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Oxford boundary markers: Headington Hill (1729)


Mileway on Headington Hill

H E R E   E N D E T H
H E D I N G T O N
H Y W A Y
W K   J F

This mileway stone is in the north wall of Headington Hill, 20 yards above the bridge. It is at the side of a main road with no pavement, so it is not safe to visit it, and today it can only be seen by cyclists travelling up the hill.

It probably dates from 1729, as WK and JF are the initials of William Kenton and Jeremiah Franklin, who were respectively Senior Bailiff and Mayor of Oxford for 1728/9.

Grade II listed:
List Entry No 1184684

 

When this stone was set up, this road stopped at the top of Headington Hill: the main route from Oxford to London turned off half-way up the hill to Cheney Lane and Old Road, while those wanting to go to Old Headington would ascend the road to the top and then take a route roughly along the line of Cuckoo Lane to the left.

The stone is set into the retaining wall of the raised footpath up Headington Hill that had been created in about 1700. It probably stood on the road originally (although it may have been moved when the road was realigned in 1771), and it was set into this wall during road improvements in 1930.

As it was set up by the city council, this stone appears to mark the end of the mileway from Magdalen Bridge for which they were responsible, thus having the same purpose as the mileway stone of 1667 in Warneford Lane.

On 15 October 1791 an advertisement was inserted in Jackson's Oxford Journal inviting persons willing to contract for repairing and keeping in repair two other mileways leading from the St Clement's turnpike, namely:

  • To the mileway stone in Blackberry Lane (on the turnpike road to Dorchester)
  • To the mileway stone on Cowley Marsh (on the road to Cowley).
Stephanie Jenkins