A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 4, the City of Oxford. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1979
A prehistoric route approaching Oxford along the watershed between the rivers Thames and Ock, crossing the Thames perhaps at North Hinksey, and continuing northwards on the ridgeway between the rivers Thames and Cherwell seems to have been followed by Roman secondary roads, but no major Roman road passed through the site of Oxford. By the Anglo-Saxon period the route from Winchester and the south probably entered the town on the southern side, where the great causeway known as Grandpont was built or improved by Robert d’Oilly in the 11th century. (fn. 1)
Before the completion of the Botley causeway in the 16th century the western approach to Oxford seems to have been by relatively minor roads through Hinksey and Binsey. A road was built as far as Wereford (later Oseney Bridge) in the early 13th century, (fn. 2) and by 1467 the road had been extended as a stone causeway, perhaps as far as the later St. Frideswide’s Bridge. In that year Oseney abbey granted a strip of land to the ferryman of Hinksey so that he could make a causeway linking the ferry with the stone causeway leading from Oseney Bridge. (fn. 3) By c. 1540 the causeway to the ferry was of stone with wooden bridges. (fn. 4) A map of 1605 shows that the causeway joined the road over Oseney Bridge near the site of the later St. Frideswide’s Bridge; from that point, too, a road branched northwestwards to Binsey. (fn. 5) The road through Binsey, Seacourt, and across Wytham Hill may have been the principal route to Eynsham and the west in the Middle Ages. (fn. 6) This route was superseded after the building of a ‘new causeway’, first mentioned in 1541, when it was carefully distinguished from the earlier ‘stone causeway’; it may be identified as the road running due west from the site of St. Frideswide’s Bridge, on the line of the later Botley Road. (fn. 7) This extension, passing over Bulstake stream at a ‘new bridge’, (fn. 8) was built by John Claymond (d. 1537), president of Corpus Christi College, (fn. 9) and was probably improved at the cost of John, Lord Williams (d. 1559) and others later in the 16th century. (fn. 10) Before the causeway was built much of the traffic to Faringdon and Bristol also took the route from the south gate by way of Hinksey Hill, Foxcombe Hill, Tubney, and Fyfield as an alternative to the route through North Hinksey, Cumnor, and Appleton to Faringdon. (fn. 11)
Oxford lay on important routes from Northampton to Salisbury, Winchester, and Southampton, (fn. 12) and from London to St. David’s through Gloucester, Hereford, and Brecon. (fn. 13) In the 15th century, however, possibly in response to Henley’s growing importance as a centre of navigation, a stone bridge was built at Abingdon, and the main London–Gloucester road bypassed Oxford, going instead through Henley, Abingdon, and Faringdon. (fn. 14) Oxford also lay out of the way of the main London–Worcester road, which, in the 16th and 17th centuries, ran north of Oxford from Wheatley bridge to Islip and Enstone. There was a branch road to Oxford through Wheatley. (fn. 15) The route from Oxford to London continued to be, as it had been from early times, up Headington Hill as far as Cheney Lane, where it divided, one route continuing up Headington Hill to Shotover, the other passing by way of Cheney Lane and Old Road. (fn. 16) The road from Oxford to Cambridge began along the ancient route to Banbury before crossing the Cherwell at Gosford to pass through Bicester, Buckingham, and Bedford. (fn. 17)
The royal court frequently travelled through Oxford on its way to Woodstock, passing through the east gate and along the present Longwall Street, before cutting across to the Woodstock Road. In 1339 a complaint was made to the mayor and bailiffs that the road was so bad as to present a threat to the king’s safety. (fn. 18) The maintenance of the roads was the responsibility of the parishes through which they passed, but in practice there was great dependence upon alms and bequests. (fn. 19) Pavage grants were also obtained for the roads around Oxford, but without notable success. (fn. 20) Recurrent flooding remained a problem, and the city was reluctant to repair roads which were not its proven responsibility; (fn. 21) in 1591–2 the council paid towards the repair of Bolshipton Way, in St. Clement’s parish, before a royal visit, and in 1604 again repaired that route, but stressed that it was done of ‘mere goodwill’. (fn. 22)
In 1576 the roads and bridges around Oxford were said to be so decayed from frequent flooding that travel from neighbouring villages was hazardous. The Mileways Act of that year bound inhabitants within 5 miles of the town to contribute, in accordance with the size of their holdings, an amount of labour on roads and bridges within a mile of Oxford. The mileways were organized in four sections under a board of supervisors appointed jointly by city and university. (fn. 23) The Act aroused hostility in the area, and in 1576 the local justices were ordered to consider how the ‘griefs’ sustained by the Act might best be borne. (fn. 24) In 1593 commutation was allowed at the rate of 4d. a yardland. (fn. 25)
In 1708 over a hundred freeholders of Oxfordshire and Berkshire petitioned for an amendment of the Act, on the grounds that Oxford itself was almost exempt from charges. (fn. 26) The mileways were inadequately financed: in 1750 the northern mileway owed £56, and the others were also in debt. (fn. 27) By 1770 only £35 could be raised in tax for the eastern mileway, and it was reported that no statutory labour had been performed within memory. The roads were ruinous and that to Marston was considered the worst in the county. (fn. 28) Most mileways were absorbed into turnpike trusts in the later 18th century, and the others were managed on the turnpike principle. (fn. 29) The St. Clement’s mileway was turnpiked under the Oxford Improvement Act of 1771, and a toll-house was built at the Plain with two gates across the roads from Headington and Cowley, for the maintenance of the approaches to Magdalen Bridge. A new road to Henley (later the Iffley Road) was built direct from Magdalen Bridge: the earlier road, known as the Wallingford Way, had branched off the road to Cowley towards St. Bartholomew’s hospital. (fn. 30) The St. Clement’s turnpike produced a steady annual income, reaching a peak of £1,960 in 1824, and the original mortgage debt raised on the tolls could easily have been paid off, but between 1800 and 1835 c. £20,000 of the toll receipts were spent on street improvements within the city itself. The trust was badly affected by the coming of the railway and in 1845 one of the mortgagees brought an action of ejectment against the trustees and entered into possession of the toll-house and gates. In 1865 the Oxford Local Board took over the trust, which was abolished in 1868. (fn. 31)
The Stokenchurch turnpike was set up in 1719, (fn. 32) and the city was represented on the trust, as it was on all others controlling roads into Oxford. The trust was responsible for the road from Stokenchurch to Woodstock, except for the mileways around Oxford; in 1761–2 the mileways from Cheney Lane to the foot of Headington Hill and from St. Giles’s church northwards were included in the turnpike. (fn. 33) The city was able, despite protests from the trust, to prevent the setting up of toll-gates close to its boundaries. (fn. 34) In 1789 the road to Wheatley by Cheney Lane and Shotover Hill was abandoned in favour of a new and easier route up Headington Hill. (fn. 35) The road was disturnpiked in 1878. (fn. 36)
