The Round House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016741

Date first listed: 16-Apr-1951

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of The Round House
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1016741 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 20-Nov-2018 at 21:46:10.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Somerset

District: South Somerset (District Authority)

Parish: Castle Cary

National Grid Reference: ST 64051 32385


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Lock ups, also known as round houses, blind houses and clinks, are temporary holding places for offenders being brought before the magistrate. Sometimes a cell was located in or under a public building, but most lock ups were purpose built, usually small square, rectangular, octagonal or occasionally circular stone buildings. Most were windowless with one or two ventilation grilles, often set under the eaves or into the single door. The earliest recorded lock up dates from the 13th century, and most fell out of use when police stations with their own holding facilities were established. Less than 300 lock ups are currently recorded nationally, mostly grouped in clusters such as in Essex, West Yorkshire and Derbyshire, with the highest concentrations in Wiltshire and Somerset. In some counties, such as Hampshire, there are no recorded examples.

The lock-up at Castle Cary, known as the Round House, is a rare example of its class both in terms of its completely circular shape, being one of only four recorded circular lock-ups in Somerset, and its distinctive domed roof. It is very well maintained and provides a focal point for the town in its prominent position on Bailey Hill.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a post-medieval lock-up known as The Round House, situated on Bailey Hill, north west of the Market Place. Its site serves as a small roundabout in the centre of Castle Cary. The small, perfectly circular building, which is Listed Grade II, is constructed of Lias stone blocks raised on a slight plinth, approximately 3m in diameter, 2.5m high with a stone domed roof approximately 2m high and crowned with a stone ball finial. Entrance into the building is on the south side through a small studded door set above four uneven steps. The lock-up is windowless and has two ventilation grilles, one above the door and the other at the base of the dome on the north side. A narrow strip of cobbles around its base appears to be contemporary with the building. The round house was erected in 1779 and used as a temporary lock-up for prisoners. It was presented to the Parish Council by Sir Henry Hoare Bart JP in 1922. The three plant troughs located around the base of the lock-up are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 1 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 32182

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing