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Twelve Months in a Victorian Gaol

By E. Vernon Jones

Gaol Official records are often tantalizingly brief and, what is more, notorious for what they neglect to say. Yet they manage to provide a wealth of historical information that might otherwise be lost. Stored in the County Archivist's Department at Carmarthen is the Gaoler's Journal (CRO 4916) which presents a picture, albeit seen through a glass darkly, of life in Carmarthen County Gaol during the early years of Queen Victoria's reign. Typical are twelve months in the years 1845-6, arbitrarily chosen only because the Governor, Henry Westlake, was obliged to start a new report book on 22 September 1845.

Because the daily entries are largely repetitious only the more interesting information is reproduced in the abstract that appears hereafter, but in the interests of authenticity the culled material is preserved in the Governor's own language, quaint if not wholly literate, which is not altogether surprising when it is realised that it was still a time when illiteracy was widespread, when a prisoner who could 'read and write perfect' was a noteworthy inmate. Yet, as a result of the daily schooling which was part of the prison regime, many prisoners ended their incarceration more literate than they were before.

Gaol Precinct We are accustomed to charges of Victorian hypocrisy, but even in the gaalhouse there is glimmering evidence that not all her majesty's subjects were without compassion. Prisons, too, were not what they had been filthy and verminous abodes of degradation. Administered by magistrates in Quarter Sessions, they had, since 1835, been subject to inspection by the state, which took over total responsibility for them in 1877. Periodical inspection by visiting magistrates ensured something approaching clinical cleanliness, enhanced by the liberal use of white lime to cover walls. Idle prisoners abandoned almost to oblivion belonged to the past; reform, which had ushered in new prisons (Millbank in London was the first of the new model gaols), ordained that work was to be the punitive role.

A means of creating work under the new order was the tread-wheel, which was also meant to introduce a deterent influence. Sometimes the tread-wheels performed a useful purpose, such as grinding corn or pumping water, but usually they were useless and were abolished as instruments of punishment late in the nineteenth century. It is probable that the wheel at Carmarthen's County Gaol was used to raise water from the well, as there are references to a pump in the Governor's reports, but it cannot have been an indispensable machine in the daily running of the gaol's economy, as evidenced by the magistrates' order in February 1846 to stop the wheel and put the prisoners to work at picking oakum and other tasks.

Nineteenth century prisons were still comprised of the common gaol and the house of correction. Houses of correction were established in the reign of Elizabeth I and were administered by the Justices of the Peace. Their aim was to prevent able-bodied vagrants from obtaining outdoor relief; instead such idlers were put to work and paid for their labour. By the eighteenth century, however, they had became much the same as common gaols and an Act of 1720 allowed magistrates to commit vagrants to either. Though it survived well into the nineteenth century, the distinction between the two became little more than artificial.

The house of correction and the prison chapel were accommodated in the gaol which had been built by John Nash to face Spilman Street. Adjoining were the debtor's cells. What rigours the inmates suffered is not apparent from the Gaoler's reports, but it is evident that they were tender enough at Christmastide to allow the 'poor debtors' within to celebrate tipsily at the expense of the pecuniary sympathy of well-wishers without. Except in certain cases, such as debt against the Crown, imprisonment for debt was abolished by the Debtors Act 1869.

Puzzling is that part of the gaol known as the Trebanda, which occupied the central area. Evidently, this was the prison or common gaol, but the significance of the name is elusive. There was an upper and a lower Trebanda, which seem to have housed the prisoners, females included, but how the sexes were separated is not clear; the adjoining open space on the north side was probably the exercise yard. A separate prison for females was later built in the gardens on the south side of the Trebanda. The gardens within the perimeter walls probably supplied the gaol needs as far as practicable, but victuals were also supplied by town purveyors. The entrance for wheeled traffic was through the east wall from Castle Green, a throughfare which ran from Spilman Street past the treadmill house to Bridge Street. This way was closed in 1868, when the Gaol was extended and a high wall erected around the boundary facing the river Towy. On the west side there was a pedestrian entrance, which still exists, through the Castle Gate past the prison infirmary.

