Oxford History: City Wall


New College: Wall to the north with Bastions 11–13


One-twelfth of the whole city wall was incorporated into New College when it was founded in 1379

When William of Wykeham bought the land for New College from the City of Oxford in 1379, the latter made it a condition that the college should maintain the wall that runs around the site. The Warden and Scholars of New College bound themselves and their successors:

to keep in reparation so much of the north and east wall of the said town that should include the said College, and that also they make a gate or postern on each side of the said wall at the extent of the College limits, to the end that the Mayor and Bailiffs of Oxford may, once every three years, enter and pass through them, to see whether the said wall be kept in a competent manner of reparation, and also that the commonalty of the said town might have free passage in times of war through the said posterns for the defence of the said town.

The Lord Mayor of Oxford and a group of city councillors still inspect the city wall at New College every three years, entering by the non-licet gate in New College Lane.

See film of the 2017 inspection (right),
and this report of the 2008 inspection

New College has taken such great care of the wall on behalf of the city that all the sections of wall and the five bastions within the college are still virtually intact and are separately Grade I listed under eleven separate list entry numbers.

New College: The section of wall to the north

Wall to the east of the bell tower

This section of wall is Grade I listed (List Entry No. 1046610). Unlike the old buildings of New College, the bell tower stands outside the City Wall.

Wall east of Bell Tower

Bastion 11

This bastion is Grade I listed (List Entry No. 1369705). The outside of this bastion can be viewed by visitors from the Slype, once the site of the city moat.

Bastion 11

Wall to east of Bastion 11

This section of wall is Grade I listed (List Entry No. 1184453). A vehicle entrance has been cut through the wall here, giving access to the college (whose original entrance is in New College Lane) from Holywell Street.

Wall east of Bastion 11

Bastion 12

This bastion is Grade I listed (List Entry No. 1046611)

Bastion 12

Wall to east of Bastion 12

This section of wall is Grade I listed (1184468) and is the first section of the wall that can be viewed from inside the garden at New College.

Wall to east of Bastion 12

Bastion 13

This bastion is Grade I listed (List Entry No. 1046612).

Bastion 13

Wall to east of Bastion 13

This section of wall running to the north-east corner of the city wall is Grade I listed (List Entry No. 1369706).

Wall to east of Bastion 13

Bastion 14 that turns the corner at the east end of this stretch of wall and the portion of the East City Wall that runs southwards marking the boundary of New College and Longwall Street are dealt with on the next page.

Next: East Wall in New College Next

© Stephanie Jenkins

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