The House of Correction

Folkingham, Lincolnshire - Sleeps 4

About this Landmark

This grand entrance is all that survives of a prison once intended for minor offenders.  This is a noble piece of architecture, once intended to intimidate, in a beautiful and interesting place.

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • Bath with ShowerBath with Shower
  • DishwasherDishwasher
  • MicrowaveMicrowave

Beds 1 Twin, 1 Double

  • Sleeps 4
  • 4 nights from £315
  • equivalent to £19.69 per person, per night

The idle and disorderly

The House of Correction shares the site of the once great castle that dominated the village of Folkingham in the Middle Ages. Such local prisons were originally intended for minor offenders – mostly the idle (regarded as subversive) and the disorderly. Folkingham had a house of correction by 1611, replaced in 1808 by a new one built inside the castle moat and intended to serve the whole of Kesteven. This was enlarged in 1825 and given this grand new entrance. In 1878 the prison was closed and the inner buildings converted into ten dwellings, all demolished in 1955.

This grand entrance alone survives. It was designed by Bryan Browning, an original and scholarly Lincolnshire architect also responsible for the Sessions House at Bourne. It is a bold and monumental work, borrowing from the styles of Vanbrugh, Sanmichele and Ledoux. Apart from cowing the malefactor it was intended to house the turnkey and the Governor’s horses and carriage. Now it gives entrance only to a moated expanse of grass – a noble piece of architecture in a beautiful and interesting place.

Folkingham

Folkingham is one of those agreeable places that are less important than they used to be. It has a single very wide street, lined on each side by handsome buildings, with a large 18th-century inn across the top end. Behind the houses, to the east, lie the moat and earthworks of the medieval castle. Woolsthorpe Manor, home of Sir Isaac Newton, and Belton House are nearby.

Floor Plan

‘We tried on the handcuffs and ankle chains and then attached ourselves to the prison wall.’

‘Anyone who doesn’t love their stay here needs to be locked up.’

From the logbook

Map & local info

House of Correction is set on a moated site raised above the rural peaceful land of Folkingham, Lincolnshire, an attractive village on a historic route, lined on each side by handsome buildings.

 Woolsthorpe Manor was the home of Sir Isaac Newton, you can still see the famous apple tree which inspired his theories. 

Regarded as the most complete country estate, with it's fantastic collections and beautiful grounds, Belton House is a wonderful day out. 

Look out for events at Grimsthorpe Castle such as antique fairs and dog shows, as well as family activities, cycle hire and tours inside the castle itself. 

A tour of Hansen's Chocolate House is always a treat for visitors, and you can pre-book tours. 

Take a look at our Pinterest Map for more ideas and things to do during your stay at House of Correction. 

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

The House of Correction
Folkingham, Lincolnshire - Sleeps 4
Clear directions

‘We tried on the handcuffs and ankle chains and then attached ourselves to the prison wall.’

‘Anyone who doesn’t love their stay here needs to be locked up.’

From the logbook

Your questions answered

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    Yes.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Via a short gravel drive.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Sleaford – 8 miles.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    Yes – there is a parking space adjacent to the Landmark.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There are Rointe heaters and an open fire.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Unfortunately, there is currently no arrangement for the purchase and delivery of logs, however details of local sources will be provided with your order confirmation.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is also an electric cooker, a dishwasher and a microwave.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a shower over the bath.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    The stairs are steep, spiral and narrow.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is a small moated garden (unfenced).

    Booking and Payment

  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact [email protected]
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!
  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s).

Once the gateway to a prison

In 1982 the House of Correction was acquired by the Landmark Trust, a charity which rescues historic buildings in distress and gives them a new life by letting them for holidays. Its previous owners were Sir Arthur and Lady Petersen, who had rescued the building from demolition in 1965. By passing it on to Landmark, they both gave it a secure future and also ensured that it would be appreciated by all those people who now stay in it. Like many buildings cared for by Landmark, the House of Correction as we see it today is a fragment of a much larger building.

This imposing structure was once the gateway to a prison capable of accommodating up to 70 wrongdoers. The inmates were not hardened criminals however. Most of them were guilty of minor felonies and misdemeanors such as petty theft, disorderly conduct or that once serious offence of idleness, which as all knew led rapidly to subversion.

