Abu

Abu, Guardian of Oxford Castle.

I took a picture of this cat as it was wandering around near the Mound the other day. A lady was sitting in the sun near where I stood. I asked if the cat was hers, she nodded, and told me his name was Abu (like the character in Aladdin).

The Mound is a small hill located next to Oxford Castle. I quickly looked up Oxford Castle on Wikipedia and discovered that according to the Historia Ecclesie Abbendonensis (Abingdon Chronicle), the Castle was built from 1071-1073 by the Norman baron Robert D’Oyly. My mind is fascinated with the idea that a thousand years ago, some guy chose this very site to build a moated, wooden motte-and-bailey castle. What must it have been like?

From the Oxford Castle & Prison website:

When William the Conqueror invaded England and won the Battle of Hastings in 1066, Oxford Castle was marked by the Normans as the ideal place for a motte-and-bailey castle. Norman baron Robert O’Doyly took it upon himself to build this castle. Over time, our site transformed from a castle into a prison. Today, after one millennia, Oxford Castle & Prison is a visitor attraction with a story to tell.

I’ve been in Oxford since April 2019 but have never actually visited the Castle proper. It is now closed due to the virus-that-shall-not-be-named but once it’s open, I’ll definitely bring my family along to visit this thousand-year historical site.

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