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Kernow a'gas dynergh

The Cornish Guide - Cornwall / Kernow

The Cornish Guide - Cornwall / Kernow

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Bodmin Jail (Gaol)

Age group: 10+

Location: NORTH Cornwall


Contact: nr Bodmin, PL31 2NR

TEL: 01208 76292



Newly refurbished and improved exhibition – it's now spread over 6 floors of the Jail, where you can explore basement rooms unearthed for the first time in 60yrs!


The original jail was built for King George III in 1779. The Jail you see today was built by the prisoners who brought the 20,000 tons of granite from Bodmin’s “Cuckoo Quarry”. During the First World War the Jail held state papers and the Doomsday book – The Crown Jewels have also been given safe haven here as well.


Visit the cold dank cells, look up at the thin light filtering through a small barred window and imagine being sentenced to even a week in such desolation, a very lonely life with the knowledge each day would bring more of the same cold, hunger and hard labour, on the treadmill as a civil prisoner, or “cannon ball” catch for naval prisoners; designed to keep you fit for battle on your release.


Bodmin Jail is a unique heritage asset, which had been allowed to decay until its present owners acquired it in the summer of 2004. They are ploughing all the revenue from entrance fees and profits from the shop and business as a whole back into the Jail with an extensive plan to revive this infamous Jail; by replacing roofs, internal structures and showing the cells as they once were, whilst also incorporating a fascinating museum of Cornish penal life over the last three centuries.


The vision is to take the Jail “Back to the Future” where it will become the thriving, vibrant mirror image of the past, a legacy of Cornish history for all to enjoy, a truly memorable day out! Helping Bodmin town, once the capital of Cornwall, to become the rightful historic capital again.

Wadebridge 5 miles, Lostwithiel 5 miles, St Austell 12 miles