Grates and Keys: Violence in Early Modern Prisons, Part II

Richard Bell's recent post showed how a humble garden billhook could a potential tool of violence against prisoners. Keys, doors, locks, and grates could wreak a subtler kind of violence. Barring visitors from a prison could be deadly.  "When prisoners are sick," some Newgate debtors told the JPs in 1724, the underkeeper Mr. Perry "won’t let … Continue reading Grates and Keys: Violence in Early Modern Prisons, Part II

Becoming a gaoler II: marriages and mothers-in-law

When it came to his love life, George Reynell had a type: women connected to prison offices. His first wife was the widow of a prison warden, his second the daughter of one. As a result, Reynell spent many years running prisons in London. Following on from my last post about becoming a gaoler in … Continue reading Becoming a gaoler II: marriages and mothers-in-law

Pushing the Boundaries of the Fleet Prison

In 1745 John Latham and some other debtors residing in the Fleet prison petitioned the Court of Common Pleas, asking that the "rules" of the Fleet be expanded. The term "rules" (or its synonym, "verge") denoted an area physically outside the prison's walls but conceptually within its boundaries. As long as he or she stayed … Continue reading Pushing the Boundaries of the Fleet Prison