I have mentioned imprisonment for debt on this blog before (see here and here). I thought it might be appropriate to highlight some of the main institutions that have featured in our history on this subject. This is the first in a series of postings on debtors' prisons. We will examine the Metropolitan debtors' prisons before moving on to consider the provincial debtors' prisons.
We will start with Newgate. The former gate into the City of London, known latterly as Newgate prison was used as a prison for over 600 years. The prison was first erected during the reign of King Henry I and was destroyed by rioters in 1780. It was subsequently rebuilt. In addition to debtor prisoners we also find evidence of individuals incarcerated for other reasons. Edmund Calamy, for example, was imprisoned for unlicensed preaching.