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