Posted by: Jim Bell | March 6, 2011

Kirkcudbright Jail in 1830

KIRKCUDBRIGHT.—County and Burgh Gaol.

January, 1830. This prison was built in 1816. It is situated nearly in the centre of the town, but on an entire new site. The walls are of stone ashlar and rubble work, about three feet thick; the ceilings are arched with stone. The building consists of four stories, with a tower or turret two stories above. It comprises twenty-two apartments, including those occupied by the keeper, which are on the groundfloor, where there is also a bath-room and a room for vagrants. The first floor is occupied by the debtors, and contains two day-rooms and three sleeping-rooms. The second floor, for criminals, contains two day-rooms and five sleeping-rooms. The third floor contains a large apartment, used as a sick-ward for criminals, and a small room adjoining. The first floor of the tower above contains two rooms for convicts or refractory prisoners, and the upper flat contains a sickroom for debtors. The day-rooms, debtors’ rooms, and sick-wards, have fireplaces, and the other rooms are heated by air-tubes. The day-rooms and sickward have water-closets, and water is laid on from a reservoir over the tower. Two airing-yards are attached to the gaol, and inclosed with stone-walls eighteen feet high ; but it is stated that debtors are not allowed to take exercise therein. The number of commitments in 1828 was eight male debtors, and one female debtor, twenty-five male and six female criminals. The greatest number in confinement at one time was three male debtors, five male and two female criminals.


The first floor of the building which contains the prison has a night-room for debtors, and a court-room which is occupied by the debtors during the day. The criminals’ room is eight feet and a half square. There is also a black-hole on the ground-floor, and a room used by the keeper, but he does not reside in the gaol. There is no yard. In 1828, eight debtors were committed, and one other male prisoner. The greatest number at one time was four debtors, and one criminal; the latter was confined only one night.

There is a small burgh gaol at Maxwelltown, which consists of four rooms or cells, and an apartment for the keeper, under the court-house. There is also a small prison at Castle Douglas, which consists of two rooms.

Report to Parliamentary Committee, 1830

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