Lock up known as The Round House, at the junction of Church Street and St Matthew's Avenue


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Lock up known as The Round House, at the junction of Church Street and St Matthew's Avenue
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

North West Leicestershire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SK 40818 20630

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 known as The Round House, at the junction of Church Street and St Matthew's Avenue survives as a well preserved example of a monument class which was once common. It serves as a visual reminder of 18th and 19th century penal custody measures. The lock up was used for the punishment and incarceration of local offenders, often for minor crimes, which may or may not have been through the legal process. Another use was as a local holding cell for those due to go to the quarter sessions. As such it is an important relic of a less institutionalised system of punishment.


The monument includes a lock up known as the Round House, located at the junction of Church Street and St Matthew's Avenue. The lock up is octagonal, of red brick with an octagonal brick spire. It measures approximately 3m across with 1.5m high walls surmounted by a projecting stone string course. The octagonal brick spire is approximately 3.5m high and tapers to a stone finial. The overall height of the lock up is approximately 5m. A doorway set into the full height of the northern face of the wall is fitted with a timber door with an information panel. A window opening measuring 0.35m by 0.15m is located on the eastern face. This opening utilises the string course as a lintel and has an overly large stone sill which measures approximately 1.15m by 0.23m. The lock up is believed to date from the late 18th century. It is a Listed Building Grade II. All modern made up surfaces 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 2 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.

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Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Williamson, E, The Buildings of England: Leicestershire and Rutland, (1984), 429


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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