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The Cage, London Road, Shenley, Hertfordshire

The Cage, London Road, Shenley, Hertfordshire
Photograph taken 08 June 2001 © Mr Douglas Fairbank LRPS. Source Historic England Archive ref: 164327

This lockup was built in the 1700s. A date stone tells us it was repaired in 1810. It also has the inscription 'DO WELL. AND FEAR NOT.'/'BE SOBER. BE VIGILANT'. Before a national system of policing was set up many villages had their own lockup. Criminals (often drunks, petty thieves and those starting fights) were held for a short time. They were then either released or sent to a larger town for trial. They were often built as part of a complex including the village pound, stocks and pillory. They date back to around the 1560s. Generally the lockup was used by the parish constable who had the unpaid job of keeping law and order in his own parish.