John Lowe has put together this insightful history into Barton’s local area, street names and the meanings behind them. Scroll down to find the origins of your placename.

As Barton and Wick were only small farming communities they only got a brief mention in the history books. However, from early times there were two small hamlets. Barton is Old Engish for farmstead where barley is grown.

In 1246 it was known as Aldebarton, in 1276 as Oldebarton and by 1326 Oldbarton. It was not until the late 1880s that Barton was recorded as being part of the Headington Parish.

Wick (Old English for dairy farm) lies beyond Bayswater Brook. In the 1270s it was a large farm approximately 135 acres together with three small cottages. Following a fire in 1840 the farm house was rebuilt. There is an ancient well in the farmyard. The well house c1660 is a stone building with a central door.

The Wick was a house which stood in its own grounds which was demolished to build Barton Village School which itself was demolished with new houses being built on the site.

The land between Barton and Sandhills was farmland which was north facing and on an incline and was considered to be unsuiable for housing development. However, due to the acute housing shortage in the early 1930s they commenced laying sewage pipes for a proposed housing development.

The first council houses were ready for occupation by 1938. By the outbreak of WW2 there were about 54 houses occupied but recommenced in early 1946 when the first prefabricated bungalows were built.


Barton Schools

With the development of Barton Estate from 1946, it soon became apparent that school facilities would be required. In 1949 Barton Junior school opened on Northway with the opening of Barton Infant School in Fettiplace Road in 1952. Bayswater Secondary Modern School opened in 1953 becoming Bayswater Middle School in 1975 when Oxford adopted a three tier system of education Barton Junior School became Bernwood First School and Barton Infant School became Barton Village First School.

Bernwood First School closed in 1998 and in September the same year the pupils of Barton Village School moved to the Northway Site. In September 2003 Oxford reverted to a two tier system of education with Barton Village First School moving to the former site of Bayswater Middle School and was renamed Bayards Hill Primary School. The old Barton Village School site was demolished and sold for developement (see Hubble Close).

Ormerod School: Sir Arthur Latham Ormerod was the first full-time Medical Officer of Health for Oxfordshire from 1901-1929, who instigated the open-air school which opened in 1928 in the Manor House Grounds (now the site of the John Radcliffe Hospital). Originally the open-air school catered for 40 pupils in the winter and 60 in the summer of which most suffered from tuberculosis.

By 1965 the nature of the school had changed catering more for children with physical handicaps. In 1959 it was renamed the Ormerod School after its founder. With the building of the John Radcliffe in the 1970s the school moved to a new site in Wayneflete Road with accomodation for 120 children of all ages together with a nursery unit for 20 children. The Ormerod School amalgamated with the Marlborough School in Woodstock and moved to the Woodstock site in 2005.


Public Houses

The original Fox Public House was a small thatched building which only had one room for drinking with the beer being brought up from the cellar. The old Fox was closed and demolished during the 1930s with a new Fox being built beside the Norrthern Bypass. This in turn was closed and rebuilt to make way for the upgrading of the Northern Bypass to a dual carriageway and a new Fox was built on Northway and opened in 1967. This was again closed and demolished to make way for a housing developement.

Princes Castle had an unsusal start in that it was formally a blacksmith and stable block for the Manor House. Unfortunately the pub closed in the mid 1980s. Lottie and Ada Collins kept the pub from 1914-1935. The Princes Castle together with the Fox Public House became the focal points where residents used to meet to make plans on how to improve their way of life as there were no shops, buses, schools or even footpaths in the area. They worked together to form football teams, youth clubs and a Community Centre to be built in Underhill Circus.

The first football team was known as Barton Midgets and Alden’s the Butcher provided the first football shirts. Barton also had a cricket team and a ladies rounders team.

There is a rhyme naming some of the pubs in the Headington area which goes as follows: A Black Boy rode a White Horse carrying a Royal Standard, shouting rule Britannia. He chased the White Hart which had a bell around its neck. This disturbed the Fox which ran to grond at the Princes Castle.


