Ancestry UK

Town Gaol, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire

Chipping Norton manor probably had a prison by 1302. It was in about 1567 by a new prison in an adapted butcher's shop, rebuilt in around 1605 with a shop and a meeting room above. The establishment came under the control of the town corporation by a 1607 charter of 1607, and was still in use in 1722, when it adjoined the market place at the south end of Middle Row.

In 1818, it was reported that the gaol had two rooms and could house up to three prisoners. Deserters, and prisoners for re-examination, were confined here. Felons were sent to the County Gaol for trial. The premises were kept in repair by the town's Bailiffs.

In 1833, the prison was described as a ground-floor lock-up in the guildhall and used to hold prisoners before their transfer to Oxford Gaol. After the guildhall was sold in 1842, a lock-up continued to be provided either there or elsewhere until two new cells, together with an adjoining constable's room, were created in 1852 in the open area beneath the replacement town hall. Their use was shared with the county until 1865 when the county magistrates took over the cells and magistrates' rooms in the new police station. In 1867, it was agreed that the borough magistrates could share the police station facilities, the town hall cells then being replaced by a reading room and other accommodation.


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