Ruthin Gaol – The Prisoner Ghosts


Ruthin Gaol Prison

​We’re going back to the shores of my homeland for this article as we take a look at Ruthin Gaol in North Wales. Constructed on the site of a former correction home, this old prison bred misery and torment for all it’s inmates…

Ruthin Gaol

In 1775 the correction house ( Bridewell ) was demolished and construction started on a new building with the view to it becoming a prison.

During the first few years Ruthin Gaol contained just four cells but by 1837 it had expanded to hold 37 notorious inmates. It was then expanded again in 1865 to mirror the Pentonville Prison in London

By 1878 it was big enough to take on prisoners from many of the surrounding welsh counties – it was a very busy place! 

For some reason Ruthin Gaol’s long history only contains a record of one execution in 1903. An inmate named William Hughes was hanged for killing his wife. 

The Cell of William Hughes
The Cell of William Hughes

Ruthin Gaol also housed a famous villain named Coch Bach y Bala ( John Jones ). This character was known throughout North Wales for being a master thief and poacher and a master escapist. 

He is known to have got out of many different British prisons and even managed to escape Ruthin Gaol on two separate occasions. 

In 1916 Ruthin Gaol’s use as a prison came to an end and Denbighshire council bought the property in 1926. From this point in time until 2002 it was used as offices and a library service. In 2002 the magnificent building was finally turned into a museum for the public. 

The Hauntings

Ruthin Gaol was not a nice place for criminals to end up – it was full of torture and misery. Old buildings that contain this much misery and pain are known to trap the negative energy from these cruel acts.

There is a constant stream of paranormal reports which come out of this old prison from staff and from guests. 

The Cells of Ruthin Gaol
The Cells of Ruthin Gaol

The most common report involves the old prison doors slamming shut throughout the day and night. It always happens as a domino effect – one doors slams shut leading to the next one shutting until the whole wing has closed doors.

William Hughes ( the executed inmate ) is thought to be the culprit behind this activity. The cell in which he spent his last night is the most popular attraction of the former prison but it also houses a lot of paranormal activity

This cell is set up with a modern digital commentary that is triggered when tourists enter the room. The commentary explains the details of William’s final hours and the crime he committed. 

Late at night when there are no tourists the security guards constantly hear the digital commentary being tripped but when they arrive at the cell nobody is present. 

William seems to be drawn to female visitors to the prison. Many women have reported poltergeist activity around them and in some cases inappropriate touches to certain areas of their body.

But Hughes is not the only William that stalks the dark corridors of this sinister old prison. A prison guard named William Kerr disappeared one shift during his daily rounds of the prison. 

Kerr was known for being an extremely twisted and cruel prison worker who inflicted misery on many inmates. It is thought that these same inmates overpowered him and killed him, ripping up his body and hiding any trace of the grisly murder. 

The spirit of Kerr is thought to now be trapped within the walls of the prison where he inflicted so much pain and misery. 

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