TL7522 : Braintree Cage (Parish Lock-up), Hilly Gant, off New Street

taken 8 years ago, near to Braintree, Essex, Great Britain

Braintree Cage (Parish Lock-up), Hilly Gant, off New Street
Braintree Cage (Parish Lock-up), Hilly Gant, off New Street
Drunkenness and disorder associated with market days and Braintree's October fair was already a significant problem, when in 1830 the very liberal Beer Act resulted in around thirty beerhouses opening in the town with the predictable result. Power returned to local magistrates in 1869 but by then the law already required overnight accommodation - a lock-up or cage - for the restraint of the drunk and disorderly.
Built sometime after 1840, it appears on the 1878 Ordnance Survey map. The Braintree Cage was approached from Hilly Gant ("gant" being a local term for passage) which linked St. Michael's Lane with New Street. New Street was notorious at the time with four pubs, three of which were known colloquially as "Little Hell", "Great Hell" and "Damnation". The Cage is constructed of red clay brick with a lean-to slated roof and measures 16 feet by 6 feet (4.9m x 1.8m) and divided internally into two cells. The padlocked outer door, shown in this image, pre-dates the building by as much as 200 years and is reputed to have been removed from the earlier watchhouse or lock-up in the Old Workhouse (located nearby on the current site of Tesco's supermarket). The construction of the Cage cost 45 5s 0d (45.25), the land having been purchased in 1840 for 30.
The cage remained in use until 1875, and was thereafter let to the 12th Essex Volunteer Rifles (a forerunner of local Territorial Army units) for the sum of ten shillings (0.50) per annum for use as an ammunition store. Braintree Urban District Council purchased the Cage in 1899 and use as an ammunition store ceases in 1911. It was then neglected until 1977 when it received Grade II Listed status and in 1982 Braintree & Bocking Civic Society undertook to repair the roof and provide a path to the site.

The above has been abstracted from "Braintree Cage in its social and historical setting" written by Michael Bardwell on behalf of Braintree & Bocking Civic Society. ISBN 0-9547-490-0-6 available from the shop at Braintree District Museum: LinkExternal link

For a view of Hilly Gant from the St. Michael's Lane end see:
TL7522 : Hilly Gant, Braintree, linking St. Michaels Lane with New Street
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TL7522, 52 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Thursday, 23 July, 2009   (more nearby)
Submitted
Friday, 24 July, 2009
Category
Lock ups   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TL 75713 22963 [1m precision]
WGS84: 51:52.6529N 0:33.0773E
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TL 75713 22963
View Direction
Northwest (about 315 degrees)
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