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Clink Prison


The Clink Prison dates back to 1144 making it one of England’s oldest and most notorious prisons. Positioned in the heart of modern-day Southwark and built on the original site, The Clink Prison Museum presents the scandalous truth of Old Bankside through a hands-on educational experience. There are opportunities to view archaeological artefacts, experience the sights, sounds and smells of the prison, handle torture devices, and to view and hear all about the tales of torment and many misfortunes of the inmates of the infamous Clink Prison.

The Clink was a prison in Southwark, which operated from the 12th century until 1780. The prison served a local manor area owned by the Bishop of Winchester, who became second in power only to the King himself.  The Clink was possibly the oldest men's prison and probably the oldest women's prison in England.  During its remarkably long span, it housed the usual drunken vagrants, vagabonds and other seemingly petty criminals.  The Bishop could also imprison heretics.

John Rogers, the man responsible for translating the Bible into English from Latin during the reign of Queen ‘Bloody’ Mary I was imprisoned.  Also Puritans who went on to become the first Pilgrim Fathers, settlers of the New World in what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts in the United States.  In 1592, Henry Barrowe and John Greenwood were released from The Clink, founded the Independent Church. They returned to The Clink in 1593 and were then hung at Tyburn. The Independent Church congregation eventually sailed to America on the Mayflower.

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