The Bridge of Sighs.
In the city of Chester in the county of Cheshire can be found a small footbridge which spans the Chester canal. Back in 1808 before the present day Northgate existed, this spot was where the city’s gaol was located and also where the main gate to the city could be found.
At the gaol could be found the Norman Dungeons which were 30 feet below ground and were the source of a lot of suffering. One such dungeon was known as the Chamber of little Ease and earned its name from being only 4 feet 6 inches high and 2 feet wide with very poor ventilation.
The bridge became known as ” The Bridge of Sighs” because prisoners who had been condemned to death were led across the bridge from the gaol to the Bluecoat building on the other side of the canal which had used to be a school and contained a chapel dedicated to St John. It was here that the condemned men and women would receive the last rights before being led back across the bridge, (which back then would have had iron railings to stop anyone trying to escape) to the gaol where they would be executed.
The reason this bridge was utilised was that it avoided leading the condemned person through the streets where they may have attempted to escape, either through their own efforts or by using accomplices.
Although the Norman Dungeons have now been filled in there have been reports of muffled moans and cries of despair being heard. Also on windy nights there have been reports of muffled thumps being heard, these are thought to be related to the gibbet cages which were hung from the city walls and held the remains of prisoners, these would have banged about in windy weather, and could be what people are still hearing.