Old Pwllheli jail

button-theme-crimeOld Pwllheli jail, Gaol Street, Pwllheli

This shop occupies the town’s former jail. The street takes its English name from the building, gaol being an alternative spelling of jail. In Welsh this is Stryd Moch (Street of Pigs), but it’s only coincidence that “pigs” is a slang word for police!

The jail opened in 1829. The town council enlarged the “lock-up house” in the 1860s, and a magistrates’ room was added in 1875 to avoid the need to transport prisoners through the streets for local court appearances.

Police Sergeant Robert Williams was living at the “borough gaol” in the 1870s, paying £1 rent a year to the council. That was a bargain, and by 1890 his rent had risen to £6. In 1891 the building, described as a “police station”, was home to Robert, wife Margaret and their five children.

In 1849 bigamist William Williams was brought to Pwllheli lock-up after deserting his wife Elizabeth and their five children. They had married in 1832 and lived in various places on the Llŷn Peninsula. William left them in 1848 and found a job in Llandegfan, Anglesey.

He married fellow servant Catherine Jones the following March, despite still being married to Elizabeth, who had become destitute and lived with her children in the workhouse. William and Catherine settled in Llanddaniel-fab, Anglesey. After evading capture several times, William was caught at Mynydd Llandegai and taken to Pwllheli.

Robert Jones, son of late Wesleyan minister Rev Robert Jones, was taken to the lock-up in April 1861 after murdering his mother Mary, 66. He suffered poor mental health and had spent about nine years in a “lunatic asylum”. He had been released in 1860 and rarely caused any trouble in the town, where he often walked through the streets preaching, followed by children. He said he had killed his mother after she threatened to send him back to the asylum.

Today the old jail is home to retailer Trespass.

Postcode: LL53 5RG    View Location Map

Website of Trespass