EXTRACTS FROM THE GAOLER'S RFPORTS

1845
Monday 22 September.

Captain D. Davies called and I Brought John Smith a Prisoner before his worship Respecting the order on the Back of his commitment that he was to have the money stoped from him for his maintenance and I Received orders From his worship to Deduct what it cost for his maintenance out of his money which was 2-11s-4d .... John Smith Discharged having served his Imprisonment crime a Suspected Thief.
Tuesday 23 September.
John Smith and James Goulding came To custody committed by G. Davies Mayor Borough Prisoners Crime Rogues and Vagabonds [Under the Vagrant Act 1824 'idle and disorderly persons' offending a second time were classified as 'rogues and vagabonds'; on further conviction they became 'incorrigible rogues'.] the former was discharged from this Gaol yesterday for similar offence David Lewis came to custody committed by J. E. Saunders Esqr. crime Assault the Prisoner his [sic] Insane for I was obliged to put the straight Jacket on him and then to put him in Irons and I employed a man to stop in his cell for the Night with him. Humphry Polkinghorn Soldier of the 6th Dragoons Discharged he having served his Imprisonment Crime Drunkness, the Prisoners attended chapel and school and the Remainder of the Day employed at the wheel .... [Chapel, school and tread-wheel labour was a regular part of the daily routine].
Saturday 27 September.
Mr. Jones assistant Surgeon called and he ordered John Lewis to be put in the Itch ward he having the Itch [This was a frequent complaint].
Sunday 28 September.
The Prisoners attended Divine service twice and school once .... [No wheel labour is recorded on Sunday].
Monday 29 September
.... I took the irons of [sic] D. Lewis in consequence of his being a great deal better than when he was committed here.
Tuesday 30 September.
John Rees in the refractory cell for having a lighted rag in his pocket when going to bed and i searched him and found a pipe in his pocket likewise . . . . [The refractory cell was a dark chamber].
Wednesday 1 October.
David Morgan a deserter from the 75th Regt. Discharged and handed over to escort of 37th Regt. to procede to Ireland. John Rees forgiving [sic] at 6 oclock P.M. from the refractory cell after been two days in the cell.
Tuesday 14 October
. . . . Mr. Jones Assistant Surgeon called to visit the sick prisoners and ordered Henry Evans from the Infirmary and to be put on the wheel, the prisoners attended chapel and school, and the remainder of the day employed in removing the stores and scouring the Irons and white washing the day Room in the Trebando [sic].
Thursday 23 October
. . . . I took the prisoners of the wheel at 3 oclock P.M. to weigh and wheel coals and mix clay, David Davies in the refractory cell for sculking [sic] on the wheel.
Friday 24 October.
The prisoners attended chapel and school and the remainder of the forenoon mixing clay ....
Saturday 25 October.
Wanted for the Gaol a letter Book and two dozen small tooth combs for the prisoners . . .
Sunday 26 October
.... William Jones came to custody committed by J. Maxwell and J. Lewis and D. Prothero Esqrs. crime Vagrancy.
Monday 27 October.
William Thomson a Borough Prisoner came to custody committed by G. Davies Mayor crime Refusing to work at the Union [the Workhouse] .... I discovered a paper of tobacco thrown over the wall at the back of the wheel which it lodged on the top of the wheel.
Tuesday 28 October
.... I have this day lead [sic] a pipe from the back of wheel across to the main pipe which supply the debtors with water and the two Trebando and the pipe Room and the gaoler Kitchen and the excise debtor yard.
Thursday 30 October.
John Smith put in the refractory cell upon Bread and water diet for tearing out a leaf of a hymn book and writing a note to be concealed out of the gaol unknown to me to be sent out by Thomas Morris a discharged Prisoner, which it appears that he has some stoleing property at the Blue Boar in Water Street, Carmarthen.
Friday 31 October.
Thomas Evans came to custody committed by J. G. Harris Esqr. one of Her Majestys commissioners of Insolvent Debtors crime contempt of court David Roberts a debtor came To custody by order of G. Harris Esqr. Commissioner David Hughes and David Lloyd debtors discharged by order of J. G. Harris Esqr. Commissioner, John Smith in the refractory cell for destroying a Hymn Book of the gaol ....
Saturday 1 November
. . . . John Smith forgiven in the refractory cell at eleven oclock A.M. in consequence of is promising to behave self for the future.
Monday 3 November.
J. Jenkins surgeon called to examine David Lewis a Insane prisoner that committed a Assault upon Alexander Gregory a fellow prisoner, I called on Mr J. John Relieving officer of Llandafilog for the cost of one week maintenance for David Lewis a Insane Prisoner according to the orders of the Visiting Magistrates but the said John Jones refused to pay me the above four shilling and a penny.
Wednesday 5 November.
John Rees a Borough prisoner discharged crime leaving his wife and family chargeable to the parish [Such offenders were included among those classified as 'idle and disorderly persons'], William Thomson and William Jones Borough Prisoners came To custody committed by G. Davies Mayor crime refusing to break stones at the Union . . . .
Friday 7 November.
John Carroll a soldier of the 6th Dragoons discharged he having served his imprisonment crime Insubordination.
Saturday 8 November.
Thos Jones M.D. and H. Lawrence M.D. and J. Jenkins surgeon of the Gaol called To examine David Lewis a Insane prisoner has to is Insanity William Thomson a Borough prisoner discharged one day before is time expired consequence of it Being Sunday the following Day.
Monday 10 November
.... the prisoners attended chapel and school, the wheel was not worked until after dinner in consequence cleaning and white washing the Itch ward ....
Tuesday 11 November.
I left this morning for Briton ferry with David Lewis a Insane prisoner and delivered him safe to Mr Leech the Master of the Asylum but he did give me a receipt for is Body . . . . Dd. Jones Assistant surgeon called to visit Rachel Phillips has she appeared to he not of a sound mind, Charles Mackintosh [admitted the same day for refusing to break stones at the Workhouse] exempted from the wheel in consequence of a rupture by order of the surgeon.
Thursday 13 November
. . . . H. Lawrence M.D. called and visited the wheel and house of correction.
Friday 14 November.
James Carter a soldier of the 6th Dragoons came To custody committed by W. Arwright Capt. of the 6th Dragoons crime absent from stables and found drinking and disorderly in a public house sentence 4 days solitary confinement
Saturday 14 November
.... at 7 oclock P.M. a Corporal of the 6th Dragoons Brought a Drunking Soldier of the same Regiment to this Gaol without any commitment for me to keep untill he was sober which I informed the Corporal that I could not Admit him in this Gaol but to take him to the police station in the Borough.
Monday 17 November
.... William Jones a Borough Prisoner sent to bed without is supper for misbehavour on the wheel, the conduct of the prisoners at large has been very bad since the Silent system has been put in force and I have to state that it is Impossible to carry out the discipline of the Gaol and house of Correction according to the rules laid down by Sir J. Graham secretary of state, with one Turnkey for his duty is required to be constantly at the entrance of the Gaol .... [See 11 March].
