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Criccieth - The Old Lock-up

The first Welsh castle at Criccieth was used to hold important prisoners and on occasions after the English conquest, right up to when Owain Glyndwr burnt the town and pulled down much of the castle in 1404. During the following centuries the two bailiffs, who were elected each Michaelmas, were responsible for wandering animals, rubbish and other nuisances The ruins on the Maes are generally reffered to as “The Old Jail”. In fact the original structure was a pinfold or pound where the bailiffs kept stray animals. The owners would have to pay a fine to get them back. There used to be a terrace nearby called ”Ty’n Ffolt” On fair nights rowdy youths would be locked up there hence the later name of “the lock-up” In 1858 the Caernarvonshire (sic) Constabulary was formed and a police station was built on the site in 1866, probably incorporating part of the old building. The police constable and his family lived there and there was at least one cell. The first officer was William Owen from Llanengan. The county forces were almalgamated in 1950 to form Gwynedd Constabulary. A new police house was built above the Maes and the old station demolished though it appears that part of the old pinfold was left standing.

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