Street Names


Alden Cresent

The road was named in 1945 after Leonard Henry Alden, 1873-1937, who was Mayor in 1936. He was also well known for his butchery business in the Oxford Covered Market and Eastwyke Farm, Abingdon Road, Oxford.


Aldebarton Drive

The road was named in 1985. Originally proposed by the Highways and Traffic Committee as either Aldebarton or Alderbarton being the older form of the name Barton meaning corn enclosure.


Atkinson Close

The road was named in 1938 after Richard Atkinson who became the sixteenth Mayor of Oxford in 1548 serving five terms in the office as Mayor between 1548 and 1567. Richard Atkinson also became the Coroner in 1549. There is a memorial dated 1571 to him in St Peters in the East Church which is now part of St Edmunds Hall Library.


Barton Community Centre

The original Community Centre was a second-hand prefabricated building being erected during 1949/50 in Underhill Circus by volunteers which was in turn replaced by today’s modern building.


Barton Village Road

The road was named in 1939. It’s confusing because there has never been a village named Barton.

The common English name means enclosure where Barley was grown. A later use was where cattle brought for milking as found in the works of Thomas Hardy, but the Oxford meaning is the other one. It originated in what is still called Wick Farm (a Scandinavian name for Roman bath).

The area was not built upon the development of Barton Estate to rehouse families from the St Ebbes Area of Oxford which was in the process of being demolished. 26 Barton Village Road was firmally 12 Barton Village, posssibly built in the17th century.

Blenheim Nurseries stood on the bend of Barton Village Road but unfortunately the house attached to the nurseries had to be demolished to allow buses to use the road.


Bassett Road

The road was named in 1948 after Thomas Bassett 1099-1182. His Loyal support for the King meant he was appointed Governer of Oxford Castle together with the post of Sheriff of the county. In 1220 due to the family loyalties, King John gave the family the Manor of Headington.


Bayswater Brook

Originally known as c1240 as Ludebroke and Bayards Watering Place in . (Ludebroke means loud water and Bayard is the stock name for the bay horse).


Bayswater Road and Bayswater Farm Road

The road were named in 1934. Originally called Bayswater Watering Hill after Bayswater Stream which the road crosses, meaning the watering place of the bay horse. The name is older when applied to Bayswater Hill which then means “Cress Hill”


Beckley View

The view towards Beckley village.


Bernwood Road

The road was named in 1945 after a family who owned land in Headington.


Brampton Road

The road was named in 1945 after Sir William Brampton, collector of taxes in 1400-1401. Later MP for Oxford between 1415-1425. He was knigted in 1420. Sir William also served eight terms as Mayor of Oxford between 1415-1425.


Brome Place

The road named in 1945 after two well known personalities.

1. Adam de-Brome 1270-1330. The original founder and first Provist of Oriel Colege. Adamde-Brome aquired Thackleys Inn, 109 High Street, Oxford (now A Plan) as the original home of Oriel College. He is buried in his own chapel in the University church of the Mary the Virgin.

2. John Brome, Lord of the Manor of Headington in 1469. A later member of his family owned Holton Park which later became Holton Park School now known as Wheatley Park School. St John’s son, Sir Christopher became Sheriff of Oxford in 1566/67.


Burchester Avenue

The road was named in 1945 after William Burchester, also known as William of Bicester or Bourg de Burgo, serving eleven times as Mayor of Oxford between 1311-1340. He owned property in the High Street west of Alfred Street but on his marriage to Eleanor he inherited a great deal of property including Holywell Mill and the Mitre Inn.

By 1333 he had built St Anne’s Chapel in All Saints Church. When he died in 1341, he left property to fund the charity in St Anne’s Chapel. His wife, son and son in law died in the Black Death in 1349, the charity was not established until 1350.


Bushey Leys Close

The road was named in 1971 after a local field of the same name.


Claymond Road

Originally there were four cottages on this site known as Sandhill Cottages. The road was named in 1948 after John Claymond 1468-1537 who was admitted to Magdalen College at the age of 16 in 1484 where he remained until 1517.

He became President there between 1507-1516. In 1517 his friend Bishop Richard Foxe founder of Corpus Christi persuaded him to move there as the first college president.

