CLAIM TO FAME: In an article written by the BBC, Oxford Castle is home to Britain's 'most seen' ghost. That being of Empress Matilda, who stayed at the castle before her escape in 1142, when the castle was beseiged by her cousin King Stephen. She had returned to England in 1125 after the death of her husband, King Henry V. Being Stephen's rival to the thrown, when he attacked, she was forced to flee.
Many people met their death at Oxford Prison. But not many can say that they survived their execution. But Anne Greene did. She was a scullery maid at the manor house of Sir Thomas Reede. She bore a child after being raped by Reede's grandson. The child was stillborn, but Greene was arrested and charged with murder, despite medical evidence proving the contrary. On Decemeber 14th, 1650 Greene was hanged at Oxford Prison. She was pronounced dead by the prison doctor, and handed over to medical students for dissection. Before the students began their work, it was discovered that Anne had a faint pulse. After treatment, she made a full recovery and was pardoned of her punishment.
If you are brave enough to spend the night in a former cell, then why not book yourself into the Malmaison Oxford Castle. The fromer A Wing of the prison became a hotel in 2006. Malmaison translates to 'bad house. Gulp!
GRIZZLY HISTORY: Oxford Castle is said to have been subject to its very own curse. A plague, known as The Black Assize of 1577, broke out after the trial of Rowland Jenke. He had both ears removed as a result of his 'injurious words against the Queen'. Jenke cursed the jury, the court and the city. At least three hundred people lost their lives as a result of the plague, or 'Oxford Castle Curse'.
DEATHS: Mary Blandy is one of the most well known prisoners of the castle. She was hanged on 6th April 1752 for poisoning her father with arsenic. In her defence, she claimed she thought she had bought a love potion to encourage her father to approve of her relationship with William Henry Cranstoun. She was found guilty but speculation around her innocence continued on into the 1800's. Thomas Hadden was one of the prisoners who didn't wait for impending sentence. He hanged himself in his cell on 16th July 1782 after being found guilty of robbing mail. These are just two stories of many. There have been more deaths at Oxford Castle, and the grounds it stands on, than we will ever know. From battles of the Norman Conquest, to deaths from poor prison conditions, executions, murders and suicide.