Old Derby Gaol
Most wouldn’t even know this place existed, tucked away in the depths of an unsuspecting building, sits the remains of the Old Derby Gaol in Friar Gate. A place of imprisonment dating back to 1756.
Many have perished in the building’s underground cells, as well as its surroundings. Whether that be from rampant disease, murder, suicide or even the hangman’s noose- since many executions were conducted here under England’s infamous Bloody Code. This code named more than 200 offenses punishable by death, ranging from murder to the theft of sheep. But what’s more, beheadings were also performed at the gaol, including those of the Pentrich Martyrs, which saw three men hanged and then beheaded for organizing an armed uprising.
With thousands of prisoners having passed through or passed away within the Old Derby Gaol, many claim it to remain haunted by its dark past. Energy is supposedly still present within the only remaining cellblock.
Ghosts of the Old Derby Gaol
Many to visit the Old Derby Goal have reported to have paranormal experiences within her walls. Even to the point where they could not stay within the building, instead fleeing in fear. They have heard unexplainable sounds ranging from footsteps, chains rattling, knocks and voices. The doors are also said to have moved on their own, but the poltergeist activity doesn’t stop there, a chain has also been captured moving, a display dummy has been rocked back and forth before being thrown to the floor and a whiskey glass has slid across a table before also smashing onto the floor.
Visual phenomena has also been reported. With the most notable instance coming from the owner, Richard Felix- renowned paranormal historian. Richard saw a grey human shaped figure move throughout the gaol one Friday afternoon, something that has surely stuck with him.
Others have reported to smell flowers near the Debtor’s Cell and some have even reportedly been overcome with emotions that do not seem to be their own. The paranormal reports aren’t only exclusive to the cellblock, with some reporting to sight figures right outside the building, even before entering.
Interestingly, much of the prisoner graffiti left etched across the former cell doors, indicates paranormal experiences may have been present during the 17-1800s while the prison was still in operation. Here, many Apotropaic Marks, more commonly known as Witch Marks, are evident. Typically, these would be marked into doorways to ward off bad or evil spirits. It leaves one to speculate, what these prisoners may have been afraid of?
Visiting the Haunted Old Derby Gaol
The Old Derby Gaol is an amazing piece of history that I highly recommend visiting. The owner, Richard Felix, is extremely passionate and knowledgable about the history of his venue and excited to share it with guests. The gaol remains open to the public as a museum and occasionally hosts ghost and paranormal events.
If you enjoyed this article, you might also like to read about the haunted Shrewsbury Prison.
Thanks for reading!