Queen Street

Queen Street is one of the four main roads that meet at Carfax, and well into the twentieth century it was still part of the A40 road to Faringdon and Witney.

It was originally known as the Bayley or Great Bailey, as it curved down into Castle Street. (New Road, which it now meets, was not created until 1771.) St Peter-le-Bailey Church once stood at the west end of Queen Street, on the site of the present Bonn Square. St Martin's Church at Carfax stood adjacent to the east end of the street.

It was later known as Butcher Row. The shops here burnt down in the fire of 1644 and were not rebuilt until 1657, and during this period butchers had of necessity been selling their produce from shops and stalls in the High Street, but at a meeting of Oxford City Council held on 7 April 1657 it was clarified that henceforth meat could only be sold at the west end of the High Street on market days (Wednesdays and Saturdays), and that on all other days it had to be sold here in Butcher Row. This continued until the Covered Market was opened in 1772.

It was only in 1785 that it acquired its present name of Queen Street, after the popular Queen Charlotte, who visited Oxford with her husband George III that year.

Most of the shops in Queen Street are modern, and it has just one listed building: the shop at No. 45, known as the Tower House, that is adjacent to the tower of St Martin's Church (List Entry 1047184).

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© Stephanie Jenkins