Tuesday, May 24, 2016
In the cooler
I’ve driven quite often along the A37, the road that links Bristol with Shepton Mallet and Yeovil, and more than once I’ve admired the village of Pensford, where the church tower is set against a background of stone houses and a railway viaduct. The other day I had time to stop there and take a look. Tucked away by a triangle of grass at the junction of two roads I found this lock-up, beginning to disappear among the greenery.
I’ve posted about lock-ups before and have found examples ranging from tiny anonymous cells so small you can hardly see them to one artfully built in the form of an elongated pyramid. This one is also quite artful. It’s an octagonal structure with a domed roof culminating in a ball finial. With its tiny window and cold stone walls, it couldn’t have been a pleasant place to spend the night – especially if you were recovering from a drinking spree or a fight. But at least the little building’s form adds up to something good to look at from the outside – a symbol, perhaps, not just of authority but also of 18th-century village pride.