Fleet Prison

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Fleet Prison, former jail in London, England. Rebuilt after it was destroyed in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, again after the great fire of 1666, and once more after the Gordon riots of 1780, it was finally demolished in 1845–46. After the 17th cent. it was notable as a debtors' prison. Fleet marriages were clandestine and irregular ceremonies performed at Fleet Prison by debtor clergymen. Although not illegal, the system was so abused that it was abolished in the reign of George II.

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Fleet prison (London) was in use from the time of the Norman Conquest until the reign of Queen Victoria. It held those who owed money to the crown, with prisoners being committed by king's council and the Court of Chancery. A single family, the Levelands, retained control of the prison for 400 years. It closed in 1842.

Richard A. Smith