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Oxford Gaol

​“we did our best for the woman, they were used to hard labour”

They arrived at Oxford Gaol at 5 o’clock in the morning, cold, questioning and probably terrified, but defiant. Hard labour consisted of washing and ironing, jobs to which they were well accustomed, but the two with babies were excused these chores and some milk was found for the infants.

However for these women who probably in the whole of their lives had hardly left homes, families and familiar territory, the ordeal must have been heartrending. In Ascott over a dozen children under ten were suddenly deprived of their mothers.

The women may have been sustained by the pride they felt in making a stand for an improvement in their life and living but those prison days must have seemed endless as their concern grew for their families back home.

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