Fordwich Lock-Up




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Nation   England

County   Kent

Location   Beneath Old Town Hall, King Street,  Fordwich

Map location   exact or closely approximate

Year opened   1544

Year closed   1855

Century of Operation   1500-1599, 1600-1699, 1700-1799, 1800-1899

Building Type   Town hall, court room and gaol

Remarks   Grade II* listed. Building contains courtroom and single cell beneath with bed. Stocks adjacent to building (see separate listing)


'The Town Hall comprised a storeroom and prison on the ground floor and the court room and jury room over. It is probably an early C15 building, and there is evidence that it was extensively repaired in 1474. Timber framed building, the ground floor rebuilt in brick, stone rubble and flints. The first floor is close studded with herringbone brick nagging on the east and south sides and plaster infilling on the west side, all three oversailing on a moulded bressumer and brackets with a red brick buttress giving support at the south east corner. Steeply-pitched hipped tile roof. Casement windows of four lights with 4-centred heads, wooden mullions, diamond-shaped leaded panes and old green glass. Two storeys, One window each facing east, south and north. The tiny prison on the ground floor retains its bed, while the wooden stocks are placed in the forecourt to the south. The court room above also has its original fittings and a crownpost roof. To the north is an addition of tarred weatherboarding with a tiled roof. This was the Crane House. The north gable end facing the river Stour is jettied. At the north east angle is a swinging post with a cross-piece like a gallows, from which a large hook is suspended for the raising and lowering of goods.'

Historic England, National Heritage List for England, 'The Crane House, The Stocks Outside the Town Hall, The Town Hall', Fordwich, LEN1085670

'Although it is believed that there was an earlier building on the site, the present Guildhall, or Town Hall as it is known today, was built in 1544, during the reign of King Henry VIII...On the ground floor, in the south west corner, is the Town Jail, and next to it the jailer’s quarters and a large store house. Wrong-doers could be sentenced to jail for up to a year and a day. The last prisoners to be held there were three men from Canterbury who were caught poaching the Fordwich Trout, in 1855. They were given fourteen days - and their nets were burnt publicly in front of the Town Hall...On the first floor is the Court Room where all criminal cases in Fordwich were tried until 1886...The Town Hall is still used by the present Town Council for meetings, and it is believed to be the oldest and smallest still in use. ', 'The Town Hall'

Featured Images

  • Fordwich town hallPhoto © E Gammie (cc-by-sa/2.0)


    Historic England, National Heritage List for England, 'The Crane House, The Stocks Outside the Town Hall, The Town Hall', Fordwich, LEN1085670

  • Roy's Blog, 'KENT. Lock-ups at Cranbrook, Dover, Fordwich,Goudhurst and Lenham.' (02 July 2013)

  •, 'The Town Hall'



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