In a street in Wells, called Guard House Lane, is a plaque erected by
the civic society that reads:

Guardhouse Lane takes its name from its eighteenth-century guardhouse  -
the tall building 50 metres down on the right-hand side.    The
Napoleonic Wars of the late 1790s and early 1800s saw a new warfare of
mass armies and large fleets.   This made necessary the first serious
attempt to house prisoners-of-war in specially built prisons or prison
camps, as on Dartmoor or at Norman Cross near Peterborough.    Captured
French soldiers and sailors were landed at Dorset ports, and marched
about 20 miles a day, lodging en route at specially constructed
staging-posts.     Wells Guardhouse was the last overnight stop for
other ranks before reaching the newly enlarged Stapleton Prison at

Has anyone else come across these - it suggests a semi-national system -
but I can find no other information about it/them.

Chris Webster
Historic Environment Record
Somerset County Council
Somerset Heritage Centre
Brunel Way

01823 347434

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