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Source Information

Ancestry.com. West Yorkshire, England, Prison Records, 1801-1914 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.
Original data: West Yorkshire Prison Records. Reference C118: Wakefield Prison. West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield, England.

About West Yorkshire, England, Prison Records, 1801-1914

The prison at Wakefield was established in 1595 as the West Riding House of Correction. The original facility was replaced with new buildings in the 1760s and again in 1847, the latter of which remain in use as a maximum-security prison. In 1874 the prison became part of the national prison service, known as H.M. Prison, Wakefield. Throughout its history, the facility has been home to inmates from all over the West Riding. This collection includes registers of inmates through 1914, as well as records of St. John’s Community Home School and the records of military prisoners who were sentenced by courts martial throughout the country.

These records include the following:

  • general receiving books (male and female, Wakefield), 1842–1843
  • debtors’ receiving books (Wakefield), 1847–1849
  • calendars of prisoners (Wakefield), 1872–1914
  • calendars of prisoners (Leeds), 1896–1915
  • nominal registers and indexes (Wakefield), 1879–1910
  • reformatory school (later, St. John's Community Home School), 1856–1865
  • register of female prisoners (Wakefield), 1883–1896
  • register of convicts (Wakefield), 1905–1911
  • register of male and female prisoners (Wakefield), 1801–1808
  • register of military prisoners (Wakefield), 1871–1875
  • register of officers (Wakefield), 1840–1878 and 1894–1913

The content varies within the different registers, but in general you’ll find:

  • prisoner’s name, age, and occupation
  • nature of the offense
  • sentence, along with dates of admission and discharge
  • previous record

In some records you’ll also find:

  • physical description and/or distinguishing marks
  • education and/or literacy
  • religion
  • family information
  • birthplace and/or residence
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