Tourism in the Forest of Dean
The premier website for exploring Gloucestershire.
Eating and drinking out in the Forest of Dean
When coming to the Forest of Dean either to visit Littledean jail or any of the other great local tourism attractions in the area, we can highly recommend these places to stay , eat and drink ….
Fern Ticket Hotel, family run pub and restaurant in Cinderford,
The Woodman Pub and Restaurant in Parkend.
The Yew Tree in Longhope.
Littledean House Hotel and Indian Restaurant .. family run establishment in Littledean and undoubtedly one of the best curry houses in the county .
The Speech House Hotel … Family run and one of the most historic hotels in the area
other great restaurants in the area include ….
Littledean House Hotel ….. A quaint and popular hotel.
There are also many other Camp Sites and Bed and Breakfasts to stay at in the area .
For local taxi services we would recommend …
Local Tourism attractions to visit include ….
A BRIEF TOUR OF THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL...
For the very best of what to do, see, eat, drink and stay in the Royal Forest of Dean, visit the premier website for exploring Gloucestershire...
Life inside the Littledean Jail was seemingly far better than life outside - for most of the Forest community. Life outside was certainly hard, most if not all those that lived in and around the Forest of Dean in the 18th century were destitute, disease ridden, illiterate and very, very poor.
Those that were imprisoned here were at least guaranteed food, a place to sleep and some form of education, if only in religious instruction - namely Catholicism.
On 18th November 1791, Joseph Marshall, a 19 year old labourer was the first inmate admitted here. His crime - stealing a spade.
Convictions here ranged from petty theft, lewd women (prostitutes), military deserters, fraud and embezzlement, assault and battery to murder.
Children as young as 8 years old were incarcerated here and whipped with the birch, cat of nine tails and kept in solitary confinement. Between 1837-1838 three babies were born here, though only one survived.
First Gloucestershire Policeman killed in the line of duty!
Police Sergeant Samuel Beard stationed here at Littledean Jail was the first policeman in the County to be killed in the line of duty at Speech House Hotel in the Forest of Dean in 1861.
There is a tombstone in Littledean churchyard sacred to the memory of this brave officer.
The last woman in Gloucestershire to be charged with witchcraft was tried here at the Jailhouse in 1906. Cinderford wise woman, Ellen Hayward (known as Old Ellen) conducted her own defence and was subsequently found not guilty!!!
In 1854 Littledean Jail was no longer used as a House of Correction, used instead as a Police Station, remand prison and petty sessional Court from 1874. It was also to serve as a headquarters for the County’s mounted police, stabling horses here inside the one time treadmill outbuilding.
It was also used as a barracks and archive store during the war for Gloucester Cathedral and the County’s Public Records Office.
In 2003 the new owners moved in - who are they?
The titillating Hammer House of Horrors cult film - ‘House of Whipcord’ was set and filmed here in 1974 - still very much a cult film today. Littledean Jail still retains its magnetism as the perfect location for film location projects.
- More about Littledean Jail for hire for film and television...
More to be added soon - come back in a while!
Change of Ownership
The police station itself was closed here in 1972 and the last court session sat here on 24th October 1985. The end of an era!
It was sold to Ecclesiastical Insurance Group in 1986 and used for their computer mainframe, archive records store and disaster recovery unit.
The Year 2003 - New Inmates Arrive!
In September 2003 the Jail was purchased by its new owners and refurbished partly as a Baronial style family home and partly to house one of the world’s largest and finest private collections of crime related memorabilia, ephemera and curiosities - ‘The Crime Through Time Collection’.
Andy Jones, some say controversial owner of the Jail and the collection, inherited with the property the title of ‘Master of the Gaol’ and his wife Nicola (‘the boss’), the flattering title of ‘Matron’. They moved into the property along with their six children in September 2004.
Contact Littledean Jail...
- Tel: 01594 826659
- Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/eSV5mcPK3gF2
How to AVOID Littledean Jail!
When you approach Littledean, the ‘Gateway to the Forest of Dean’, (don’t) follow the brown tourist signs?... (surely not!)
Cars can be accommodated at the entrance to the jail whilst COACHES should simply use the Littledean village bus stops as ‘drop off points’. These are situated approximately 80 metres from the entrance to the jail on either side of the road.
Escape from Littledean Jail!
