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Clophill Village Lockup and Pound

The lock-up on The Green February 2010
The lock-up on The Green February 2010

The lock-up on The Green was listed by English Heritage in January 1985 as Grade II, of special interest. The listing comments: "Included for its socio-historical interest". It was described as early to mid 19th Century and is built of red brick with a slate roof.

The lock-up and the pound were manorial law enforcement devices, the one for riotous people the other for straying animals. People would be kept in the lock-up to cool off before being allowed out and fined or removed to a more secure institution. Animals would be released from the pound on payment of a fine by their owner.

In 1936 Bedfordshire Historic Record Society published a volume on turnpikes and pounds in the county. The compiler, J. Steele Elliott wrote of Clophill: "1814. Record [Quarter Sessions Rolls] of a "breach of the Peace in the said Parish of Clophill; for that the said James Odell did, with Force and Violence, break open the pound there, where his ass was impounded for Trespass". Sentence: 10 Days in the gaol and fined one shilling". The brick-built Pound is of 19th century construction; it adjoins the village Cage and stands on the south side of the Green; it measures 22 feet square".

Other extracts from Quarter Sessions records reveal that it was recommended that the lock-up be built in 1840 [QEV1]. In 1856 it was recommended that the lock-up be rebuilt and that £4 from the police rate be allowed to cover the cost [QSM39, page 256]. In the event the £4 was duly paid on completion of the rebuilding the following year [QSM39 page 391]. In 1892 it was stated that the lock-up belonged to Lord Cowper, owner of the Wrest Park Estate, and was let to "various persons" [SJV10].

The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed as to its rateable value. Clophill was assessed in 1927. The valuer visiting the lock up [DV1/C288/95] noted that it was owned by Luton brewer J. W. Green Limited (which owned the Flying Horse) and occupied by S. Chase. He simply commented: "Used to be village pound", "Occasionally used as store for lime etc." and "Advertising Hoarding".