The road from Henley through Dorchester to the milestone in the road leading to Magdalen Bridge was turnpiked in 1735–6. (fn. 37) It was disturnpiked in 1873. (fn. 38) The Adderbury, Kidlington, and Oxford turnpike trust was established in 1754, (fn. 39) and in 1797 took over the mileway from the end of the turnpike to the end of Parks Road. (fn. 40) The road was disturnpiked in 1875. (fn. 41) Neither turnpike used toll-gates near to the city. The road from Folly Bridge to Abingdon and from Hinksey Hill to Foxcombe Hill (part of the road to Faringdon) was turnpiked in 1755–6. (fn. 42) After 1815 the Hinksey Hill trust shared its toll-gate near the bridge with the Folly Bridge trustees. (fn. 43) The road was disturnpiked in 1867. (fn. 44)
The road from George Street (formerly Thames Street) over the Botley causeway was turnpiked in 1767 as a direct result of the efforts of Sir William Blackstone, administrator of the estates of the late earl of Abingdon: his plan was to repair the derelict causeway with the help of friends in the city and university, and to replace the ferry at Swinford, near Eynsham, by a toll-bridge. The causeway became the main route to Faringdon and the south-west of England. Until the toll-bridge at Swinford opened in 1769 the main carriage route to Oxford from Witney passed through Long Hanborough and joined the Woodstock–Oxford road at Campsfield. (fn. 45) The alternative route was the ancient track across Wytham Hill, which by the 18th century came down to the western end of the Botley causeway. (fn. 46) The completion of Swinford Bridge opened up the direct route to heavy traffic: in 1768 the Swinford–Botley road had been absorbed in the Oxford–Fyfield trust. (fn. 47) The difficult section over Wytham Hill was replaced by a new road from Eynsham to Botley in 1813–14 (fn. 48) and the old road was finally abandoned in 1835. (fn. 49) A turnpike gate set up at Oseney Bridge soon after 1766 (fn. 50) was moved in 1868 to the west of Binsey Lane, perhaps after complaints from Binsey inhabitants over paying toll. In 1877 the gate was moved to the foot of Cumnor Hill, and in 1880 was removed when the road was disturnpiked. (fn. 51)
The city’s northern bypass was completed in 1935, the eastern bypass in 1959, and the western in 1961. Part of the southern bypass, from Botley to the foot of Hinksey Hill, was opened in 1932, but the road was not completed until 1965, when the Sandford linkroad was also opened. (fn. 52)
Folly Bridge formed part of Grandpont, a great causeway crossing the river Thames on the south side of Oxford. The causeway may have been built in the Anglo-Saxon period, and rebuilt in the late 11th century. (fn. 53) The bridge was known as South Bridge until the late 17th century when it became known as Folly Bridge. (fn. 54) The bridge was usually called Folly Bridge thereafter.
The causeway contained more than 40 arches in the 16th century, and stretched along most of Abingdon Road; it was not continuous, however, but descended wherever there was no liability to flood. The arches were mostly round-headed, but some were pointed, and most of the stonework was concealed under the wider modern road. (fn. 55) Folly Bridge crossed the main stream of the river on four narrow arches divided by heavy piers and cutwaters; a tower stood near its southern end beyond the third arch, while the fourth arch was until the 17th century a drawbridge. (fn. 56) The arches were at an angle of about 45 degrees to the roadway, to allow for the direction of the stream. (fn. 57) In the Middle Ages repairs were financed by a combination of pontage grants and private charity; (fn. 58) bridge hermits, appointed from at least the 13th century, (fn. 59) were entrusted with alms and were responsible for carrying out repairs. (fn. 60) About 1360 the town bought property on the east side of the causeway for the bridge hermits: the Hermitage or Bridgewright’s place stood opposite the wayside chapel of St. Nicholas, where alms for the bridge were collected. (fn. 61) Hermits were appointed until the late 15th century. (fn. 62) Renovations to the bridge were carried out c. 1530 at the expense of John Claymond, president of Corpus Christi College, and among other charitable gifts was one by Dr. Lloyd, presumably Griffith Lloyd, principal of Jesus College, who in 1584–5 shared with the city the cost of railing the bridge. (fn. 63)
The bridge’s position, wholly within Berkshire and partly within the city, led to much confusion over responsibility for repair. In the 1570s the university was apparently under pressure to contribute, and in 1582 the city agreed to repair the bridge’s foundations ‘so far as belongs to this city’. (fn. 64) The Mileways Acts of 1576 and 1593, providing for the maintenance of roads and bridges within a mile of the city by all inhabitants within 5 miles, (fn. 65) should have solved the problem, but failed to yield sufficient funds. In the early 17th century the tithing of Grandpont (in Hormer hundred, Berks.) was amerced for the repair of South Bridge, (fn. 66) and in 1619, when further repairs were required, the city reminded the university of its joint responsibility, under the Mileways Acts, for fund-raising. (fn. 67) In the 1620s there was even an attempt to place responsibility for repairs on Corpus Christi College, because of Claymond’s gift. (fn. 68) In 1628–9 the bridge was repaired with £100 given by a London merchant named Brown, (fn. 69) possibly the father of John Brown, an Oxford mercer and bailiff. (fn. 70) The trustees of Brown’s bequest decided that although repairs were the city’s liability it would be difficult to prove: their repairs included the blocking of one arch and the levelling of the causeway, presumably in connexion with the new waterworks or wharf there. (fn. 71) In 1639 the Berkshire justices paid for railing the drawbridge and for new stone walls along the causeway, (fn. 72) and Berkshire was again pressed for aid in 1763, the dispute being finally settled after a lawsuit in 1813; Berkshire agreed to pay half the cost of repairs at that time, while the city accepted future liability. (fn. 73)
It was found, however, that the bridge was irreparable, and in 1815 an Act was obtained for rebuilding it. (fn. 74) In 1825 the bridge was replaced by a stone bridge with three arches, and a new river channel was cut through Meadow Island by 1828 at a combined cost of over £16,000. (fn. 75) The work was supervised by trustees authorized to share tolls with the Hinksey Hill turnpike trust, (fn. 76) and the Act was extended in 1834 for a further 21 years, (fn. 77) but the tolls proved unpopular among Berkshire people. (fn. 78) The toll-gate stood at the southern end of the causeway, but was moved to the northern end of the bridge in 1844 to intercept traffic from the new railway station off Abingdon Road. (fn. 79) By 1850 the trust’s loan was almost paid off and the bridge was freed of tolls. (fn. 80) The bridge, with a tollhouse on the north-west corner, survived almost unaltered in 1975.
