Thursday, 8 September 2011

The village lock-up


I don't suppose the 'king' of the Cragg Vale coiners was ever incarcerated here...but this is Heptonstall's village lock-up or dungeon: a small, damp, windowless cell in the basement of one of the inns.  In the olden days when travel and communication were more difficult the local constable would make use of these small local dungeons to lock up drunks and petty criminals.  Troublemakers were often then put in the village stocks - a wooden structure with holes to clamp their feet.  The ridicule of the community, and being pelted with rotten fruit and vegetables, seemed to be the punishment for many a small misdemeanour.  (I did think it might be a more fitting retribution for some of the rioters and looters we saw recently in this country, rather than the prison sentences they were given.)

Just to the left of my photo is a small well, one of the original sources of water for the village. Contamination of the water supply was a huge problem, because the bedrock is too close to the surface here and the water did not get adequately filtered.  In 1843 there was a major outbreak of disease in Heptonstall, caused by the polluted water.

13 comments:

  1. I'm just trying to imagine a repentant face at the grill in the door.

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  2. I agree with you on a need to return to using stocks for punishing certain crimes. I think it would be most fitting punishment. Jim

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  3. This post and yestreday's one are so interesting! It's fantastic to learn historical things about such beautyful places.

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  4. The prospect of spending time here should have scared the populace into lives of honesty!

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  5. a marvellous monochrome shot - very evocative

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  6. I was trying to read the notice fastened to the wall but it was too small. Very good B&W photo. What was the disease? Cholera? Plague?

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  7. An awful looking place to spend time!

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  8. M&H - I read the disease was typhus but I didn't know that was caused by bad water. Typhoid, maybe?

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  9. Oh - the sign says 'The Dungeon or Lock-up. In use in the early 19th century'.

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  10. I'm enjoying this tour. Your shot of the ruined church was great and I love the flowers in the cottage the day before.

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  11. I do love the look of the stone and can imagine creating a little garden spot here, but oh no wouldn't want to be locked up inside! ~Lili

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  12. Kind of creepy history but very interesting too. Like this in bw!

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  13. I like the monochrome photo, but not a place I'd like to find myself. :-)

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