Record Details

NHER Number:15128
Type of record:Building
Name:Walsingham Gaol


This prison was built in 1787, enlarged in 1842 and housed its last inmates in 1861. The main large building has four storeys whilst the older building only has two storeys. Both wings retain many of their original fittings including a padded cell, original doors and iron spy holes. The prisoners were forced to work treadmills in the nearby mill. The adjacent chimney is dated to 1861. It was built when the treadmills were replaced with steam power.


  • Walsingham Gaol  © Eastern Daily Press


Grid Reference:TF 9337 3690
Map Sheet:TF93NW

Full description

Walsingham Gaol. 18th century.
Tall four storeyed building, gutted; but small extension nearby retains original fittings. Several treadmills once in use.
Information from N. Arbor (NCM) and (S1) and (S2).

15 January 1980. Visit.
Building dates from 1787, enlarged in 1843, closed in 1861. In that year its chimney came from an old steam mill. According to M. Warren (Cromer Museum), also extended in 1820s and on site of a much older prison. Main large building is aligned north to south and in use as a furniture store. The east to west wing with fittings is said to be the original one of 1787. Two storeyed, it has original cell doors with iron spyholes through walls beside them. Brick upper floor resting on groined brick vaulting. Padded cell retains wooden panels to which pads were nailed, folding bed and straw mattress, shutter over window. Other outbuildings around. The chimney stands to the south and is dated 1861, but it is said to have been built for the conversion of the treadmills to steam.
E. Rose (NAU), 15 January 1980.

13 March 2007.
When the Bridewell closed in 1861 the use of treadmills for grinding was no longer available. The purchaser of the site, Miles Brown, endeavoured to maintain the mill activity by steam power - hence the car park chimney, but the enterprise failed very quickly. This has resulted in the chimney still standing, because the insidious weakness resulting from soot on the chimney's inside did not occur - the operation had just not lasted long enough.
Information from [1].
M. Dennis (NLA), 13 March 2007.

Monument Types

  • PRISON (18th Century to 21st Century - 1787 AD to 2100 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • Listed Building

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TF 93 NW 14 [2].
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Monograph: Pevsner, N. and Wilson, B. 1997. Norfolk 1: Norwich and North-East. The Buildings of England. 2nd Edition. p 601.
---Photograph: Photograph of Walsingham Gaol, Walsingham. Black & white.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
<S1>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1977. Snip - old Georgian gaol for sale. 11 March.
<S2>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1989. Buyer takes risk of time behind bars. 23 February.

Related records

MNO626Related to: Williamsons Furniture Store & former Prison Bridewell Street WALSINGHAM (Revoked)

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