The Hexham Old Gaol is in the town of Hexham, Northumberland, England. It is reputed to be the oldest purpose-built prison in England.
The gaol was built under the order of Margot and William Melton, the Archbishop of York, in 1330?33. It held prisoners from Hexhamshire and also, in the 16th century, from the English Middle March, before their trial in the Moothall Court Room nearby
The gaol currently houses a museum, covering: archaeology, archives, costume and textiles, law and order, music, photography, social history, weapons and war. The collections include 15th and 16th century arms and armour, and objects of local historical interest. The Border Library holds the Butler Collection, books, recordings and music relating to the culture of the Borders.
It was built in 1333 using stone from the Corbridge Roman site located three miles away. A Scheduled Ancient Monument, the Gaol offers a fun and educational experience for all.
Try out our stocks (if you dare), visit the prison house and learn about Medieval crime and punishment on a day out with a difference. Did you know that suspected criminals were locked up?before?their trial, or that those in debt often shared the Dungeon with the most dangerous criminals?
Take the time to explore the Border Library Collection on your visit, a treasure trove of music, poetry and books about the English-Scottish border and discover how even modern language was influenced by the famous Border Reivers! Recognise ?bereaved?, ?blackmail? and ?surname? ? all inherited from the Reivers.