From 17th Century jail to luxury holiday home

The imposing entrance. Photo courtesy of The Landmark Trust
The imposing entrance. Photo courtesy of The Landmark Trust
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When it comes to choosing holiday accommodation, a couple of nights in a former prison probably wouldnt rank very high on your wish list.

But what about a luxury lock-up, nestled in the Lincolnshire countryside, which has beenlovingly restored – complete with mod cons – and is now capable of accommodating up to four guests and their dog in sumptuous period surroundings?

The dining room at Folkingham. Photo  courtesy of The Landmark Trust

The dining room at Folkingham. Photo courtesy of The Landmark Trust

The House of Correction, Folkingham, is just one of 200 historic properties in the care of the Landmark Trust – a charity dedicated to rescuing important buildings, carefully and sensitively restoring them and making them available for holidays, so they can be enjoyed by everyone.

The trust says that there had been a house of correction in Folkingham since around 1611. The grand entrance, designed by Bryan Browning – who also built Bournes Sessions House – is all that survives of the replacement prison, which was started in 1808. The imposing gatehouse was added slightly later in 1825, probably as a tool to show inmates what lay ahead for them as it is said to have sent the hearts of newcomers plummeting into their boots.The prison housed up to 70 wrong-doers at a time from across the whole of Kesteven, all guilty of minor felonies and misdemeanours such as petty theft, disorderly conduct or that once serious offence of idleness.

It was closed in 1878 and converted to cottages, while the gatehouse was transformed into a house during the 1930s, with a brick addition at the back.

The cottages were declared unfit and demolished in the1960s, but the gatehouse was saved and acquired by the Landmark Trust in 1982 from owners Sir Arthur and Lady Peterson.

The House of Correction. Photo  courtesy of The Landmark Trust

The House of Correction. Photo courtesy of The Landmark Trust

Today it can comfortably accommodate four guests in one twin and one double room. The House of Correction is not the only Lincolnshire landmark– The Chateau, Gate Burton, is a scale model of a traditional French Chateau, built as a weekend retreat for a Gainsborough lawyer near the River Trent and is also available for holidays. Slightly further afield there is Appleton Water Tower, a converted water tower on the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk, and Lynch Lodge, a fine two-storey Jacobean porch from the house where the poet and playwright John Dryden often stayed, at Alwalton, near Peterborough. • For more information about the Landmark Trust, its work and to book a break in one of its properties visit www.landmarktrust.org.uk

• The Landmark Trust was formed by philanthropist and conservationist John Smith and his wife Christian back in 1965 as a way to preserve special historic buildings and promote the public enjoyment of them.

They decided to do this by repairing smaller, dilapidated historic properties and turning them into short stay holiday lets.

By following this model they have been able to generate an income to help maintain them for the future, while other funds to carry out the sensitive restoration works come from grant aid, donors and sponsors.

During the past five decades the Landmark Trust has rescued a number of extraordinary buildings across the UK including The Pigsty, at Whitby, Astley Castle in Warwickshire and West Blockhouse, a 19th century fort, in Pembrokeshire.

The trust also looks after 23 properties on the island of Lundy in the Bristol Channel, alongside other buildings in Italy and France.