Objects | Inventions and Firsts


Hexham Town Stocks, before 1830

Hexham Old Gaol, Northumberland


1800 – 1899

These stocks would have been in Hexham Marketplace and used as a form of punishment until the 19th century. They remind us how small local communities tried to keep order.

Hexham Old Gaol is an example of innovative architectural design. It is the earliest recorded purpose-built prison in England.

The order for it to be built was issued by the Archbishop of York, William Melton, and dates to 1330. It was opened in January 1333 when it was ordered to be fitted with manacles, etc., and John de Cawood, barber, became the first gaoler. It continued in use as a gaol until the 1820s.

On display at Hexham Old Gaol.

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