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Frithfield Lane, BA4 5LU
Built in 1610 following on Act introduced by King James I, which stated that all counties had to have their own ‘House of Correction’; Shepton Mallet was the oldest working prison in the United Kingdom...
Shepton Mallet Prison is a recently (2013) decommissioned Georgian jail where you can walk in the footsteps of our social history and listen whilst an ex prison officer shines a light on what life was like for both the incarcerated and those who guarded them through the ages.
Before closure it was a category C lifer prison holding 189 prisoners. Opened in 1646 in was expanded in 1790 with further building work undertaken in the 1820s and 1830s which included the installation of a treadwheel for those sentenced to hard labour. In 1930 the number of inmates had fallen and the prison was closed.
Following the outbreak of the second world war the prison was reopened as a military prison. It was initially used by the British Army and later by American forces who constructed a new execution bock to hang condemned prisoners. It was also used for the storage of important historical documents including the Domesday Book. It returned to civilian use in 1966.
Shepton Mallet prison is associated with many tales of paranormal activity and ghosts. One of the most popular stories is that of the White Lady. She is seen in several places, but A Wing is one of the main places she is seen or felt. Staff and prisoners would often complain of an icy wind moving through the wing, the sweet smell of perfume and shadowy figures.
She supposedly dates from the late 1700s, when she spent some time in the prison. During a lovers' tiff which escalated, she murdered her betrothed. Once found guilty and sentenced to death, she was housed in Shepton Mallet Prison. On the evening before her execution, she asked for her wedding dress to be brought to the prison, which they allowed. She wore it to bed that night, but in the morning the officers found that she had died during the night. No cause of death was ever found, so we are left to presume that she died of a broken heart. Perhaps this is why she still haunts the prison?
More recently, in the early 1950s the Kray Twins were held here after deserting the British Army.
It is now open as a tourist attraction offering guided tours, self guided tours, ghost tours, A Night Behind Bars, escape rooms and Prison Break. This is an immersive experience without gizmos or gimmicks – the jail is very much as it was when the last prisoners left in 2013.
In 2020 the prison was awarded the prestigious Trip Advisor Travellers Choice meaning that it is rated in the top 10% of worldwide attractions
January to December
Accept Bank Transfers, Internet Payment or SWIFT/IBAN
Accept Children Over 3
All major credit cards accepted
Can be packages by 3rd parties
Cash & Cheque accepted
Cash & Cheque only
Coach drop-off point
Contactless payment accepted
Educational Visits Accepted
Guided Tours Available for Groups
Guided Tours Available for Individuals
In town/city centre
Marketed towards children
Marketed towards families
Min group size
On site parking
Open All Year
Open by appointment outside normal opening times
Packed lunches available
Room/unit allocations available
Smoking Some Areas
Stag and Hen Parties
Tea / Coffee Shop
Shepton Mallet Prison
Frithfield LaneShepton MalletBA4 5LUUnited Kingdom
T: 01749 681862
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