In 1230 a tenement in St. Aldate’s paid 12d. a year to the pontarius of South Bridge. (fn. 81) In the mid 14th century the town was paying an annuity of 13s. 4d. out of one of its properties to the hermit of Grandpont. (fn. 82) In 1609 Thomas Faulkner bequeathed 6s. 8d. a year for the bridge’s repair. (fn. 83) In the early 19th century the city denied an accusation by Berkshire justices that it possessed ancient charities for bridge-repair; (fn. 84) although Thomas Leigh left a house in Grope Lane in 1345 for that purpose (fn. 85) the city was probably correct to deny any continuing liability. (fn. 86)
There was a bridge across the river Cherwell at the eastern entrance to the town by 1004. (fn. 87) It was later known as Pettypont, East Bridge, and finally Magdalen Bridge. By the 16th century the bridge or causeway was of stone, approximately 500 feet long with some 20 arches and deep cutwaters. (fn. 88) There was a drawbridge at its eastern end in the late 14th century, and a wooden arch in 1585. (fn. 89) The bridge contained both pointed and rounded arches of differing sizes and although its overall appearance was late-medieval it evidently included work of several different periods. (fn. 90) Most known bequests for its repair date from the 14th century, and there were pontage grants in 1328 and 1376; (fn. 91) but the bridge was apparently in satisfactory condition for much of the 16th century, which suggests that there may have been a major, unrecorded restoration in the 15th century. Hearne believed that Bishop William Waynflete was responsible, but cited no evidence. (fn. 92) Houses apparently stood upon the bridge in the 13th century, but had been removed by 1578; (fn. 93) others, built early in the 17th century, were removed in 1634 after complaints from the university. (fn. 94)
The bridge straddled the town boundary where it crossed the eastern branch of the river Cherwell and in the Middle Ages responsibility for its upkeep was divided between town and county, the county accepting only a quarter share. (fn. 95) The town relied heavily on alms and bequests, and from at least 1321 appointed bridge-hermits. (fn. 96) By 1571 the city was financing repairs by a combination of parochial taxation and a levy on senior councillors (fn. 97) and despite the 16thcentury Mileways Acts continued to pay for repairs out of municipal funds or private charity. (fn. 98) In 1665, when part of the bridge collapsed, the city’s responsibility for its repair was confirmed by a judgement in the county assizes. (fn. 99) In 1723, however, the university carried out major repairs voluntarily: (fn. 100) several large round arches may date from that restoration. (fn. 101) Nothing was done about the cluster of houses channelling the London and Henley roads into an inconvenient passage only 13 ft. wide at the eastern entrance to the bridge. (fn. 102) In 1771 the bridge was declared dangerous, some of its piers having been swept away by floods, (fn. 103) and the Oxford Improvement Act of that year included provision for the bridge’s reconstruction. (fn. 104) The bridge collapsed at its western end shortly afterwards. (fn. 105) Milham Bridge was used as a relief route during the rebuilding, between 1772 and 1778. (fn. 106) The new bridge, designed by John Gwynn, included three large semicircular arches over each branch of the river, two smaller ones over the towpaths, and a single arch with panelled bays where the bridge crossed the central island. It was 27 ft. wide with large central recesses. Plans for a richly ornamented balustrade were later modified and the present plain design by John Townsend adopted. The western channel of the river was deepened to lessen the danger of flooding, (fn. 107) properties built on the island since the bridge’s reconstruction in 1723 were demolished, (fn. 108) and Gwynn’s plans also called for the removal of properties in St. Clement’s and of the Professor of Botany’s house in the Physic Garden to accommodate the sweeps at each end of the bridge. (fn. 109) There was strong opposition to the proposals, and although the rest of the work on the bridge and its approaches was completed by 1782 it was only in 1790 that the vice-chancellor agreed to the removal of the professor’s house. (fn. 110) The bridge was widened in 1835 and again in 1882, but care was taken to ensure that its appearance should otherwise remain unchanged. (fn. 111)
Oseney Bridge carried the road westward from Oxford across the present main stream of the Thames, earlier the mill-leat of Oseney mill. In the early 13th century there may have been a ford there, but probably a bridge was built there early, since it was on the main route westward. It may be identifiable as the Hythe Bridge alias Oseney Bridge at the end of a proposed causeway to Hinksey, referred to in 1465. (fn. 112) By the early 17th century it comprised three stone arches. (fn. 113) It seems to have been widened c. 1777 after the road had been turnpiked. (fn. 114) In 1885 it partially collapsed after floods, (fn. 115) and a temporary bridge was built to the south until a new bridge was completed in 1889. (fn. 116) The bridge comprises a single iron span, its rails carrying a central shield bearing the arms of the Local Board. (fn. 117) Before the rebuilding the Oxford Local Board and the county council were in dispute over liability for the cost, (fn. 118) but a compromise was agreed upon, whereby the county paid £2,000 while the board agreed to repair all public bridges within its area. (fn. 119)
In the early 17th century there appears to have been only a narrow footbridge and a ford on the site of St. Frideswide’s Bridge, west of Oseney Bridge. (fn. 120) Wood claimed that a stone bridge was built there in 1674, (fn. 121) but it was probably altered when the road was turnpiked, since it was later a bridge of seven arches, apparently of 18th-century date. (fn. 122)
Bulstake Bridge, built by John Claymond c. 1530, comprised a single stone arch carrying the Botley causeway across the Bulstake stream. (fn. 123) There seems to have been an attempt to pull down the bridge, for tactical reasons, in 1642. (fn. 124) Following complaints that it was too low for navigation, the bridge was rebuilt and raised in 1721, (fn. 125) and when the causeway was turnpiked and improved in 1767 a wider bridge was built north of the original bridge. (fn. 126) It was rebuilt again in 1923–4 as part of a general improvement of the Botley road. (fn. 127)