He gave money to improve the eastern approach (St Clements) to the city and he also provided a new roof for the Corn Market in the street which later became Cornmarket. He is buried in the chapel at Corpus Christi.


Colwell Drive

The road was named in 1994 after James Colwell which in the 1861 census was shown to be a shepherd living in Sandhills. Colwell may also relate to charcoal in the area.


Cranley Road

The road was named in 1947 after Thomas Cranley 1337-1417, Director of Divinity and Judge. He attended Merton College in 1366. He became one of the earliest Wardens of New College from 1389-1396. He became Chancellor of Oxford University in 1390. Archbishop of Dublin un 1397 and Lord Chancellor of Ireland in 1401.


Cresshill Place

The road was named in 1996. Formally The Butts. Cress Hill was the old name for the upper part of Bayswater Hill where cress was grown. Spelt Karshillein c1225.


Edgecome Road

The road was named in 1945 after Sir James Edgecome who served four terms as Mayor of Oxford. He was elected as Alderman in 1490 and again in 1503. He acted as butler at the Coronation of Henry VII. The name is also associated with land in the Headington area.


Ellington Court

Not known


Fettiplace Road

The road was named in 1945 after Adam Fettiplace believed to be the first person in Oxford to have this name but his origins are unknown, he served eleven times as Mayor of Oxford between 1245-1268. Fettiplace owned Drapery Hall in Cornmarket Street, and probably lived at that address, as he had his own stall in St Martin’s Church at Carfax. He also owned Shelde Hall in the parish of St Peter-in-the-East.

In 1232, Fettiplace was one of seven townsmen imprisoned for injuring clerks of the University in a town-andgown incident. Fettiplace founded a prosperous family that became well known throught Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

Fettiplace left 40 shillings a year rent from Drapery Hall to the nuns of Littlemore “to the intent that his anniversary should be kept on the translation of St Frideswyde there” He also gave Shelde Hall to the nuns.


Green Ridges

The road was named in 1989 at the suggestion of the developers, possibly due to the ridges and furrows which were quite visible. Gurl Close The road was named in 1985 after Thomas Gurl ahown in the 1881 census as publican at the Fox Inn. There was also a Clifford Gurl who was landlord of the Masons Arms (Headington Quarry) for over 30 years from the mid 1960s.


Handlo Close

The road was named in 1945 after a family associated with land in the Headington area.


Harolde Close

The road was named in 1985 and built on the sight of the former Blenhiem Nurseries at Barton. Between 1448- 1480 Thomas Harolde supplied stone for the construction of Merton College.


Hengrove Close

The road was named in 1981 – unknown.


Henry Taunt Close

The road was named in 1971 after Henry Taunt, born in Penson Gardens (St Clements) 1842-1922. He was a man of many talents including printing, botany, music, politics and childrens entertainment. His main business was as an enterprising and skillful photographer mainly concentrating around Oxford and the Thames Valley including the River Thames. His photography career started at the age of fourteen working for Edward Bracker.

By 1860 he was producing his own pictures. By the end of the decade he had opened his own premises in Cornmarket.

From 1874-1895, Taunt occupied premises at 9 and 10 Broad Street in which he had a gallery and workshop. He was made a fellow if the Royal Geographical Society in 1893. He was in the 1860s, at the cutting edge of Victiorian location photographic technology.


High Cross Way

The road was named in 1971 after a wayside cross mentioned in 1948 and shown on the 1804 Inclosure Award as the High Bush Cross. It was still in place in 1850. Cardinal Wolsey spent £34.8s.6p to repair the road from the bridge to High Cross to benefit the transportation of stone for the building of Cardinal College renamed Christ Church.


Hillside View

Looking over the hillside towards Beckley.


Hubble Close

The road was named in 2002 after Miss I.D. Hubble who as the Head Teacher of Barton Village School which was originally on the site which is now Hubble Close, a developement of 54 homes. The school had in turn been built on the site of a home called “The Wick”


Humphrey Road

The road was named in 1947 after Laurence Humphrey 1527-1590. Born in Newport Pagnell and educated at University of Camebridge. Elected to Magdalen College in 1546.

