How Haunted is Bodmin Jail?

Bodmin Jail

A History Of Bodmin Jail

Found on the edge of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall is the Bodmin Jail Hotel. It’s a former jail and the spine-tingling location of plenty of paranormal activity. This old building has a rich tapestry of fascinating history. It spans over two centuries since its erection in 1779.

When they first built the jail, they called it Bodmin Gaol. They built the jail as part of the Prison Reform under the reign of King George III. It offers an important glimpse into the history of Georgian and Victorian crime.

Part of what makes this jail unique is that its design was an architectural milestone. The reason is that it was one of the first modern jails in the UK. It introduced single cells, segregated areas that separated men and women. And access to hot water and light spaces where prisoners lived and worked.

The population at Bodmin Gaol was low for the first two decades of its existence. But by 1820, the jail became overcrowded and had to undergo serious renovations until 1850. Because of the spike in population, there was a need to separate the prisoners into categories or classes. Finally, there would be over 20 categories that all required their sleeping areas and workshops.

A new jail

During the reign of Queen Victoria, they built a new prison on the site of Bodmin Jail. And they took the original building down. The new prison had ample room for the inmates, with over 220 prison cells. They designed it with separate wings for men and women, a chapel, and much more.

The old gaol is the perfect place for a hotbed of supernatural activity. But people say the souls of lost prisoners aren’t the only reason Bodmin Jail’s haunted. Bodmin Gaol has a much darker history than simply housing inmates.

The jail was the site for the execution of a shocking 55 prisoners between 1785 and 1909. And many of the hangings attract large crowds of people. There’s no wonder some of these spirits have lingered on the grounds of Bodmin Jail. They’re likely after revenge for the people who jeered at them in their last moments.

The last execution occurred at Bodmin Gaol in 1909 when they hanged William Hampton. The rumour is that William took the life of his young lover after an argument which led to his unfortunate hanging. It may be interesting to note that William wasn’t only the last person hanged at Bodmin Jail. He was the last person hanged in all of Cornwall.

From jail to the Bodmin Jail Hotel

Over time, Bodmin would see a decline in the population of prisoners that passed through its halls. Bodmin lost its original purpose because of this decline and the closure of the woman’s jail in 1911. In 1927, the jail decommissioned and closed down.

In more recent times, the Jail has undergone numerous renovations. And it’s recognized as the Bodmin Jail Hotel today.

This 4-star boutique hotel in Cornwall has a more contemporary design. But it has still kept some of the jail’s original features. It has around 70 hotel rooms for guests who are interested in the haunted history of Bodmin Gaol. And, if you’re going to stay at this luxury hotel, remember to try the fine dining options. You can eat at the Chapel restaurant or try the delectable drinks at the Champagne bar.

The Ghostly Residents Of Bodmin Jail Hotel

The Bodmin Jail Hotel is known for its ghostly residents. The ghosts have lingered long after time erased the original jail. Some of the most prominent ghosts that roam the hotel’s halls include Matthew Weeks and Selina Wadge. But their macabre stories will leave your blood running cold.

Because of its heightened activity, Bodmin Jail Hotel has become a visitor attraction. For amateur ghost hunters and professional paranormal investigators alike. Are you brave enough to take a ghost tour or stay the night? If so, remember to take your ghost-hunting equipment with you. You may just be one of the lucky few who catches the source of all those bumps in the night.

Matthew Weeks

Matthew Weeks was one of the unlucky prisoners executed in jail in 1844. They hanged Matthew for the terrible crime of murdering his lover, Charlotte. And although his body may be dead and buried, his spirit is said to live on. And he roams the halls of the Bodmin Jail Hotel.

Whether Matthew is looking for vengeance or redemption remains a mystery. All we know is that his ghostly form has become integral to the hotel.

William and James Lightfoot

The Lightfoot brothers William and James were both executed for the murder of Nevell Norway. And it’s rumoured that neither of them has the closure their spirits need to move on.

You can find at least one of the brothers haunting the ground floor cells of Bodmin Gaol. But you may need to find out where the other will appear. But it’s still around the area of their imprisonment. They are waiting for the perfect time to strike and take revenge on those who executed them.

Anne Jeffries

Anne Jeffries, accused of being a witch, is one of the few women to haunt the old jail. Anne suffered a slow and agonizing death because she refused to admit to her supposed crimes. She was left to starve for three months in her prison cell until she eventually perished.

Some paranormal enthusiasts believe Anne has supposed supernatural abilities. And she willed her spirit to stay behind as a testament to the injustices she faced.

Selina Wadge

Selina Wadge may be the most active spectre of all! They hanged her in 1878 after murdering her illegitimate child. Several guests have noted seeing her ghost hanging around the old jail. Young visitors have even reported being grabbed by the horrifying apparition. In contrast, pregnant guests have felt odd sensations of being watched.

It’s unclear if her actions are motivated by anger or regret. But people spot Selina’s ghost around the grounds. And she is the most famous resident of the hotel.


Are there guided ghost or paranormal tours at Bodmin Jail?

Of course, there are plenty of paranormal tours at Bodmin, including the Ghost Walk and Ghost Tours. You can even hire your own private paranormal investigation group. Extra members may help you capture some eerie phenomena! Be sure to book your tickets in advance, though. As this haunted location is popular, there is limited space on most of the tours.

Can I stay for an overnight ghost hunt at Bodmin Jail?

Besides renting a room at the Bodmin Hotel, you won’t get to sleep over in the old jail. But, some paranormal investigators have had the chance to ghost hunt later in the day. You may get lucky if you enquire about this with the hotel staff.

Are there any other haunted prisons?

Yes, there are many haunted prisons such as Littledean Jail, Shepton Mallet Prison, Shrewsbury Prison, and Ruthin Gaol.


Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!