Seven Arches Bridge lay on the Botley road midway between Bulstake Bridge and Botley (Seacourt) Bridge, (fn. 128) and may date partly from the 1660s. (fn. 129) It did not cross a stream but raised the road on flood arches. (fn. 130) It has sometimes been confused with St. Frideswide’s Bridge (fn. 131) since both were of seven arches. Plans made before its demolition in 1923 show a bridge of 18th-century construction, presumably dating from the turnpiking of the causeway. (fn. 132)
Hythe, also called High, Bridge carried a road from the town’s north gate to the western suburbs across a branch of the Thames running to Castle mill; its name denotes a wharf there. (fn. 133) The first known bridge, probably of wood, was built by Oseney abbey between 1200 and 1210, (fn. 134) and was rebuilt in stone, with three arches, between 1373 and 1403. (fn. 135) In 1861 it was replaced by the present iron bridge, designed by a local engineer, John Galpin. (fn. 136) A few yards to the west lay Little Hythe or Quakes Bridge, which in 1616 contained two arches. (fn. 137) Presumably it was built at the same time as Hythe Bridge; it was intended to rebuild it in 1861, but the work may not have been completed until 1874. (fn. 138)
Castle Bridge carried the road from the west gate of the town across the mill-stream south-west of the castle into St. Thomas’s parish. It was also known as Castle Mill Bridge and, latterly, Swan Bridge, after the nearby Swan Brewery. (fn. 139) It was probably built soon after the construction of the castle diverted the western approach to the town, and in the mid 13th century, when it was in decay, its upkeep was held to be the king’s responsibility. (fn. 140) In time responsibility for the bridge was reluctantly undertaken by St. Thomas’s parish, with contributions from the city, but in 1685 the city undertook to maintain the bridge, while St. Thomas’s made an annual contribution. (fn. 141) In the 17th century the bridge was supported by three columns of stone and was passable for a cart. (fn. 142) In 1871 it was widened in timber on the downstream side, and the timber was replaced by brick and masonry in 1895. (fn. 143)
Quaking Bridge, first mentioned by name in 1297 but probably much older, crossed the mill-stream immediately west of the castle, on the line of a road which passed from the town into St. Thomas’s parish before the castle’s construction. (fn. 144) The canons of Oseney passed over it daily to perform services in St. George’s chapel in the castle. (fn. 145) Responsibility for the bridge’s upkeep was stated repeatedly to lie with the king. (fn. 146) The bridge seems to have been built of timber; in 1821 it comprised three arches and was railed with open-work timber. (fn. 147) The present iron bridge was built in 1835. (fn. 148)
Bookbinders’ Bridge, a short way west, carried the road into St. Thomas’s parish over another small branch of the Thames. Its name, first recorded in 1377, (fn. 149) is explained presumably by the fact that an adjoining tenement was occupied by monastic bookbinders, (fn. 150) and the bridge may have been built by the canons of Oseney shortly after the abbey’s foundation; a charter of c. 1190 mentioned a bridge leading to Oseney not far from the castle mills, and in 1377 the bridge was said to lie within the abbey’s jurisdiction. (fn. 151) In the 17th century it was a single stone arch, and was replaced by a brick bridge c. 1858. (fn. 152) Further west on the same road lay Small Bridge, first referred to in the 14th century. (fn. 153) It seems to have been known as Lasse Bridge in the 17th century, when Christ Church was presented for its repair, (fn. 154) presumably as successor to Oseney abbey.
Pacey’s Bridge was built c. 1770 when New Road was made; it crossed the mill-stream of Castle mill between Quaking Bridge and Hythe Bridge, and was named, apparently, after the landlord of the adjacent public house. (fn. 155) The bridge was widened in 1856 and rebuilt in 1922, its single arch being replaced by a flat span. (fn. 156)
Preachers’ or Littlegate Bridge crossed Trill mill stream from Littlegate to Black Friars. (fn. 157) In 1285 the stone pile of a bridge lately built by the friars was said to be obstructing the stream, but the friars were allowed to keep the bridge. (fn. 158) Before 1787 it suffered a partial collapse, and a wooden bridge was built over the central stone column. (fn. 159) It was replaced in stone c. 1813. (fn. 160) Further east the stream was crossed by Trill Mill Bow, which carried the road from St. Aldate’s into Grandpont. (fn. 161) A presentment of Henry VI’s reign attributed the bridge to St. Frideswide’s priory; it was said to be ruinous and was replaced by a stone bridge. (fn. 162) Both bridges over Trill mill stream disappeared when the stream was culverted in 1863. (fn. 163) Denchworth Bow, a single stone arch, lay across the Shire Lake stream in St. Aldate’s, about 100 yards north of Folly Bridge, (fn. 164) its name possibly deriving from John of Denchworth a prominent 14th-century townsman. (fn. 165) The bridge presumably disappeared when the stream silted up.
Milham Bridge crossed the western branch of the Cherwell south of Magdalen Bridge at the south-west tip of the Botanic Gardens. It comprised two stone arches, and a causeway then continued southeastwards before crossing the eastern branch of the river on a wooden bridge. (fn. 166) The canons of St. Frideswide’s may have built the bridge c. 1300 to connect their grange to their cornfields near Cowley, (fn. 167) and the bridge was rebuilt by Cardinal Wolsey to facilitate the carriage of materials to his new college. (fn. 168) Wolsey’s bridge was used as a horse- and footway until c. 1634 when it was damaged by severe frost; it was demolished in the Civil War. (fn. 169) During the rebuilding of Magdalen Bridge a temporary bridge was erected on the site of Milham Bridge. (fn. 170)
A bridge over the Thames at Free Ferry to provide a link between the Abingdon and Iffley roads was proposed in 1954, and was opened, as Donnington Bridge, in 1962. (fn. 171)
CARRIERS AND COACHES.
