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The work of John Howard: a transcript

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DURHAM

THE HIGH GAOL is the Property of the Bishop. By Patent from his Lordship, Sir Hedworth Williamson Bart, is perpetual Sheriff.- The Court-yard for Master's-side Debtors is only twenty four feet by ten. Common-side Debtors have none at all: their free wards, the Low Gaol, are two damp unhealthy rooms by the Gateway: they are never suffered to go out of these, unless to Chapel, which is the Master-side Debtors Hall: and not always to that: for on a Sunday I was there and missed them at Chapel, they told me that they were not permitted to go thither. No sewers: at more than one of my visits, I learned that the dirt, ashes &c, had lain there many months. There is an excellent double-barreled Pump, which raised water about seventy feet.

FELONS have no Court-yard: but they have a Day-room and two small rooms for an Infirmary. The Men are put at night into Dungeons: one seven feet square for three Prisoners: another, the Great Hole, has only a little window. In this I saw six Prisoners, most of them Transports, chained to the floor. In that situation they had been many weeks; and were very sickly. Their straw on the stone-floor was almost work to dust. Long confinement, and not having the King's allowance of 2s 6d a week, had urged them to an Escape: after which the Gaoler chained them as above. There is another dungeon middle-sized; and for Women-felons a separate room or two.

The Common-side Debtors, whom I saw eating boiled bread and water, told me, that this was the only nourishment some had lived on for near a twelvemonth. They have from a Legacy two shillings a week in winter, and one shilling and six pence a week in summer for coals. No memorandum of it in the Gaol: perhaps this may time be lost; as the Gaoler said two others were, viz. one of Bishop Crewe, and another of Bishop Wood; from which Prisoners had received no benefit for some years past. The clauses of Act against Spirituous Liquors are hung up. Gaol-Delivery once a year.

THERE was a vacant piece of ground adjacent, of little use but for the Gaoler's occasional lumber. It extends to the river, and measures about twenty two yaerds by sixteen. I once and again advised the inclosing this for a Court-yard: but when I was there in January 1776 I had the mortification to hear that the Surgeon, who is Uncle to the Gaoler, had obtained from the Bishop in October preceding a Lease of it for twenty one years at the rent of one shilling per annum. he had a built a little stable on it.

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