Oxford Castle was originally constructed in 1071 by William the Conqueror to secure the Normans’ control of the surrounding area. A prison was built within the castle, which held prisoners until 1996.

The prison was mainly used to house prisoners from Oxfordshire and Berkshire, as well as the University’s ‘rebellious scholars’ (as recorded in 1236). From 1613 until 1785, the prison and castle were owned by Christ Church, who leased the jail (gaol) to prison keepers. In 1785 it was redeveloped into a prison and house of correction, with a tower on which they held public executions. The last execution was in 1863.

Why not attend a tour or event at Oxford Castle?



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