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Oxford boundary markers: Thames towpath (1786)


Boundary stone on towpath

 

H e r e
e n d   t h e
L i b e r t i e s   o f
t h e   C i t y
o f
O x f o r d

[Dated 1786 on the back]

 

 

On Thames towpath, at Long Bridges, Kennington backwater, marking the 1786 city boundary.

This boundary changed in 1881

 

Grade II listed:
List Entry No 1299959

 

 

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boundary stones

 

 

Two other (non-boundary) stones on the Thames footpath in Oxford are listed under the Inscriptions section:

Finish stone for Torpids & Eights

Memorial stone to Edgar Wilson

A liberty in this context means “the district outside a city over which its jurisdiction extends”, and the word is also used in the plural in the same sense.

Included within the liberty or suburbs of Oxford were the following Manors: Binsey, Medley, North and South Osney (all of which are west of the River Thames and were originally in Berkshire), and Walton and Holywell. Also included in the liberty were Port Meadow, and the meadows west of Osney originally held by Headington Manor.

John Gilbert in 1886 describes another Oxford Liberty stone near Godstow, which now appears to be missing:

In its course this ditch passes through a stone arch under the Godstow and Wytham road, at the west side of a small close known (since the Civil War) as the Sentry Field; at the north end of this close the stream turns eastward, and joins with a ditch flowing round the ruins of Godstow Convent, and at this junction, on the Godstow side, will be found boundary stone No. 12, bearing this inscription— Here Ends the Liberties of the City of Oxford 1789”. From this stone the boundary ditch proceeds round a copse to the point where it flows out of the river under the wooden foot bridge above referred to.

Stephanie Jenkins, 2013