Category: history

Ducking: A Witch’s Punishment from Days of Old…

12th Mar, 2024

Former Castle & Prison Guide Becca Colmer investigates the unpleasant history of the ducking stool.



Hangman’s Hill and the Hangmen who Hanged Here 

11th Mar, 2024

For almost 1000 years, our Castle mound has loomed over the Oxford skyline, a monument to our Norman roots. However, the castle mound has another name; Hangman’s Hill, a much more disturbing label….


Helen Craggs

8th Mar, 2023

Oxford Castle & Prison has been home to many prisoners over the centuries among them, Helen Craggs a teacher who was to become a Suffragette seeking women’s suffrage. Read about here story here.


Victorian Crime and Punishment

10th Jan, 2020

Discover how the Victorians used to punish their prisoners and how Oxford Castle & Prison has changed over the years.


On The Record: My Time In The Thames Valley Police Force

10th Apr, 2018

A look back on the force, in the words of our very own tour guide, Paul Kyberd…


On the record: Looking back at HMP Oxford

15th Aug, 2017

Oxford Prison eventually closed its doors as a prison in 1996 and remained closed until 2006 when it opened up as a hotel and attraction. In his latest post, former Oxford Police Detective Paul Kyberd shares an aerial view of the prison he remembers…


On the Record: The Black Assize

13th Jun, 2017

The old county court in Oxford is the site of one of the most infamous events in the castle’s history. In the latest edition of our ‘On the Record’ blog series, Paul Kyberd reminisces about his experiences in Oxford’s courthouses in his role as an Oxfordshire Police Detective!


On the Record: The Queen’s in Oxford

8th Jun, 2017

Current tour guide and former police detective Paul Kyberd shares another of his memorable stories from his work for Oxfordshire Constabulary. In this blog, Paul shares a particularly memorable time when the Queen visited Oxford.


Oxford Castle: The birthplace of the Legends of King Arthur

10th May, 2017

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword receives its UK premiere in London’s Leicester Square this evening. But where did the legends of King Arthur really begin? Geoffrey of Monmouth is known to be the first to write down the legends of King Arthur and he did so right here at Oxford Castle!


On the Record: Meet Paul Kyberd

17th Mar, 2017

Paul Kyberd, one of our fantastic tour guides, has a much longer association with the castle prison than just his work with the visitor attraction. Paul worked for over 30 years for the police and has a variety of interesting and captivating tales about his time in the police force and his many dealings with HMP Oxford Castle…


Empress Matilda – Lady of the English

8th Mar, 2017

Matilda – Lady of the English
Queen of Ice and Snow



The Origins of Valentine’s Day

6th Feb, 2017

With so much emphasis placed upon Valentines Day across the world, it prompts the question: why?


Twelfth Night and Epiphany are upon us!

3rd Jan, 2017

Don’t be saddened by the fact that Christmas is over and New Year’s Eve has passed, there is still an opportunity for you to have a party and indulge in festive treats: Twelfth Night and Epiphany are upon us!


Christmases past at Oxford Castle

23rd Nov, 2016

Oxford Castle has witnessed many Christmases and with December 25th fast approaching we’ve taken a look at what those Christmases might have been like. If you want to find out even more about this, come to one of our special Christmas at the Castle tours, running from November 26th to December 18th!


Remember, Remember, the 5th of November

2nd Nov, 2016

I think it’s fair to say that autumn has arrived and, as the nights start drawing in and the air grows crisper, winter is on its way. This change of the seasons signals that it must be time for us to don our woollies and wellies and stand around a big fire to remember when the King and the entirety of Parliament almost met their demise.

What better time, then, to have a look at the tradition of Bonfire Night?


Ghosts of Oxford Castle – the Final Chapter

29th Oct, 2016

So you’ve heard all week about the ghostly experiences of our tour guides as they explore the castle and just as we were preparing to wrap up our blog series, the ghosts of Oxford Castle struck again…


The Ghosts of Oxford Castle – A Guest’s Perspective

28th Oct, 2016

We recently held a competition on our Facebook page, asking for our guests to send in their best ghost stories and paranormal experiences at Oxford Castle. The winning story certainly sent chills down our spine…


Oxford Castle Ghosts – Chapter Four

27th Oct, 2016

We’ve been sharing ghost stories from our team all week, which we think shows just how haunted our 1000 year old buildings are!


Ghosts of Oxford Castle – Chapter Three

26th Oct, 2016

In the third installment of our Ghosts of Oxford Castle series, we spoke to Gypsy Boswell about her most haunted experience…


Ghost Fest is here! How haunted is Oxford?

6th Oct, 2016

Oxford has a lot to offer when it comes to ghosts so we’ve collected a few stories to whet your appetite…


Marking 20 years since the closure of Oxford’s Prison…

7th Sep, 2016

As September 7th marks the twenty year anniversary of Oxford Prison’s closure, it seems only right that we take a look back at its history…

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