Ancestry UK

Borough Gaol, Penryn, Cornwall

The Penryn Town Gaol was in operation by 1783, when John Howard visited the establishment and found no prisoners detained there.

In 1812, James Neild recorded that the prison:

consists of two rooms adjoining to the Town-Hall, about 7 feet 6 inches square each; with a chimney in both, and loose straw upon the floor. The Borough Constable is its Keeper, and Prisoners are confined here only till examined and committed to the County Gaol for trial, or else discharged by the Magistrates.

At my visits, 10th Oct. 1803, and 2d Oct. 1806, there were no Prisoners. One had broke out, and made his escape, the day before.

In 1835, it was reported that:

The Gaol at Penryn is very small; it consists of two small apartments on the staircase of the town-hall; it has no adequate supply of light or air. No human being ought to be confined in such a place.

The two cells are still to be seen in the town 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.