Dartmoor Prison

Overview

Details

Records

Overview

Prison Type   Convict Prison

Date opened   1850 [1809]

Date closed   post 1900 (still open)

Location   Princetown, Yelverton   Princetown

Map location   exact or closely approximate

County   Devon

Critical Remarks

Originally built 1809 and first used for prisoners of war until c1816. Reopened as a male convict public works prison in November 1850. Within five years the prison became reserved for less able-bodied convicts, and on the closure of Parkhurst as a juvenile prison received the remaining boys from that establishment. With the closure of Pentonville Prison (ID 1001) in 1885, Dartmoor was selected to receive male convicts for their probationary stage (separate confinement).

Prison Info

Prison Type   Convict Prison

Date opened   1850 [1809]

Date closed   post 1900 (still open)

Location   Princetown, Yelverton   Princetown

Map location   exact or closely approximate
Lat.   50.549722  Long.   -3.996111

County   Devon

Critical Remarks

Originally built 1809 and first used for prisoners of war until c1816. Reopened as a male convict public works prison in November 1850. Within five years the prison became reserved for less able-bodied convicts, and on the closure of Parkhurst as a juvenile prison received the remaining boys from that establishment. With the closure of Pentonville Prison (ID 1001) in 1885, Dartmoor was selected to receive male convicts for their probationary stage (separate confinement).

Prisoner Statistics

 

Year 1853

Annual Confined   -   1611

Daily Census   -   1128

 

Year 1858

Annual Confined   -   1654

Daily Census   -   1198

 

Year 1863

Annual Confined   -   1218

Daily Census   -   742

 

Year 1868

Annual Confined   -   840

Daily Census   -   628

 

Year 1873

Annual Confined   -   1136

Daily Census   -   934

 

Year 1878

Annual Confined   -   1186

Daily Census   -   960

 

Year 1883

Annual Confined   -   1454

Daily Census   -   1122

 

Year 1888

Annual Confined   -   1217

Daily Census   -   1000

 

Year 1893

Annual Confined   -   1531

Daily Census   -   1075

 