Tuesday 18 November
.... John Smith a Borough Prisoner a reputed thief put in the refractory cell on bread and water for highly Insubordinate conduct to me and when ordered to be silent he would not . . . .
Monday 24 November
. . . . J. E. Saunders Esqr. sent a written order to me to put David Davies on has Turnkey at the rate of 9s. [45 pence] per week untill I can suit myself with a better one . . . . the remainder of day employed at the wheel with the exception of 2 Vagrants washing their clothes ....
Wednesday 26 November
.... David Jones put in Solitary cell for Neglecting to work the wheel in his turn and calling George Gilbert a blind eye has he had lost a eye.
Thursday 27 November
. . . . David Jones forgiven from the refractory cell he having promised to me that he would never do the like again.
Friday 28 November.
John Daniel a Borough Prisoner discharged he having served is imprisonment, crime Refusing to Break stones in the Union which the prisoner Broke stones in this Gaol according to my orders. J. Jenkins surgeon called and ordered me to purchase a few earthen whare dishes for the prisoners that had sore eyes to Bathe there eyes Night and morning with lukewarm water and each man to use is on [sic] dish . . . .
Saturday 29 November
.... Robert Jones exempted from the wheel in consequence of sore eyes and old age .... I called on Capt. D. Davies this evening and informed him that the young man whom I had written for at cardiff to be has a under turnkey had arrived by the Mail . . . .
Monday 1 December
.... Capt Davies called and ordered me to put George Davies on has under Turnkey and to discharge David Davies and that he was to receive the same wages has the Last Turnkey that Dd. Prytherch Esq. put on that was 16s. [80 pence] p. week . . . . Capt. D. Davies gave me an order to discharge John Smith a Borough Prisoner and that i was to give him over to the Borough Police on Tuesday 2nd of december and was to se him on board of the Pheonix packet and deliver the 12/- of John Smith to the steward for he to keep untill they arrive at Bristol and then to give John Smith is money after paying is fare.
Thursday 4 December
. . . . William Smith a Borough Prisoner is meat dish taken from him to day for misbehavour in chapel.
Saturday 6 December
. . . . George Gilbert put into the Refractory cell for talking in the wheel.
Saturday 6 December.
David Thomas came To custody committed by Richard Stevenson commissioner for thirty days for not appearing at the Bristol court according to the Summons served on him on the eleventh day of November. George Jones came to custody committed by D. Davies and E. H. Stacey. Esqr. crime leaving his Service a Borough Prisoner.
Sunday 7 December
.... this morning at 12 ocluck I forgave George Gilbert from the refractory cell has he promised he would behave himself for the future.
Monday 8 December.
Rachel Phillips excise debtor discharged .... Mrs Williams wife of Wm. Williams Turnkey Died this forenoon in the Turnkey Lodge, W. Williams excused from Duty.
Wednesday 10 December
. . . . D. Jones Assistant surgeon called and ordered a blister to be put on Henry Evans chest ....
Thursday 11 December
the prisoners attended chapel and school and the remainder of the day employed at the wheel with the exception of one hour in the afternoon that I stopped the wheel during the time of Mrs Williams going to be buried, D. Jones Assistant surgeon called and ordered extra diet for Henry Evans a sick Felon prisoner . . . .
Friday 12 December
.... Wm. Williams Turnkey Joined his duty.
Saturday 13 December.
George Jones a Borough prisoner discharged by order of David Davies Esqr. crime leaving his service .... D. Jones Assistant surgeon called and ordered Henry Evans to be placed in the Infirmary, David Croley a Borough Prisoner came To custody committed by T. C. Morris and E. H. Stacey Esqrs. crime Assault on the Police ....
Sunday 14 December
.... Wm. Williams Turnkey with Liberty for the Day.
Tuesday 15 December.
Alexander Gregory a convicted Felon discharged he having served his imprisonment his conduct during is imprisonment was bad . . . . Denis Daley a soldier of the 37 Regt. of foot came To custody committed by a court Martial signed by Major Skelly of the 37 Regt. of foot crime Breaking out of Barracks.
Saturday 20 December
.... T. C. Morris Esqr. called with a return to be filled up relating to John Thomas that was Transported at the spring Assizes 1844 which the late Gaoler [John Burnhill] did not leave is old commitment book with me when he was discharged which I have no other guidance than the calendar when he was Tried it does not mention in the Gaoler report when the prisoner left this Gaol for Millbank Peniteniory [John Thomas was one of seven men, mostly from the Llanllawddog area, who had been sentenced to ten years transportation for riot and robbery, but one, David Thomas, perhaps the ringleader, received a twenty-year sentence].
Sunday 21 December
.... Rees Lloyd put in the refractory cell for refusing to wash himself When ordered by G. Davies Turnkey.
Monday 22 December
. . . . Rees Lloyd forgiving is punishment in the refractory cell he having promised to obey the Turnkey in future, John Smith put in the refractory cell for Being Idle and disorderly on the wheel . . . I received orders from J. E. Saunders Esqr. not to distribute the money that is given [by sympathetic gentry at Christmastide] to the debtors this year until i receive further Instructions from the Visiting Magistrates.
Tuesday 23 December
.... Thomas Davies a Borough Prisoner came To custody committeed by E. H. Stacey and G. Davies, Esqrs. crime leaving is wife and family chargeable to the parish, D. Davies Esqr. called and Inspected two of the prisoners in the wheel.
Wednesday 24 December
.... D. Jones Assistant surgeon called and ordered Henry Evans extra Diet to be discontinued, Dd. Prytherch Esqr. called with Mr Jones the chaplain to hear the prisoners read and spell that could not when they came To custody, Dd. Prytherch was much pleased with their improvement . . . . received three pounds from the Lord Bishop of St. Davids [Bishop Thirlwall] for the poor Debtors, I gave five shillings to each Debtor that was in Gaol this Day five in number 1-5-0 remaining l-15-0 of the Lord Bishop's money.
Thursday 25 December
the prisoners attended Divine service twice and school once . . . . received three pounds from Earl Cawdor for the poor Debtors, George Davies Assistant Turnkey with liberty for the Day . . . . [Excusal of wheel labour and George Davies' day off are the only indications of Christmas Day].
Friday 26 December
.... I Received an order from D. Davies Esqr. to write to the Governor of the cardiff county Gaol for a copy of his dietry for the prisoners also, the cost per head a week ....
Saturday 27 December
. . . . J. E. Saunders and Capt. D. Davies Esqrs. called and a gentleman in company with them, and they gave me orders to give the Debtors named one pound each, Viz David Evans 1-0-0 Thos. Evans Do and Charles Vaughan Do and also that I was to purchase two tons of coal and a Load of clay and 5/- [25 pence] worth of Brooms for them . . . .
Wednesday 31 December
. . . . D. Jones Assistant surgeon called none in the sick report. [This was not a rare entry, but usually there was somebody who needed medical attention].

