Guildhall, Totnes, England


Guild Hall, Totnes
c.1910
Publisher: W. Denis Moss

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The current building was originally part of Totnes Priory, which had been established by Juhel de Totnes, feudal baron of Totnes. Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII in the 1540s, his successor, King Edward VI, granted Totnes a charter, in 1553, allowing one of the former priory buildings, which had been used as the monks’ refectory, to be converted into a guildhall. Part of the first floor of the building was converted for use as a magistrates’ court in 1624. Soldiers were billeted in the building during the English Civil War: the council chamber at the west end of the first floor hosted a meeting between Oliver Cromwell and Thomas Fairfax at the oak tables there in 1646. The lower hall was used as a public meeting room as evidenced by the names of over 600 town mayors, who have served since 1359, listed on its walls. After prison cells had been built in the basement, the building was also used as the town gaol until 1887. The building was extended to the east by the addition of a loggia in front of the original building in 1897: the extension was designed with Doric order columns which had been recovered from the Exchange which had been demolished in 1878.
Wikipedia.

Circa 1553, reconstructed in 1624 (wall tablet)and extensively altered in 1829. On the site of the Benedictine Priory of St Mary founded by Judhael in 1086. After the Dissolution in 1536 the greater part of the priory church of St Mary was adapted for use as the parish church (qv), and the convential buildings, on the north side, were granted to Walter Smythe and, in 1553, to the Town Council who incorporated them in the new Guildhall buildings. The Courtroom appears to be on the site of the monastic refectory and retains some of the original window openings.
Historic England

Armley Goal, Armley, West Yorkshire


Armley Gaol
Publisher: W. Ritchie & Sons (“Reliable series”), 1902-28

Google Street View.

Construction of Leeds Prison (originally named Leeds Borough Gaol) was completed in 1847. Built from locally quarried stone, the prison originally had four wings radiating from a central point in a Victorian architectural style (known as ‘radial’) typical of the time. Each of these four wings had three landings of cells. Eventually Armley Gaol was renamed along with other prisons to make their locations more obvious to people unfamiliar with these areas.
Wikipedia.

Leeds Borough Gaol was completed in 1847 and originally it housed both male and female prisoners. Lilian Ida Lenton (1891 – 1972) was probably the most well-known female prisoner. She was an English Dancer, Suffragist and winner of a French Red Cross Medal for her service as an Orderly in World War I.
comment Mark’s History: The suffragist and dancer imprisoned in Armley’s jail

Armley prison opened in Leeds in the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1847 and was constructed on the then modern penitentiary principal with four radial wings. It was a grim and forbidding building in line with the Victorian ideas of prison and was responsible for housing prisoners sentenced in the West Riding of Yorkshire. It also took over duty of carrying out West Riding executions from York Castle. Ninety three men and one woman were to suffer the death penalty at Armley between 1864 and 1961. An average of almost exactly one per annum.
Capital Punishment U.K.

The grim and forbidding facade of the notorious Victorian jail has dominated the skyline of the proud town of Armley for over 160-years. Its presence spreads an air of notoriety through a town which across the years has grittily got on with its business and has a proud and fascinating industrial history with its clanking mills and bustling factories.
Yorkshire Magazine: Armley Jail– A history of the town and prison”

Lancaster Castle, Lancaster, Lancashire


The Castle Gateway, Lancaster
1910s
Publisher: W.H. Smith & Son

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There was a Saxon timber fort atop a mound here when William the Conqueror granted Lancaster to Roger de Poitou. Roger rebuilt the castle mound in Norman style sometime around 1093. At the same time, he established a monastery, which lives on as Lancaster Priory, located immediately behind the castle. When Roger de Poitou took part in the ill-fated Barons Rebellion of 1102, Henry I seized his Lancashire estates and gave them to his nephew Stephen of Blois (later to become King Stephen). Henry may have begun the Great Keep, or that may have been the work of King Stephen, who succeeded him, or even of King David of Scotland, who administered Lancashire during Stephen’s long struggle with Queen Maud known as The Anarchy.

The Great Keep stands four storeys high and is built with walls 3m thick. It has two rooms on each floor and offered accommodation for the constable of the castle or his lord. There was enough space that the entire garrison could withdraw into the keep if the castle was under siege. The massive construction meant that the keep needed strong buttresses to keep the structure from collapsing under its own weight. There are buttresses at each corner and halfway along each side. Sometime around the end of the 12th century, a stone curtain wall was erected to encircle the keep. Towers were built at regular intervals along the wall.
Britain Express

“Interior View of Lancaster Castle”, J. Weetman, 1824 (from Wikimedia Commons)

