The Cage, Shenley

Overview

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Overview

Nation   England

County   Hertfordshire

Location   London Road, by the pond,  Shenley

Map location   exact or closely approximate

Year opened   unknown

Year closed   unknown

Century of Operation   1700-1799, 1800-1899

Building Type   Lock-Up

Remarks   According to its datestone, repaired in 1810, and restored in 1893 and the 1990s Last lock-up use during World War 1 but converted to ARP wardens' post in World War II. Stored road-mending tools in the 1930s

Descriptions

''Lock-up. C18, repaired 1810, restored 1893. Cement rendered brick. Circular with domical top. Pointed head to timber door of 4 planks with strap hinges. Flanking small openings with iron bars in deep reveals. Above openings 2 stone tablets inscribed with date 1810 and 'DO WELL. AND FEAR NOT.'/'BE SOBER. BE VIGILANT'. Additional small opening at rear. Plinth. Band at cornice level. Ball finial on top.''

Historic England, National Heritage List for England, 'The Cage on the Pond, Shenley, LEN 1175473' (https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1175473)

'At each end of the village is a pond, and immediately beside the northern of these is the cage, or old 'lock up'—a round white-washed building, which was restored in 1893. It has a wooden door of pointed shape, with small apertures on either side, closely guarded by perpendicular iron bars. Above each window is a small stone tablet, with the texts 'Do well; fear not,' on the left, and 'Be sober; be vigilant,' on the right. A rough bench runs round the wall...This small penitentiary did duty for the St. Albans and Barnet district, and prisoners awaiting trial in those towns were confined there until the gaols were built, when the Round House fell into disuse. It was last repaired in 1810, as, owing to a lack of occupants, a tree had taken root within it, and finally forced its way through the dome-like roof, splitting the structure. This date is carved over one of the windows.'

'Shenley', in A History of the County of Hertford, edited by William Page, Vol.II, pp.264-273 (Victoria County History).

'The circular Cage (or lock-up) dates from the 18th century, and has been restored several times since. Miscreants were held here overnight, en route to the courts at St Albans or Barnet. Until 1825 there was a set of stocks alongside. Its last recorded use as a prison was to confine an army deserter during the First World War. During the Second World War it was equipped with a telephone and served as an Air Raids Precautions post. It is built of brick, rendered with cement, and has a domed roof surmounted by a ball finial. The door in a gothic arch is made of four planks with strap hinges. '

John Cartledge, 'Teddy's Trail from Shenleybury'.

'[The village cage is] massively built with walls 24in. thick, it is approximately 12ft. in diameter with a total height of 15ft. The doorway, though small, has double doors and there are three apertures or windows heavily barred...The internal fittings as may be expected, a plank form or seat built all round...Without doubt, it is a building of antiquarian interest and deserves a better used than as a store for road working tools and such like'

H. M. Alderman, 'A Pilgrimage in Hertfordshire', originally published 1931, reprinted by the Book Castle, Dunstable, 1996, p.36

'Apart from imprisoning drunkards, the Cage was also used for defendants who were waiting to appear at magistrates courts in Barnet or St Albans. The dome-shaped building could accommodate up to three people, but the cold, dark and damp atmosphere was probably as numbing as solitary confinement.'

Borehamwood & Elstree Times (Suruchi Sharma), 'Lock, Stock'

'Shenley's Cage, which is thought to date from the early 1700s, was used mainly overnight for locking-up drunks until they had sobered up, or lawbreakers until they appeared at Barnet or St Albans magistrates courts...Bob Dearden, secretary of Shenley Village Society, said the Cage would have been cold and damp at times, adding: "It is next to water and has never been heated. '

Borehamwood & Elstree Times, 'A Night in the Cage Used to be a Fit Punishment for Drunkards'

'...New Year's Eve 1823...constable James Grainge, a shoemaker from Shenley Hill, was shot by Dr Patrick Connolly when he tried to apprehend him at Rabley House, in Rabley Park, off Packhorse Lane....Mr Grainge told Connolly to give himself up, but he replied by threatening to shoot the first person who entered. Mr Grainge was told to do his duty and began striking the door with an axe, but, within seconds, a gunshot sounded and he fell back with a severe wound to his arm. The prisoners, Connolly and Moran, were kept under guard in the Cage, next to the village pond, overnight, and statements were taken from witnesses in the White Horse. Mr Grainge died at his home at 3pm on New Year's Day, after an operation to amputate his arm'

Mark Foy, Borehamwood & Elstree Times, 'Doctor Held in the Cage After Shooting Constable', 7 March 2002

Featured Images

  • ExteriorPhoto © Julian Osley (cc-by-sa/2.0)
  • Barred aperture with stone inscription, 'Be Sober, Be Vigilant'Photo © Julian Osley (cc-by-sa/2.0)
  • The Village Cage, ShenleyH. M. Alderman, 'A Pilgrimage In Hertfordshire', Trefoil Publishing Company 1931 (reprinted by The Book Castle, Dunstable 1996)
  • View from the outsidePhoto © Julian Osley (cc-by-sa/2.0)
  • Barred aperture with stone inscription, Cage on the Pond, ShenleyPhoto © Julian Osley (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Description: Exterior

Photo by: Photo © Julian Osley (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Description: Barred aperture with stone inscription, 'Be Sober, Be Vigilant'

Photo by: Photo © Julian Osley (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Description: View from the outside

Photo by: Photo © Julian Osley (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Description: Barred aperture with stone inscription, Cage on the Pond, Shenley

Photo by: Photo © Julian Osley (cc-by-sa/2.0)

SOURCES

    Roy's Blog, 'Hertfordshire. Lock-ups at Anstey, Ashwell, Barley, Buntingford and Shenley' (26 June 2013)

  • http://roys-roy.blogspot.com/2013/06/lock-ups-at-anstey-ashwell-barley.html
  • Historic England, National Heritage List for England, 'The Cage on the Pond, Shenley, LEN 1175473'

  • https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1175473
  • 'Shenley', in A History of the County of Hertford, edited by William Page, Vol.II, pp.264-273. London: Online edition at www.british-history.ac.uk, originally published by Victoria County History, 1908.

  • https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/herts/vol2/pp264-273
  • John Cartledge, 'Teddy's Trail from Shenleybury' (guided walk leaflet).
  • H. M. Alderman, 'A Pilgrimage in Hertfordshire', originally published 1931, reprinted by the Book Castle, Dunstable, 1996.
  • Borehamwood & Elstree Times (Suruchi Sharma), 'Lock, Stock', 7 December 2007

  • https://www.borehamwoodtimes.co.uk/news/1888604.lock-stock/
  • Borehamwood & Elstree Times, 'A Night in the Cage Used to be a Fit Punishment for Drunkards', 3 April 2002

  • https://www.borehamwoodtimes.co.uk/news/171211.a-night-in-the-cage-used-to-be-a-fit-punishment-for-drunkards/
  • Mark Foy, Borehamwood & Elstree Times, 'Doctor Held in the Cage After Shooting Constable', 7 March 2002

  • https://www.borehamwoodtimes.co.uk/news/55166.doctor-held-in-the-cage-after-shooting-constable/

Comments

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