Bowling Green of the White Hart at Lenton

THERE is little in this pleasant and secluded garden to remind us of the ghastly events which have taken place within the building overlooking its greensward, for in the building shown in this picture was situated the prison of the Court of the Honour of Peveril, a prison which had an awful reputation.

The Court of the Honour of Peveril took cognisance, amongst other matters, of small debts, and took no trouble to find out whether it was possible for a debtor to discharge his liabilities or not. In its eyes, if a man was proved to be indebted, he must discharge his liabilities or go to prison.

No provision whatever was made for clothing or feeding the unfortunate prisoner, and he was simply locked up and left destitute, to beg from chance passers-by for means of keeping body and sold together.

Until 1316 the court, which in those days was almost a royal court and took into its purview very serious matters indeed, was held in the mysterious Chapel of St. James in Nottingham—which may have stood where Dorothy Vernon’s house stood until recently.

Then, as if to mark the degradation of the powers of the court, it was moved first to the Shire Hall, then to Basford, and last of all to the White Hart, where it survived until 1849.

Blackner, in his history of Nottingham, tells a heartrending story of a prisoner confined within this dungeon, and I. think probably this story had something to do with the closing of the prison