Jail Books

Index Details

Full Name: Dumfries Jail Books and Bail Bond Registers
Period: 1714-1810
Records: 1599 View

Index Description

The Jail Books were kept by successive town jailors between 1714 and 1788. On the left hand page of each opening, the jailor "logged in" the prisoner, saying on whose warrant he or she was being incarcerated and with what crime charged. On the right hand page, the jailor noted when that prisoner left his charge - by having served the requisite sentence, by execution or transportation or, at times, by escaping.

The Bail Bond Registers run from 1775 to 1810 and record the caution (ie bond money) put up for the future good behaviour of miscreants or as an assurance that they would appear in court to answer charges brought against them. The offender's name, the nature of his or her offence and the names of the cautioners (who put up the bail money) all appear in the record.

The jail in Dumfries held prisoners from all over the county and also from Kirkcudbrightshire because Dumfries was where the judges of the High Court of Justiciary met when they were on circuit to hear really serious offences.

Project Description

This project - to create an index-cum-synopsis of the Jail and Bail Bond Books of Dumfries - developed from evening classes in Archive Interpretation taught by the Archivist of Dumfries and Galloway Council between 1990 and 1997.


Ian Craik, Cathy Gibb and Tom McMenamay (assisted by Susan Knox).

Page last updated: 01/03/16