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Old Abingdon Road Culverts

A Scheduled Monument in Hinksey Park, Oxfordshire

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Latitude: 51.7298 / 51°43'47"N

Longitude: -1.2532 / 1°15'11"W

OS Eastings: 451673.8516

OS Northings: 203722.4997

OS Grid: SP516037

Mapcode National: GBR 8ZB.FZ8

Mapcode Global: VHCXV.7SB8

Entry Name: Old Abingdon Road Culverts

Scheduled Date: 5 October 2012

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1408790

County: Oxfordshire

Electoral Ward/Division: Hinksey Park

Built-Up Area: Oxford

Traditional County: Berkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Oxfordshire

Church of England Parish: South Hinksey

Church of England Diocese: Oxford


Culverts and part of a causeway, a continuation of the Grandpont (a Norman causeway), preserving the medieval and possibly Saxon southern approach to Oxford.

Source: Historic England


The bridges and culverts on the Old Abingdon Road are, from west to east:

The Stanford Bridge culverts which lay either side of a main central bridge
Redbridge Culvert 1 or west
Redbridge Culvert 2 or east
Mayweed Bridge culverts over Hinksey stream which comprises two culverts to the east of a main bridge
Mayweed Lesser culvert

Each culvert has a number of phases of extension and modification. The spans of the culverts from abutment to abutment vary between 1.25 and 1.75m. The 2009 Archaeological Investigations Summary Report identifies the earliest phases of construction within each culvert as dating from the early medieval (Norman) to medieval periods and are described below.

These comprise two culverts one either side of Stanford Bridge. The earliest phase of each culvert lies on its south side.

The western culvert is about 4m wide north to south and the pointed arch on its northern side is more compressed on its south elevation. The culvert has dressed stones on the abutments, a rubble stone vault and limestone voussoirs. Beyond this early phase the culvert is constructed of rubble stone.

The eastern culvert is 3.9m wide. It has radiating voussoirs with fine joints and a coursed rubble stone vault. The voussoirs on the north side are weathered suggesting that this was once an outside face. There is tooling on the abutments of the east side and evidence of repair and modification on both north and south elevation.

The remainder of the culvert has phases of squared blocks with mortar joints and rubble stone construction.

The earliest part of this culvert, in two phases, lies in the middle of the culvert, flanking a later, narrow central section 1.65m wide. The earliest phase, 3.98m wide, is to the south of the centre of the culvert and has abutments extending from a stone footing 0.12m from the abutment face. There are two courses of masonry footings and the abutment above footing level comprises two courses of ashlar masonry with vertical striated tooling. Above this are two courses of rubble stone masonry which bear the springing of the barrel arched head of the culvert. The face of this section has limestone voussoirs and the head of the arch has longer and narrower blocks. The character of this part of the culvert is consistent with a positively identified Norman phase of the Redbridge 2 (eastern) culvert.

The second phase, to the north of the central section, is 3.2m wide and has squared abutments on a rubble stone footing. The rubble stone vault has limestone voussoirs.

The earliest phase of this culvert is again in the centre of the culvert and is 3.8m wide with a span of 1.75m. This phase has been securely dated to the Norman period. It has large ashlar masonry blocks with diagonal striated tooling and fine joints. The arch follows a shallow arc from a low spring point and terminates in a round head rubble stone arch.

The remaining phases are of rubble stone construction.

This comprises two culverts to the east of the main bridge span. The earliest phase of each culvert lies just to the north of the middle of each culvert.

The western culvert early phase, 4.1m wide, has large ashlar blocks abutments, rubble stone vaults and dressed stone voussoirs. Diagonal striated tooling was seen on the abutments and rubble stone vault.

The eastern culvert early phase is 4m wide and was identified as characteristic of the culvert construction of the Grandpont causeway. The barrel vault is of coursed rubble stone with voussoirs carved from shelly limestone and there is some striated tooling present.

The other phases of both culverts are of rubble stone construction without any dressings.

There are five phases of construction here, but the two earliest phases are the two central sections. The abutment of the southern of these two sections is partly encased by the northern section which indicates that the southern section is the earlier.

The southern section is 2.8m wide and has squared masonry blocks with fine jointing from the springing to the apex of the barrel. There are similarities between this section of the culvert and the culverts at the northern end of the Grandpont.

The northern section is 4.12m wide and has roughly squared and coursed block abutments and dressed stone voussoirs. Striated and coarse tooling was seen on some of the stones.

The other phases of the culvert are of rubble stone construction without any dressings.

It is considered that the earliest, Norman, phases of culverts along this part of the causeway are the first phase of Redbridge 1, the Redbridge 2 culverts and possibly the southern phase of the Mayweed Lesser and the eastern of the Mayweed Bridge culverts. The other phases of the culverts described above are of medieval date, but extensions beyond these are of a later date.

The 2009 Archaeological Investigations Summary also indicates that by comparison with the Grandpont the surviving causeway on top of the culverts is about 0.3m thick.

The scheduling aims to protect the Norman and medieval phases of each of the culverts and the causeway above in each case. The maximum span (from culvert abutment to abutment broadly in the direction of the road) of the culverts is 1.75m, apart from the Mayweed west and east culverts which are so close together that it is more appropriate to include them in one area of archaeological protection which has a maximum span of 8m.

There are therefore six areas of archaeological protection: three of 4m wide (width is measured across the road) in the west and east Stanford Bridge culverts and in Redbridge Culvert 2; one of 9m wide in Redbridge Culvert 1, which includes the later central section of the culvert for ease of management; one of a maximum of 4.25m wide in the amalgamated West and East Mayweed Culverts respectively and one of 7m wide in the Mayweed Lesser Culvert.

As the causeway is considered to lie just above the culverts with a thickness of 0.3m, in order to protect the causeway and allowing for a 0.3m buffer to provide a margin for protection and maintenance of the causeway, the area of archaeological importance extends to 0.6m above the culvert soffits. In the case of the Lesser Mayweed culvert this will give very little clearance to the road surface as the distance from carriageway to soffit is 0.84 - 0.9m.

The tarmac surface and make-up of the road above the areas of archaeological importance is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath is included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The west and east Stanford Bridge culverts, Redbridge culverts 1 and 2, the west and east Mayweed culverts, the Lesser Mayweed culvert and those parts of the causeway above each are scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Rarity: they are a continuation of the already scheduled Grandpont and represent an example of a medieval causeway (possibly with Anglo-Saxon origins), few of which now survive in their original form;
* Survival: original fabric is visible in the culverts and will survive in those sections of the causeway above each culvert;
* Potential: no recent disturbance or archaeological excavation has taken place in the vicinity of the culverts and the causeway. There is therefore the potential for the recovery of archaeological information and environmental evidence relating to the causeway and the landscape in which it was built;
* Documentation: the causeway is considered to have its origins in the Saxon or Norman period and represents an important element in understanding the topography and development of early medieval and medieval Oxford. It is one of the few examples of this type of monument where both archaeological and documentary records are available.

Source: Historic England


Jacobs ‘Old Abingdon Road Culverts, Archaeological Investigations: Summary Report’ July 2009.,
Jacobs Babtie ‘Old Abingdon Road, Oxford Archaeological Desk Based Assessment’ September 2006.,
Waterman CPM Environmental Planning & Design ‘Old Abingdon Road Bridge, Oxford Archaeology and Architectural Assessment’ July 2008.,

Source: Historic England

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