Bablock Hythe

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Bablock Hythe is a small hamlet in Oxfordshire, situated 5 miles (8 km) west of Oxford city centre. There was formerly an important vehicle ferry across the River Thames at Bablock Hythe on the reach above Pinkhill Lock.


The earliest reference to a ferry is in 1279 and later ferries continued to provide a crossing service until the mid-20th century. The ferry was a wide-beamed ferry punt with a rope or chain in the river, which presented something of a hazard to navigation.[1] There was also an ancient inn, The Chequers, described by William Senior in his Royal River in the 1880s. This was rebuilt in the early 1990s and renamed The Ferry Inn and later The Ferryman.[2]

The poet Matthew Arnold described the area in his 1853 work "The Scholar Gipsy", writing

Thee, at the ferry, Oxford riders blithe,
Returning home on summer nights, have met
Crossing the stripling Thames at Bablock-hithe
Trailing in the cool stream thy fingers wet
As the slow punt swings round.

The site is overlooked by the "Warm green-muffled Cumnor Hills", but is now an extensive caravan site.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fred. S. Thacker: The Thames Highway: Volume II Locks and Weirs (1920, republished 1968 by David & Charles).
  2. ^ Christopher Winn: I Never Knew That about the River Thames (London: Ebury Press, 2010), p. 39.
  3. ^ Paul Goldsack River Thames: In the Footsteps of the Famous (Bradt/English Heritage 2003).

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°44′06″N 1°22′16″W / 51.735055°N 1.371145°W / 51.735055; -1.371145