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Latitude: 52.0009 / 52°0'3"N
Longitude: -0.9865 / 0°59'11"W
OS Eastings: 469675
OS Northings: 234092
OS Grid: SP696340
Mapcode National: GBR 9XQ.HDS
Mapcode Global: VHDT2.VYCZ
Entry Name: The Old Gaol
Listing Date: 13 October 1952
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1201392
English Heritage Legacy ID: 377203
Location: Buckingham, Aylesbury Vale, Buckinghamshire, MK18
District: Aylesbury Vale
Civil Parish: Buckingham
Built-Up Area: Buckingham
Traditional County: Buckinghamshire
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Buckinghamshire
Church of England Parish: Buckingham
Church of England Diocese: Oxford
SP6934 MARKET HILL
879-1/5/103 The Old Gaol
Former gaol. Built 1748. Gaoler's house added to front by G
Gilbert Scott and gaol remodelled, other later C19 and C20
alterations. Coursed limestone rubble with limestone
dressings, hipped slate roof to cell block and brick internal
PLAN: rectangular walled enclosure with square corner turrets,
hollow to S side, cell block to opposite side alongside open
courtyard, bowed extension to front. Mock castle style.
2-storey extension curves forward between turrets of original
front. Entrance bay breaks forward to resemble gatehouse and
has central studded door with double-chamfered pointed head
dying into piers either side. 2-light leaded stone mullion
window above with hoodmould and ashlar battlemented parapet
stepped up to centre and framing blank cross loop. Triangular
projections either side of entrance with blank cross loops
either side supporting square turrets corbelled out over sides
and with leaded 1-light windows to 1st floor with
double-chamfered stone surrounds. Turrets rise above
battlemented parapet and have cross loops to front and their
own battlemented parapets on corbel tables.
2-light leaded stone mullion windows to ground and 1st floors
of bowed sides of former gaoler's house, with hoodmoulds.
Battered plinth to entrance bay, chamfered plinth to sides,
1st floor string course and string to base of battlemented
parapets. Corner turrets of original block rise above
battlemented curtain wall and have blank pointed quatrefoils
to front at 1st floor level, blank cross loops above and
battlemented parapets. Turrets widen a little below
battlements which are set slightly forward with a cornice to
outer sides punctuated by two round arches. Similar arcaded
cornice to curtain walls. Pointed arched doorway to left side
near front approached by 4 stone steps.
Rear elevation has 3 blank quatrefoils at 1st floor level
above later openings with double-leaf doors and
segmental-arched brick heads. The flanking turrets have 2
chamfered pointed arched blank windows, on above the other
with moulded stone sills and cross loops above. One cell
window at a high level in wall with stone surround and iron
grille, horizontal slit-shaped.
INTERIOR: cell block is on 2 floors with 1st-floor landing of
York stone serving cells, supported by cast-iron brackets and
approached by stone cantilever dogleg stair; plain iron
balustrades. The exact number of cells originally provided is
difficult to determine, but there appear to have been around 5
cells downstairs and 8 cells upstairs before mid C19. Several
cells survive unaltered with most of the original cell doors.
Surviving cells have brick floors and painted brick
barrel-vault roofs, fitted wood mattress frames and double
cell doors with peep holes. Backs of inner doors are
lead-plated; studded outer doors.
One trefoil-shaped cell to ground floor in one of the turrets
3 upstairs cells converted C19 into a police station with
12-pane sash windows and division walls removed.
Original cell windows looking into courtyard are slit-shaped
with York stone sills, jambs, curved lintels and iron
gratings. York stone-paved courtyard. Part of yard encroached
upon by single-storey former fire engine store with lean-to
The Old Gaol was built at the expense of Viscount Cobham of
Stowe at a reputed cost of »7000, in conjunction with his
successful Parliamentary Bill, passed 1748, to fix the Summer
Assizes at Buckingham (qv Old Town Hall).
The Old Gaol forms an important landmark in the middle of the
town at the head of the broad spaces in Market Hill and High
Street on the other side, still partly used for a market. It
resembles two eyecatchers built around the same time at Stowe
- the Keeper's Lodge now known as the Bourbon Tower and,
especially, Stowe Castle. Underused throughout most of its
history, parts of the building have served as police station,
public conveniences (now removed) and fire station. Gaoler's
house now occupied by council offices.
(The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: Buckinghamshire: 1960-:
Listing NGR: SP6967534092
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