Lewes Crown Court & Prison
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 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.