I’ve been thinking for a few weeks that it had been a while since I have participated in Norm’s Thursday Doors. So yesterday when I was in Castle Cary I made sure I had my camera on me as this door always catches my eye when I am there.
This door is the outer door of Castle Cary’s Roundhouse. You will find it on Bailey Hill just behind the market hall. There are, according to the plaque, only 4 Roundhouses in the country however even the local council now admits there are at least six and I have already identified quite few more when I was preparing this post. Although I admit of a different design.
Interesting one site says Hampshire has no record of village lock ups. If true, I wonder where their miscreants went? You see roundhouses were temporary lock-ups in villages and small towns for local rogues and miscreants. Castle Cary’s was built in 1779 and is 7ft in diameter and 10ft high. The only light coming from the two ventilation grills high up in the roof.
When I was googling its history I came across a suggestion that its roof inspired the design of British police helmets. I think that is probably wishful thinking as most other sites advise that the design origins are military and many police forces when they were first formed had quite different style of hats. However I do agree that the roof looks like a ‘custodian style’ helmet! Not sure when the Roundhouse was last used as a prison, but probably sometime in the 1840s when county police forces were being set up and were required to have their own secure cells. These days it is a wedding venue. You really could say you were entering ‘shackledom’ if you got married here!