1846
Thursday 1 January

.... Charles Vaughan a Debtor put in to the refractory cell for two hours for being drunk and making use of highly Insubortinate Language to me in the execution of my duty which I consider there must be Neglect of duly towards Wm. Williams Turnkey in allowing the drink to pass in to the Gaol against is rules laid down for his guidance .... John Wilson came To custody committed by E. P. Lloyd Esqr. crime Felony for Trial at the quarter Sessions the prisoner is blind of both Eyes.
Saturday 3 January
.... I attended the Finance committeee this day which J. Saunders Esqr. proposed a motion that the prisoners were reduced to the number of ten that they [sic] under Turnkey was to he discharged forthwith Sir J. Mansell Bart seconded the motion . . . . Hannah Davies [a fifteen-year-old illiterate farm servant] came to custody [for stealing clothes] committed by Thos. Jones M.D. for futher examination on Monday the fifth of January 1846.
Monday 5 January
. . . . Hannah Davies fully committed for the next quarter Sessions . . . . Mary Davies came To custody committed by W. Chambers crime leaving to [sic] children chargeable to the parish. I Received four pounds from D. Davies M.P. for the debtors or any other poor prisoner that they [sic] Visiting Magistrates think fit to give I Left for Haverfordwest this evening to Identify Josiah Hurcombe.
Tuesday 6 January.
Mary Davies discharged the prisoner was brought in a mistake . . . . Mary Davies came To custody committed by W. Chambers Esqr. crime leaving two children chargeable to Llanelly Parish, Received 1-10-0 for the poor debtors from W. Chambers Esqr.
Friday 9 January.
Christmas Quarter Sessions held this day at Llandilo . . . . Hannah Davies [sentenced to] fourteen days hard labour.
Saturday 10 January.
Received from P.C. Joseph Hobson the sum of 14-9-6 the property of John Willson a convicted prisoner at Llandilo which I Received orders from D. Pugh chairman to Inform the Visiting Magistrates what money I had in my possession of the prisoner John Willson that was convicted at the quarter Sessions. John Willson [sentenced to] Twelve calendar months hard labour the prisoner is blind .... [His felony is not specified in the Felon's Register, where he is described as a tea-dealer, aged 33].
Tuesday 13 January
.... D. Jones Assistant surgeon called and he considered it was to could [sic] for John Willson a blind prisoner to remain on the wheel during the hours the wheel was at work, which I informed Dd. Prytherch Esqr. of it the prisoner was sentenced to twelve calendar months hard Labour by the court of quarter sessions, which I placed him in one division of the wheel and their [sic] is sufficient Room for him to walk about.
Saturday 17 January
.... John Davies came To custody committed by J. E. Saunders and Dd. Prytherch Esqrs. crime destroying game, the prisoner paid the find [sic] 5-0-0 and he was discharged, Mr. G. Spurrell Received the 5-0-0 and given a receipt on the Back of the commitment, I received a written order from the Visiting Magistrates to give Nathaniel Graham a discharged prisoner one pound out of the money that D. Davies, M.P. Given to the poor prisoners, the Revd. Thos Bevan Esqr. called and Inspected the different parts of the Gaol ....
Sunday 18 January
.... John Davies put into the Refractory cell for three hours for calling John R. Reese out of his name he begged John R. Reese pardon and I forgave him.
Monday 19 January
. . . . Henry Jenkins fully committed for one month in the house of correction by Capt. D. Davies crime leaving his wife chargeable to the parish of Llanstephan.
Wednesday 21 January
. . . . Elizabeth Morris came To custody committed by R. G. Thomas Esqr. crime stealing clothes from the Union at new castle emlyn.
Thursday 22 January.
Hannah Davies discharged crime Felony ....
Saturday 24 January.
David Pendry a Debtor came To custody at the suit of James Thomas of Llandilo Debt 214-11-4.
Monday 26 January
. . . . Benjamin Davies came To custody committed by W. Chambers and J. H. Rees Esqrs. crime fraudulently and clandestinely removed and conveyed away his goods and chattels from a dwelling house at Llanelly the property of G. Baile Esqr.
Monday 26 January.
Rees Thomas came To custody at twenty minutes after eleven oclock P.M. in state of Intoxication and the Police officer John Griffiths was in liquor when he had the prisoner in charge also John Griffiths P.C. acknowledged that the prisoner had some drink at the Red Lion in Priory Street previous to his coming to Gaol also drink at the Stag and Pheasant, I have to Inform your worships that the police officers are in the habit of telling the prisoners not to take any money in the Gaol with them for that the Gaoler always searches them and take it from them, some of the prisoners not knowing whether the money is returned to them when discharged ....
Tuesday 27 January.
I Issued an order to the turnkeys not to allow any Tobacco to be passed to the debtors until I received further Instructions from the Visiting Magistrates In consequence of my detecting one of the convicted Felons given a allowance of bread for Tobacco to Charles Vaughan a debtor over the wall ....

Wednesday 28 January

.... Catherine Jones a Borough prisoner came to custody committed by T. C. Morris and J. G. Phillipps Esqr crime Idle and disorderly person.

Saturday 31 January

. . . . Thos. Jones M.D. and J. G. Phillipps Esqrs called and written an order for six flat Gowns and six petticots and six aprons for the female prisoners.

Monday 2 February

.... John Rogers came To custody committed by W. Chambers and R. J. Nevill Esqrs crime a Rape [A 22 year old engine driver. At his trial the Bill of Indictment was ignored]

Tuesday 3 February

. . . . at the Adjourned quarter sessions held this day at Carmarthen I was ordered by the court to pay M. Popkin solicitor two pounds out of the money which I have of John Willion a convicted prisoner for defending him at the court of quarter sessions at Llandilo, also that the court did consider that David Evans should receive the 2/ weekly pay from the County has he was in here for contempt of court . . .. Thomas Howell and John Price two Excise debtors came To custody fined 50-0-0 each . . .

Wednesday 4 February

. . . . Morris Davies and Thomas Adams and William Jones came To o custody for further examination on Thursday 5th of February crime taken fish with lights at Night in the river.

Friday 6 February

Bought from R. Stacey 1cwt. 3qrs. 71bs of old Rope for Prisoners to pick oakham [sic] Paid for the Rope 0-17-4 and carriage /3d.

Saturday 7 February

.... P. G. Jones Esqr under Sherrif called and called the names of all the prisoners in the house of correction and common Gaol.

Monday 9 February.

I did not work the wheel before breakfast in consequence of emptying the ash pits .... David Anthony Fully committed by J. E. Saunders Esqr crime Bastardy ....

Tuesday 10 February

Wm. Chambers Esqr called and gave me a written Order to discharge Benjamin Davies by him paying the cost and expences of 1-5-6 . . . . Catherine Jones a Borough prisoner discharged, crime drunk and disorderly . . . .

Thursday 12 February

the prisoners employed wheeling ashes out and the remainder of the Day picking Oakham ....

Friday 13 February

. . . . four soldiers picking Oakham in solitary confinement.

Saturday 14 February

.... David Anthony was taken To the Town Hall for further examination for Bastardy and sentenced three months in the house of correction . . . . I Received a written order from the Visiting Justice to allow Charles Vaughan solicitor two pounds of the donations for the debtors to assist him at the next court of insolvent that will be on the second of March 1846.

