Prisoner escapes from Fen prison after keeper forgets to lock the gate

PUBLISHED: 13:10 30 January 2019

A talk on how prisoner Robert Nutter, a Catholic priest, escaped from Wisbech Castle when the gate keeper forgot to lock the gate.

A talk on how prisoner Robert Nutter, a Catholic priest, escaped from Wisbech Castle when the gate keeper forgot to lock the gate.


A prisoner who escaped after the keeper forgot to lock the gate at Wisbech Castle will be the subject of a talk coming to the town.

The inmate was originally in the Tower of London, tortured and eventually sent to the Fens prison, but managed to escape in 1600.

Wisbech Society presents ‘A Prisoner at Wisbech Castle: Robert Nutter’ which is the next event in its winter lecture programme.

The talk is at the Dwight Centre, Wisbech Grammar School on Monday February 11 at 7.15pm.

Presented by Martin Nutter, the talk is a follow-up to his previous lecture for the Society on the same subject.

He says that further research has revealed intriguing information and a conspiracy theory that wouldn’t be out of place in a Dan Brown novel.

Robert Nutter was a Catholic priest, sent to the Tower of London, along with his priest brother, in 1584.

He remained in the pit forty-seven days, wearing irons for forty-three days, and was subjected to torture twice.

Robert witnessed his older brother’s execution before being released.

He was transported to France in January 1585, with 20 other priests, but he returned to England as an escort to newly ordained priests.

When the party was brought ashore in Gravesend, Nutter gave his name as Rowley, but was recognised and imprisoned in London.

In 1590 he was moved to Wisbech Castle.

In 1600, he escaped after the keeper left the gate unlocked,

Nutter was recaptured and sent to Lancaster, where he was executed.

Set in the second half of the 16th Century, during a period of religious repression, Martin Nutter’s tale reveals how Robert Nutter, a Catholic priest was smuggled into England, where he was captured, tortured and exiled.

Despite the risks involved, he returned, only to be captured again.

In his latest talk, Martin Nutter asks if Robert Nutter had a secret mission? Who were his fellow detainees in Wisbech? And what happened to him?

Admission is free for Society members and under 18s. For non-members it is £3.

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