Atheist Charles Southwell was imprisoned in Bristol Gaol for blasphemous libel in 1842.
Southwell had a written an article in his periodical, the Oracle of Reason, criticising the Bible. For this he was sentenced to a year in Bristol Gaol and fined £100, an enormous sum. He served the full sentence and was released on 6 February 1843.
While in prison he wrote a pamphlet entitled ‘Paley refuted in his own words’ and probably wrote the autobiographical ‘The Confessions of a Freethinker’.
The gaol was closed in 1883 and largely demolished in 1898.
All that remains to mark the site now is the granite front entrance on Cumberland Road, Bristol. It resembles a small castle complete with its rusting mock portcullis and a small section of outer wall.