Thundersley Cage Lock-Up

Do you know anything about it?

By Jon Stamp

Under 200 years ago, Thundersley Lock-Up was built to secure criminals before being judged at a Vestry Meeting in the White Hart Pub, Thundersley. This makes me believe the Lock-Up was located somewhere around the Pub or Village. Below are two extracts of Vestry Meetings minutes. The first minute talking about the building of ‘The Lock-up’ or also known as ‘The Cage’. The other minute is about an event that happened four years into its life.

On the 29th June 1833, Robert Dowsett agreed to spend £21 (£1,039 in todays money) to build a Cage Lock-up. Even though the site is not recorded but the specifications are as follows.

The Thundersley Cage Lock up was made:

'of brick 14 inches thick 6ft above ground and 18 inches below ground. 6ft long and 8ft wide to be arched over. 9 inch thick tiles over the roof with a drip stone at one corner and a proper drain under to take off all wet.

The door to be double across of 1 1/4 inch Oak Board. 2ft 10 inches wide and 5ft 6 inches high. The door frame of good oak timber 2 loop holes with 2 iron bars, 2 padlocks, strong hinges and fastening such as are at Bowers (Gifford). The interior not to be plastered but lime washed.'

As you can see there are no windows or ventilation mentioned.

Funny enough, on the 12th June 1837,  Constable James Brown for the hamlet couldn't use the cage to secure a prisoner because he didn't have a key. The minute also tells us that one of the two keys for the 'Said Cage' was lost. So within four years the cage was being misused and one key was lost.

Do you know anything about the Thundersley Lock Up? Do you have a photo or image of the 'Said Cage'? Could one of your relatives been imprisoned within its walls or did they manage the use of it?

This page was added by Jon Stamp on 05/03/2014.