Prison of the Marshalsea of the King's Household and Palace Court, and the Queen's Prison: Records [1773–1861]. Records of the King's Bench, Fleet, and Marshalsea prisons, Series PRIS 11. The National Archives, Kew, England.
Until several acts passed in the 1860s, it was common for individuals to be jailed for debt or bankruptcy in debtors’ prisons. Those who faced insolvency often found themselves in prison indefinitely. They had to pay their debts to be released, and since they also had to pay for their keep and could pay for extra freedoms, such as living in the “Rules”—areas just outside the prison walls—their stays could be lengthy unless they had family to pay the debts.
This collection includes mainly commitment and discharge records from Marshalsea Prison in London. Marshalsea prison closed in 1842.
The day commitment books record the name of the debtor brought into custody, the names of the creditor and attorney, with the damages and sums concerned. The books also record the discharges of the day.
A separate series relates to Admiralty prisoners, confined after courts martial, with one further volume containing warrants for the commitment and discharge of such sailors.
You may also find original orders for discharges and subsidiary documents, from 1812 to 1842.
Look for the prisoners’ commitment numbers or dates of discharge, as they can be used to trace records in other series.