Year 1898

Annual   -  

Daily Daily average   -   881

Principal Primary Sources

  • Report of Coms. of Prisons and Directors of Convict Prisons, 1895-96 (Parl. Papers, 1896, XLIV.235), p.267; Report of Coms. of Prisons and Directors of Convict Prisons, 1896-97 (Parl. Papers, 1897, XL.105), p.409; Report of Coms. of Prisons and Directors of Convict Prisons, 1897-98 (Parl. Papers, 1898, XLVII.23), p.460; Report of Coms. of Prisons and Directors of Convict Prisons, 1898-99 (Parl. Papers, 1899, XLIII.65), p.489; Report of Coms. of Prisons and Directors of Convict Prisons, 1899-1900 (Parl. Papers, 1900, XLI.1), p.541
  • Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth and Dartmoor Prisons, and Hulks, 1851 (Parl. Papers, 1852, XXIV.197), p.189; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Hulks, 1853 (Parl. Papers, 1854, XXXIII.181), p.157; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Hulks, 1854 (Parl. Papers, 1854-55, XXV.33), p.187; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Hulks, 1855 (Parl. Papers, 1856, XXXV.1), p.147; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Hulks, 1856 (Parl. Papers, 1857 Session 2, XXIII.65), p.215; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, 1857 (Parl. Papers, 1857-58, XXIX.483), p.181; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, 1858 (Parl. Papers, 1859 Session 2, XIII P.1.191), p.217; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, 1859 (Parl. Papers, 1860, XXXV.429), p.167; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, 1860 (Parl. Papers, 1861, XXX.237), p.175; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, 1861 (Parl. Papers, 1862, XXV.331), p.186; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, 1862 (Parl. Papers, 1863, XXIV.1), p.180; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, 1863 (Parl. Papers, 1864, XXVI.209), p.155; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Criminal Lunatic Asylum at Broadmoor, 1864 (Parl. Papers, 1865, XXV.1), p.175; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Criminal Lunatic Asylum at Broadmoor, 1865 (Parl. Papers, 1866, XXXVIII.1), p.175; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Criminal Lunatic Asylum at Broadmoor, 1866 (Parl. Papers, 1867, XXXVI.1), p.182; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Criminal Lunatic Asylum at Broadmoor, 1867 (Parl. Papers, 1867-68, XXXIV.519), p.234; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Criminal Lunatic Asylum at Broadmoor, 1868 (Parl. Papers, 1868-69, XXX.1), p.246; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Convict Establishments at Gibraltar, W. Australia and Tasmania, 1869 (Parl. Papers, 1870, XXXVIII.1), p.249; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Convict Establishments at Gibraltar, W. Australia and Tasmania, 1870 (Parl. Papers, 1871, XXXI.1), p.302; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Convict Establishments at Gibraltar, W. Australia and Tasmania, 1871 (Parl. Papers, 1872, XXXI.385), p.283; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Convict Establishments at Gibraltar, W. Australia and Tasmania, 1872 (Parl. Papers, 1873, XXXIV.1), p.304; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Convict Establishments at Gibraltar, W. Australia and Tasmania, 1873 (Parl. Papers, 1874, XXX.55), p.280; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Convict Establishments at Gibraltar, W. Australia and Tasmania, 1874 (Parl. Papers, 1875, XXXIX.1), p.98; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Convict Establishments at Gibraltar, W. Australia and Tasmania, 1875 (Parl. Papers, 1876, XXXVII.1), p.116; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Convict Establishments at Gibraltar, W. Australia and Tasmania, 1876 (Parl. Papers, 1877, XLV.1), p.127; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Convict Establishments at Gibraltar, W. Australia and Tasmania, 1877 (Parl. Papers, 1878, XLIII.1), p.123; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Convict Establishments at Gibraltar, W. Australia and Tasmania, 1878 (Parl. Papers, 1878-79, XXXV.1), p.119; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Convict Establishments at Gibraltar, W. Australia and Tasmania, 1879-80 (Parl. Papers, 1880, XXXVI.1), p.181; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Convict Establishments at Gibraltar, W. Australia and Tasmania, 1880-81 (Parl. Papers, 1881, LI.1, 51), p.116; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Pentonville, Parkhurst, Millbank, Portland, Portsmouth, Dartmoor, and Brixton Prisons, and Convict Establishments at Gibraltar, W. Australia and Tasmania, 1881-82 (Parl. Papers, 1882, XXXIV.1), p.135; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Millbank, Pentonville, Borstal, Brixton, Chatham, Dartmoor, Parkhurst, Portland, Portsmouth, Wormwood Scrubs, Fulham and Woking Prisons and Convict Establishments in W. Australia, 1882-83 (Parl. Papers, 1883, XXXIII.1, 43), p.110; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Millbank, Pentonville, Borstal, Brixton, Chatham, Dartmoor, Parkhurst, Portland, Portsmouth, Wormwood Scrubs, Fulham and Woking Prisons and Convict Establishments in W. Australia, 1883-84 (Parl. Papers, 1884, XLIII.1, 41), p.37; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Millbank, Pentonville, Borstal, Brixton, Chatham, Dartmoor, Parkhurst, Portland, Portsmouth, Wormwood Scrubs, Fulham and Woking Prisons and Convict Establishments in W. Australia, 1884-85 (Parl. Papers, 1884-85, XXXIX.1, 49), p.32; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Millbank, Pentonville, Borstal, Brixton, Chatham, Dartmoor, Parkhurst, Portland, Portsmouth, Wormwood Scrubs, Fulham and Woking Prisons and Convict Establishments in W. Australia, 1885-86 (Parl. Papers, 1886, XXXV.457, 505), p.35; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Millbank, Pentonville, Borstal, Brixton, Chatham, Dartmoor, Parkhurst, Portland, Portsmouth, Wormwood Scrubs, Fulham and Woking Prisons and Convict Establishments in W. Australia, 1886-87 (Parl. Papers, 1887, XLI.725, 773), p.20; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Millbank, Pentonville, Borstal, Brixton, Chatham, Dartmoor, Parkhurst, Portland, Portsmouth, Wormwood Scrubs, Fulham and Woking Prisons and Convict Establishments in W. Australia, 1887-88 (Parl. Papers, 1888, LVIII.615, 651), p.22; Directors of Convict Prisons: Reports on Discipline and Management of Millbank, Pentonville, Borstal, Brixton, Chatham, Dartmoor, Parkhurst, Portland, Portsmouth, Wormwood Scrubs, Fulham and Woking Prisons and Convict Establishments in W. Australia, 1888-89 (Parl. Papers, 1889, XLI.657, 711), p.21; Directors of Convict Prisons. Reports, 1889-90 (Parl. Papers, 1890, XXXVII.515, 565), p.18; Directors of Convict Prisons, Reports, 1890-91 (Parl. Papers, 1890-91, XLIII.449, 497), p.18; Directors of Convict Prisons, Reports, 1891-92 (Parl. Papers, 1892, XLII.467, 539), p.26; Directors of Convict Prisons, Reports, 1892-93 (Parl. Papers, 1893-94, XLVII.427, 473), p.20; Directors of Convict Prisons, Reports, 1893-94 (Parl. Papers, 1894, XLIV.491, 541), p.15; Directors of Convict Prisons, Reports, 1894-95 (Parl. Papers, 1895, LVI.1177, 1227), p.17