There had been a House of Correction in Folkingham, serving parts of Kesteven, since 1609. This original building, now two houses in the market place, had four cells and a small yard for exercise. Here, in a system devised by the Elizabethans, the ‘idle poor’ were confined and put to work to teach them better ways. But while the corrective power of hard labour lay behind the original Houses of Correction (also known as Bridewells after the first to be founded in a former royal palace in London) they soon merged with ordinary gaols or lock-ups. This is what the one in Folkingham had become when it was visited by an inspector in 1774. His report was damning: as not only was it damp and cramped, but there was no pump and no sewer. When another report of 1802 told the same story, plans were made for its replacement.

Work began on a new House of Correction in 1808. It was built on the site of the great castle of the de Gaunts and the de Beaumonts, which had been abandoned since the 16th century. The moated inner ward lent itself exactly to the new strongly walled compound. The entrance seems to have been quite humble however - an opening in the brick outer wall with the Turnkey’s lodge just inside. The Governor’s house lay beyond that, on the far side of which was the airing yard for the prisoners, surrounded by the prison buildings themselves.

An 18th century writer declared that prisons should be depressing by reason of their function, with civil prisons expressing misery while criminal ones should evoke actual horror 'let there be deepest shade, cavernous entrances, terrifying inscriptions.' The first entrance apparently did not get the message across strongly enough. In 1825, a gifted local architect, Bryan Browning, was commissioned to build a new gatehouse. Browning had clearly studied neo-classical architects such as the Frenchman Ledoux, who published designs which were full of strength and drama. He was no doubt familiar too with the work of Vanbrugh, particularly his military buildings. As this gatehouse shows, Browning had undoubtedly learned how to give power to a design by the use of mass and form in a way that must have sent the hearts of new inmates plummeting into their boots.

The regime inside was still based on the original lines of reform through hard treatment and hard labour - a short, sharp shock. Bare boards to sleep on, bread and gruel to eat and work at a treadmill or stone-breaking were standard for felons undergoing a short sentence. Women worked in the laundry or picked oakum. For all there was a daily chapel service.

The House of Correction closed in 1878. Two years later it was sold to a builder who pulled down the outer wall and turned the prison buildings into cottages. In the 1930s the gatehouse was also turned into a house, when a brick addition was made at the back. In the 1960s the cottages were declared unfit and were demolished. It was only by the intervention of the Petersens that Browning’s monumental gateway did not suffer the same fate.

Restoring the gatehouse to its original form

When the Landmark Trust took on the House of Correction it had been lived in as a house for 50 years, with a brick addition at the back which doubled it in size. The addition was Georgian in character and not unattractive but Landmark and its architect, Philip Jebb, felt that it was too much of an anticlimax when compared to the front. The proposal therefore was to take down the addition in order to restore the gatehouse to its original form. Some sort of addition was still desirable however to link the two sides of the gatehouse.

Examination of early plans of the building and a description of it in 1825 provided the answer, together with evidence found in the rear wall. It was clear that when the new gatehouse was built it backed onto the existing prison wall and Turnkey’s lodge, which had one room on each side of the entrance, with a water cistern above. The new addition followed the same plan and comes as close to the original as is feasible without photographic or other visual evidence. Most importantly, it respects Bryan Browning’s design whereby the rear pediment rises up over the plain brick and stone coping of the wall, as reinstated along the back.

Bricks from the demolished addition were used to form the new back wall and the stones forming the arch of the back door were also taken from the addition, as they had no doubt been taken from one of the former prison buildings in the 1930s - perhaps even the Turnkey’s lodge itself. In addition to this, the roof was repaired and new windows and doors provided. On the side elevations, outer doors were fitted to the ground floor windows to recall the original use of the rooms inside as the Governor’s stable and coach house.

Some rearrangement was needed inside to make the new accommodation work. With the 1930s addition had gone the only stair from ground to first floor. Therefore two new stairs were built, with one running all the way from the new kitchen to the top room via the new bathroom, the other from the sitting room to the bedroom above it. The floor levels were changed too, making the ground floor rooms slightly lower and those on the first floor taller. Over the arch the floor was raised a little to give a better view out of the window. In the sitting room an existing fireplace was opened up.

The restoration was completed in 1986. It was a long held wish of Sir John Smith, the founder of Landmark, to rebuild the first lengths of the prison wall on either side of the gatehouse, to put it back in its proper frame. This formed a separate phase of work, which was carried out in 1991. New gates and fences, based on a photograph of the old ones, were put up at the same time. Both this and the main restoration were carried out to a very high standard by E. Bowman and Sons of Stamford.

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.