The Battle of Mr Sturdy and Mr Castle
10 February 2023
The name of the Sturdy's Castle public house may seem strange given the lack of a castle nearby, but it makes more sense once you learn the rather macabre local legend that inspired it.
There has been an inn on this site since at least the 18th century. Originally it had the rather uninspiring name of 'the Hut', but was renamed to 'Study's Castle' in 1790, inspired by a local conflict.
The legend states that two men named Sturdy and Castle fought to the death close to this location. The reason for their conflict is lost to history, but Roger Long speculates that a dispute over land was a likely cause for their disagreement.
Mr Sturdy was the ultimate victor, killing Mr Castle outright. However, his celebrations were short-lived as he was soon arrested and hanged for Mr Castle's murder! It is said that he was hanged (or perhaps gibbetted) on the very spot where the popular 'spud pub' now stands.
Until recent years, the pub actually had a pub sign based on the legend in which the victorious Mr Sturdy stands over the apparently-still alive Mr Castle, brandishing a stick over his head in victory. Sadly the pub has since had a makeover and sign has been replaced with a different design.
- 'Curious Oxfordshire' by Roger Long (Sutton Publishing, 2008, ISBN: 9780750949576)
- Parishes: Tackley (british-history.ac.uk)