HOLYWELL, OXFORD

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New College entrance (was between Nos. 86 and 87)


New College tower

Part of a Grade II Listed Building: List Entry Number 1300697. Built in Clipsham stone by Basil Champneys. (The tower is jointly listed with Scott’s block to the west and Champneys’ own block to the east.)

The 1772 Survey of Oxford lists a gateway measuring in width 4 yards 1 ft 3 in between the houses numbered 86 and 87 Holywell Street. This was the back entrance to the college, which then lay to the south of the city wall.

In 1896–7 Champneys built the Robinson Tower over this Holywell entrance, and fitted in an extra two staircases to join up with Scott’s new buildings to the east.

For many centuries this was just the back entrance to New College (orginally from outside the city wall), but in the twenty-first century it became its main entrance and lodge, and the former principal gate in New College Lane is often closed.

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© Stephanie Jenkins

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