Oxford History: City Wall


The West Gate and its Church

The West Gate

The West Gate into Oxford stood near the point where the present-day Castle Street, Norfolk Street (formerly Commercial Road), and Paradise Street (formerly Westgate Street) meet. The bus in the above photograph would have just entered medieval Oxford.

The West Gate fell down or was demolished in the mid seventeenth century, but the name lives on in the name now given to the whole area.

St Peter-le-Bailey Church

This medieval Church, which was also known as St Peter-in-the-West or St Peter-at-the-Castle (a bailey being a castle's outer wall) stood near the West Gate.

The OS map of 1876 (below) shows the site of the original St Peter-le-Bailey Church, which was in front of the present Bonn Square.

1870 map

The map below of 1850 shows the shape of the church more clearly:

St Peter-le-Bailey Church

The original medieval church fell down in 1726, and was rebuilt on the same site. The second church was demolished in 1874 as part of a road-widening scheme. (It was rebuilt further up New Inn Hall Street, and is now the Chapel of St Peter's College.) In 2008 its former churchyard was paved over to create the new Bonn Square.

Victoria County History: History of the County of Oxford, Vol. IV
St Peter-le-Bailey Church

Oxford Castle


From the West Gate, the wall continued a short distance north-west to meet the bailey or outer wall of the Castle, where the tour began.

See also:


For another virtual tour of the city walls with some fine photographs, see this blog by the Oxford Sausage:
Walking the Walls

Oxford Preservation Trust: Oxford City Walls walk guide

© Stephanie Jenkins

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