By historian Roger Bingham of Ackenthwaite:

WESTMORLAND'S county town of Appleby was also the setting for the assize courts and the county gaol.

Kendal had its house of correction and lesser places like Milnthorpe had village lock-ups.

Even so, all townships had to contribute sums towards their maintenance.

At Heversham, the annual payment ‘for the relief of poor prisoners in Appleby Gaol’ rose from £1:10s in 1708 to £2:12s in 1712.

Conditions were barely humane. The daily diet of two-and-a-half pounds of bread with, inevitably, porridge was sufficient to ‘keep prisoners being young and healthy on the treadmill’.

In using their feet to rotate the husk-extracting machinery, their hard grind lasted seven hours, with breaks for dinner and two church services lasting about 20 minutes each.

Even so, the regime could be too tough, and in 1844 the governor, Thomas Thwaites, reported: “Unfortunately one of the youths sentenced for poaching has been killed on the treadmill". But, he added: “The treadmill continues to have the best possible effects on everyone committed”.