Management

Archive name: Dartmoor Prison Museum

Catalogue ref: None

Collection: None

Description: Miscellaneous small account books, mainly relating to food supplies to the Prison, weights of wool fleeces

Dates: late 19th century - mid 20th century


Archive name: Dartmoor Prison Museum

Catalogue ref: None

Collection: None

Description: Spirits book

Dates: 1896-1910


Archive name: Kendal Archive Centre

Catalogue ref: WDX 955

Collection: None

Description: Dartmoor Prison. Miscellaneous papers, including letter relating to conditions in Dartmoor Prison.

Dates: 1898


Archive name: The National Archives

Catalogue ref: PCOM 7/223

Collection: Prison Commission

Description: Warrants constituting and appointing Convict Prisons etc. Dartmoor

Dates: 1853


Archive name: The National Archives

Catalogue ref: PCOM 7/213

Collection: Prison Commission

Description: Visiting Committees and Boards of Visitors. Dartmoor. Frequency of meetings and rota of visitors.

Dates: 1899


Daily Business

Archive name: Dartmoor Prison Museum

Catalogue ref: None

Collection: None

Description: Governors' journals

Dates: 1852-1875


Staff

Archive name: Plymouth and West Devon Record Office

Catalogue ref: 1330/7

Collection: None

Description: Dartmoor Prison, book. Volume entitled 'Dartmoor Prison, past and present' by Captain Vernon Harris, Governor. Includes photographs, also verse written by a young prisoner trying to escape 'the dungeon'.

Dates: c.1890


Archive name: Devon Heritage Centre

Catalogue ref: 2301 C

Collection: None

Description: Princetown County Primary School, formerly Dartmoor Prison Officers' Boys, Girls and Infants Schools. log books, admission registers, punishment book, minute books.

Dates: 1863-1956


Prisoners

Archive name: The National Archives

Catalogue ref: HO 8/106-207

Collection: Home Office

Description: Quarterly returns of prisoners in Hulks and Convict Prisons, Dartmoor, Devon 

Dates: 1850-1876


Land & Buildings

Archive name: Devon Heritage Centre

Catalogue ref: DEX/4/a/TM/Dartmoor Forest

Collection: None

Description: Dartmoor Forest tithe map. Depicts the Prison of War.

Dates: 1840


Archive name: Devon Heritage Centre

Catalogue ref: QS/DP/37

Collection: Devon Quarter Sessions

Description: Railway or tram road from Dartmoor Prison to Crabtree, showing the Prison

Dates: 1818


Archive name: Plymouth and West Devon Record Office

Catalogue ref: 4/346/4

Collection: None

Description: Map of Tor Royal Estate. Also showing Dartmoor Prison, part of Princetown and the surrounding lands

Dates: 1828


Archive name: The National Archives

Catalogue ref: PCOM 7/108

Collection: Prison Commission

Description: Land. Dartmoor Prison. Construction of bridge over Devonport leat.

Dates: 1893-1894


Archive name: The National Archives

Catalogue ref: PCOM 7/109

Collection: Prison Commission

Description: Land. Dartmoor Prison. Farm lands, leases held by Directors of Convict Prisons etc.

Dates: 1890-1900


Archive name: The National Archives

Catalogue ref: PCOM 7/3

Collection: Prison Commission

Description: Accommodation, cells, construction of, replacement of sleeping berths (corrugated iron cells) by larger cells at Dartmoor and Portland

Dates: 1894


Archive name: The National Archives

Catalogue ref: PCOM 7/376

Collection: Prison Commission

Description: Water supply, Dartmoor Prison

Dates: 1892-1912


Archive name: Devon Heritage Centre

Catalogue ref: T1258M/E/85-86

Collection: None

Description: Letter from Prison Governor at Princetown about, and agreement concerning, telegraph poles

Dates: 1862-1863


Images

Archive name: Devon Heritage Centre

Catalogue ref: 6856M/1

Collection: None

Description: Photograph album. Includes photos of main gate of Dartmoor Prison.

Dates: 1870s


Archive name: Plymouth and West Devon Record Office

Catalogue ref: 643/1

Collection: Frith Photographs

Description: Dartmoor Prison, photographs

Dates: 1889-1896