HOBS: Provincial Debtors' Prisons: Canterbury

Canterbury prison is not discussed by Pitt, however, records do survive that account for its use as a debtors’ prison[1] and a set of papers is still extant that includes a debtor’s correspondence for the period 1675 to 1678.[2] Neild does discuss the debtors’ prison from an early nineteenth century perspective,[3] noting that the gaol was in the City’s West gate. It consisted of a day room and two rooms that were in the two towers of the gate, which the debtors slept in, “with only mats to lie on”[4].

[1] Centre for Kentish Studies, Kent Quarter Sessions, Session Papers - Ref. Q/SB/22/124 – date 3 June 1691 – printed form relating to the discharge of an insolvent debtor from the county gaol at Canterbury; Ref. Q/SB/9, 1658, 1663-1664 – Petition; Ref. Q/CI – Clerk of the Peace Office – Court of Insolvent Debtors.

[2] Ref. U350 – letters and other papers relating to Henry Dering while a debtor, 1675-1678.

[3] Neild, J, Account of Persons confined for Debt, in the various prisons of England and Wales, ... with their provisionary allowance during confinement; as reported to the Society for the discharge and relief of small Debtors. London, 1800, at page 128.

[4] Ibid.

Picture Credit: http://www.uga.edu/protozoa/meetings/isop2010/canterbury-cathedral13.jpg