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Help and advice for Correctional Institutions

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Correctional Institutions


  • A Bridewell was any prison or gaol. The term comes from the name for "Bridewell Prison".
  • A Borstal was a name for a youth prison. Sir Evelyn Ruggles-Brise (1857-1935), a prison commissioner, introduced the plan for the first prison for young men only at Borstal Prison in a village called Borstal, near Rochester in north Kent.

Lincoln Gaol

  • The Lincolnshire Archives holds an index of convicts from the Lincoln Gaol. The index includes:
           Convict's surname       Convict's first name       Place of origin       Year of conviction       Lincs. Archives reference
  • Check our Lincoln Gaol Census, 1881 list.

Kirton Gaol

  • There was a large House of Correction in Kirton in Lindsey, which is between Brigg and Gainsborough. Locals called it "Bridewell", after the famous prison in London, named for St. Bride's (St. Bridget) holy well. A "bridewell" is any reformatory or prison.
  • Staff in 1842: John Lee is the gaol governor, Ann EVERATT is matron and Rev. John R. T. RICHTER is chaplain.
  • By 1872, this facility was closed and its function transfered to the new gaol in Lincoln.

Spalding Gaol

  • There was a "House of Correction" in Spalding from 1826 to 1884, but no records are known. Officially known as "Her Majesty's Prison for the parts of Holland and Kesteven," it adjoined the Sessions House off the Sheep Market. It was improved in 1848-52 and enlarged to have 95 separate cells, airing yards and workshops.
  • Staff in 1842: Mr. Thomas KING, governor.
  • Staff in 1872: Mr. Henry and Mrs. Ann BATES are governor and matron, the Rev. J. LEWIS is chaplain.
  • Staff in 1882: James and Emma HIGGINS (both born Huntingdon) are governor and matron, the Rev. Michael Joseph SISSON (born in Lincoln circa 1845) is chaplain and Dr. Marten PERRY, MD, (born in Aston, Oxford, circa 1826) is surgeon.
  • See who was enjoying the government's hospitality in the Spalding Gaol Census, 1881 list.
  • You will not find many inmates of Spalding Gaol listed in the Lincolnshire Archives list of convicts. That list is primarily of those shipped out of England (transported).


Some Lincolnshire miscreants wound up in the gaol in Yorkshire (to the north of Lincolnshire):


Some Lincolnshire folk landed in the Derbyshire Gaol. From Rita Effnert's extract of the 1861 census:

  • HORNE Joseph, U 20, Coal Miner, Swindon
  • KENNINGTON James, U 40, Joiner, Caistor


  • "Lincolnshire Convicts to Australia, Bermuda and Gibraltar: A Study of 2000 Convicts" by C. L. ANDERSON, Dunholme, Lincoln: Laece Books, 1993 (ISBN 0 950 080 38 1).
  • "Louth House of Correction 1671-1872" by Bill PAINTER, available from the Lincs FHS, ISBN 0-953-95332-7.