Oxford History: City Wall

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North wall: South of George Street


The northern circuit of the town wall begins in Bulwark’s Lane, at the sharp corner with George Street Mews that marks the point where the lane branched off from the original castle wall. A long section of the town wall starts at this point, running north-east to New Inn Hall Street and forming the boundary between St Peter’s College and the former City of Oxford Boys’ High School.

History Faculty wallAbove: The wall running along the back of the former Boys’ High School, from outside the town wall

BastionAbove: Close-up of the bastion in this stretch of wall

When digging the foundations for the Wesley Memorial Church in New Inn Hall Street in 1870, workmen found this bastion of the old wall.

The wall would then have run continuously all the way to Cornmarket with no need for a gate, because the present New Inn Hall Street (which was formerly known as North Bailey or Seven Deadly Sins Lane) originally only ran northwards as far as the wall, and then swung around to the east. (It was not until 1872 that New Inn Hall was extended to George Street, and the part of New Inn Hall Street at right-angles was renamed St Michael’s Street.)

East of New Inn Hall Street, there is a portion of the town wall left behind Vanburgh House at 20 St Michael’s Street. The back boundary all the properties on the north side of that street corresponds to the line of the wall.


Next: North Gate in Cornmarket Next

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 15 December, 2015

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