Category Archives: Shepton Mallet Prison

Declaration of Death - Harry Dainton

Uncovering Shepton Mallet Prison Raises More Questions

Shepton Mallet Prison’s future seems certain as a reincarnation into luxury apartment blocks by a high-end property developer who was sold this grade II* listed building by the MoJ. The development has been postponed until up to 2020, although work can begin any time, with just four weeks notice. However, questions are still being asked about those who have laid underground at the site for up to 400 years. The prison owners, developer City and Country, have never spoken publicly about how their Read more [...]
BRISTOL MERCURY 25 NOV 1891 Page 1 smaller

THE BATH WIFE MURDER PRISONER SENTENCED TO DEATH – BRISTOL MERCURY (EXTRACT) NOV 25TH 1891

Harry Dainton, 35, Mason, was indicted for the wilful murder of his wife, Hannah Dainton, at Bath, on the 8th September last. Mr R. W. Kingslake and Mr G. R. Askwith prosecuted on behalf of the Crown, and the prisoner was defended by Mr H. E. Duke. The prisoner pleaded “Not guilty” in a clear voice. Mr Kingslake, in opening the case, said he would ask the jury to give him their earnest attention while he endeavoured, as clearly as he could, to unfold to them the story of that most foul Read more [...]
A hidden history of Britain by Michael Portillo and Transparent TV

Portillo’s Hidden History – Revealing Britain’s abandoned heritage gems

In this truly unique take on evaluating Britain's "lost" history, Micheal Portillo shows he is a man of the people (after all) by shining his torch light on history that although abandoned still bears witness to extraordinary stories. Episode 1 tells the fascinating, but squeamish, story of the Royal London Hospital. Best not to watch while eating your supper! This first programme in the series features interesting insights into Jack the Ripper (could the killer have been working at the hospital?) Read more [...]
Shepton Mallet Prison

Ghostly Attention at Shepton Mallet Prison

Shepton Mallet Prison has been dubbed Britain’s most haunted prison, even The Sun has splashed this headline. What happens next may be down to the stories or the ghosts of Shepton Mallet Prison itself, who may now be having their say prior to the property developer outlining in detail what they intend to do with those poor souls still buried at the site. Shepton Mallet Prison was closed to save money in 2013 by the Government, in its place we were going to have a super-sized prison. Now we Read more [...]
Shepton Mallet Prison

Human stories remains a big draw for Shepton Mallet Prison

Shepton Mallet Prison - one of the UK's most ancient prisons - is proving that demand for its untold human stories and history is not abating. Recently, TV production company Transparent Television spent a week at the prison filming for a major television series for Channel 5, presented by Michael Portillo. Transparent Television's  programme about the prison will dig a little deeper to find untold human stories, and will be aired in the autumn by the major broadcaster. Popular presenter Michael Read more [...]
Shepton Mallet Prison

Buy a prison flat – but don’t bring your car.

Shepton Mallet Prison has been lost to a developer's viability plan, denying the town of its rightful share of a windfall heritage asset. It came down to a planning committee, with 8 voting for the proposal and 4 against. We now will have a 400 year old ancient prison of some significance  being transformed into 146 flats, where there are 6 parking spaces for every 5 homes (some of which have 3 bedrooms). This includes visitors and delivery spaces. Most agree this is at least 100 spaces short. Neighbours Read more [...]
Shepton Mallet Prison

Shepton Mallet Prison’s Last Stand

January 2nd 2017 is the deadline for feedback on the latest plans for Shepton Mallet Prison.  The prison was sold in January 2013 in a bid to save £63 million a year in running costs across six prisons.  A timeline of the prison sale has been published here. Below  is my objection to the latest plans, which I hope will encourage more people to give their voice (for or against) the proposals for the future of Shepton Mallet Prison. Daniel Foster – Planning Officer Planning Application Read more [...]
Shepton Mallet Prison

An open letter to City & Country following the rejection of their plans for Shepton Mallet Prison – “please live up to the high standards and integrity you set yourself”

[For background information and a timeline of the prison sale, click here] Dear Tim and Helen, [Tim Sargeant, Owner of City & Country Group, Helen Moore, City & Country MD] Your plans for Shepton Mallet prison (146 homes and only 150 parking spaces) were rejected in part this week in an extraordinary planning board decision that didn’t align with the Council’s own planning officer's recommendations.  The main sticking point was the parking provision and you have put on public Read more [...]

A history of selling an ancient prison in Shepton Mallet

January 2013: Justice Secretary Chris Grayling announced that Shepton Mallet would be one of seven prisons that would be closed in a bid to save £63 million a year in running costs across the six prisons. The proposed super prisons would be around 25% bigger than Britain's existing largest facility and a feasibility study into its construction is to begin. The super prisons would be in London, north-west England or north Wales. The prisons that are to close are Bullwood Hall in Essex, Canterbury, Read more [...]
Writer Stephen Harding

The dark history at Shepton Mallet Prison during World War II? Was the Dirty Dozen inspired by Shepton Mallet’s gaol and were World War II US servicemen put to death because of their race?

Stephen Harding is an Army veteran, a long-time defence-affairs journalist and his New York Times best-seller “The Last Battle”— the true story of the only time in World War II when American and German troops joined forces and fought together—is currently in film production.  Stephen is fascinated by the history of Shepton Mallet prison, researching it extensively with the help of local history books from Franics Disney and Alan Stone (Shepton Mallet Local History Group). In a recent Read more [...]