HOBS: Provincial Debtors' Prisons: Warwick and York

Warwick Debtor’s Prison[1] and York Castle prison (pictured) both contained debtors. We are given a glimpse into the conditions extant in York castle prison during the mid-seventeenth century from a letter drafted in 1642 from a citizen of the town to a Justice of Assize.[2] The author notes that prisoners are only subsisting through, “the charity of well disposed persons.”[3]

[1] See 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 514. See also: Warwickshire County Record Office, Ref. CR 1291/634/1-2 – date 1695/1696 – Writ summoning Henry Greswold clerk to appear at Quarter Sessions as a creditor of Edward Hill a debtor in Warwick gaol, 1696.

[2] Barrett, A & Harrison, C (Eds). Crime and Punishment in England – a sourcebook. UCL Press, 1999, page 131-132.

[3] Ibid.

Picture Credit: http://www.glomagic.com/gc202/personal-home-page/York%20Castle.jpg