Thursday 19 February

the prisoners attended chapel and school and the remainder of the day picking oakham and making clogs and wooden spoons . . . .

Saturday 21 February

. . . . I received orders from the Bench of Magistrates . . . . not to work the wheel until further orders, but to employ the Prisoners picking oakham, and at their different trades, one prisoner picking oakham and two making clogs for shoes and one cleaning the machinery of the pump [Wheel labour was resumed on 18 March].

Thursday 26 February . . . .

David Anthony and John Hamilton put in to the refractory cells for fighting in the upper Trebanda while employed picking oakham.

Thursday 5 March

. . . . Mary Davies Discharged crime refusing to maintain her two Bastard children the prisoner was very large in the family way when discharged which the surgeon of the Gaol gave me orders to obtain a cart to convey her to Llanelly which I did so and paid 2/6 for her conveyance . . .

Saturday 7 March

. . . . I attended the Insolvent [court] with Thomas Evans a Debtor and he was ordered back to the Gaol and to [be] brought up at the next Circuit.

Wednesday 11 March

. . . . General Orders for the Turnkeys that in future every man and boy, in the house of correction and common gaol shall have a number and that the Turnkeys when they have occasion to call on any prisoner or to give him any order address him by his number and not by his name and that no conversation be allowed between the prisoners nor between them and the Turnkeys but that the silent system be adopted as far as practicable . . . . 1

Friday 20 March

. . . . In consequence of the weather being so cold and freezing I forgave James Francis a Borough prisoner is punishment from the refractory cell [where he was committed the previous day for disorderly conduct at the wheel] at 2 oclock P.M. . . .

Saturday 21 March.

Thomas Morgans and John Morgans came To custody committed by J. E. Saunders Esqr crime stealing potatoes . . . .

Saturday 28 March

. . . . I Received orders from J. E. Saunders and D. Davies and J. G. Phillipps Esqrs. to discharge any of the Vagrants that wished to Inlist in the army which I discharged George Brown and Thos. Jenkins and they Inlisted in the 37 Foot . . . .

Thursday 2 April

. . . . I Received orders from the Bench of Magistrates to do duty with one Turnkey and Dicharge George Davies the Assistant Turnkey . . . . the Bench of Magistrates ordered in future that the prisoners Dietary to be altered and they was not to have any meat Diet . . . .

Thursday 9 April

. . . . it was ordered by thr court [Quarter Sessions] that Mrs Westlake to Receive the sum of fifteen pounds Annually has Matron of the Gaol and house of correction.

Saturday 11 April

at the spring quarter sessions held this day . . . . John Jones Acquitted, having received information from John Jones a untried prisoner that Thomas Thomas a prisoner for Trial at the Assizes for Burglary did Break a stone seal in the privy of the Trebanda to effect is escape between three and four oclock yesterday afternoon . . . . and I questioned the prisoner how he came to do so and he told me that he was tired of the gaol and he whent down in the privy but he could not go far for their where Iron Bars to prevent person goeing any further, . . . . he was committed for the Assizes for Breaking a certain part of the Gaol and endeavouring to make his escape out of the Gaol.

Friday 17 April

. . . . the surgeon ordered John Wilson Milk Diet untill further orders . . . .

Saturday 18 April

. . . . I Received an order from the Treasury Chambers to pay over to Mr Morgan Grocer of King Street the sum of 7-0-0 also the sum of 7-9-6 to the sheriff of the money which belong to John Wilson a convicted prisoner . . . .

Wednesday 22 April

. . . . Hannah Morris came To custody committed by J. E. Saunders and Dd. Prytherch Esqrs. crime selling beer without a License one month common gaol.

Monday 27 April

. . . . D. Davies Esqr called and ordered the Books that the chaplain ordered from Mr. White to be returned immediately has their was sufficient Books in the gaol for the prisoners . . . .

Friday 1 May

. . . . Mary A. Awbery [committed for assault] had fits today . . . .

Monday 4 May

. . . . Allen Brigs and Thomas Morgan put in the refractory cell for disorderly conduct on the wheel in kicking each other when at work . . . . James Griffiths smith called and repaired two locks in the Trebando and one in the house of correction . . . .

Tuesday 5 May . . . . I attended at the adjourned quarter sessions and I was ordered to point a second Turnkey . . . .

Saturday 9 May . . . . Nicholas Hegan a Soldier put in to the refractory cell for Sculking on the wheel at 3 P.M. . . . . the prisoner sent for me at 7 P.M. and asked me to forgive him which I told him I could not think of releasing him has it was only yesterday I forgave him for Refusing to work the wheel.

Monday 11 May

. . . . I released, Nicholas Hegan from the refactory cell he Being in their forty three hours and he promised not to [do] so again . . . . John Francis apoiinted porter at the entrance of the Gaol and William Williams head Turnkey to take charge of the prisoners at the wheel until further orders . . . .

Tuesday 13 May

. . . . Mary Awbery put in to the refactory cell for ten minutes for Highly Insubordinate conduct after Being locked for the Night but In consequence of her Being subject to fits I released and sent her to bed the prisoner his a most Vile creature.

Thursday 14 May

. . . . John Jones put in the refractory cell for giveing a piece of spun yarn out of the oakum cell to Gabriel Davies borough prisoner . . . .

Friday 15 May

. . . . John Buckland and John Martin and Daniel Lewis three Borough prisoners came To custody . . . . crimes the former a Vagrant and the latter two Trespass and playing at pitch and Tos of a Sunday . . . .

Saturday 16 May

. . . . I Received orders from J. E. Saunders Esqr that John Francis the assistant Turnkey was not to receive more than nine shilling per week.

Sunday 17 May

. . . . John Francis with leave for the Day . . . . Monday 18 May . . . . John Francis Assistant Turnkey discharged at 7 P.M. with, his on [sic] request in consequence of the wages being so low has 9s. per week.

Tuesday 19 May

. . . . Hannah Morris discharged crime selling beer with out a licence . . . .

Wednesday 20 May

. . . . D. Jones assistant surgeon called and discharged John Willson from the sick report and altered his diet, John Evans and John Howells ordered from the wheel to pick oakum has they where taken medicen.

