Wolvercote Common

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Wolvercote Common
Looking across Wolvercote Common - geograph.org.uk - 1321915.jpg
Looking across Wolvercote Common.
Wolvercote Common is located in Oxfordshire
Wolvercote Common
Wolvercote Common
 Wolvercote Common shown within Oxfordshire
Civil parish Wolvercote
District Oxford
Shire county Oxfordshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Oxford
Postcode district OX2
Dialling code 01865
Police Thames Valley
Fire Oxfordshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Oxford West and Abingdon
Website Wolvercote Commoners' Committee
List of places

Coordinates: 51°47′02″N 1°17′10″W / 51.784°N 1.286°W / 51.784; -1.286

Wolvercote Common is an area of grassed common land north of Port Meadow in Oxford, England.[1][2]


Wolvercote is a village that is part of the City of Oxford on the northern edge of Wolvercote Common.[3] Wolvercote villagers traditionally have had rights on the common. Horses and cattle are still grazed on Wolvercote Common and Port Meadow.

The common adjoins Wolvercote Green, location of the Plough Inn, separated by the Cotswold Line railway and Oxford Canal.[4]


Grazing on the common was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086.[5] Villagers in Wolvercote have had the right to pasture cows, geese, and horses on Wolvercote Common for many centuries. The rights were first confirmed in 1279. There have been many disputes concerning commoners' rights in the past. For example, in 1552, George Owen, owner of Wolvercote Manor and the mill, and physician to King Henry VIII, petitioned the King to prevent the Mayor of Oxford from enclosing this area.[3] Cripley Meadow to the south had previously been enclosed by the town. Enclosure would have prevented villagers from using the land for pasture. battles for rights have taken place in 1553, 1649, 1762, and 1843.[5] In 1892, there was an attempt to reduce Wolvercote Common by a small amount on its southern boundary. This caused a violent incident that has become known as 'The Battle of Wolvercote'.

The Wolvercote Commoners' Committee was established in 1929 to manage the common land and the preserve other amenities in the village.[5]

Along with Port Meadow and Wolvercote Green, Wolvercote Common has also been a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) since 1955.[6]

The Commons Registration Act 1965 has affected villagers' rights to the land detrimentally.[5] Only houses registered at the time of the act now formally have grazing rights, even if there is a change of household. In 1993, the Wolvercote Commoners' Committee resisted an attempt by Oxford City Council to take the common into its ownership.



  1. ^ "Wolvercote Common". Wikimapia. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Wolvercote Common". Common Land of England. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Hibbert, Christopher, ed. (1988). "Wolvercote". The Encyclopaedia of Oxford. Macmillan. pp. 498–499. ISBN 0-333-39917-X. 
  4. ^ "Wolvercote Common". Oxford, UK: Daily Information. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Our history". Wolvercote Commoners' Committee. Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "Port Meadow with Wolvercote Common & Green". UK: English Nature. Retrieved 23 October 2012.