James Wellerd

From Historical Hastings

James Wellerd was the keeper of the gaol at Hastings and kept a journal during his time of office, extracts of which were published by J. Manwaring Baines (1910-2002) in his book Historic Hastings, occupying a whole chapter thereof. Mr Wellerd was by all accounts a highly respected character around town in spite of what must have been to some, his unpopular job, and was murdered during the course of an escape from the prison.

The town prison at that time was little more than a shack which had a high wall surrounding it and during Mr Wellerd's tenure, his journal documents a number of escapes, most of whom were caught the same day or soon after. The prisoners were of almost all ages, the youngest mentioned by Baines being a mere 10 years old.