I was in Oxford just before Christmas when I saw this sign and these ribbons on the railings at the side of the Town Hall on Blue Boar Street. I wondered who Ann Crotchley was and why her death, almost two hundred years ago, was being marked now, in this way.
There are sundials great and small everywhere in Oxford. One of the most impressive adorns the library of All Souls College and is, according to the college’s website, ‘attributed’ to Christopher Wren.
Anne Greene’s luck only began to turn after she was hanged. A maid-servant in the household of Sir Thomas Read in the Oxfordshire village of Duns Tew, her misfortunes began when Sir Thomas’s grandson Jeffrey took a fancy to her.
Walk down the middle of Broad Street in Oxford, taking care to avoid being hit by a car or, more likely, a bicycle, and you will see a cross of granite setts, exposed like an ulcer in the smooth tarmac of the road.