Friday, 17 April 2015

Village Lock Ups or Blind Houses

Village lock ups, which are sometimes known as blind houses in Somerset and Wiltshire, were designed for the temporary detention of people in rural areas. They were often used to hold drunk people until they sobered up.  They were also used to hold criminals until they could be taken to a local magistrate.  Most of them are small with one doorway and maybe a very small window.  They come in a variety of shapes - round, square, rectangular or polygonal and are usually freestanding.  

Kingbury Episcopi's Octagonal Lock Up
This is located in the centre of the village on the village green.  It was probably built between 1820 and 1840.

 Square Lock Up in Mells


 Square Blind House in Buckland Dinham


 Square Blind House - now used as a bus shelter - in Kilmersdon

 Originally built by the churchyard wall as a guardhouse in 1785, rebuilt in its present position in 1835 on the site of the parish stocks. It was restored by the parish council in 1992.

Castle Cary's Round Lock Up on Bailey Hill
This lock up is, according to the plaque on it, one of only 4 round lock ups in the country. It was built in 1779 at a cost of £23 by Mr W.M. Clark and was paid for by local charities.  It was repaired in 1894.  In 1922 the Lord of the Manor Sir Henry Hoare presented it to the parish council.  It has no windows but does have 2 iron grilles for ventilation.  It is 7 feet in diameter and 10 feet high.

Watchet's lock up is located round the back of the Museum


 Brompton Regis - this lock up is adjacent to an animal pound 

Guard House in Horn Street at Nunney.  This was built in 1824 and restored in 1985
 This solid stone lock up is in Monkton Combe, which is now part of Bath and North East Somerset
The Monkton Combe village lock up is approximately 8ft square with a domed roof and it is built of Bath stone. It is fitted with an iron studded oak door and contains two cells.  It was built in the mid to late 18th century (possibly in 1776) and has an unusual domed roof and no windows.

 Nether Stowey
This lock up has been converted into an information point for visitors.  However when I visited in December 2015 it was being used to store road signs.




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