Penal Institutions

Penal Institutions (Part 1) – County Prisons

Overview of the County Gaol/Bridewell for Hampshire from 1787

Any parishioner of St. Mary Bourne that was convicted of a crime and imprisoned went to Winchester to one of the county prisons. The Prison History website lists 5 prisons in Winchester, 3 of which are for the county and relevant.

Extract from Hampshire and Isle of Wight XLI.13, Revised: 1894, Published: 18971

Winchester “County Gaol”

This prison was in Jewry Street, Winchester and open 1788-1849, highlighted on the above map with a Turquoise pin. It was described as “Local Prison – Common Gaol”2. Today part of this site is occupied by a Wetherspoons Pub called The Old Gaolhouse. In the 1841 census this prison can be found within the parish of St Thomas, enumeration district “County Gaol Winchester”.

From “The Old Gaolhouse” history page. See website for more information.

Winchester “County House of Correction”

This prison was also called “Winchester County Bridewell, Winchester New Prison or County Bridewell” and open 1787-1849, highlighted on the above map with a Yellow pin. It is described as “Local Prison –  House of Correction/Bridewell” and was situated on the site of Hyde Abbey, Winchester3. In the 1841 census this prison can be found within the parish of St Bartholomew Hyde, enumeration district “House of Correction”

As you can see from above these prisons were open at the same time which does means that it is not always clear exactly which prison a prisoner was sent to. The examples I have found at present suggest that “The County Gaol, Jewry Street” was for those awaiting trial (on remand) and that the “County House of Correction” was where they served their sentences. The Jewry Street prison also appears to have housed the Debtors Prison from 1805 and appears to be the site of older prisons since 12284.

Winchester County Gaol and House of Correction

This prison is also called “Winchester County Gaol, Winchester Prison, HMP Winchester”, it opened in 1849 and is still open today, highlighted on the above map with a Purple pin. It is described as “Local Prison –  Common Gaol & House of Correction/Bridewell” and is on Romsey Road, Winchester opposite the County Hospital5. After this new Gaol opened prisoners were moved from the other two in Winchester to this one and then the older ones were closed. In 1851 the first census after the opening of the new prison it can be found within the parish of Winchester St Faith, enumeration district “Hampshire County Prison”.

After 1849 things become a lot simpler when looking for where someone was serving a sentence as by then there was just the new prison on Romsey Road.

  1. Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland,, [accessed 22 January 2024] ↩︎
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