7 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F.  •  Link


"The extent of crime (or what was considered crime) in London may be gauged by the number of prisons: ten. Newgate is pictured here; another well-known one was the Clink, immortalized in English slang.

"In most cases prisoners had to pay for their own food and lodgings; those who were in prison for debt were given an allowance from the money collected each week for the poor."

dirk  •  Link

Prison Wardens

A Warden at the time would still have had to purchase his right to run the prison he was responsible for. And he would then be expected to make a profit by charging the inmates for their "room and board". Paupers were nevertheless entitled to a (very) bare minimum - which would be paid for indirectly by the better off prisoners.

Very much like the way tax farmers worked - and many similar public offices.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

In 1561, the weekly charge including “dyett,” and " lodging" for a prisoner in the Fleet prison ranged from £24 16s. 8d. for an archbishop, duke or duchess, down to £1 18s. 2d for a yeoman. “A poore man that hath his parte at the [poor] boxe,” paid nothing, except 7s. 8d. upon dismissal.

Even until the removal of the [Fleet] prison, the Farringdon Street entrance had a grated window, over which was cut "Please remember the poor prisoners having no allowance," and a deplorable looking object, standing behind this grating, holding a money-box, and imploring most piteously for charity.’
-- Memorials of the Temple Bar.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

During Cosmo, the future Grand Duke of Turin's visit to London, he went to Southwark.
I've standardized the spelling of names, fixed scanning errors I could figure out, and made more paragraphs. I apologize if I guessed incorrectly:

On the morning of 17/27 May, 1669 ...


Near the [LONDON] bridge is the place where persons of quality are confined not only for debt but also for criminal offences.

The government or superintendance of it is given by the king as a mark of favor to some gentleman, who, if a prisoner makes his escape, is obliged to pay the debt, and all the penalties annexed to the crime; and therefore, there is an established rate, varying according to the rank and quality of the individuals, which must be paid to the superintendant on entering the prison.

For dukes, it is fixed at the sum of 40 crowns; for earls, at 30; and for others, at a smaller sum; besides the rent of apartments, and the expense of victuals; whence the annual Value of this office is estimated at about 20,000 crowns to the superintendent.

The prisoners are not kept under confinement, but have liberty to take a walk over the bridge, a promise being first exacted from them not to pass the limits, and to return to their post, which they generally observe, and it rarely happens that they infringe upon the privilege.


I think this must have been The Marshalsea (1373–1842), which was a Southwark prison close to the Thames.

It housed a variety of prisoners, including men accused of crimes at sea and political figures charged with sedition.

Marshalsea was originally the name of the Marshalsea Court. The prison was built to hold those brought before that court and the Court of the King's Bench, to which Marshalsea rulings could be appealed.
Also known as the Court of the Verge, and the Court of the Marshalsea of the Household of the Kings of England, it was a jurisdiction of the royal household.
From 1530 - 1698 "the Verge" governed members of the household who lived within approx. 12 miles of Whitehall, but the Marshalsea was an ambulatory court that moved with the king, dealing with trespass, contempt and debt.
Increasingly it was used by people unconnected with the royal household and became known for its incarceration of the poorest of London's debtors, including Dickens' father.


His highness, Cosmo, must be considered only as a traveler. At his direction, the narrator of the records was Count Lorenzo Magalotti, afterwards Secretary to the Academy del Cimento, and one of the most eminent characters of the court of Ferdinand II

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.