Ancestry UK

Town Gaol, Blandford Forum, Dorset

The Blandford Forum Town Gaol was in existence by 1662, when the nonconformist preacher John Wesley was held there.

In 1812, James Neild wrote:

This Prison consists of two rooms, called the Outer and the Inner Gaol. Prisoners are confined in the Outer Gaol during the day-time, when they beg charity, see and converse with people in the street; and at night are shut up in the Inner Gaol. Straw on the floor. Both rooms dirty and offensive. No court; no water. Formerly Debtors were sent hither by the Court of Requests.

Keeper, the Sergeant at Mace. Salary, none. Allowance 6d. a-day.

1803, Oct. 22d, no Prisoners,

The prison appears to have closed by 1818.


Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.

  • No individual records identified for this establishment — any information welcome.
  • The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU. Has a wide variety of crime and prison records going back to the 1770s, including calendars of prisoners, prison registers and criminal registers.
  • Find My Past has digitized many of the National Archives' prison records, including prisoner-of-war records, plus a variety of local records including Manchester, York and Plymouth. More information.
  • Prison-related records on Ancestry UK include Prison Commission Records, 1770-1951, and local records from London, Swansea, Gloucesterhire and West Yorkshire. More information.
  • The Genealogist also has a number of National Archives' prison records. More information.


  • Prison Oracle - resources those involved in present-day UK prisons.
  • GOV.UK - UK Government's information on sentencing, probation and support for families.