Project: Jedburgh Castle Jail and Museum

Project introduction by Chris Fox, Founder of Dead Zone Paranormal Adventures

Jedburgh AbbeyJedburgh is situated in the Scottish borders just 10 miles from the border with England. Jedburgh itself is a lovely little place with some good accommodation and the food served locally is fantastic.

Its also home to a few tourist attractions and museums there of course is the Abbey ruins built in 1118 and over the centuries was raided by the English in retribution to battles with Scottish armies. It was home to monks and a place of worship until 1871 when it was deemed unsafe and a new parish church was built.

JedburghThe Mary Queen of Scots house which is set just off the town centre built in the sixteenth century its now a listed building. It became a museum in 1930 and to this day it’s said that Mary Queen of Scots stayed there for a few weeks before her death.

Jedburgh JailAh, and then there is the Jedburgh Castle Gaol.

I feel I must go a bit off track here. I am originally from a town called Paisley in Renfrewshire, Scotland I now live in the North East of England an hour and a half away from the Scottish border and yes, I get a bit homesick. My interest in the paranormal started way before a certain TV programme hit our screens. I have seen and heard some unexplainable things while working in security and that TV show just made me more determined to follow my interest.

My love for Jedburgh occurred when I first stayed in the town for the weekend to attend what we called at the time a ghost hunt. I travelled by bus on the Saturday and had to stay till the Monday as the bus did not run on a Sunday. I remember my first visit well it was the 4th April 2009 I stayed in the Spread-eagle hotel on the high street it was very comfortable, and the food was amazing. The folk there are very friendly and make you feel welcome. Since then I have visited Jedburgh for my scotch pie fix from the local bakers and regular visits to the Gaol for paranormal investigations including a 24hour on the 12th November 2019 with Tony Liddell from Otherworld North East you can read his report here.

Jedburgh Castle Gaol is situated at the top of Castle Gate overlooking the town the castle is thought to of been built in the early 12th century consisting of a wooden motte and bailey construction. Over the next 2 centuries ownership of the castle changed hands repeatedly between the scots and English until 1409 by now a stone structure was demolished and later the Jedburgh gallows was on the site.

In 1823 the Jedburgh Gaol was built on the site by Archibald Elliott and in 1847 Thomas Brown changed the layout which was closed in 1868. The building was then restored to its 1820s appearance.

It is estimated that Jedburgh castle gaol and museum opened its doors to the public in 1968. Within the walls the building itself is made up of the gaolers’ house in the centre. This block has been turned into a history museum for the town of Jedburgh and surrounding area.

Facing the gaolers’ house to your left is the Bridewell and workroom blocks with 8 cells in the upper floor. You enter this block via the gaolers’ house and immediately on your left is a condemned cell. However back in the day the condemned cells were in the male criminal block which is situated at the rear of the gaolers’ house.

To your right is the female criminal/male debtors block. Looking back through the records kids were also imprisoned in this block and many of the inmates were in for petty crimes. The gaoler was able to access all the blocks via bridges to the upper floors this is still the case today except for the male criminal block which is currently not open to the public but us paranormal investigators get access.

The Gaol is a brilliant tourist attraction with free admission (donations welcome) There is free parking and there is a gift shop, toilets, disabled toilets and baby changing facilities.

There is a lot to see and do for a day out and the children can dress up as well as plenty of hands-on activities they can enjoy.

The staff and curators are friendly and very knowledgeable about the local history of Jedburgh and the gaol. Throughout their open season live borders and the gaol organise various events and open days. At Halloween the set up various displays which has caught a few ghost hunters unaware during the night.

In 2018 Deadzone Paranormal Adventures was invited to take part in a paranormal talk and mini investigation at the gaol with all proceeds going to the gaol. It was a great privilege to be part of that and we felt honoured to be invited back for another talk in 2019 which is aptly named “Dead science” if you have a keen interest in ghosts and things that go bump in the night and want to learn what we do keep your eyes peeled on the gaol website here.

Or email them directly here.

For all those interested in the paranormal the Jedburgh castle gaol, Mary queen of Scots house and Jedburgh town hall is home to many spirits with many reported occurrences especially at the gaol. We as a team have had many experiences there, I could tell you all about it but there is no fun in that get yourself along and experience it for yourself. Even during the day the building has an atmosphere.

I would like to take this opportunity to say a special thank you to all the staff and curators at Jedburgh castle gaol and live borders for all the help and support you have given myself and Deadzone Paranormal Adventures over the years. Thank you, guys (you know who you are).

Jedburgh related blogs

Jedburgh Jail videos

Jedburgh Town Hall tour

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