Although references to carriers in Oxford are infrequent until the later 16th century, the university had established a system of carrying by the end of the Middle Ages. Thomas Cursor of Catte Street carried liveries from London to the university in 1398. (fn. 172) In 1448, and again after a dispute in 1459, it was agreed that university carriers should be included among the privileged persons of the university. (fn. 173) The earliest surviving licence granted by the university to a carrier was to John Bayly in 1492; he was to convey goods and money between Oxford and the north of England, and even to conduct business there on behalf of university men. (fn. 174) The university granted its carriers a monopoly of traffic between their districts and Oxford; usually the carriers lived in those districts rather than in Oxford. (fn. 175) The university claimed the sole right of licensing carriers, (fn. 176) but a Bristol carrier mentioned in 1442 may not have been a university carrier, and the city also appointed carriers in the 16th century. (fn. 177) In the 1630s carriers from London to Oxford operated from the Saracen’s Head near Newgate ‘on Wednesday or almost any day’, (fn. 178) and in the later 17th century Oxford was linked by regular carrying services to distant places such as Cambridge, Lincoln, Yorkshire, Shropshire, Bristol, Cornwall, and Dorset. (fn. 179)
Both university and city made repeated attempts to control the price of carriage. (fn. 180) University carriers were expected to maintain high standards: a London carrier appointed in 1626 was to maintain 12 horses and make two return journeys each week, delivering all letters in Oxford within a day of arrival, maintaining a shop in the town as a clearing-office, and giving preference to privileged persons at all times. The university asked for, but did not always receive, substantial security. (fn. 181) By the mid 18th century the carrier service between Oxford and the neighbouring towns and villages dependent upon it was extensive. By 1883 there were services to more than 300 towns and villages every week, operated by some 90 carriers. (fn. 182) The carriers adapted their trade to the railways by using the trains for quicker and cheaper delivery of goods to Oxfordshire villages. They served in particular the area to the east of the city, from Bicester in the north to Wallingford in the south; possibly services to the west were fewer because that area was also served by the flourishing market towns of Chipping Norton, Witney, and Abingdon. (fn. 183) The carriers usually operated from inns, of a lower status than the coaching inns but by no means the poorest; chief among them were, in the 1880s, the Crown, Blue Anchor, and White Hart, and in the early 20th century the Crown, New Inn, Anchor, Clarendon, and the Anchor Hotel. (fn. 184)
By 1667 a stage-coach service was providing three journeys weekly to London: Anthony Wood used it that year, leaving Oxford at 4 a.m. and arriving in the evening of the following day, having spent the night at Beaconsfield (Bucks.). (fn. 185) The service was presumably approved by the university, for when the city licensed an opposition service c. 1670 the vice-chancellor declared it illegal; it continued to operate for two seasons. (fn. 186) By 1669 coach proprietors licensed by the university undertook to complete the journey in one day during the summer. (fn. 187) These ‘flying coaches’ achieved their object by spending more time on the road; in 1671 the journey to London took 13 hours at a cost of 12s. In 1742 the winter coach still took two days, although the much longer journey from London to Norwich could be completed in the same time. (fn. 188) By 1754, as a result of road improvements, the journey to London took one day in all seasons, and by 1828 under six hours. (fn. 189) The ‘Age’ and ‘Royal William’ coaches, racing each other in the 1820s, took three hours and twenty minutes. (fn. 190)
In 1702 the university licensed a service to Bath and Bristol, the return journey to be completed in a week during the summer; in the winter the coach was to run when it was ‘convenient’, (fn. 191) and as late as 1750 the regular stage-coach took two days. (fn. 192) Other early services established were to Gloucester (by 1713), Birmingham, Hereford, Warwick, Worcester (by 1753), Salisbury, Shrewsbury (by 1778), Southampton (by 1789), Northampton, and Peterborough (by 1791). (fn. 193) Although the university retained the right to license coaches starting from Oxford, it ceased to exercise it in the early 19th century. (fn. 194)
By 1835, when Oxford was at its zenith as a coaching centre, (fn. 195) there were services to places as far apart as Exeter, Holyhead, and York. (fn. 196) Among the leading coaching inns were the Angel, Mitre, and Star, all with coaching offices attached. The firm of Costar and Waddell were the leading coach proprietors. (fn. 197) In 1767 William Costar was operating from the Cross inn, and by 1819 his son Richard ran coaches to all parts of the country; Richard was an agent for the Royal Mail, and at one time was said to own over 300 horses. (fn. 198) In 1838 he was joined by Christopher Waddell and was operating from the Angel, Mitre, Star, and Roebuck inns. (fn. 199)
The coming of the railways led to an immediate reduction in coach services; by 1854 there were only three coaches a week to London and fares were reduced in an attempt to attract custom. (fn. 200) Costar and Waddell tried to adapt their services to those of the trains; in 1839 they operated two coaches daily to Aylesbury station and in 1840 met every train to Steventon (Berks.). They ran coaches from Steventon to Birmingham, connecting with trains to the north of England. (fn. 201) In 1846 the last Oxford to Cambridge coach ran after about 30 years’ service, (fn. 202) and by 1852 coaches ran only to London, Cheltenham, Birmingham, Worcester, and the Oxfordshire towns. (fn. 203) The service to Cheltenham, with which there was no direct railway connexion, continued until the end of the 19th century. (fn. 204)
RIVERS AND RIVER NAVIGATION.
The river Thames or Isis (fn. 205) separates into many branches at Oxford, becoming one stream again south of Iffley. (fn. 206) In Anglo-Saxon times the westernmost branch, forming the county boundary, was possibly an important branch of the river, (fn. 207) but there is no record of its use for navigation apart from a stretch near Hinksey ferry and above Botley mill, which was kept navigable for riding the franchises. (fn. 208) the principal navigable stream was farther east following the Pot stream and the Bulstake stream up river past Walton ford to Medley and Godstow. With the building of Oseney lock in 1790 the present navigation stream, along the old Oseney mill-stream, was established. (fn. 209) A branch further east, and serving Castle mill, was much altered in the late-Saxon or early-Norman period. A branch known as Shire Lake stream, passing north of Folly Bridge, under Denchworth Bow and across Christ Church meadow, was important enough to form the county boundary, but fell out of use in the Middle Ages. (fn. 210)
The Crown exercised general jurisdiction over the Thames, one of the four royal rivers, and appointed royal water-bailiffs to superintend the river west of Staines. (fn. 211) The water-bailiffs occasionally held courts in or near Oxford and in the 16th century the corporation seems to have co-operated with them. (fn. 212) In 1620 the corporation disputed the rights of the royal water-bailiffs over city waters, (fn. 213) but in 1630 a court was held by the royal officials at the guild hall in Oxford. (fn. 214) The regular policing of Oxford’s waters was performed by the city’s own water-bailiffs, appointed from at least 1556 until 1885. (fn. 215) The city was answerable to the commissioners of sewers for the cleansing of the river. (fn. 216) It has been claimed that in the 12th century the city of London exercised jurisdiction over the whole of the Thames, (fn. 217) but London seems always to have accepted that its authority ended at the markstone at Staines. (fn. 218)