An English Theologian who gained a Fellowship in 1548 and a BA in 1549.

Appointed Regius Professor of Divinity 1560-1589, President of Magdalen College 1561-1576. In 1566, Humphrey took a prominent part in the ceremonies connected with the visit to Oxford of Elizabeth I. He was made Dean of Winchester 1585. He is buried in Magdalen College Chapel.


Ilsley Road

The road waas named in November 1945 after a family associated with land both here and in Headington. It may also be named after the Magdalen College connection with land in East Ilsley.


Lydia Close

The road was named in 1969 after Lydia Roberts who became the first Lady Mayoress who died in 1963. Lydia’s husband Alderman Evan Roberts was the first to hold the title of Lord Mayor from 1962. He also served the council for 33 years.


Malford Close

The road was named in 1946 after two Oxford personalities.

1. John Mather DD, Administrator of Oxford University, President of Corpus Christi 1715-1748 and Vice Chancellor of Oxford University 1723-1728

2. Catherine Mather whose endowed school opened at the Chequers Inn, Headington. Here her charity was for apprentice boys at the Blue Coat School together with prisoners at Oxford Prison.


Meadow Brook

Built in the 21st century on the site of the former local authority offices next to the meadow and Bayswater Brook.



The road was named in 1938 after much controversy. Another name for the A40 Northern Bypass next to the Headington Roundabout. A row of houses called Northway which the City Council suggested changing to Alden Avenue after the late Mayor Alderman Leonard Henry Alden, 1873-1937 who died following a road accident at Wheatley Bridge just three weeks after his wife’s funeral

The residents organsed a petition claiming that it would reduce the road status to ‘any old side road on a third class estate instead of a road flanking one of the finest roads in Oxford’ The petition stated that “we as purchasers of high class residences suggest the name inappropriate and would be more suitable to use on one of the council estates” (See Alden Cresent) Some of the residents suggested the name Northern Heights. However, in response to those people who thought they had gone up in the world, the name Alden was dropped and named Northway.


Overdale Close

The name Overdale suggested by the Housing Committee in 1948 due to the topographical features of the land, being at the top of a hill (ravine) in this case Bayswater Brook.


Poundfield Close

The road named in 1974 after a local field.


Routh Road

The road name was suggested and adopted in 1947 after Martin Joseph Routh, 1755-1854, president of Magdalen College for 63 years, the longest serving president. He was the oldest of 13 children was admitted to Queens in 1770 and graduated in 1774 and was ordained as a Deacon in 1777. He had a chair made from a giant oak tree grown in Magdalen Meadows. He died in his library where he had in excess of 16,000 books which prior to his death he offere dthem to Queens who turned the offer down. It was offered to Durham University where it still is to this day. Martin Routh is buried in Magdalen College.


Shaftesbury Road

The road was named in 1971 after Anthony Ashley Cooper MP, 1805-1885. Known as Lord Ashley and later 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. He was MP for Woodstock in 1826. In June 1827 he was appointed to Social Committee on Pauper and Lunatics in the county of Middlesex.

In 1833 Ashley introduced the Ten Hour Day Act 1833 which provided that no person between the ages of 9 and 18 working in the cotton or woollen industry shall work no more than ten hours per day and eight hours on Saturday.

There is a 1893 memorial to Shaftesbury in Piccadilly Circus, London named Angel of Christian Charity as EROS. He was offered a burial in Westminster Abbey but Shaftesbury wished to be buried in St Giles.


St Mary’s Church

Originally, church services were held in a wooden hut on the estate but to raise money to build the church, residents were offered a scheme where they could purchase a brick for 1/- (5p). Designed by Nugent Cachmaille-Day the church was built in 1957/58 and was consecrated on the 2nd June 1958. The first vicar being Rev. Neil Howells


Sherwood Place

The road was named in 2004 after William Edward Sherwood 1851-1927, he was a councillor representing the University and elected Mayor of Oxford in 1913 but due to the outbreak of war was asked to serve a further year in 1914.

