RE-OPENING MONDAY, 17th MAY !
In the past, these walks have sold out quickly.
DOORS OPEN : 10.00 a.m.
LAST MUSEUM ENTRY : 3.30 p.m.
DOORS CLOSE : 4.00 p.m.
Welcome to 272 years of dank, dark, despairing prison life in what was, originally, Buckingham's Castle Gaol.
Explore the cells that housed murderers, counterfeiters, poachers and thieves. Find out who attempted risky escapes, and who didn’t survive to tell the tale.
Walk through thousands of years of local history from
ancient days to the 20th century.
See how the last Ice Age shaped local geology and reflect on the brave servicemen from Buckingham and surrounding villages who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Great War.
Arts Council of England Accredited Museum # 188
Everything you need for an exciting visit to the historic town of
Buckingham and its surrounding area.
Visit our shop for maps, books, tickets, postcards and locally-sourced gifts.
Pop to the T.I.C.to book your Old Gaol Event, or Party.
DIAMONDS (FROM OUR DUKE) ARE A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND
THE DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM could afford to have his diamonds tacked so loosely on, that when he chose to shake a few off on the ground, he obtained all the fame he desired from the pickers-up who were generally les dames de la coeur! Our Duke never condescended to accept what he himself had dropped!
His cloaks were trimmed with great diamond buttons and diamond hat-bands, cockades and ear-rings yoked with great ropes and knots of pearls. That was, however, but for the ordinary dances. He had twenty seven suits of clothes made; the richest that embroidery, lace, silk, velvet, silver, gold and gems could contribute ; one of which was of white, uncut velvet, set all over, both suit and cloak, with diamonds valued at four score thousand pounds, besides a great feather, decorated with diamonds, as were also his sword girdle, hat and spurs.
In the Masques and Banquets with which Buckingham entertained the Court, he usually expended for the evening from one to five thousand pounds. I leave it to others to calculate the value of money ; the sums of this gorgeous wastefulness , it must be recollected , occurred before this million age of ours.
(From a note in George Villiers published in 1828.
The image is from a painting of the Duke,late in his life, by a Dutch artist which is housed in the Art Gallery of South Australia [ASGA].)
George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, was born in 1592; and was murdered in 1628;
He was a courtier, statesman, and patron of the art;s;
Villiers, a tall handsome man who loved display and jewellery was the favourite and possibly lover of King James I of England.
Despite his inglorious political and military record, Buckingham wheedled his way back into royal favour in the early years of King Charles I’s reign;
However, a disgruntled army officer assassinated him in Portsmouth.
He was the first non-Royal to be buried in Westminster Abbey, next to the tomb of King James I.
The Old Gaol was built in 1748 for Richard Grenville Temple, Lord Viscount of Cobham. (Sir ) George Gilbert Scott, born in Gawcott, added Cells and a Gaoler’s house in 1839.
Prisoners were incarcerated in damp cells with no heating, lights or toilets and fed with bread, water, soup, and gruel, with meat on high days, only. They exercised in the roofless yard and spent hard times in the punishment cell for misdemeanours.
People died in the gaol, others prisoner escaped over the wall and another walked out when the gaoler went home and forgot to lock the door. It is said to be haunted and paranormal investigators are regular visitors.
The building has been a police station, a fire station, an air-raid shelter and an ammunition store. In 1984, after several threats of demolition, the building was bought for a song by a charitable trust and saved for the town.
It is now run and maintained by volunteers.
Pay us a visit and learn more about our historic town and its surroundings
Adults - £3.50, Children - £2.00 (under 5s free)
Family Ticket (2 adults & 3 Children) - £9.00
Market Hill, Buckingham, MK18 1JX
from MONDAY through SATURDAY
Doors open : 10.00 a.m.
Last admission to Museum : 3.30 p.m.
Doors close : 4.00 p.m.