Stephen & Matilda

The civil war between King Stephen and Empress Matilda created a time of anarchy when mighty barons laid mediaeval England to waste. It was an age when the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reported, ‘Men said openly that Christ and his saints slept’.

In the winter of 1142 occurred one of the most picturesque episodes in English history. Matilda was under siege by Stephen’s men at Oxford Castle. She escaped at dead of night, dressed in white for camouflage against the snow, to make her way along the frozen Thames to the safety of her stronghold at Wallingford.


King Stephen under construction

Over 12 ft high, the Oxford Giants are processional effigies created in 2006 to represent the warring monarchs. They are pictured above at Oxford Castle, scene of Matilda’s famous escape.

The Oxford Giants are available for bookings.


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