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Usk Gaol


Page 283 of the 12th Report of the Inspectors of Prisons {Southern & Western District: Monmouthshire}, on Usk County House of Correction (1847/8, Vol XXXV) contains a table showing the Officers at the Gaol.

Thirteen people are listed.

William Dinham, a Warder aged 22, was the youngest, and the newest recruit, having joined in September 1846.

His salary as a Warder was £52 per annum.Most of the other male staff, including a Schoolmaster, a Cook and a Porter also received the same salary of £52.The exceptions were:

John Merrett, Governor, £115

James Boulton, Surgeon, £80

Keynon Homfray, Chaplain, £200

Both the female members of staff (one of whom, Mary Merrett, was the Governorís wife) received £30.

John Merrett, aged 48, was the eldest, and he and his wife were the longest serving, having been appointed in 1829, ten years earlier than any other member of staff.

To modern eyes, it is surprising to see that the Chaplain was paid so much more than any of the other staff of the Gaol.


Usk Prison, which is in Maryport Street, remains in use. According to the official prison service web site, it was opened as a House of Correction in 1844, and was expanded to become the County Gaol for Monmouthshire in 1870. It was closed between 1922 and 1939, when it became a Borstal. It then continued as a centre for young offenders until 1990, when it was converted into an Adult Category C establishment for vulnerable prisoners, with a capacity of 242.

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