Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: July 14, 2017
Webpage updated: March 26, 2022




The Jacobean Guild Hall, with the Shambles underneath, was erected in 1606-07 under the direction of a Mr Thomas Apsey, of 'Nettlecom'.  It cost 794 8s 1d.

The Jacobean Guildhall that was demolished in1800.
From a postcard.

The Jacobean Guildhall

The tower held a clock and this was surmounted by a cupola, which was rebuilt in 1706.  A flight of seventeen steps outside the tower gave access to the porch and the main hall.  Worth states that 'These became in time proverbial; and a hint that anyone would have to ascend that number of stairs was held the reverse of complimentary.'

At the western end of the main hall were seats for the Mayor, Magistrates and Councillors, while at the eastern end was a staircase that led to the small Council Chamber, which was partly in the tower and partly over the hall.   Also in the building was a debtors' prison and a room where criminals were held pending sentencing.  Beneath the tower was the Clink, a couple of dungeons that were, says Worth, 'justly the terror of all evildoers'.

In the space under the Hall the Corporation would assemble on a Sunday morning before processing to Saint Andrew's Church.

The Jacobean Guild Hall was demolished in 1799 in readiness for the new one to be constructed on the same site.  The Shambles was removed to Broad Street and the Court to the Mayoralty House in Woolster Street.