Sherwood was a teacher of mathematics at Magdalen College School. In 1876 he was appointed Vice President of Sidney Sussex College, Bath returning to Magdalen College School in 1885 as Master of the School Choir.

In 1915 the University bestowed Sherwood the Honorary Degree of Civil Law. Sherwood died in the Acland Home in September 1927 and is buried in the same grave as his wife at St Mary and St John Church Cowley.


Stowford Road

The road was named in November 1945 after a farm off Bayswater Road adjacent to the bridge and also after a local family connected with land in the Headington area.


Sturges Close

The road was named in1985 after Joseph Sturges a shepherd at Barton Farm and who was recorded in the 1881 census.


Taggs Gate

The road was named in 1971 after the name of a local field.


Underhill Circus

The road was named in 1945 after two possibilities:

1. John Underhill, 1544-1592, Bushop of Oxfird but th Oxford Register of Ordination shows, there are no records that John Underhill, Bishop of Oxford never came to the diocese after his consecration. All signs are of him being in Londin. In 1581, the crown resented Underhill to the Rectory of Thornton Le Moors Cheshire valued at £24. 7s. 8p along with a Royal Chaplaincy.

2. Sidney Francis Underhill, 1860-1934, the son of a prominant grocer born at 37 Cornmarket. Elected to the Council 1898, Sheriff of Oxford 1909-1910. Elected Mayor of Oxford 1910. The family moved to London in 1920 where Underhill died in 1934. The road is circular in shape hence the name circus.


Watermill Way

No information available.


Wayneflete Road

The road was named in 1945 after William Wayneflete, 1398-1486, who took his name from his native village in Lincolnshire. He was a graduate of New College and in 1447 went on to become Bishop of Winchester, Lord Chancellor of England and Benefactor of Eton College.

In 1480 Wayneflete founded Magdalen Hall Grammer School (now Magdalen College School) to teach boys Latin. The Wayneflete Building south of Magdalen Bridge is named after him.

Wayneflete was granted a licence by the king in 1457 to establish a college on the site of the 13th century hospital of St John the Baptist which had been founded by Henry II. Its buildings and endowments became part of New College. Other statues of William are found on the Founders Tower on the 19th century gateway in the High Street and on the west doorway of the chapel, Magdalen College Library with over 800 books which belonged to him, together with his vestments and a pair of his shoes.


Wick Close

The road was named in 1945. Wick Farm meaning “dairy farm” was nearby. There being several different spellings over the years. Wike 1278/79, Wyke in 1298 and The Wyke in 1676.

Wick was one of two medieval hamlets in the parish of Old Headington and the other Barton.


Wilcote Road

The road was named in 1945 after William Wilcote (Wilcotes) MP for Oxfordshire in 1388, 1392, 1394/95 and 1397 He was also Lord of the Manor for Headington from 1399.


William Morris Court

The building was named in 2001 after William Richard Morris (Lord Nuffield), 1877-1964, motor manufacturer and great benefactor of Oxford from whom the City Council purchased the land to build Wood Farm Estate, making donations in excess of £30 million towards medical and education purposes. In 1947 he founded the British United Provident Association (BUPA). He opened his first cycle shop in 1893 at 16 James Street, moving in 1901 to premises at 46 High Street.

In 1902 he opened a workshop in Longwall Streert repairing and selling cars, setting up Morris Garages in 1909. By 1912 his business was manufacturing 1300 cars per year. In 1912 he designed a car the “Bullnose” Morris and began manufacturing from a disused Military College at Temple Cowley. By 1920 he was supplying one third of all cars in Great Britain with the Morris 8 and Morris 10 cars. During the period 1919-1925 Morris built factories at Abingdon, Birmingham and Swindon.

He also purchased the bankrupt Wolseley Cars from which he produced the Morris Minor in 1928. In 1938 he purchased the bankrupt Riley and Autovia companies. In 1951 he merged with Austin to form the British Motor Corportation (BMC). Where he remained President until retirement in 1954 but continued the business affairs until his death in 1964.

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