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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Robert Bremner, an Edinburgh bookseller who knew of Fitzwilliam's interest in 'ancient musick', sent him what was regarded at the time as a curiosity; "the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book' is in fact a unique compilation of sixteenth-century keyboard music supposedly transcribed by Francis Tregian the younger, a recusant who died in the Fleet Prison in 1608.
Its unlikely birthplace was reputedly the Fleet Prison in London.
His elder brother John was apparently also involved in certain financial dealings which resulted in his being committed to the Fleet Prison in 1581.
He was imprisoned in the Fleet Prison about 1635 and remained there, devoting himself to literary work, until his death.
The height of his development occurs at the Fleet Prison where, because of a breach of promise suit, he observes human suffering and learns to forgive his enemies.

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