County Gaol and House of Corrections
H.M. Prison, in Longport street, erected in 1808, was formerly the house of correction for East Kent' since the transfer of prisons to the Government in 1878, it has been greatly enlarged and will now hold 199 males and 18 females. Near it is the Sessions House, a building of the doric order, also erected in 1808.
"The court or sessions-house is a modern structure, in the suburb of St. Augustine. The county jail adjoins the court-house, in the suburb of St. Augustine; is an erection of 1808, on the radiating plan, with the keeper's house and chapel in the centre; and has capacity for 77 male and 30 female prisioners."
The Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales, Vol. I.
Canterbury City Gaol
Number of persons confined
1830 - number charged in execution - 5, others - 7, total 12
Thomas FARRIS, Thomas FARRIS, John TURLEY, James LAWS, Sarah BUTCHER
1831 - number charged in execution - 3, others - 8, total 11
John TURLEY, James HAYWARD, William PENFOLD
1832 - number charged in execution - 4, others - 3, total 7
Stephen OAKENFULL, Henry LENNARD, John Richard SANKEY, Thomas FARRIS
1833 - number charged in execution - 7, others - 8, total 15
Charles PENN, Abraham FIELD, James TAPLEY, Marsh PIERSON, Samuel NEWINGTON, James GOODWIN, George HILLS
1834 - number charged in execution - 3, others - 11, total 14
Henry JONES, Thomas MASON, George HATTON
*in making the above return, I have taken the amount of debt and costs as indorsed on the sheriff's warrants. William Wellard, Gaoler
James William NEWHAM, Governor of Prison
prior to this he was Deputy Governor of the County Prison, living in Maidstone. He passed away in Canterbury in 1890.
Charles G. LISSENDON, Warder (late Corporal Royal Horse Artillery)
Joseph GRIGG, Waarder, (Chelsea Pensioner, late Serg. 5th Lancers)
Edward TAPSELL, Warder, Later Mariner
James STURT, Watcher, Watchman of Prison (late of Royal Navy)
Edward F. BIFFON, Clerk at St. Augustine's Prison
1889 Joseph Case, Warder H.M. Prison
Local Prison and Sessions House - At the end of Longport Street is the Prison and Sessions House for the Eastern Division of the County. The Sessions House is a neat building of the Doric order, with representations of the "fasces" and cap of liberty over the entrance. The Prison is an extensive pile of buildings, the front of which is stone, and quite plain. The Prison contains 200 Cells and an Infirmary. The whole pile of buildings is enclosed in a brick wall about twenty feet high. 1889
Her Majesty's Prison, Canterbury, a red brick building, surrounded by high walls, and situated at Longport, was formerly the house of correction for East Kent; it was erected in 1804, and since the transfer of prisons to the Government in 1878, it has been greatly enlarged and will now hold 190 males and 21 females; William R. Chedley, governor; Rev. Richard Caton Kinchant M.A. Chaplain; William Pugin Thornton, medical officer; W. H. Oxley, clerk & storekeeper; William Pickup, chief warden.
1891 Kelly's Directory
"H.M. Prison in Longport street, erected in 1808, was formerly the house of correction for East Kent; since the transfer of prisons to the Government in 1878, it has been greatly enlarged and will now hold 198 males and 22 females. Near it is the Sessions House, a building of the Doric order, also erected in 1808."
1903 - H.M. Prison, St. Augustine's - Captain T.C. Holland - Governor
© T. Machado 2007