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January 2024 – Coles Book Club – ‘Stories of Oxford Castle: From Dungeon to Dunghill’ by Mark Davies

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January 2024 – Coles Book Club

Thursday 25th January 2024 @ 7pm
Mark Davies – “Stories of Oxford Castle: From Dungeon to Dunghill”

The Coles Book Club – an opportunity to read the book and then join us to meet the author Mark Davies for an evening of chat and, of course, a glass of wine, at Coles with your fellow readers. The book you buy from Coles becomes your ticket for the evening – click on the book cover below to buy your book online and we’ll post it to you, or call in at the Shop and pick up a copy.

Stories of Oxford Castle: From Dungeon to Dunghill highlights some of the most daring, devious and deluded individuals ever to spend time inside the walls of Oxfordshire’s county prison.

Meet, for instance, Elizabeth Boswell, a Gypsy who escaped not once but twice; the enigmatic Peter le Maitre, reputed to be the French revolutionary Marat; Anne Green, who survived her hanging to become an instant celebrity; Isaac Darkin (alias Dumas), the epitome of the debonair highwayman; and Stephen Colledge, whose Oxford execution was performed by England’s most infamous hangman of all time, Jack Ketch.

The gaolers too were a colourful lot, including “Devilish” Mrs Elizabeth Thorpe; the splendidly named Solomon Wisdom, for whom a dunghill was his downfall; and Daniel “Damnable” Harris, a man of huge and enduring importance for Oxford.

These mainly seventeenth-and eighteenth-century stories of imprisonment, transportation, escape and execution unlock the enthralling story of this major Oxford landmark. They also expose in dramatic and often touching detail the social conditions which caused so many Oxfordshire citizens to experience the insides of Oxford Castle Prison in the first place.

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