Lewes Crown Court & Prison

Lewes Crown Court
Lewes Prison
John George Haigh

Lewes Crown Court

Lewes Crown Court is housed in the Lewes Combined Court Centre which it shares with Lewes County Court in Lewes High Street. The building, originally a County Hall, was designed by John Johnson and built between 1808 and 1812.
Many of those held temporarily in the Brighton police cells under the Town Hall were either tried at the Lewes Crown Court or hanged at Lewes Prison. John Lawrence, the murderer of Chief Constable Henry Solomon, was tried at Lewes and publicly hanged at Horsham Prison. Whereas Percy Lefroy Mapleton, who committed his crime just outside Brighton, was tried in Maidstone and hanged by the renowned hangman William Marwood at Lewes Prison. John George Haigh, the ‘Acid Bath Murderer’, was tried at Lewes but hanged at Wandsworth Prison by executioner Albert Pierrepoint on 10 August 1949.

Lewes Prison

Lewes Prison was built in 1853 and three hundred Finnish Grenadiers, captured during the Crimean War, were among its earliest guests.  During the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland several prominent figures involved were held in Lewes Prison, including Thomas Ashe, Frank Lawless, Harry Boland and future Irish Premier, Eamon de Valera.

Lewes is a local prison, holding convicted and remand adult males mainly from East Sussex and West Sussex courts.


Comments about this page

  • Hello.
    Have you any idea where court proceedings in Lewes took place before the old County Hall building became the Crown Court?
    Kind regards
    Robert Cohen

    By Robert Cohen (27/04/2018)
  • Trying to find out when Sabina Tribe was discharged from Lewes Prison, you records showed she had a son in the prison 18th Nov 1863 and I have since found his birth certificate and was named John Tribe, we need to find out what happened to this boy. Any help appreicated

    By Linda Smith (13/07/2016)
  • One of the ancestors of my wife’s mother allegedly was one of the 300 Finnish grenadiers who were hold prisoners in Lewes 1854-56.
    Where can I find the list of the names of the prisoners? The list should be in the archives of the prison, I suppose.
    As “a souvenir” from his stay in Lewes there is a rattling chair, a toy chair made of small wooden sticks. There is a hidden hole in every junction, each hole a pea in it, therefore the rattling sound. The prisoners made toys and local people came to buy them. We would like to donate the chair to the local museum, and for that purpose we need to have the verify the family story.

    Looking forward to your reply.

    Yours faithfully,

    Olli Kuure

    By Olli Kuure, Mr (19/11/2015)

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