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The Moothall

Introduction


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THE MOOTHALL
- INTRODUCTION
- CROSS-SECTION
- BAILIFFS HALL
- FOOD ACTIVITY

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The Moothall and Old Gaol were part of a complex of buildings belonging to the Archbishop of York. The area around Hexham, known as Hexhamshire, belonged to the Archbishop. The Moothall was the entrance gateway to the Archbishop’s buildings. The different floors were used for many things:-

  • the ground floor was used for storing food and weapons and as a guard room
  • the first floor was a court room
  • the second floor was a hall for entertaining rich and powerful people
  • the turrets had small rooms used for storage, as private rooms, and one was possibly a chapel
  • the roof was used to keep watch for troublemakers – both Scots and Reivers

The current building was built about 1400AD. It is on the site of an earlier ‘Court of Pleas’, parts of which still remain in the ground floor rooms. The gate passage has three arches. The hinge pins for their doors can still be seen.
The ground floor is now used as an Art Gallery by local artists. In the 19th Century it was used as a lock up for local troublemakers.
The first floor was the courtroom. Prisoners from the Gaol were brought here to be tried and if found guilty sentenced to punishments such as fines, whippings, time in the stocks or pillory, banishment, or even death.
The second floor is where the Archbishop’s Bailiff would have lived. He held feasts here for rich, powerful people. In one corner is a ‘buffet’, a shelf where the Bailiff would have put expensive cups and plates on display to show how wealthy the Archbishop of York was. In the late 18th and 19th Centuries this floor was used as the ‘Langstairs Prison’ for debtors.
There are two turrets, one overlooking the Market Place and one looking towards the Gaol. There are also remains which suggest there would have been a wooden platform overlooking the steep road, Hallstile Bank. This was probably used to protect the building and town from any troublemakers coming up the hill.

Glossary
TOPIC GLOSSARY
The Moothall

Historical
HISTORICAL SOURCES
Timeline for Moothall
Tudor Recipes

Information
INFORMATION
Teachers' Resources
Opening times & Directions
Hire the Moothall
 
 
 
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