Explore Oxford Libraries, museums, and archives Archives Exhibits Oxford County Gaol Hangings


Throughout the Gaol’s existence, five hangings for murder occurred. The first was, as was the custom at the time, a public execution with the gallows constructed in front of the building. Four thousand spectators gathered for the event were shocked when the prisoner’s heavy body fell through the gallows’ trap door and his decapitated head rolled from the platform into the crowd. The final four executions were performed out of the public eye in the facility. Three in the exercise yards, while the last hanging was held inside the building, away from curious onlookers. Condemned prisoners had a private cell on the second floor with a metal pass-through for food.

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