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Heritage Open Day 2023
Sat 9th Sept

Heritage Open Day Events at The Old Gaol – Sat 9th September

As part of Heritage Open Days, and to mark Buckingham Old Gaol’s 275th anniversary, we are holding a day of free events on Saturday 9th September.

The Gaol will be open, and free, until 4pm.

From 11am to 3pm we will have activities for children - including face-painting, dressing up and crafts – as well as free entry to the museum for everyone, and special historical guides to introduce you to Buckingham history.


There is no need to book for this part of the event - please come along any time and join in the fun!

Evening Event: History Talks - from 6pm onwards

The evening will showcase three local historians: Tony Seaton, Ian Orton, and Ed Grimsdale, who will give short talks about the Gaol and Buckinghamshire's history, plus Q&A sessions in the Old Exercise Yard.


Canapes and refreshments will be served as part of the experience.

IMPORTANT: The Evening History Talks are free, but registration is essential and limited to 50 places, so if you book and then later realise you aren’t able to make it please cancel the booking so someone else can have your place.

How to Book for the Evening History Talks

  • Book online here. (Places are free, but running out fast!)

  • A limited number of spaces are bookable in the museum shop. Visit, or call 01280 823020, during opening hours, 10am – 4pm, Monday to Saturday.

About the Evening History Talks

Buckinghamshire’s tragic historian:
The Life and work of George Lipscomb

Tony Seaton

Local historian Tony Seaton will be talking about George Lipscomb of Quainton (1773-1846), author of the first and greatest history of the County of Buckinghamshire, published in 1846.


In celebration of the 250th anniversary of Lipscomb’s life and works, Tony will be discussing Lipscomb, his books and the treasury of original printing plates and blocks, which will on display for the first time at this special event at Buckingham Old Gaol.

Justice at its finest? The trial of
Simon Byrne

ian orton

Simon Byrne was an Irish bare knuckle prize fighter who was held in the Old Gaol during June 1830 before his trial at the Buckingham Summer Assizes for the manslaughter of Alexander (Sandy) Mackay, a Scottish pugilist, during a boxing match.


Justice was discharged quickly in 1830 and Byrne’s trial, which also implicated some of the greatest sporting names of the day, only lasted a day with the jury taking just two minutes to reach a verdict. But did Byrne get strung up or walk free?

the history of
gham old gaol

ed grimsdale

Rounding up the night of talks is Buckingham’s local historian Ed Grimsdale, the resident historian of Buckingham Old Gaol.


Ed's much-awaited talk will focus on the history of the Gaol to commemorate the 275th anniversary of its building.


Ed will be covering the need for a new Gaol in 1748 up to its ‘life after death’ as a museum from the late 20th century. There will be plenty of stories inbetween of the Gaol's benefactors, architects, keepers and - of course - its prisoners, and all the tales about grisly crime and punishment relating to the Old Gaol!

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