Ancestry UK

Sessions Prison / Tallow House, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland

A Bridewell, or House of Correction, also known as the Tallow House or Sessions Prison, formed part of the old Moot Hall on Castle Garth, Newcastle, where the county's Assize Courts were held.

In 1784, John Howard described it as follows:

The Old House of Correction, called the Tallow-House: two rooms, one for men, the other for women, and a dungeon now not used: no court: no water: allowance two pence a day, and coals. Salary, £15. Fees, 1s.

Criminals are first committed to the Tower in the Close for a day or two, and if not discharged by a magistrate, are removed hither or to the other prisons.

1776, Jan. 15, Prisoner 1. 1782, March 25, Prisoners 2.

In 1812, James Neild gave a similar report:

Keeper, Richard Hill; now James Sapwith, Town Marshal.
Salary, 15l. and for the Bridewell, 5l.
Fees, one shilling on entrance, and the same on discharge.

Number of Prisoners, 1802, Sept. 6th, Four. 1809, Sept. 17th, none.

Allowance, three-pence a day, and coals.


This Old House of Correction consists of two rooms; one of them for Men, the other for Women; and its dungeon is now used as a cellar. Straw on barrack bedsteads, with three blankets, and a coverlet each.

No court-yard. No water. No employment. Criminals are sent hither for trial at the Quarter Sessions.

The prison closed in c.1812 with the opening of a gaol in the New Moot Hall.


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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.