Hexham Old Gaol and Moot Hall

The Hexham Old Gaol and Moot Hall is situated in the market town of Hexham in Northumberland, reputed to be the oldest purpose-built prison in England; it was built around 1330 under the order of Margot and William Melton, the Archbishop of York and Lord of Hexham and both are scheduled Ancient Monuments.

The Hexham Historic Trust
Architect/client representative
Simpson and Brown Architects, Edinburgh
Contract value

The gaol held prisoners captured within Hexhamshire district, an area ruled over by the Archbishop of York and his Bailiff’s and his officials administered the district from the Moothall. Until a new County jail was built in the 1820’s in Morpeth, the building was still in use as the Hexham House of Correction for petty thieves. In later life the building was used as a bank, solicitors' office, a  home for the Rifle Volunteers, a Billiards Club, and fire watch building during the Second World War.

By the 1970’s the building was in a poor condition and the council carried out much needed repair work re-opening the building in 1980 as a museum and tourist information centre


The Dean and Chapter and its Fabric Advisory Committee is thrilled with the quality of work produced by HPR Ltd. The skills exhibited in stone masonry are particularly fine. Managers and staff have developed good relations with the client team – we couldn’t have asked for better attitude or commitment.

Lindy Gilliland Testimonial -
Lindy Gilliland - Newcastle Cathedral Project Manager

"From my personal perspective, this was one of the best projects I have been involved with over the last 35 years as a Chartered Building Surveyor, RIS Accredited in Building Conservation. My client role on this was a complete pleasure, because you and your team were first class, complementing the excellent professional design team. Well done!"

Richard Dunn -
PCC Project Co-ordinator, for St John the Baptist Church, Wilberfoss

"May I take this opportunity to thank you and your staff for your professional and unfailingly helpful conduct during this project. We particularly appreciate the efforts made to overcome the deficiencies and problems arising from the previous contractor."

Andrew Bodenham -
Blackett Ord Conservation

"HPR recognise, and allow for, the necessary archaeological recording to take place during consolidation work and the disruptions that this may cause to their planned programme of work comes as no surprise to them. This awareness means that their workforce is able to be pro-active in informing the archaeologist of any possible instances when recording may be necessary."

Mick Krupa -
NPHT Archaeologist at Nenthead Smeltmill

"Historic Property Restoration carried out the first phase of the refurbishment of the Grade II listed Town Hall. The company were extremely professional in their approach throughout the entire process as befits a company with extensive experience in the conservation and restoration sector."

David Lodge -
Greater Morpeth Development Trust

"Historic Property Restoration deliver good quality work to programme and budget on a regular basis. They are reliable and value for money."

Ian Merritt -
English Heritage Conservation and Maintenance Manager
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In 2005 as part of a £1.5m restoration and refurbishment scheme funded by the Historic Hexham Trust and carried out by Historic Property Restoration, the building was converted into a working museum. Works included a completely new mechanical and electrical installation, major structural alterations with steel supporting framework and a scenic glass lift and lift shaft. The lift gives access to all four floors of the building including the impressive dungeon.

HPR carried out repairs to the roof including new leadwork, provided bespoke joinery items manufactured in our joinery works at Prudhoe, and completed a raft of external works to comply with DDA regulation. We also reinstated a spiral stone staircase previously removed in the Victorian period and completed the internal fit-out and final decoration providing a new and improved exhibition space.