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This ominous looking Bodmin Jail was originally built for King George III in 1779. The jail you see now was built by prisoners who brought the 20,000 tonnes of granite it took to build from Bodmin’s “Cuckoo Quarry”.
During the First World War, the jail played host to the Domesday Book, and state papers. It was also reported that it held the crown jewels for a time.
During its darkest times as a place of punishment, the jail held over 150 prisoners, a total of 55 prisoners were executed by hanging. In 1844 a crowd of 20,000 gathered to watch the execution of the Lightfoot brothers (William and James) who were convicted for the brutal robbery and murder of a local well known timber merchant (Neville Norway) .
The last hanging was held here back in 1909 and was for a William Hampton. The hanging was a private affair with only prison staff, the Governor, High Sheriff, Mayor, and local Vicar present.
Ghosts of Bodmin Jail
As the site was witness to many deaths and suffering, there has been an abundance of paranormal occurrences throughout the jail. With the executions aside, many died occurred here due to the terrible conditions they had to endure.
Matthew Weeks’ ghost is said to have been seen on several occasions, as he wonders around the jail pleading his innocence. Selina Wedge has also been reported to have been seen after she was hanged for the murder of her illegitimate son. It has been said that she tries to grab any young children visiting the jail and also suppresses her feeling upon pregnant women.
One of either William or James Lightfoot have been seen down in the ground floor cells. They were both hanged for the murder of Nevell Norway. Another ghost that has been seen is that of Anne Jefferies who roams around the jail. Anne was left to starve to death as she did not admit to being a witch. It was 3 months until she died, leading many to believe she did in fact have supernatural powers.
A figure that of a priest has been seen in the chapel area. Ghostly apparitions have been witnessed in the bar / restaurant area and mediums have come into contact with several spirits including one of a prostitute who was wrongfully executed. In the area were they housed naval prisoners a thin gaunt looking man has been seen in one of the cells.
Around the jail many visitors and staff often report the feeling of being watched, orbs have been seen down the corridors, footsteps have been heard, voices, rattling keys, and people feeling as though they’re being touched.
Many people have reported feeling a tugging at their clothes and a popular experience is that of children screaming in the lower ground floor cells. In the naval area stones have reported to have been thrown at the current owners, and loud bangs have been heard inside the empty jail from the people outside.