Thursday 21 May

. . . . John Buckland and John Martin and Daniel Lewis discharged . . . . they having served their imprisonment . . . . the former a Vagrant the latter two Trespass and playing pitch and Tos on a Sunday . . . .

Friday 22 May

. . . . David Davies joined the duty has Assistant Turnkey to do duty at the entrance of the Gaol untill further orders . . . . Mr Parry called and asked John Evans to come with him has a farm servant but he declined the offer, D. Jones Assistant surgeon called, John Evans and David W. Joshua on extra Diet ordered by the surgeon from yesterday 21st.

Tuesday 26 May

. . . . Captain D. Davies called and I made a complaint against Daniel Jones a prisoner with forming a plan and to assist other prisoners to break the cogs of the wheel so has the wheel should not work, Esther Joseph and Elizabeth Howells and Elizabeth Davies and Elizabeth Thomas and Phoebe Jenkins came To custody . . . . crime refusing to wash clothes in the union, I received an order . . . . to put the femail prisoners in a separate cell each and to discharge them at 6 oclock P.M.

Wednesday 27 May

Wanted for the use of the house correction 1 Dozen of sheet Tin and one sawdering Iron and two pounds of Iron whire and two pounds of puter for repairing the wat cans and Mess Tins.

Sunday 31 May

. . . . his worship also ordered that Thomas Evans a debtor should have ten shillings giveing him to enable him to have a little porter in the Day has he is in a very weak state of health, out of the money which is in my possession that was giveing to the poor prisoners from the gentlemen of the county . . . .

Monday 1 June

. . . . the prisoners employed at corking and Taring the shed of the wheel . . . .

Tuesday 2 June

. . . . Thomas Evans a debtor in the sick report and ordered wine and gruel to be continued twice a day.

Thursday 4 June

. . . . Thomas Rushworth Soldier of the 1st Dragoon Guards came To custody committed by Lieut. Tuthill of the 1st Dragoons crime Drunk and absent, 7 days solitary.

Friday 5 June

. . . . I Received a written order to discharge John Evans . . . . in consequence of Bad health which I booked him by Mail for Llandilo and saw him of . . . .

Saturday 6 June

. . . . D. Jones assistant surgeon called and Visited Henry Evans in the Infirmary and ordered him a tipped Bath, I ordered the wheel to stop at 3 oclock P.M. for the prisoners to Bathe themselves in the Bath in the Infirmary.

Sunday 7 June

. . . . Mary Ann Awbrey had three fits during the day which I sent for the surgeon at 9 oclock P.M. To Visit her . . . .

Tuesday 9 June

. . . . Mary Ann Awbery had a fit at 9 oclock A.M. and two at 8 P.M . . . . I sent for the surgeon at 9 oclock P.M. to Visit Mary Ann Awbery she had two fits During the Night, I ordered Sarah Mathias to sit up for the Night to mind her and gave her candles to burn.

Wednesday 10 June

. . . . William Jenkins and Thomas Thomas and John G. Thomas and Joseph Becket four untried prisoners did this day Voluntered thier service to Bail the water out of the well and to sink it deeper if possible . . . . Mary Ann Awbrey discharged . . . . and sent to the union by the police . . . .

Friday 12 June

the prisoners . . . . employed emptying the well and white limeing the cells of the Trebanda . . . .
Monday 15 June
. . . . J. Jenkins called and ordered the Itch Ward to be fumigated . . . .

Thursday 18 June

. . . . Francis [sic] Jones had three fits to day and she was dangerous Ill at 11 oclock pm which I whent for J. Jenkins surgeon to come and Visit her which he did so and ordered her to be removed to the Infirmary forthwith and Bathe her feet in hot water and apply hot Bricks to her feet. I had occasion to open the Gaol doors at 12 oclock at Night to admit D. Jones assistant surgeon with medicen for Francis Jones.

Friday 19 June

. . . . In consequence of the whether been so hot and the female department being so small and close confined I ordered the females to sleep at Night in the Infirmary to preserve health, I received an order from J. Jenkins surgeon of the prison to furnish the Infirmary with a night chair for the use of the sick prisoners.

Tuesday 23 June

. . . . David Davies put in the refractory cell for making a false charge against David Pendry a debtor in stating that he received a paper of Tobacco from him which I found in is pocket which was false by is acknowledging that a woman drop it in the lodge for a nother prisoner when Visiting him on Friday last . . . .

Wednesday 24 June

. . . . Ordered that the Chaplain provide the following Books for the use of the Prisoners in the School viz. doz Welsh Testaments, doz English Testaments, 1 doz Reading made easy's, doz Welsh do . . . .

Thursday 25 June

. . . . I attended the Finance committee to pass the Bills of the Gaol which J. E. Saunders Esqr found fault with me in making a way with the county money in giveing a shirt to a poor prisoner when discharged he having is old coat destroyed in Gaol in consequence of the filthy state when admitted to the Gaol which I was obliged to give him a shirt to cover his Knakedness which I only charged 2/ for the shirt.

Tuesday 30 June

. . . . Benjamin Howells to sleep in the refractory after the wheel hours for attempting to throw a bout 21b of oakum down in the water closet.

Saturday 4 July

. . . . Ann Awbrey Discharged a Borough prisoner.

Tuesday 7 July

. . . . Rees Morgan came To custody . . . . for Trial at the Assizes crime, charged with having feloneously wilfully and unlawfully slain one Daniel Price [At his trial the Bill of Indictment was ignored]

Wednesday 8 July

. . . . Mary Ann Awbrey came To custody . . . . crime a rogue and Vagabond . . . .

Thursday 9 July

. . . . Mary Ann Awbrey refused to pick oakum and Barracaded her door so has to prevent any one to enter by placing her Bed stead at the Back of the door which I ordered to be burst open and put two other females in the room with her to sleep.

Friday 10 July

at 8 A.M. Mary Ann Awbery put in the refactory cell for refusing to pick oakum when ordered by me and throwing a chamber utensil and a Jug at my my head destroying the county property In consequence of her mutines conduct I was obliged to put her in Irons which I reported the the case To D. Prytherch Esqr.

Saturday 11 July

. . . . Mary Ann Awbery in the refactory cell I took the Irons of her at 9 A.M. the prisoner refused to make use of the Bread and water Diet and she threw the the Bread out of her window in the Trebanda . . . . Thos Jones M.D. Esqr called and Inspected the Gaol and the prisoner meat.

