Walton Well Road

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Looking east along Walton Well Road from the canal bridge.
The "Elijah terrace"[1] houses on the south side of Walton Well Road.
View east along Walton Well Road close to the junction with Southmoor Road and Longworth Road.

Walton Well Road is a road, about 400 metres (a quarter mile) long, near the centre of Oxford, England. It provides a link from central Oxford to Port Meadow.


The road marks the northern edge of the district known as Jericho. At the eastern end is the north end of Walton Street and the south end of Kingston Road at the junction with St Bernard's Road. The western end is reached by a bridge (Walton Well Road Bridge) spanning the Oxford Canal and also the railway line. Here there is access to Port Meadow and the Thames Path, with a car park run by Oxford City Council.[2] About halfway along the road is a junction with Longworth Road and Southmoor Road. To the south, between the canal and the railway line, a new residential road, William Lucy Way, was developed around 2006,[3] on the other side of the Oxford Canal from the former Lucy's Eagle Ironworks site. To the south are modern residential apartments on the former site of the Eagle Ironworks, St Sepulchre's Cemetery and beyond that Juxon Street.

The Oxford-Man Institute, a research institute of Oxford University established in 2007, is located at Eagle House in Walton Well Road.[4][5]


Former fountain on Walton Well Road.

The road is on the site of a spring known as Walton Well[6] (or Bruman's Well)[7] At the location of the spring, there is a drinking fountain in the road, with a plaque dated 1885.[7] It was erected by William Ward, who was Mayor of Oxford in 1851 and 1861.[8] The fountain was designed by the architect Harry Wilkinson Moore and carved in Portland stone by McCulloch of London.[9]


The road is important historically because not only did it lead to Port Meadow, but it was also used as a short cut to Binsey, Medley, and Wytham via a ford, called Walton Ford[10] or Walton Well Ford.[11]

The Oxford Canal reached the outskirts of Oxford in 1789, when a coal wharf was opened at Heyfield Hutt, now the site of Hayfield Road to the north of Walton Well Road. The final section into central Oxford was ceremonially opened on 1 January 1790; it needed a bridge to be built over it to maintain the link to Port Meadow. The canal led to the industrialization of the area. In the 19th century, there was a basin and Walton Well hard for boats from the canal at Walton Well Road near the junction with Longworth Road.[12]

On the south side of the street for many years was the historic Eagle Ironworks (aka Lucy's), first established on this site by the Oxford Canal in 1825.[13] The area has now been redeveloped as flats by Berkeley Homes,[14] after an archaeological evaluation.[15] During the archaeological excavation, a 17th-century pit and a possible 19th-century well were discovered to the rear of 25 Walton Well Road.

View of the Cotswold Line railway north from Walton Well Road.

The Cotswold Line railway next to the Oxford Canal was opened in 1851. In the 1850s, a railway station was planned at Walton Well.[16] A railway line to Brentford in west London was proposed by the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway from this station, across the parish of St Giles, just north of the present Bevington Road and Norham Gardens. The plan never materialized.

The houses on Walton Well Road were built between 1873 and 1897.[17] Many were designed by the architect H. W. Moore (who also designed the fountain in the street mentioned earlier) in the 1880s, some in collaboration with William Wilkinson.[9] No. 2 Walton Well Road, an imposing double-fronted residence, was the house of the ironmaster at the adjacent Lucy's foundry.[18] On the south side of the street is the "Elijah terrace", a row of terraced houses built by Joseph Codgbrook Curtis.[1] These include nine carved panels by the local sculptor Samuel Grafton, based in Cowley Road, Oxford, on aspects of the biblical story of the prophet Elijah in the Old Testament.

During the early 20th century, the poet and short story writer A. E. Coppard (1878–1957) worked at the Eagle Ironworks in Walton Well Road, as recounted in his autobiography It's Me, O Lord!.[19]

Also in Walton Well Road was the Catholic Workers College (at No. 2) from 1921 until 1955 when it moved to Boar's Hill south of Oxford and was renamed Plater College.[18]

Squatters moved into the area during the 1960s and 1970s, and have been dubbed 'Waltons'.[20]

Around 2000, The Waterways estate was built on the site of the British Motor Corporation's former Osberton Radiator Factory immediately to the north of Walton Well Road.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Sutton, John (December 2017). "The Prophet Elijah in Jericho". Jericho Matters. 35. 
  2. ^ Walton Well Road — Car park, Parkopedia, UK.
  3. ^ "Sold House Prices in William Lucy Way". The Oxford Times. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Contact, Oxford-Man Institute of Quantitative Finance, University of Oxford, UK.
  5. ^ "Declaration of approval of unopposed Resolution authorising use of space in Eagle House". Oxford University Gazette. University of Oxford. 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  6. ^ Tanis Hinchcliffe, North Oxford. Yale University Press, 1992, pages 18, 25–26, 30, 47, 53. ISBN 0-300-05184-0.
  7. ^ a b "Walton or Bruman's Well." In Robert Charles Hope, Legendary Lore of the Holy Wells of England Including Rivers, Lakes, Fountains and Springs. Kessinger Publishing, 2003, page 124. ISBN 978-0-7661-6716-2.
  8. ^ Inscriptions: Drinking fountain, Oxford Streets, UK.
  9. ^ a b Saint, Andrew (1970). "Three Oxford architects". Oxoniensia. 35. 
  10. ^ Walton Well Road Gate. In Alison McDonald, The historical ecology of some unimproved alluvial grassland in the upper Thames Valley. British Archaeological Reports — British Series, Volume 441. Archaeopress, 2007, page 143. ISBN 978-1-4073-0122-8.
  11. ^ Christopher Hibbert and Edward Hibbert (editors), The Encyclopaedia of Oxford. Macmillan, 1988, pages 332, 491. ISBN 978-0-333-39917-0.
  12. ^ Walton Street, Jericho Echo, Oxford, UK.
  13. ^ Lucy's Eagle Iron Works, Jericho Echo, Oxford, UK.
  14. ^ Lucy's plan gated housing, Jericho Echo, Oxford, UK.
  15. ^ Sean Thomas, Eagle Iron Works, Walton Well Road, Jericho, Oxford: An Archaeological Evaluation for Berkeley Homes (Oxford and Chiltern) Ltd, Thames Valley Archaeological Services Ltd., March 2006.
  16. ^ Tanis Hinchcliffe, North Oxford. Yale University Press, 1992, page 30.
  17. ^ Hinchcliffe, Tanis (1992). North Oxford. New Haven & London: Yale University Press. pp. 239–240 (Appendix: Gazetter). ISBN 0-14-071045-0. 
  18. ^ a b Symonds, Ann Spokes (1998). The Changing Faces of North Oxford: Book Two. Witney: Robert Boyd Publications. pp. 27–28. ISBN 1-899536-33-7. 
  19. ^ Oxford Oxfordshire, Literature Reference, JRank.
  20. ^ Snow, Peter (1991). Oxford Observed. John Murray. p. 213. ISBN 0-7195-4707-5. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°45′44″N 1°16′15″W / 51.7622°N 1.2707°W / 51.7622; -1.2707