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  • Vernon Gate
  • Vernon Gate
  • Vernon Gate
  • Vernon Gate

1833-1834: The first person to be hanged in the jail

John Leedham was the first person to be hanged for committing bestiality with a sheep. He was from Ashbourne. He was hanged at 12pm on April 17th. John seemed firm and unfazed as he went towards the drop and wasn’t agitated. When the executioner struck the blow his body feel towards the ground. From the length of the fall he didn’t appear to suffer much. The criminal was of short stature and strongly built aged 20 years.

In 1834 an inspector of prisons report described the prison as simply one of the most complete prisons in England. There were reasonably complete staffs at the prison including a governor by 1832 paid £500 per year. The prison also had a surgeon on £100 plus £22 for medicine, and a chaplain Rev George Pickering who had been in prison work since 1813 and received a salary of £150 per year.

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