Monday 13 July.

The Assizes commenced this day . . . . Thomas Thomas Transported be yond the seas for ten years [According to the Felons' Book, Entry 124, Thomas a collier aged 17, of Cwrntwrch, was convicted for burglary and left for Millbank Penitentiary on 5 August 1846. Transportation of convicts was abandoned in 1868] . . . . Mary Ann Awbrey completed her three days solitary confinement at 9 oclock A.M. . . .

Tuesday 14 July

. . . J. Jenkins surgeon called and inspected Thomas Thomas a convict . . . .

Thursday 16 July

. . . . Charles Hunt and Robert Jones and William Jenkins and George Williams and John Smith and Thomas Harries the three former convicted felons and the latter Vagrants came To me and made a complaint of the allowance of meat which they did not consider was twelve ounces of meat without Bone, which I told them that they was not allowed that compliment it was twelve ounces of meat with Bone and I whent out in Town to look for a Visiting Magistrate to come and Inspect the allowance of meat which he did so and Thos Jones M.D. Esqr saw the meat weighed which was eight ounce of meat with out Bone, which Thos Jones M.D. Esqr gave me orders to give them there [sic] meat to day and he would report the case to remainder of the Visiting Magistrates on Saturday next, it specify in the Local Rules that the prisoners shall have twelve ounces of meat twice a week but it does not mention with or without Bone.

Friday 17 July.

D. Prytherch and Thos Jones M.D. and John Davies Esqr called and Investigated in to the report of the six prisoners which was not satisfied yesterday . . . . but the Visiting Justices gave them to understand that there allowance of meat each day for the two days in the week was twelve ounces of row [sic] meat with Bone each day . . . .

Tuesday 21 July

. . . . at the adjournment of the quarter sessions held this day it was ordered that the assistent Turnkey salary to be reduced from sixteen shilling per week to twelve shillings per week untill further notice, D. Prytherch Esqr gave H. Westlake Governor leave for the day.

Saturday 25 July

. . . . Henry James and Henry Harries came To custody . . . . crime riding on a cart.

Sunday 26 July

. . . . the prisoners had new potatoes for dinner this Day being the first time this summer [But on 8th October following they were to have boiled rice, as potatoes were scarce and bad].

Wednesday 29 July

. . . . having Inspected the Lock and Bolts of the lower Trebanda I found that Thomas Thomas a Transport had being trying to make is escape by endevouring to uncrew [sic] screws which fastened the lock of is cell door in making a search I found a piece of old Knife in a hole where a Brick had being takeing out and a small nail sharpened on a stone which I put him in Irons Immediately to prevent him from making his escape . . . . [Thomas had earlier tried to escape through the Trebanda privy].

Wednesday 29 July

. . . . William Gwirey and Jerimiah Mahony two Soldiers of 37 Regt. of foot came To custody committed by court Martial . . . . Jerimiah Mahony made use of very a busefull language to the hair cutter crimes Drunkness the two prisoners are most notorious characters.

Thursday 30 July

. . . . J. Jenkins Surgeon called and gave me orders to allow Thos Daniel mother to attend on him has a nurse during is Illness also to provide Charles Hunt two flannel waiscot has he have been in the habit of wearing of flannels, David Davies the under Turnkey came to me this day and informed me that in consequence of the wages being reduced to 12s per week he should resign is situation . . . .

Friday 31 July

. . . . David Davies the under Turnkey . . . Informed me of is intention to remain has under Turnkey at the salary of 12s per week . . . .

Saturday 1 August

. . . . Mary A. Awbrey put in the refractory cell at 10 oclock P.M. for mutiones [mutinous] conduct at 3 oclock I was obliged to put her in Irons and at 6 oclock I Visited her with the female Turnkey and I ordered the Irons to be taken of if she would go to bed quiet which she defied me or any of the officers which I kept the Irons on . . . . her conduct up to 9 oclock P.M. was very bad.

Sunday 2 August

. . . I Visited Mary Ann Awbery at 10 oclock A.M. in the refractory cell and I ordered the female Turnkey to take her Irons of in doing so she took old of the Tin jug and thro it at me and then her allowance of Bread also, which I ordered her to be put in Irons a gain, I ordered the Irons to be taken of . . . . at 4 oclock P.M. her conduct up to 9 oclock P.M. wad very bad particularly on a Sunday the Inhahitants could here her singing and making such a noise in Spilman street and likewise in Bridge Street . . . .

Monday 3 August

. . . . I forgave Mary Ann Awbery of the refractory cell . . . . I was obliged to put Mary Ann Awbery in the upper Trebanda in consequence of her Bad behaviour towards the other female prisoners.

Tuesday 4 August

. . . . David Evans a debtor discharged after two years and six months Imprisonment . . . . I Received an order from the secretary of state of the removal of Thos Thomas Transport to Mill Bank Penitentionary . . . .

Wednesday 5 August.

I left for Milbank Penitionary [sic] with Thos Thomas a convict [sentenced to transportation] . . . .

Friday 7 August . . . . Mary Ann Awbery . . . . discharged

Saturday 8 August.

Eugen Buckley came To custody . . . . crime assault with intent to rob on the highway [At his trial the Bill of Indictment was ignored].

Tuesday 11 August

. . . . I Returned from Mill Bank Penitentiory after giving up Thomas Thomas a convict, Eugen Buckley put in Irons for the night for riotus conduct.

Wednesday 12 August

. . . . D. Davies Turnkey with Sick Leave he having ague.

Friday 14 August

. . . I Visited Eugen Buckley a untried prisoner in the lower Trebanda and I found him dirtying the day room which I asked him what he was doing it for is answer was that his head was bad which I sent for the surgeon of the gaol immedietly and he Inspected the prisoner and sent two pills for him to be taken immedietly and he refused to take them which I sent them back to the surgeon and he sent some powders to him he also refused to take them . . . .

Tuesday 18 August.

