Oxford boundary markers: Barton (1684)

Barton, 1684

T. W.
1 6 8 4

This boundary stone is one of a group of three stones standing In a field opposite the bottom end of Barton Village Road before it swings right (very near the signpost to Lower Farm). They are immediately beside the north side of the Bayswater Brook, and have been moved in recent years.

Neither this boundary stone nor the adjoining benchmark stones are marked on Ordnance Survey maps. The stones are situated roughly in the centre of this map: note that Barton Farm has now been renamed Lower Farm

This stone appears to mark the 1298 boundary between the Forest of Shotover and the Manor of Headington. The Bayswater Brook continued to mark the boundary of Headington, and latterly the City of Oxford, to the present day. It is not a listed structure.

Brome Whorwood, Lord of the Manor of Headington, died in 1684, and although it was his daughter Mrs Diana Masters who at first took over as Lady of the Manor, the initials TW on this stone could be those of his illegitimate son, Thomas Whorwood, who was then a minor, but succeeded to the Lordship after his half-sister's death. Alternatively the T could stand for Terra (land).

More on the Whorwood family


The other two stones in this Barton group

Group of stones in Barton

Left: The tall stone behind the 1684 boundary stone is a type of benchmark (a means of determining height above sea level). Most benchmarks are chiselled symbols on walls, but they can be a stone like this, which is known as a trig pillar.

Right: The origin of this stone on the right is uncertain: it could either be a fundamental benchmark or a medieval boundary stone that was replaced by the 1684 stone.

The field

The stones are in a field to the north of the Bayswater Brook that comes under South Oxfordshire District Council. It is owned by the Oxford Preservation Trust, which in the mid-1930s was concerned over the prospect of building in the valley of the brook, near what was then the hamlet of Barton. This field, at the end of the lane which led from the hamlet of Barton to Barton Farm (now renamed Lower Farm), was bought from Mr Gurden, at the instigation of Sir Michael Sadler, who lived at the Rookery in Old Headington and was a founder of the Trust.

The Christ Church land each side of this field and to the north of it is shortly to be developed:
see map on development site.

The photograph below shows the position of the stones (behind the fence) in relation to the Bayswater Brook and Lower Farm:

Barton stones in context

Back to list of Oxford boundary stones

Stephanie Jenkins