HMP Shepton Mallet, also known as Cornhill now lies abandoned, bereft of those who were incarcerated here. Having closed as recently as 2013 this formidable prison operated as the oldest prison in England. However, before its closure it was a Category C Lifer Prison incarcerating the most hardened and dangerous of criminals including the notorious Kray Twins in the 1950s. The empty corridors and lifeless cells are crying out to be investigated by those who have a fascination for what life must have been like in such a desolate and unforgiving existence. Originally built as a House of Correction in 1625 this prison has a terrifying history.
Much of what has taken place here was extremely brutal. In the 17th and 18th Centuries the men, women and children who were imprisoned here existed in the most horrific conditions where they were left starving in packed, small pox infested cells. It is said that former inmates lie in unmarked graves throughout the grounds. Seven Judicial executions took place here between 1889 and 1926 but the full amount of executions that took place here prior to this is unknown. In the second world war it was adapted as a military prison and used by the British and the Americans. By the end of 1944 sixteen Americans had been hanged and 2 shot by firing squads for crimes that included rape and murder.