The Tolsey, built in the early 1500’s, was the market house where traders came to pay tolls for the use of market facilities, and where the Borough Court met. At the back was a prison (Blind-house), the door of which is displayed in the Museum

When the Corporation was dissolved in 1861 the collection of insignia, charters and other muniments passed to the town’s doctor, and were housed at the surgery, occasionally being exhibited. A Museum was needed. Restoration of the building began in 1955 and the museum opened in 1960

A leading Burford antique dealer who had been collecting objects with a known Burford connection since the 1930’s, donated the collection, ranging from rope-making tools to a boxwood clarinet, to the museum. Since then gifts of items with a local connection have helped to build an illustration of life in Burford and it environs over the centuries