Euge Buckley put in the refractory cell for destroying a mess Tin . . . . also striking John Thomas a fellow prisoner and picking the curb stones up to do some Bodly arm for he said that he would take some one live if he could but git some weapon . . . . Thomas Jones MD Esqr called and I brought Charles Hunt and Robert Jones two convicted felons be fore his worship has they had a complaint to make in consequence of their hair being cut yesterday it was requested to be cut for cleanliness has it was two long and two thick they are two dissatisfied characters, and they wanted to write to the secretary of state which I informed them they could not write a letter untill they had been three months in the Gaol . . . . but they should see a Visiting Justice if they pleased [According to prison rules hair was cut short but locks were left at the sides and front of the head].

Thursday 20 August

. . . . Euge Buckley put in to the refractory cell for disorderly conduct last night in placing is Bed up a gainst the wall of is cell and dabbing the walls with the lamb [sic] black that he rubbed of the Bottom part of is cell, one of the rural police brought Mary Ann Awbrey here at 10 oclock P.M. without a warrant or commitment which I refused to admit her [Ann Awbrey must have been the prime nuisance of her time, but she got herself into the local newspapers as well as the gaol and thereby escaped the oblivion that swallowed up most of her contemporaries].

Saturday 22 August

. . . . Euge Buckley third day in solitary I was obliged to put him in Irons In consequence of destroying the county property in Breaking a chamber utensil and threating to throw some of the shords [shards] at the Turnkey head . . . . William Treharne came To custody .. crime stealing apples . . .

Monday 24 August

. . . . Jerimiah Mahony and William Gwiry two soldiers of the 37 Regt. of foot discharged they having served their imprisonment . . . . William Treharne discharged he hawing paid the fine and cost 1-7-6 . . . David Davies assistant Turnkey joined his duty at the wheel . . . .

Thursday 27 August

. . . . John Wilson put in to the refractory cell for Insubordinate conduct, the prisoner is Blind but is conduct sinse I detected him faining, sick and deceving the surgeon has been very bad he made use of very bad language, to the chaplain yesterday . . . . [Wilson had been 'in the sick report' for most of his time in gaol].

Friday 28 August

. . . . Charles Davies put in to the refractory cell after the wheel hours for disorderly conduct which I ordered him to work at the wheel by day and to sleep in the refractory cell at night has it was no punishment in the refractory cell this warm wether they preferred the Refractory cell than work the wheel.

Monday 31 August.

Charles Vaughan a debtor prisoner sent me a most disrespectfull letter respecting the money received from the gentleman [sic] of the county last Christmas to be distributed amongst the prisoners whom the Visiting Magistrates may think fit which I Visited Charles Vaughan in is department and asked him the reason of sending such a letter which he Informed me that the Visiting Magistrates had nothing to do with the money that the gentleman sent here to the debtors which I Informed him that I had nothing to do with the money only according to the Visiting Justices orders and that in writing.

Tuesday 1 September

. . . . D. Prytherch Esqr. called and examined Charles Vaughan . . . . respecting the Insolent letter which he sent me yesterday respecting the money . . . . from several gentlemen of the county which he could not answer is worship in so doing.

Wednesday 2 September

. . . . Hannah Harris [alias Davies] discharged crime Riot and Assault [she had been 'in the sick report' for the whole of her sentence of two months hard labour] . . . . David Thomas put in the refractory cell after the wheel for hours for destroying a shirt of the county property which he was wearing.

Friday 4 September

. . . . I received an order from J. Jenkins surgeon to furnish Charles Hunt a convicted fellon with to flannel waist cots [the surgeon reported that Hunt 'being tender chested wears flannel next to his skin - has no change which is absolutely necessary'. In the Felons' Register, Entry 127, Hunt a 31 year old labourer was said to be able to 'Read and write Perfect'].

Saturday 5 September

. . . . I received an order from the court of Insolvent to discharge Thomas Daniel a Debtor on Bail but in consequence of the Llanelly coach had left town he asked me to remain in Gaol untill to morrow which I did particularly has he was under medical treatment and could not walk To Llanelly.

Monday 7 September

. . . . Charles Hunt . . . . made a complaint to me that he considered that he should have two pints of soup according to the diet Table of prisoners . . . . the surgeon of the Gaol . . . . Tasted the soup and said it was excellent soup and plenty of it for any working man, and I weighed the soup in the presence of the head Turnkey which was 21bs and ten ounces with out the Mess Tin. J. Jenkins surgeon of the Gaol ordered Charles Hunt . . . . to pull up the legs of his Trowsers to examine is shin Bone in consequence of it Being sore short time since he refused so to do and said he was quite well . . . . I ordered him to the refractory cell on Bred and water diet for three days for disobedient of orders from the surgeon and myself . . . .

Tuesday 8 September

. . . . I searched John Wilson in the Trebanda and found a piece of chees in is pocket which he refused to tell me how he came of it . . . .

Monday 14 September

. . . . Henry Evans a convicted felon discharged he having been two years in this Gaol, is conduct since Trial was good, the prisoner could not speak english and did not know a word in the Book when he was committed but since that he has learned to speak english and read the bible and repeat chapters of the Testament out of the Book which I gave him two shillings when discharged for is good conduct. [According to the Felons' Register, Entry 62, Evans, an eighteen year old farm servant, 'repeated the 3 Chapter of Mathew out of the Book this morning before he was discharged'].

Tuesday 15 September

. . . . Euge Buckley a untried prisoner put in Irons at 5 oclock a.m. for making a noise in is cell and disturbing the old [sic] Gaol from three oclock a.m. by Knocking is Bed stead a gainst the walls of is cell . . . .

Wednesday 16 September

. . . . the carmarthen Journal and welshman reporters and the cambrian do called and I gave the particulars respecting Mary Ryves ['an Idle and disorderly person' taken into custody on 7 September] which I consider she is a imposture according to the papers which she has in her possession and she has been Travelling the country so long to obtain sufficient money to carry her to New south wales to her husband as she call him, but as fast as she git it she spend it in drink for she acknowledge in this Gaol that she received a bout seven pounds between this and merthyr and she came here without a shilling in her pocket, H. Lawrence Esqr M.D. called and examined Mary Ryves and is worship was the same opinion has myself respecting her which I informed his worship that I reported it to the welshman and the Journal and the cambrian Reporters to endeavour to put a stop to her.

Saturday 19 September

. . . . Euge Buckley a untried prisoner refused to make use of is Gruel at supper this evening.

Sunday 20 September

. . . . Charles Davies and David Thomas put in to the refractory cell on Bread and water for fighting on the sabbath day . . . .


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