Headington history: Listed Buildings/Structures

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Three listed boundary stones

Headington Mileway stone

An Act of 18 Elizabeth forced people who occupied land within five miles of Oxford to contribute to the repair of the roads within one mile of Oxford, and supervisors were nominated by the Mayor and Vice-Chancellor to execute these repairs.

These mileways stretched for one mile on the roads leading out of Oxford: north from St Giles’ Church, south from Folly Bridge, east from Magdalen Bridge, and west from Osney Bridge. They were marked with stones, but only two survive: one by the Old London Road in Headington (below) and the other on Rose Hill (an alternative route to London via Henley).

Mileway stone, Cheney Lane


M I L E  H Y
1 6 6 7

On the north side of Warneford Lane, roughly half-way between Cheney Lane and Gipsy Lane

This boundary stone was erected on the Old London Road in 1667.

The present London Road did not then exist, and the main highway to London was via Cheney Lane, Old Road, and Shotover.

Normally mileway stones were one mile from a city gate, but this one is more than a mile from the East Gate of Oxford and appears to measure from Magdalen Bridge.


List entry for highway stone
in Cheney Lane: 1369693

On 9 December 1689, 22 years after the above stone was set up, William Pudsey sued the supervisors of the mileway eastward for not repairing Headington Hill (presumably up as far as Cheney Lane). The city council and the University each laid down £20 to defend these supervisors.

Headington highway stone

This marks the boundary of the villages of Headington and Marston and the parishes of St Andrew's and St Nicholas's Church.

Stone on Marston Road


[H E R E  E N D]
E S  H E D I N G
T O N  W A Y

At junction of Cuckoo Lane and Marston Road

Cuckoo Lane runs down to Marston Road via a footpath behind Headington Hill Park.

Before 1800, this was an important route to Headington village from Marston, which explains the position of this stone. It stands at the end of this narrow path, just by the Marston Road, and is designed to be read as the traveller left Headington.

It stands on the line of the old boundary of Headington, and probably dates from the seventeenth century.


Listed entry for highway stone
at end of Cuckoo Lane: 1046587


Headington highway or mileway stone

This stone is at the side of a main road with no pavement, so it is not safe to visit it, and today it can only be seen by cyclists travelling up the hill.

Boundary stone, Headington Hill

H E R E  E N D E T H
W.K.   J.F.

In north side of wall of Headington Hill, just 20 yards above of the bridge.

This stone probably dates from 1729, as WK and IF are the initials of William Kenton and Jeremiah Franklin, who in 1728/9 were respectively Senior Bailiff and Mayor of Oxford.

When this stone was set up, this road stopped at the top of Headington Hill: the main route from Oxford to London turned off half-way up the hill to Cheney Lane and Old Road, while those wanting to go to Old Headington would ascend the road to the top and then take a route roughly along the line of Cuckoo Lane to the left.

List entry for highway stone
on Headington Hill: 1184684

The stone is set into the retaining wall of the raised footpath up Headington Hill that had been created in about 1700. It probably stood on the road originally (although it may have been moved when the road was realigned in 1771), and it was set into this wall during road improvements in 1930.

The meaning of this stone is unclear. At first sight it appears to be a boundary stone, set up by Headington to mark the end of the parish (rather like the above boundary stone at the bottom of Cuckoo Lane). But if that is the case, it is strange that it bears the initials of the Mayor and Senior Bailiff of Oxford, especially as the boundary near this point was not even with Oxford (which then only stretched as far as Magdalen Bridge to the east), but with St Clement's (which extended up to near the top of Headington Hill and was not taken into the city until 1835).

It seems more likely, therefore, that this is a mileway stone, set up by Oxford marking the point a mile from the city where the road ceased to be the responsibility of the city, thus having the same purpose as the above mileway stone of 1667 in Warneford Lane.

Other Headington boundary stones

These are not listed structures, but are listed here for completeness.

Barton 1684

The oldest and most interesting of the non-listed boundary stones is this one in Barton (left) near the Bayswater Brook.

It is dated 1684 and appears to mark the boundary of the Manor of Headington and the Forest of Shotover. The initials T.W. are probably those of Thomas Whorwood, Lord of the Manor.

It is one of a group of three stones.

More details here

Boundary stone

Boundary stone, Cuckoo Lane

Left This boundary stone in Cuckoo Lane, below the junction with the path leading to John Garne Way, probably dates from before 1868, when 216 acres of Headington near the top of Headington Hill were taken into Oxford.

Right This boundary stone stands at the junction of Cuckoo Lane and Pullens Lane, and states that it was set up in 1901 in the Mayoralty of George Claridge Druce and the shrievalty of J. Dorne

In 1889 the new municipal boundary of Oxford was extended to the Boundary Brook (which now runs in a pipe under the London Road near the White Horse, but was then visible), taking in a large chunk of Headington. From that date the boundary of the city of Oxford matched that of the parliamentary borough. The two 1889 boundary stones became irrelevant when the whole of Headington was taken into Oxford in 1929.

1892 boundary stone

London Road boundary stone

Left This stone marking the new 1889 boundary was set up in Cuckoo Lane (in the section that is now Woodlands Road) in 1892, in the mayoralty of F. W. Axtell and the shrievalty of W. S. Carter.

Right This stone on London Road opposite Headley Way is now illegible, but probably dates from the same period, as it marks the same boundary line.

Stone set in south wall of Cuckoo Lane

Park & Ride

Left: Stone set in the wall of Cuckoo Lane, near Headington Hill Hall

Right: Oxford’s administrative boundaries were most recently extended in 1991. This stone near the Thornhill Park & Ride was set up that year in the mayoralty of Alan Pope, and is the only stone in Headington that marks a boundary that is still in existence.

Park & Ride

Mounting stone


Headington mounting stones

Left: A mounting stone in the Croft in Old Headington, at the back of the White Hart

Right: A mounting stone in Old Road, on the way up to Shotover. This was erected by Dr Bracegirdle in c.1630 “out of good intent to ease passengers there to mount their horses”

© Stephanie Jenkins

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