Oxford History: City Wall


Smith Gate and its Chapel

Smith Gate

Smith Gate stood near the top of Catte Street, just to the north of New College Lane., It was little more than a postern, and was removed between 1661 and 1675.

The chapel of Our Lady at Smith Gate was a small octagonal chapel, formed out of a tower of the town wall. Later known as the Octagonal or Round House, it was already a private house in 1582, and a shop by 1708. In the nineteenth century it was numbered 29 Broad Street (because Catte Street stopped at the town wall). Even after it was incorporated into Hertford’s new north quadrangle in 1902, the old chapel remained a shop.

In 1931 it was altered to create Hertford’s junior common room, shown below viewed from Catte Street.

Outside of former octagonal chapel

Below: The inside of the former chapel, viewed from Hertford College’s quadrangle
Inside of former octagonal chapel

Between Smith Gate and the East Gate the wall was (uniquely in England) double, but very little remains of the outer wall. The inner wall, however, is almost intact.

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©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 12 September, 2012

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