Gloucester is just 20 minutes from the Jail as is Tintern Abbey, but if you want to get further away, Bristol is 45 minutes, (you have to head down the A48 and cross the Severn Bridge at Chepstow!) and Cheltenham, Hereford and Cardiff are only 40 minutes from the Jail. Birmingham is an hour and a bit ,whilst London is just under 3 hours away - but who’d want to escape to there!
All around Littledean and throughout the Forest of Dean there are some weird and interesting stories, myths and legends to be found.
At the nearby Littledean Hall stories of ghosts and strange happenings are common knowledge to the locals of the Forest of Dean as well as ghost hunters and paranormal investigators around the world.
Here are a few topics which you may of interest...
Littledean Jail - Home to the infamous Crime Through Time collection
Standing at the gateway to the Royal Forest of Dean, this former House of Correction – Littledean Jail was designed and built by the Pioneer of Prison Reform – Sir George Onesiphorous Paul and leading Prison Architect of his day – William Blackburn. As a result of the sudden death of Blackburn it was completed under the supervision of his new brother-in-law, architect William Hobson in 1791.
This remarkable Grade II* listed building was built as the most up-to-date, revolutionary House of Correction of its time, and was later seen as the Government’s role model for London’s Pentonville Prison and taken across the seas for the world famous Philadelphian Cherry Hill Penitentiary System in America. It was built for the miserly sum of £1,650. The building work was started in 1788 by Gabriel Rogers, who went bankrupt as a result of not being able to complete the work at such low costs. London Builder J. Fentiman was brought in to finish the job.
Behind the austere gatehouse entrance, the prison, with it’s formidable sandstone façade remains much as it was when first built. Steeped in history and infamy, its awesome appearance provides a stark reminder of the hard labour and craftsmanship needed to build this architecturally important jailhouse.
Here are a few photographs of Littldean Jail when it was still used as a house of correction, police station and courthouse...
Reputed to be one of the most haunted historic properties in Britain
Believe it or not!!
Freaks of nature, oddities, curiosities, the macabre and more
One of the country’s best preserved, surviving early Victorian prisons.
Britain’s only family to own and reside in a jail.
Ghosts are in abundance throughout Gloucestershire, and never more so at Littledean Jail where unusual sitings have not only been witnessed at first hand by The Jones family who live in the jail but by many paranormal groups.
On one occasion the experience became so intense that one paranormal investigation climaxed with a fear of unusal and incomprehendable events; from museum exhibits shaking, lights flickering, and ending with complete loss of power! The group were last seen heading towards Cinderford screaming their already decapitated heads off!!!
Other haunted goings on nearby have been seen at The Littledean House Hotel where a ghost called Fred resides on a landing of the hotel, and on the fringes of Littledean is one of the most haunted houses in Great Britain - Littledean Hall.
Here is a list with links of other tales of haunted happenings in the Royal Forest of Dean...
- Littledean Hall
- Littledean House Hotel
- Forest Folklore
Obviously the scariest presence here is of course ‘The Jailer’ himself. Littledean Jail is reputed to be one of Britain’s most haunted properties... thankfully folklore and modern day findings claim that the ghosts are actually friendly!! Since its opening in 2005 the Jail has attracted the interest of many ghosthunters, paranormal and psychic investigators... desperately hoping to encounter something less frightening than the Jailer.
Littledean Jail is featured on the ‘Ghosts of Gloucestershire’ DVD starring ‘Richard Felix’, who appeared on televisions top rated spooky programme ‘Most Haunted’.
A bit about the Ghosts of Gloucestershire DVD
Richard Felix, Ghostfinder General, continues The National Ghost Tour of Great Britain in Gloucestershire.
He joins forces with The Gloucestershire Paranormal Research Group who have first hand evidence of the scariest places in this county. These include Woodschester Mansion, The Ancient Ram Inn, Littledean Jail and other haunted inns and hitels. Richard visits Berkeley castle to learn the chilling tale of of how King Edward II was horrendously murdered on September 21st 1327. His ghostly screams can still be heard today echoing far beyond the castle walls... so turn down your lights and give your full attention as you are taken on a ghostly tour of haunted Gloucestershire.
Order your copy of Ghosts of Gloucestershire
If you can't wait and would like to see the Ghost of Gloucestershire DVD with over two hours of ghost stories about Gloucestershire, then why not ORDER your copy now directly from Felix Films.