The building of mills and weirs on the Thames in the Anglo-Saxon period was probably, at first, a great aid to navigation, deepening and stabilizing the flow of the river. (fn. 219) For the payment of a toll the miller would remove the paddles and rymers from the weir and ‘flash’ the water through so that boats could ‘shoot’ the weir downstream, or be hauled through upstream. (fn. 220) In the 11th century traffic on the river was sufficient to justify the cutting of a new channel by the monks of Abingdon, (fn. 221) and there are signs of continuing river trade in the 12th and 13th centuries. (fn. 222) Increasing numbers of weirs, however, began to hamper navigation, (fn. 223) and in 1197 the king ordered their removal as the cause of ‘great detriment’. (fn. 224) In 1274 the sheriff of Oxfordshire and Berkshire was ordered to widen the river, narrowed by weirs, so as to allow ships and great barges to travel between London and Oxford. (fn. 225) It was claimed c. 1300 that the king used to appoint justices to survey the river every 7 years but that none had been appointed for 20 years. (fn. 226) Further complaints about hazards to navigation were made throughout the 14th century, not only because of weirs and mills but also because of the decay or removal of equipment, such as the winch at Rotherfield Peppard. (fn. 227) Millers demanded heavy tolls and were jealous of their rights to water, often keeping boats waiting for several days before making sufficient water available for them to pass. (fn. 228) During the 14th century the river probably ceased to be navigable for heavy traffic above Henley. (fn. 229)
The river above Oxford, however, remained passable and in the 16th century hay, wood, stone, and slate were unloaded at the wharf owned by the city at Hythe Bridge. Freemen paid ½d. toll and foreigners 1d. for every load landed there; the tolls were for the maintenance of the river and its banks. (fn. 230) The nature of the bulk of trade at the wharf is revealed by the name Timber Wharf, which it acquired in the 17th century. (fn. 231) Parts of the wharf were leased out by the city and the area began to be developed: in 1662 a malt-house, newly erected on land that had formed part of the timber wharf, was leased. (fn. 232) Until the construction of a stone causeway from Hinksey to Oseney in the 15th century local crops seem to have been brought from outlying areas west of Oxford to Hinksey ferry and so to a landing place on the south-east bank of Oseney Bridge, formerly known as Hythe Bridge. (fn. 233)
In the later 16th century the river seems to have been reopened as far as Burcot, and in 1605 an Act was passed to make the stretch from Burcot to Oxford navigable; (fn. 234) a commission, named the Oxford–Burcot Commission, was appointed with 18 members, including a representative each from the city and the university, but its work was spasmodic and by 1611 had ceased altogether. (fn. 235) A new Act, obtained in 1623, (fn. 236) authorized the appointment of 8 commissioners of sewers, also known as the Oxford–Burcot Commission, comprising 4 representatives from the city and 4 from the university, with powers to tax both bodies, to cleanse the river, and install locks and weirs. (fn. 237) The commissioners’ most important achievement was the introduction to the Thames of pound locks, known as turnpikes, at Culham, Sandford, and Iffley, allowing the conveyance once more of heavy goods to Oxford by water. (fn. 238) A wharf at Folly Bridge was constructed for, and administered by, the commissioners c. 1629: it was on the north bank of the river and included a wet dock, and c. 1638 an oak crane. (fn. 239)
The commission’s progress was slow and expensive: in 1629 the city council suggested that a weekly tax of between 1d. and 6d. be imposed on every inhabitant, whereas formerly only freemen appear to have paid, and the usual entertainments given at the election of city officers were commuted to money payments for works on the river, but the city does not appear to have paid its contribution of £300 to the commissioners until 1634–5 and was forced to resort to loans to pay further arrears in 1638. (fn. 240) Between 1625 and 1632 the university spent 2,000 marks left to it by Sir Nicholas Kempe on improving the river. (fn. 241) The first barge did not reach Oxford until 1635. (fn. 242)
During the Civil War ordinary commerce suffered, despite some clandestine traffic in armaments, (fn. 243) but in 1650 there were still 14 boatmen working from Oxford and in 1647 and 1651 the city council contributed substantial sums towards the repair of the locks and ‘waterworks’. (fn. 244) In the later 17th and early 18th centuries there was an active river traffic in stone, timber, coal, potash, malt, and foodstuffs (fn. 245) and the river was used to transport the Arundel Marbles from London to Oxford. (fn. 246) Despite improvements river navigation was still very dependent on the weather: in 1677 barges were aground for a month after dry weather and in 1681 the boatmen were ‘reduced to penury for want of water’; (fn. 247) in June 1714 the river could be crossed on foot in places; in 1767, by contrast, floods prevented barges from leaving Oxford for ten weeks. (fn. 248) The commissioners owned only the pound locks, and in the late 17th and early 18th centuries there was increasing resentment against the owners of private locks and weirs because of the exorbitant tolls they were believed to be charging. (fn. 249) An Act passed in 1695 to prevent excessive charges had little effect but was renewed in 1730 with the city’s support. (fn. 250)
In 1751 a new body, the Thames Navigation Commission, was established, which for the first time controlled the whole river west of Staines. Oxford was represented by its mayor, but the commission, which contained 600 members, proved too cumbersome (fn. 251) and was replaced in 1770 by an even larger body on which the city was represented by the mayor and recorder; (fn. 252) the new commission required only a small quorum and was more effective. (fn. 253) By 1785 £20,000 was needed to complete improvements on the river to Oxford, and the commissioners decided that the outlay would be justified by increased traffic expected from the Oxford, Coventry, and Severn canals. (fn. 254) In 1789 the commissioners purchased for £600 the locks, weirs, and tolls in the possession of the Burcot Commissioners, whose only function thereafter was to administer the wharves at Folly Bridge. (fn. 255) Godstow cut and Oseney lock were opened in 1790, the latter built by prisoners from the castle gaol, and the old navigation by Bulstake Bridge and Pot stream was superseded by that through Oseney. (fn. 256)
Folly Bridge continued to be an obstacle to improved navigation. The northern navigation stream’s sharp turn under the bridge was the despair of bargemen, and by the early 19th century it had become impassable. (fn. 257) In 1793, however, the Thames Commissioners had built a navigation arch at the southern end of the bridge (fn. 258) and as a result of the rebuilding of Folly Bridge (1824–7) the northern channel was filled in, a new basin dug, and a weir constructed beside the waterworks. (fn. 259) River traffic continued to use the navigation arch to the south of the bridge and the flash lock there was replaced by a pound lock downstream of the arch. (fn. 260) The commissioners prescribed two regular flashes weekly and fixed the times at which every miller between Oxford and Staines should pass accumulated water through the locks and weirs. (fn. 261)
