An interesting piece of local history is
The Petersham lockup, that gives us a glimpse of village
life in the late 18th century. Situated in the carpark
of the Fox and Duck public house, the lockup was erected
in 1787. It had a two fold purpose as the village watchman’s
hut and also could be used to lock up any unsavory characters
that might have come into the village. The space outside
the hut was also used as a pound for stray cattle. The
local watchman was also known as the Sergeant of the Night,
as it was his duty from 9.00pm to 3.00am to “stop
all strangers of a suspicious appearance found in the
Parish, or conveying articles in carts or otherwise at
unseasonable hours and not being able to give a good account
of themselves”. The watchman would be armed with
a musket and pistol.
During the early 19th century police stations
were being constructed and as they were able to hold suspicious
characters, the 1830’s consigned the lockup to history.
Most villages had a lockup but very few survive. It is
thought that the Petersham lockup survived because the
council had used it as a storeroom. It is not in its original
position being moved back a few yards when the Fox and
Duck was rebuilt in 1940. It was nearly demolished in
1955 as villagers thought that it had become too dilapidated.
Luckily it was not. In recent times the lockup has become
a grade 2 listed building and in 2007 was restored.
Article: Arcadian Times