York Debtor's Prison

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Location
53°57'20"N
001°04'52"W
Country
 United Kingdom
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Description

York Debtor's Prison is a former Debtor's prison and Grade I Listed building located in York, North Yorkshire. Since 1938 it has been part of the York Castle Museum

History

The Debtor's Prison was originally built as the County Gaol in 1701–05 due to an Act of Parliament. It is located to the south of Clifford's Tower, within the former castle bailey. It is a three-storey building with a central range and clock turret flanked by projecting wings built with Tadcaster limestone and brick walls, and a lead and slate roof. Some of the original building stone came from ruined parts of Clifford's Tower and King's Manor. It was extended between 1824 and 1835.

Prisoners

The prison's most notable inhabitant was Dick Turpin, who was incarcerated in the 1730s before his trial at the York assizes. His cell forms part of the exhibition in the current museum.

Executions

The castle area became the regular place of executions in York in the early 1800s, replacing the Tyburn on the Knavesmire. The new gallows were completed on 8 March 1801 at a cost of £10 and 15 shillings and were first used for the execution of a cattle thief, Samuel Lundy, on 11 April 1801. Condemned criminals were hanged in this space, known as 'the Drop', between the Assize Courts and the bailey wall (immediately adjacent to the Debtor's Prison) until 1868. From 1868 to 1896 executions took place inside the prison walls at the north end of the Female prison. A total of 153 men and 7 women were hanged in the Castle precincts between April 1801 and December 1896.
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