In addition to wharves at Hythe and Folly bridges there were two wharves and a wet dock south-east of the pound lock at Folly Bridge known as the Lower, or Mallam’s, Wharves. (fn. 262) At the end of Thames Street was the Clay Cross Coal Wharf, (fn. 263) and off Isis Street was Plowman’s Wharf. (fn. 264) On the south-west of Folly Bridge Island was a wharf named L. & R. Wyatt’s to distinguish it from a Wyatt’s Wharf west of Friars’ Wharf. Friars’ Wharf, also known as Hopkins’s Wharf, lay between Thames Street and the river and was the largest wharf and wet dock in Oxford; (fn. 265) a building of c. 1830 survives as the Wharf House public house. By 1829 Folly Bridge Wharf, then known also as Parker’s Wharf, was no longer in use; it was sold, along with Mallam’s Wharves, in 1844, was later acquired by John Salter, and became the site of a flourishing boat-building business. (fn. 266)
The coming of the railways adversely affected river traffic, and the amount of goods passing through Iffley lock dropped by over 14,000 tons between 1840 and 1842. (fn. 267) By 1865 traffic was confined largely to the carriage of coal and timber. River boats continued to be used for the bulk of coal transport because they were better able to deliver unbroken the large slabs required for storage, but their dependence on the weather made them unpopular for the conveyance of perishable goods. (fn. 268) Parliamentary inquiries in 1865 and 1866 revealed that river traffic was still hindered by mill and lock owners, who insisted on their right to draw off and control water at will; the owners of a number of old locks and weirs were levying tolls despite offering no service in return. Above Oxford navigation had almost ceased and boats took 12 hours to pass through Oxford on the flash days allowed; barges arriving in Oxford on a Friday had to wait until the following Tuesday before moving on. (fn. 269)
In 1866 the authority of the Thames Conservancy Board, which had controlled the Lower Thames since 1857, (fn. 270) was extended over the Upper Thames, including Oxford, despite the city’s protests at the loss of its ancient rights. (fn. 271) The pound lock at Folly Bridge was removed in 1884. (fn. 272) By 1907 commercial traffic had largely been replaced by pleasure boats, and the Thames Conservancy Board increasingly concentrated on adapting the river to pleasure traffic, on improving the purity of the water, and reducing floods. (fn. 273)
The river Cherwell rises in Northamptonshire a few miles above Banbury, and joins the Thames below Christ Church Meadow. During the Civil War, a royal warrant was issued to clear the rivers Cherwell and Ray of weir impediments so that goods could be brought into Oxford by boat from Bicester and Blackthorn, (fn. 274) but there is no record of anything being accomplished at that time, and the first mention of serious navigation of the river was later in the 17th century, when goods seem to have been carried between Oxford and Banbury in flat-bottomed boats. (fn. 275) At the time it was estimated that £10,000 would be needed to make the river properly navigable. (fn. 276) In 1764 a boatload of coal was taken up the Cherwell from Oxford to Ambrosden, returning with a cargo of barley, to demonstrate the possibility of a canal being opened northwards from Oxford. (fn. 277) After the opening of the Oxford Canal the Cherwell was used only by small pleasure craft.
A canal linking Oxford with the Coventry Canal was proposed at a public meeting in Banbury in 1768, and £50,000 was subscribed on the spot, (fn. 278) the enthusiasm stemming chiefly from the prospects of an eventual link by water between the Midlands and London, and of Banbury and Oxford obtaining coal from Midland collieries at 1s. 4d. a cwt. compared with 2s. 2d. for sea coal brought from London. (fn. 279) Opponents of the scheme, notably road carriers and coastal traders, argued that goods would be delayed at Oxford because of the need to transfer them from narrow canal barges to the wider vessels used on the Thames, (fn. 280) but the objections failed and the Oxford Canal Navigation Company was incorporated in 1769. (fn. 281) James Brindley was appointed engineer and general surveyor, and was succeeded on his death in 1772 by Samuel Simcock. (fn. 282)
Oxford inhabitants, particularly members of the university, were prominent among the shareholders; university men were active in the management of the company, which until 1885 was headed by ‘an ordained chairman’. (fn. 283) The canal reached Banbury in 1778, (fn. 284) but lack of funds delayed progress towards Oxford. (fn. 285) The canal was opened to Hayfield Road, Oxford in 1789, and to the New Road wharves on 1 January 1790 when the first boats to arrive were greeted by the Oxford militia band and large cheering crowds. (fn. 286) In 1789 George Spencer, duke of Marlborough, built a short length of canal north of Wolvercote, later known as Duke’s Cut, to connect the river Thames with the Oxford Canal. He tried to sell the cut to the canal company, and in 1792 conveyed it in trust to the vice-chancellor and the mayor of Oxford. The company built its own connexion near Rewley in 1796, and in 1798 took a lease of Duke’s Cut. (fn. 287)
By July 1790 the last section of the canal between Coventry and Fazeley (Warws.) was completed, Oxford was opened to traffic from Birmingham and the north-west of England, (fn. 288) and for ten years the city was the centre of the shortest route by water between the Midlands and London. Trade on the southern part of the Oxford Canal was reduced by the opening in 1800 of the Grand Junction Canal from Braunston (Northants.) to London, a faster, shorter route, which cut out the necessity of transferring cargoes to river barges. (fn. 289) Several attempts were made to maintain traffic on the southern section of the canal: trade with the southern coastal ports was considered, by way of the River Kennet and the Andover Canal, and road carriage from the Oxford wharves to neighbouring towns was encouraged. An attractive system of toll remissions (‘drawbacks’) was introduced for cargoes passing down the southern section and the river. (fn. 290) In 1811 the company successfully resisted proposed links between the Berkshire and Wiltshire Canal at Sutton (Berks.) and the Grand Junction at Aylesbury (Bucks.), and a cut from Swindon (Wilts.) to Cricklade (Wilts.). Barges coming to Oxford by other canals linked to the Thames were refused access to the company’s basins and wharves. (fn. 291)
When competition came from the railways the tonnage carried by the canal at first fell but by 1864, because of increased population, was greater than ever before. Many manufacturers preferred to send goods by canal, particularly coal, pottery, slate, and chemicals, which were damaged by railway shunting, and the canal company was also able to offer better storage facilities at Oxford, including a large pottery warehouse. (fn. 292) Largely because of lower profit margins the company’s position declined, however; (fn. 293) long-distance haulage was increasingly reduced, and although more goods passed from canal to river at Oxford c. 1900 than in 1864 the increase bore no relation to the expanding population of the area. (fn. 294) By 1928 there was little trade on the canal, (fn. 295) and in 1937 the wharf at New Road was sold, although wharves at Juxon Street, Dawson Place, and Nelson Street continued in use. Between 1942 and 1956 the number of boats coming to Oxford by canal fell from 223 to 16. (fn. 296) The southern section of the canal was closed to commercial traffic after an inquiry in 1955. (fn. 297)
