the Jail and Bail Bond database >>>
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. The
work was undertaken by : Ian Craik, Cathy Gibb and Tom McMenamay (assisted by
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.