The History
The original building was constructed back in 1779 (and completed in 1860) for King George III. The jail was built out of over 20,000 tons of granite from Bodmins 'Cuckoo Quarry' and was built by the Napoleonic prisoners who were to be locked up in it. The prison operated for over 150 years and initially housed just 13 prisoners. By 1840 it held 155, 38 or which were women. The womens wing of the prison was closed in 1911 and the jail closed down completely in 1927.

Bodmin Jail was famous for its public hangings and in its lifetime saw 55 of them. In 1844 over 20,000 people turned up to watch the hanging of Matthew Weeks who had murdered his girlfriend Charlotte Dymond. The last public hanging at the jail was in 1909 and was in fact the last ever public hanging in Britain.

During WWI priceless documents such as the Domesday book and the Crown jewels were held there so that they would not be destroyed.

Today the building is, sadly, partially in ruin and is run as a tourist attraction. It was recently the focus of a Most Haunted investigation and is famous in being the place where Derek Acorah first let slip his not-quite-so-innocent talents by channelling 'Kreed Kafer'. See if you can work out what that's an anagram for...

Paranormal Stories
A small number of previous prisoners have been sighted and picked up on and are said to have been:
Matthew Weeks. The man hanged for murdering his girlfriend, although many claim today that he was in fact innocent.
Selina Wadge. She was handed for the murder of her illegitamte son. Her spirit is said to try and grab children and pregnant women.
William and James Lightfoot. Both were hanged for murder.
Ann Jeffries. Her story is very interesting. She was accused of being a witch and was starved in her cell until she confessed. However, she survived for three months with no apparent ill effects whatsoever, later claiming that it was the fairies who were bringing her food during the night.

People have also reported the sound of screaming children, and the sensation of their clothes being pulled.

Loud bangs and crashes have been heard from within the jail when it has been empty.

Other reported phenomena includes the hearing of sounds, voices and noises that have no apparent source, light anomalies that're seen with the naked eye, temperature fluxuations (although that could be put down to the building being old and draughty), the sense of being touched and the sense of dread and oppression. Another phenomena that people have reported is stones being thrown at them.

The Location
Below are a selection of photographs that were taken during our visit. Warning - Many photos spell a long download time for slower modems.

This is the first view you get of the jail. My, it looks oppressive. Click on the image for a larger view.

This is the original entrance, or gatehouse. The indenting on the left side of the building indicates that a second cottage like the one on the right of the photo originally existed in that spot but has since been torn down.

This is the main entrance to the jail. Inside is a lovely restaurant area.

Outside in the courtyard is where the gallows were.

This is underneath the gallows where I'm guessing the condemned man walked up from to his death.

This is what you see on the upper levels of the jail. Up here there's a few cells but there's nothing too interesting.

One window looked down onto the inaccessible' Residents wing' of the jail.

This is one view of the lowest level of the basement.

And another, looking down the opposite wall. Most Haunted fans should recognise this area as being the scene of the infamous 'Kreed Kafer' moment, where he then became possessed by this person, running amok in the display that is now currently the electric chair behind the bars.

And a third view, this one looking up from the opposite end of the hallway.

A public flogging. Either that or a very elaborate backscratcher.

Look into my eyes, for I require your immortal soul for my magic brolly of impure thoughts. The day I meet someone with such staring eyes such as this is the day I go into hiding from the human race.

Here we see Terrence watching Most Haunted. In his hand is the strong drink needed to get through the show, and behind him is his desire as he watches it.

"Hello, my name is Arthur and I will be your tourguide..."

As always, the crowds were rife and rioting during our visit!

"Here, what do you think of my new brand of aftershave?"

Women, know your limits!

When this photo first appeared on my screen I was impressed at the rather large orb that I thought I had caught. Yeah...

The Beast of Bodmin. Accurately modelled.

The best exhibit in the whole attraction! Read the plaque...

This is what inside one of the cells looks like. Pretty cramped, and to think reports suggest that sometimes up to 10 prisoners shared this space!

Outside one cell is this image of 4 original nurses who worked on the psychiactric wing of the jail.

This is a photo of the two external buildings of the jail. On the left is the Naval prison. I'm uncertain as to what the building on the right is but it is currently undergoing heavy restoration.

This is a view of the side of the Naval prison.

Looking up at the imposing front of the Naval prison.

Looking inside the Naval prison building.

Looking from the original stairwell.

Looking up at the original stairwell.

This is one of the original Naval prison cells.

This is the other outer building.

You can see the extensive repairwork being carried out inside.

The original tower is currently undergoing repairwork.

A view of some of the cell windows from outside. But what's that in the middle-left window...?

"Hey, what're you doing spying on me? Can't a guy go to the toilet in peace!?"

A list of all the hangings carried out in Cornwall from 1735 to 1909.

How to get there:
The jail is very easy to find since it's a major tourist attraction. Simply drive into Bodmin and follow the brown signs. You can't miss it.

Related Links

Bodmin Gaol - The wikipedia entry about the jail.
Most Haunted - The official page detailing Most Haunted's experience at the jail.
Spooky Times at Bodmins old Jail - A BBC News article detailing one groups night in the jail.
Bodmin Jail Ghost - capture an apparition at Bodmin Jail on camera... or so they think.