The Honor, County, Town and Castle of Lancaster were granted by Henry III to his younger son Edmund, 1st Earl of Lancaster, in 1267. Lancaster Castle became a senior place of administration in the Duchy of Lancaster, with courts, a prison and offices. Through the centuries, the castle has held thousands of prisoners, including criminals of all kinds, political prisoners and individuals persecuted for their faith. In 1612, during the reign of King James I, the castle was at the centre of a notorious trial when ten people from the Pendle area of Lancashire, and nine other people from the area, were accused of witchcraft. The defendants were imprisoned and tried in the castle. Ten people were found guilty and hung on the nearby moor. In the late eighteenth century, the castle was substantially modified for use as a court and prison. During the same period, the medieval hall of the castle was demolished and a new building was constructed to house the Crown Court and Shire Hall.
Duchy of Lancaster

Castle, now prison and courthouses. Occupies part of the site of a Roman fort. Principal dates of construction of the surviving structure are c1150, when the keep was erected; c1200 (parts of Hadrian’s Tower, fragments of curtain wall running north and east from the tower, some masonry in the Gatehouse passageway, and the lower part of the Well Tower); early C15 (the Gatehouse and Well Tower). The upper storey of the keep is probably C15 and was re-modelled in 1585. Extensive additions were made from 1788 onwards to the designs of Thomas Harrison. The Governor’s house was the first of the new buildings. The former Crown Hall at the west was rebuilt and extended to the north to include a new Crown Court (1798) and circular Grand Jury Room. To the west a new Shire Hall was built on a 7-sided semicircular plan. The female felons’ prison was completed in 1793, and the male felons’ prison to the north was also built in the 1790s. Following a break, work continued under the supervision of JM Gandy in 1802: the interior of the Crown Court was completed, and the female penitentiary was added in 1818-21. The walls are of sandstone ashlar and rubble with roofs of slate and lead. All the buildings are linked to form an irregular polygon on plan with a central courtyard.
Historic England

The South East VIew of Lancaster Castle, “A description of England and Wales, containing a particular account of each county etc.; Vol 5”, Newbery and Carnan, 1769

The castle, of which we have caused a view to be engraved for the satisfaction of the reader [above], is thought to be one of the finest monuments of antiquity, that this kingdom can boast of; for the ditch was made by the command of the emperor Adrian, in the year 124, and a garrison was placed here by him ; who, for their better security, erected a tower towards the weft. In the year 305, Constantine Chlorus, father of Constantine the Great, built another handsome tower facing the town, both of which are now standing. After the Norman conquest, this castle was considerably enlarged ; and John, earl of Moreton and Lancaster, contributed the most to its grandeur, by erecting the beautiful tower, now called the Gatehouse. Afterwards, when he was king, he gave audience in it to the French ambassadors, and also here received homage from Alexander king of the Scot?, whom he had vanquished. It is at present the county jail, and the assizes have been held in it near five hundred years.
“A description of England and Wales, containing a particular account of each county etc.; Vol 5”, Newbery and Carnan, 1769

“The Castles of England: their story and structure, Vol 2”, James Mackenzie, 1896

The great feature of the building is the superb gatehouse, 66 feet high, erected by John of Gaunt, partly with Norman materials. It has two fine octagonal flanking towers, a four-centred arch to the gateway and portcullis, a fine machicoulis carrying an allure, or rampart terrace, and a battlement. The oldest portion is the massive keep of Roger de Poictou, 80 feet square, with walls 10 feet thick; this too was much altered by John of Gaunt, but the original Norman windows are intact. The upper portion was rebuilt, temp. Elizabeth, though the S.W. turret is still popularly known as Gaunt’s Chair. There is a chapel in the basement, and the dungeons are places in two floors below the ground level. There are now four grand towers in all, the ancient dungeon tower on the S. side, which had been used as a debtors’ prison, having been demolished n 1812.
“The Castles of England: their story and structure, Vol 2”, James Mackenzie, 1896

Shire Hall, Lancaster, England


Interior of Shire Hall | Lancaster
c.1910
Publisher: Stewart & Woolf

Google Street View (exterior).

This magnificent ten-sided room is Joseph Gandy’s masterpiece. Completed in 1802, its semi-circle of Gothic pillars carry not only the arches which support the timber ceiling over the main part of the court room but also the arches of the plaster vault over the surrounding aisle. Still used as a working courtroom on rare occasions, today the Shire Hall is also the centrepiece for one the UK’s finest displays of chivalric heraldry.
Lancaster Castle

In the last two decades of the century, around £30,000 was spent rebuilding Lancaster’s county gaol. Architect Thomas Harrison was commissioned to complete the work. Under his auspices, the Gaoler’s House was built in 1788 in a Gothic style. Separate prisons were built for men and women. The Shire Hall and Crown Court were complete by 1798. Harrison had to divide his time between Lancaster and designing and building Chester Castle’s Shire Hall and Courts; work at Lancaster slowed, partly because of dwindling funds due to war with France, and Harrison was released from the work as the Justices of the Peace felt it was taking too long. The artist Robert Freebairn was paid £500 to paint twelve watercolours of the work in 1800 to be presented to the Duke of Lancaster, King George III. In 1802 the castle received more funding and Joseph Gandy was commissioned to complete the interiors of the Shire Hall and Crown Court.
Wikipedia.