Arcadian Times




The Petersham Lockup

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