In 1658, the Oxford Antiquary, Anthony Wood wrote the following in his diary:
“May 4, T., a maid was hanged at Greenditch neare Oxon, for murdering her infantbastard. After shee was cut downe and taken away to be anatomiz’d, Coniers a physitian of S. John’s Coll. and other yong physitians, did in short time bring life into her. But the bayllives of the towne hearing of it, they went between 12 and one of the clock at night to the house where she laid, and putting her into a coffin carried her into Broken hayes, and by a halter about her neck drew her out of it, and hung her on a tree there. She then was so sensible of what they were about to do, that she said ‘Lord have mercy upon me,’ &c. The women were exceedingly enraged at it, cut downe the tree whereon shee was hang’d, and gave very ill language to Henry Mallory one of the baillives when they saw him passing the streets, because he was the chief man that hang’d her. And because that he afterwards broke, or gave up his trade thro povertie (being a cutler), they did not stick to say that God’s judgments followed him for the cruelty he shew’d to the poore maid.”
Broken Hayes was also used as a place of execution for two Levellers, Private Biggs and Private Piggen who were shot on 18th September 1649 for their part in the second mutiny of the Oxford Garrison.