Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Gaol that houses Hexham's fascinating past

It's one of the most impressive sites in Hexham, but how much do you know about the fascinating history of Hexham Old Gaol?

Claimed to be the oldest purpose-built prison in England, Hexham Old Gaol was built on the order of the Archbishop of York, William Melton, in 1330-33. Prisoners came from the Hexhamshire area, the area ruled by the Archbishop of York, until the 1820s, when a new county gaol was built in Morpeth, meaning that the Hexham Gaol was mostly used for petty thieves.

Since then, the Gaol has had many uses, including a bank, a billiards club and a place to fire watch during the Second World War. It is now a brilliant museum, showcasing collections covering archaeology, costume, law, photography, weapons and much more. Hexham Old Gaol is such an interesting building with an incredible history right in the centre of Hexham- I definitely encourage you to visit!