Oxford Castle, England

Oxford Castle, England

This evening, I am posting information on Oxford Castle, a summary historical chronology of which is as follows:

  • Built 1071 by Robert d’Oilly following the Norman Conquest of 1066. d’Oilly was a supporter of William the Conqueror. The site may well have been part of Saxon defences as St. George’s Tower may date from Saxon times.
  • Originally constructed as a basic motte and bailey affair with wooden defences. Latter were later replaced by stone.
  • On the site d’Oilly and Roger D’Ivry built the collegiate church of St. George which was founded in 1074. All that remains is the crypt, which may also be of Saxon date.

    Crypt of Collegiate Church

    Crypt of Collegiate Church

  • The castle played a major role in the civil war between Stephen (1097-1154) and Matilda (1102-67). The castle was Matilda’s stronghold. She escaped during a siege in 1142 after which the garrison surrendered.
  • During the 13th century the castle was subject to a siege in the conflict between King John and the barons with castle garrison holding out for the King.
  • During the 17th century the castle was subject to another siege during the English civil war. Oxford was a centre of Royalist support and for a while King Charles resided in the city.
  • For most of its existence, the castle was used as a prison. It was formally recognised as the County Goal in 1531, a role which lasted until 1996 when its prison function ceased.

    Prison Cell at Oxford Castle

    Prison Cell at Oxford Castle

  • Post 1996 the site has been used a set for T.V. productions and films.
  • The former castle  and prison is now part hotel and part visitor attraction.

    13th century well chamber

    13th century well chamber

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