York Castle Museum

York Castle Prison

York Castle Museum is housed in 18th century prison buildings. Now you can get a flavour of what life was really like in the original cells and see some of the most infamous inmates brought to life in this fascinating exhibition.

Experience a brutal and crooked prison and meet our most notorious prisoner: the legendary highwayman, Dick Turpin.  York Castle Prison focuses on the lives of eight former inmates, including Turpin.

The others include the last woman to be burnt at the stake in Yorkshire, a Luddite, a notorious turnkey, a man who was beaten so badly in prison he died and a young tearaway who went on to lead a successful life in Australia.

There is also a database of former prisoners and victims where visitors can check their own family name.

York Castle has been a site of justice and incarceration for almost 1,000 years.  William the Conqueror built the first castle in 1068 and we know from written references that it had a prison.  The site is still a seat of justice today; the 18th Century Courthouse is now York Crown Court. It still has holding cells and people accused of serious crimes are still tried there as they have been for almost 1,000 years.

York Castle Prison is part of the museum and there is no extra charge for visiting it.