Ancestry UK

Town Gaol, New Romney, Kent

New Romney's Town Gaol was erected in 1750 on the town's High Street.

In 1784, John Howard wrote:

This prison at New Romney was built in 1750. Two rooms; one on the ground floor; the other level with the keeper's cellar. Behind is the bridewell, a large room with a fire-place. Allowance to felons 6d. a day. Keeper, no salary. Fees, 3s. 4d. no table. 1782, Dec. 6, One felon.

In 1812, James Neild wrote:

Gaoler, Adam Hammond; Sergeant at Mace. No Salary. Fees, 6s. 8d. No Table.

Prisoners, 1804, Sept. 24th, none. 1806, Aug. gth, none. 1807, Aug. 24th, none. 1808, July 16th, one Felon.

Allowance, to Debtors, none. To Felons, 6d. a day.

This Gaol was built in 1750. Here are two rooms; one on the ground-floor, 12 feet by 9 feet 6: the other, called "The Dungeon," to which the descent is by nine steps, stands level with the Keeper's cellar, and has a small iron-grated aperture toward the Street.

Behind the Prison is another large room, with a fire-place, formerly used as a Bridewell; but now occupied by the Keeper as a wash-house.

In 1832, it was reported:

There is a small gaol at New Romney, which contains three sleeping-cells, a day-room, and an airing-yard. A sessions-house and bridewell have been recently erected.

By the 1860s, the prison had fallen into disuse.


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.

  • Kent History and Library Centre, James Whatman Way, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1LQ Holdings include: Court of Quarter Sessions. New Romney Gaol, male and female receiving book (has particulars of age, occupation etc. 1849-55).
  • 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.