Smisby Village

Smisby History Pages

The Lockup

Also known as a jug, or roundhouse, lock-ups are relics of the past. The early 18th century village lock-up was used to lock up drunks and minor lawbreakers until they had cooled off, or while waiting escourt to Derby Court. It was also used to house paupers and vagrants on a temporary basis. The Smisby lockup is octagonal in shape, brick built with tiled spire roof and and has a heavy studded door. Other examples can be found at Ticknall, Breedon and at Alton and are of similar design - circular, without a window, a conical roof and a heavy door (there are around 200 surviving roundhouses in the country. Most date from the 17th and 18th century).

The village once had three pubs of which the Smisby Arms (formerly The Nelson) and the Annwell Inn (formerly Mother Hubbards, and The Malt Shovel before that) continue with a lively trade. However, in leaner times The Three Tuns just down the Main Street had insufficient trade and became a private dwelling. Perhaps with a population once around 300 and three pubs, this was sufficient to fill the lock-up frequently!