Ghosts of Littledean Jail: Horrors of Crimes Past

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Visitors to Littledean Jail in Gloucestershire have reported being grabbed and shoved by a malevolent ghost, says RICK HALE

Jails and prisons are not places where happy memories are formed and remembered for all time.

They are places of rehabilitation and punishment for men and women who commit crimes against their fellow man.

Sadly, the crimes are so egregious the ultimate punishment must be handed down resulting in the death of an inmate.

Littledean Jail
It’s not just the former inmates who haunt the Littledean Jail in the Forest of Dean – a ghostly jailer also walks the corridors of the prison.

However, deaths can also be attributed to poor conditions, as well as jailhouse retribution carried out by the other inmates.

The former correctional facility, Littledean Jail found near the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, still holds the echoes of its violent past.

And those echoes still walk it’s halls and reside in its cells.

History of Littledean Jail

Construction of Littledean Jail began in 1788 and was built by William Blackburn.

At that time, Blackburn was considered Britain’s leading architect and a pioneer of prison reform.

Three years later in 1791, the jail was completed and its first prisoner, a young laborer who stole a spade, was incarcerated there.

Hardly a jailable offence by today’s standards. But in those days a person could receive the death penalty for such a crime.

Littledean Jail was built to stand the test of time and its violent criminal population behind its imposing stone walls.

In its heyday, Littledean was considered to be a revolutionary model for correctional facilities.

So much so, it served as inspiration for the Cherry Hill penitentiary system in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

And as with any building with such a reputation of infamy, Littledean Jail has its fair share of ghosts.

Haunting Of Littledean Jail

The owners of the jail, the Jones family have had several encounters with the phantoms of the old jail.

And visitors while taking the tour have seen dark figures lurking the falls and peering out from the shadows in cells.

The Children

Loud footsteps and slamming cell doors are heard at all hours of the day.

However, it’s most disturbing sound is it’s most perplexing, the wails of children.

It is historically documented that in its early days, children as young as eight years old were jailed among adult offenders.

And between 1837 and 1838, three infants were born to unwed mothers serving out their prison terms.

Unfortunately, due to poor conditions of the jail, two of those children perished in the cell they shared with their mother.

It’s not uncommon to be exploring the jail and suddenly hear the unnerving cries of a small child emanating from the shadows.

The Cruel Jailer

As with many haunted jails, it’s not just the tormented souls of former inmates who refuse to pass to the other side.

According to the owners and visitors, the ghost of a former jailer known for his cruelty remains in the jail. 

In life, the jailer took a great deal of pleasure torturing the inmates. But it was the children who took the majority of his abuse.

It wasn’t uncommon for the battered and bloodied body of a child being found in a cell barely clinging to life after one of his visits.

The cruelty the jailer engaged him appears to have remained with him beyond the grave.

Visitors to Littledean Jail have reported being grabbed and shoved by the malevolent ghost.

While others have claimed to see his dark apparition going from cell to cell more than likely looking for his next victim.

Today, Littledean Jail is home to The Crime Through Time Museum.

There, visitors can see a wide variety of exhibits dealing with crime and punishment.

Among those exhibits are methods of torture, the horrors of Nazi concentration camps and witchcraft memorabilia.

Gloucestershire’s Littledean Jail is not only a place for the avid fan of crime and punishment.

But a place for the ghost enthusiast as well.


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