Bonn Square

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A paved square with a war memorial. People sitting on the steps. Pigeons waiting to be fed. Shops in the background.
Bonn Square and Tirah Memorial
Alternative view of Bonn Square with the New Road Baptist Church in the background.
The New Road Baptist Church itself.

Bonn Square in Oxford, England, is named after the German city of Bonn with which Oxford is twinned. It is close to the original west gate of the city of Oxford, where the Westgate Shopping Centre is now located. To the east is Queen Street, a shopping street. New Inn Hall Street leads north from near here. Oxford Castle and the old Oxford Prison are also nearby, now converted into a hotel and restaurants.


For over 700 years, from the 12th century until 1870, the area was the graveyard of St Peter-le-Bailey Church.[1] Although no records exist for the first 400 years of the graveyard's existence, parish records for the period from 1585 to 1870 list around 6,800 burials.[1] The church stood at the front of the square, overlapping on to the present Queen Street. In 1874 the church was rebuilt further up the road (now St Peter's College chapel), and the old church was demolished to make way for a road widening scheme.[1] From 1874 to 2007 the churchyard was a memorial garden, and the Tirah Memorial, the first war memorial erected in Oxford, was appropriately placed there in 1900.[1] The area was named Bonn Square in 1974.[1] The new paved Bonn Square was opened on 28 November 2008.[2]

Modern developments[edit]

The Square has been a site favoured by the homeless in Oxford, and major redevelopment commenced in January 2008, although work was initially disrupted by protesters who objected to the felling of a sycamore tree in the square.[3] Meanwhile, protests also erupted about development work proposed as part of the Westgate Shopping Centre, with a Green Party county councillor being arrested during an attempt to stop the felling of London Plane trees and eventual demolition of the Westgate multi-storey car park.[4]

The redevelopment in 2008 made it possible to inspect and record a number of gravestones which had been buried since the church of St Peter-le-Bailey on the site was demolished in 1873.[1] During the redevelopment, Oxford Archaeology undertook the archaeological investigations on behalf of Oxford City Council.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "The graveyard known as Bonn Square". Oxford History. Retrieved 2008-02-14. 
  2. ^ "Oxford celebrates with WinterLight festival". The Oxford Times. 2008-11-28. Retrieved 2011-03-12. 
  3. ^ "Police arrest tree man protester". BBC News Online. 2008-01-14. Retrieved 2011-03-12. 
  4. ^ "Oxford Green arrested as City Council defy public demand". Green Party of England and Wales. 2008-01-11. Retrieved 2008-01-12. 
  5. ^ "Monumental Inscriptions at St Peter-le-Bailey, Bonn Square, Oxford". Oxfordshire Family History Society. 2009. Retrieved 2011-03-12. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°45′06″N 1°15′36″W / 51.7517°N 1.2600°W / 51.7517; -1.2600