Ancestry UK

Town Gaol, Alnwick, Northumberland

Alnwick had Town Gaol located under the Hotspur Tower on Bondgate. The tower, or rather gatehouse, was completed in about 1450.

In 1812, James Neild reported on the establishment:

Gaoler, John Thirlwal. Salary none; but he lives at the Castle. This Prison is seldom used except for Deserters.

1802, Sept. 10th, and 1809, Sept. 19th, no Prisoners.

The Town Gaol is under the Bond-Gate Tower, at the entrance of the town, and is the property of the Duke of Northumberland. It consists of one room 16 feet by 8, dark and damp, but lighted and ventilated by an aperture in the wall. Straw laid upon a barrack-bedstead.

Bondgate Tower, Alnwick, early 1900s.

The prison had closed by 1835.


Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals. Before travelling a long distance, always check that the records you want to consult will be available.

  • No individual records identified for this establishment — any information welcome.
  • The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU. Has a wide variety of crime and prison records going back to the 1770s, including calendars of prisoners, prison registers and criminal registers.
  • Find My Past has digitized many of the National Archives' prison records, including prisoner-of-war records, plus a variety of local records including Manchester, York and Plymouth. More information.
  • Prison-related records on Ancestry UK include Prison Commission Records, 1770-1951, and local records from London, Swansea, Gloucesterhire and West Yorkshire. More information.
  • The Genealogist also has a number of National Archives' prison records. More information.


  • Prison Oracle - resources those involved in present-day UK prisons.
  • GOV.UK - UK Government's information on sentencing, probation and support for families.