Oxford Hythe Bridge

Has been described as a Questionable Fortified Bridge

There are no visible remains

NameOxford Hythe Bridge
Alternative NamesHigh Bridge
Historic CountryOxfordshire
Modern AuthorityOxfordshire
1974 AuthorityOxfordshire
Civil ParishOxford

Hythe Bridge. Carried a road from the town's north gate to the western suburbs across a branch of the Thames running to Castle Mill. The name "hythe" refers to a wharf built there. The first timber bridge was built by Oseney Abbey between 1200 and 1310; it was rebuilt in stone 1373-1403 and was replaced by the present iron bridge in 1861. (Steane 1997)

Hythe, also called High, Bridge carried a road from the town's north gate to the western suburbs across a branch of the Thames running to Castle mill; its name denotes a wharf there. The first known bridge, probably of wood, was built by Oseney abbey between 1200 and 1210, and was rebuilt in stone, with three arches, between 1373 and 1403. In 1861 it was replaced by the present iron bridge, designed by a local engineer, John Galpin. A few yards to the west lay Little Hythe or Quakes Bridge, which in 1616 contained two arches. Presumably it was built at the same time as Hythe Bridge; it was intended to rebuild it in 1861, but the work may not have been completed until 1874. (VCH)

Gatehouse Comments

The bridge is shown on Aga's map of Oxford from 1578 and Loggan's bird's eye view of 1675 and nothing in either illustration suggests this bridge was fortified or even gated. A couple of C19 engravings of the late C14 stone bridge also do not show anything suggestive of fortification. There were several other small bridges on this side of Oxford, some of medieval date, none of which was fortified. These all lead to Oseney Bridge at SP503062 which, by analogue with the series of bridges that made up Grandpont to the south of Oxford might be a more likely place for a fortification although none is recorded there and none is suggested.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSP508063
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  • Hibbert, C. (ed), 1988, The Encyclopaedia of Oxford (London: Macmillan) p. 190
  • Hassall, T.G., 1979, 'Communications' in A Crossley (ed), A Victoria History of the County of Oxford Vol. 4, The City of Oxford (OUP for the Institute of Historical Research) p. 286-9 online transcription
  • Hurst, H., 1899, Oxford Topography: An Essay p. 95 online copy


  • Bruce Watson, 2013 Sept, Gazetteer of fortified bridges (working list kindly shared with Gatehouse)