Built in the late 1700s the circular structure was used as the parish lock-up. It’s construction includes squared pecked sandstone blocks, ashlar cornice and domed roof with central lipped opening in the dome. The small openings in sides have iron bars. The Round House was listed Grade II on 7th June 1963.
Village lockups were a common place in rural areas back in the 18th & 19th century where communities struggled to police thefts, burglaries, shootings, drunkenness, the obstruction of watchmen and the stealing of livestock. During this period a number of lock-ups were built as a temporary place of detention for local rogues and miscreants until they could be removed to a town. Most of the village lockups were placed next to Inn’s as they were the places the majority of trouble would arise. This was the case of the lockup in the village of Ruabon it was placed next to an inn known as the Roundhouse or Vaults , the village lock-ups fell out of use when the County Police Act was introduced in 1839 and local police stations were built with their own holding facilities. The Act allowed Justices of the Peace to set up a paid police force in each county and made it compulsory for that force to be provided with proper police stations and secure cells. The village lock-up became a redundant edifice as a result and only a small fraction have survived the intervening century and a half. The Stone Roundhouse Lockup in the village of Ruabon has stayed in tact from the 18th century when it was built until its time of redundancy in 1896 when Ruabon opened its own police station and court room.
In 1885 Joseph Samuels, a foreman at the Tatham brickwork, was taken to “Ruabon lockup” after fighting with his nephew, Cornelius Jones, the previous evening on the railway bridge (c.200 metres north west of the Roundhouse. Cornelius fell to the ground. A doctor was quickly summoned but pronounced Cornelius dead. Joseph Samuels was convicted of manslaughter.
Another use for these old village lock up during WWII most of them were used as sentry’s and storage places for munitions.
Source: B&W pics – coflein.gov.uk. Additional info: Richard Jones.