WALSINGHAM ABBEY

Shirehall Museum  

 
 

Today the Shirehall, Walsingham's Georgian Courtroom, has become our local history museum and Tourist Information Centre as well as the usual visitor entrance for the Abbey Grounds.


Used for court sessions from the late 18th century right up until 1971, it is a much earlier building, probably built around 1500.


The whole courtroom is there to be explored: try a seat in the dock or the judge’s chair!


Displays explain the sometimes harsh story of local law and order, and show interesting historic photographs, artefacts found around the village, and the history of pilgrimage here since medieval times.


Walsingham Bridewell, or House of Correction is only a 5 minute walk from the Shirehall Museum. An extraordinary survival, it is almost completely unaltered since the last prisoners were let out!

Visits are independent, the key may be requested at the ticket desk in the museum, or you can join one of the excellent guided tours.


The prison stands on the site of the former leper hospital. Set up as a House of Correction in 1598, to house vagrants and beggars and train them in useful trades, it was rebuilt in the 18th century to the plans of John Howard, the prison reformer.

 

Walsingham Shirehall Museum & Bridewell Prison

Historic photo of Walsingham's Georgian courtroom

The Shirehall Museum and the Bridewell Prison are two of Walsingham’s hidden treasures.


Admission to the Abbey Grounds includes the Shirehall Museum.


Admission to the Bridewell is on request, we keep the key at the Museum (deposit required).


Find out more of Walsingham’s extraordinary history, and book a Guided Tour of Walsingham, including the Abbey Grounds and Priory ruins, Museum, Bridewell and village.

Contact Scilla Landale

Victorian sign stating Dogs and trespassers shot according to law
Model of female prisoner locked up in Walsingham Bridewell