Family History Federation

Bideford Prison Register 1838-1852

This booklet was compiled by members of the Devon Family History Society in co-operation with the North Devon Records Office. The booklet provides an extract of some information and further details may be obtained from the North Devon Records Office. Bideford was well supplied with prisons. In the late 18th century, French PoWs were “confined in very close place ” where the old gas works stood at Nutaberry, East the Water. For civil offenders there was a gaol at Burridge in Meddon Street, which was in 1831 said to contain 6 cells ” with glazed windows ” presumably a refinement. In 1840 this prison was moved to part of the old Colonial Building, now the Royal Hotel. The grim sounding “prisoners pit ” surrounded by iron railings was on the site of the present Town Hall. In 1880, a report on Bideford’s cells said ” the lockups are dark, deficient in ventilation and wholly unfit for a place of detention for prisoners”.


SKU : N038

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