Oxford History: City Wall


The South Gate and its Church

Bus going through South Gate

The South Gate

This used to span the present St Aldate’s Street and was in line with the surviving part of the South City Wall that runs along the north side of Brewer Street. The bus in the above picture would be on the point of passing through the gate on its way out of Oxford.

St Aldate's Church was just to the north of the city wall, on the west side, and it is possible that the name “Aldate” may be a contraction of “Old Gate”, rather than the name of a saint.

On 4 April 1617 at a meeting of the city council, “It is agreed that the South gate, lately fallen downe by Christ Church, shalbe redified at the charge of this Citty”, and the expenses for the year from Michaelmas 1616 to Michaelmas 1671 included five shillings paid to Gamon “for pulling down Southgate”, and sixteen shillings for the carriage of stone to the South Gate. It is unclear, however, whether a new South Gate was ever built.

A hundred years later the street names still recalled the existence of the wall and gate: Fish Street ended at this point, and Grandpont (which continued down to Folly Bridge) began.

St Michael-at-the-Southgate Church

Until the sixteenth century, St Michael-at-the-Southgate Church stood near the South Gate into Oxford. In 1525 it was closed and demolished along with a section of the wall to make way for the great quadrangle of Cardinal College (now Christ Church) and its parish was united with St Aldate’s.

Victoria County History: History of the County of Oxford, Vol. IV:
St Michael-at-the-Southgate Church

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© Stephanie Jenkins

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