Drawn, etched and scratched into the delicate limewashed walls of the 19th-century cell block at Richmond Castle are thousands of drawings and inscriptions. They provide an extraordinary and unique record of dissent, rebellion, politics, faith, friendship and pride across the 20th century.

This gallery highlights some of the graffiti drawn by those who visited or were held in the cells over the years. Thes include pieces by conscientious objectors imprisoned at the castle during the First World War.

Each deliberate and carefully delineated piece of graffiti represents one individual’s voice. Each voice tells a story. Some describe reasons for objection to the war, religious or political affiliations. Others recount poignant, comforting or familiar biblical text or hymns, while some simply record names, date of detention or reasons for confinement.

Although we know a lot about a very small number of these inscriptions and drawings, a new research project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund aims to reveal those stories which are yet to be uncovered.

Read more about the cell block project

Read More

  • Research Appeals

    Did you write on the walls of the Richmond Castle cell block? Was a friend or relative held in cells? Our research project needs your help.

  • Uncovering hidden messages

    We caught up with two of the project's research volunteers to talk about their experience and their recent findings.

  • Conscientious Objectors' Stories

    Read about the individual experiences of some of the conscientious objectors before, during and after the war.

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