York Castle Museum & Prison

July 18, 2023






You might want to visit the museum at night, when the lights are dimmed and the shadows are long

Dick Turpin and the Castle Prison History  Once an 18th century prison York Castle Museum has a dark and brutal history – a time of rouges thieves and murderers and the most notorious inmate of all – the legendary highwayman Dick Turpin an outlaw who terrorised the roads of Essex and Yorkshire. Known for his daring robberies he was also a ruthless killer who left behind a trail of blood and anguish. On 6th April 1739 Dick Turpin spent his last night in the cramped dark damp cells deep in the bowels of the Felons’ Prison before being taken to the Knavesmire to be hung on 7th April 1739. What have we uncovered in our investigations inside the cell where this infamous man had his final thoughts? Many spent months in these cells awaiting their fate and those who perished behind the castle walls. The inmates of the Suffocation Cell who died in a terrible way and the Yorkshire Witch Mary Bateman among others.

Ghostly Sightings There have been numerous reports of ghostly sightings within the Castle Prison. Doors slamming by unseen hands babies crying heavy footsteps drastic temperature changes and screams are heard deep in the cells. Shadows are seen pacing is heard walking the stone floors staff have heard the sounds of women singing chains rattling and eerie scratching noises coming from the cells. Is this the hangman who is said to haunt these prison walls? Whispers are heard throughout the building a small boy has been seen dressed in period clothing who disappears round corners when he is seen and there have been reports of an elderly lady seated by a hearth… only to vanish.