A branch line connecting Oxford with the Great Western Railway from Paddington to Swindon at Didcot was under consideration from 1833 and was formally proposed in 1836. (fn. 298) The line was to approach Oxford south of the Cowley Road and terminate near Magdalen Bridge, (fn. 299) but Christ Church, owners of the land, objected and the railway was realigned to the south end of Folly Bridge. The proposed line was defeated in 1837, 1838, and 1840 by the opposition of leading landowners, the university, and the city council. (fn. 300) The nearest station on the London–Swindon line was at Steventon (Berks.), about 10 miles from Oxford, and there was a regular coach connexion. (fn. 301)
By 1842 opposition to the railway had weakened, and in 1843 a new Bill was promoted incorporating the Oxford Railway Company which was to construct a line from Didcot to Oxford, terminating near Folly Bridge. (fn. 302) All the company’s capital was provided by the G.W.R. (fn. 303) The university decided not to oppose the Bill, despite indications that the line from Steventon was used by undergraduates to attend races at Ascot, (fn. 304) because the Bill provided that university officials should have access to all stations and the right to demand information concerning any passenger who was suspected of being a member of the university. The assent of the landowners along the proposed route was obtained, (fn. 305) and the city council, despite a favourable report from its own committee, was almost alone in opposing the line. (fn. 306) A petition against the Bill, said to have been organized by the canal interest, was signed by 300 people, while one in favour was signed by 1,500. (fn. 307)
The line was opened on 12 June 1844, and the fares to London were 15s. and 10s., compared with 5s. by coach. (fn. 308) The station, at the end of what later became Western Road, was built of wood, and there was a goods yard nearby. (fn. 309) Before the line had been completed plans were being prepared, under the suspicious gaze of the council, to extend it to Rugby, to join the principal northern railways. (fn. 310) The proposals aroused a great deal of controversy over the gauge to be adopted, since the G.W.R. used broad-gauge tracks, while the northern lines were narrow-gauge. (fn. 311) The corporation was in favour of the narrow gauge, hoping to gain access to London by the London and North Western Railway, which it considered offered cheaper rates and a more convenient terminus in Euston than the G.W.R.’s Paddington. (fn. 312) Work began on a single broad-gauge line from Oxford to Rugby in 1845, although it was later replaced by a mixed-gauge double track on the orders of the Board of Trade. In 1849 it was decided to end the line just north of Fenny Compton (Warws.), where it would join the Birmingham and Oxford Junction Railway. (fn. 313) That company had originally proposed a line from Birmingham to the G.W.R. station at Oxford, but altered its plans to a shorter line joining the Oxford–Rugby Railway. (fn. 314) The line from Oxford reached Banbury in 1850 and Fenny Compton Junction in 1852. (fn. 313) The final section to Rugby was never completed.
At the same time as the Oxford–Rugby line was proposed the G.W.R. was approached by mining and commercial interests in the west Midlands to build a line from Wolverhampton through Worcester to Oxford. (fn. 316) The line was opened in June 1853, joining the Oxford and Rugby line at Wolvercote. The section from Oxford to Evesham (Worcs.) was of mixed gauge. (fn. 317) In 1851 the company had planned an extension towards London which would have cut across the Woodstock and Banbury roads from Wolvercote and affected the University Parks, but the scheme was rejected in the Commons. (fn. 318)
A second line to London was opened in 1851 by the Buckinghamshire Railway Company, whose sponsors, the L.N.W.R., thereby obtained a narrow-gauge outlet to the capital through Oxford, independent of the G.W.R. The line, which provided a connexion with Cambridge until 1967, (fn. 319) began at Bletchley (Bucks.) on the L.N.W.R. main London–Birmingham line and divided at Claydon (Bucks.), one branch, opened in 1850, going to Banbury and the other through Bicester to Oxford. (fn. 320) The L.N.W.R. opened a station, said to be constructed in a similar manner to the Crystal Palace, on the site of Rewley Abbey.
The struggle between the broad and narrow gauge also involved rival schemes for a line from Oxford to Cheltenham (Glos.) backed by the G.W.R. and the L.N.W.R. respectively. The lines were almost identical, approaching Oxford close by Godstow nunnery and sweeping across Port Meadow to join the Oxford–Rugby line. (fn. 322) The narrow-gauge scheme, with its planned extension to Aylesbury, Tring (Herts.), and London was rejected by the Commons, despite support from the city council, which hoped that it would provide easier access to the rich agricultural land around Thame and Aylesbury and make Oxford the centre of communications between London and Cheltenham. The rival G.W.R. scheme was approved but never completed because of lack of funds. (fn. 323) In June 1864 a single-track broad-gauge line from the G.W.R. at Kennington (Berks.), 2½ miles south of Oxford, was completed via Thame to High Wycombe (Bucks.) (fn. 324) but by 1872 all broad-gauge tracks to Oxford had been replaced by narrow-gauge. (fn. 325) No further lines were laid into Oxford although in the 1880s the Metropolitan Railway Company attempted to open a branch from Aylesbury which would have brought a line into St. Clement’s between Headington and Marston and alongside the Cherwell. (fn. 326)
To accommodate the new service from Birmingham the G.W.R. moved their passenger service in 1852 to a new station on the Botley Road, to the west of the L.N.W.R. station. Both city and university urged the company to build the station close to the city centre. The station in Grandpont was closed to passengers and used as a goods depot until 1872, when the land was sold and the tracks taken up. (fn. 327) The new station was remodelled in 1891 (fn. 328) and 1970–1. The L.N.W.R. line and station were taken over by the London Midland and Scottish Company in 1921–2 (fn. 329) and in 1940 a running junction was made between the L.M.S. and the G.W.R. lines out of Oxford, enabling through traffic from Bletchley to use the G.W.R. station. The L.M.S. station closed in 1951. (fn. 330)
¶There were several halts within or just outside the city boundaries: Oxford Road halt, 2 miles north of Oxford on the Banbury road, was opened in 1850 when the Buckinghamshire Railway reached there, and served as a temporary station for Oxford until the line was completed. In 1905 when the L.N.W.R. began a service of steam rail-cars between Oxford and Bicester the halt was reopened to serve Cutteslow and Jordan Hill. Wolvercote halt was opened in 1905. Summertown halt, approached by Aristotle Lane, was opened in 1906 and was renamed Port Meadow halt in 1907. All three halts closed in 1926. In south Oxford were Hinksey halt, approached by Wytham Street, and, further south, the Abingdon Road Bridge halt. Iffley halt, Garsington Road halt, and Littlemore station were on the High Wycombe line. The development of the Morris Motor and Pressed Steel works resulted in the Garsington Road halt being renamed Morris-Cowley station in 1928. The halts at Hinksey, Abingdon Road Bridge, and Iffley closed in 1915 and Littlemore station in 1971. Morris-Cowley station was still open for goods traffic in 1976. (fn. 331)