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Bastion No.4 and Baker’s Warehouse, Ship Street, Oxford

Underdown, Simon (2010) Bastion No.4 and Baker’s Warehouse, Ship Street, Oxford. Project Report. Oxford Archaeological Unit Ltd. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Building investigation and recording of the interior of Oxford City wall Bastion no. 4 and the late Victorian warehouse at Ship Street Oxford were undertaken due to redevelopment of the buildings as a conference venue and student accommodation by Jesus College. The work ran concurrently with below ground archaeological investigations within the warehouse which have been reported separately but are considered in the discussions in this report. The main stone masonry elements (500) within the bastion appear to be of one phase of rebuilding which involved the insertion of flues and fireplaces and larger windows for domestic use. The upper two fireplaces that had surrounds in place in c1880 have Tudor arches and although these may be later insertions or reused it does seem quite possible that the rebuilding of the interior probably took place in the 16th century. Timber samples from two chimney/lacing beams from the interior elevation were assessed for dendrochronology but found unsuitable for dating as they lacked enough rings. The north wall with the flues is now relatively thick (approx. 1.6m at thickest point) and it is possible that in places here the internal masonry has been built against the existing medieval walling without any removal of walling and that the north face of the flues may therefore be the old inner wall face. The possible section of City wall in the cellar to the south is however about as thick as the thickest section of surviving bastion wall. At the sides of the bastion the walling is much thinner than the wall in the cellar and the wall base uncovered in the recent evaluation trench and clearly the walls here have been greatly reduced to create rooms of a usable width. There is no obvious change in the existing masonry at the side walls (except that rebuilt c1882) and it appears that the entire inner face of the bastion is a later rebuild reusing material from the primary construction. The latest masonry (501-506) is connected with the construction of the warehouse and associated repair of the bastion which probably all took place in 1882 or shortly thereafter. The south-east wall of the bastion (502) was rebuilt at this time but below ground the 1986 investigations showed that the original bastion wall continued south below the rebuilt section and the 2008-9 investigations revealed parts of the bastion wall further south (130). Historically this wall was still standing prior to the warehouse construction as shown by the Taunt photo of c1880. The warehouse was designed by William Codd in 1881 for Baker & Co., furnishers and built in 1882. Codd was of some significance as a local architect, mostly of domestic development in North Oxford, and this may be his only surviving nondomestic building, but that is uncertain. It is of irregular plan to fit the site and incorporates the surviving fabric of the Bastion which was made a feature of the warehouse; its dimensions dictating a wider central bay that housed a large staircase and wide windows. This staircase had long gone and most of the windows had been removed prior to the survey; the polychromatic brickwork of the warehouse and the original roof largely survived and have been retained during the redevelopment except for the section of the north wall east of the bastion which has been demolished. The building will therefore retain a large proportion of its external character. The old open internal floors of the warehouse have been demolished and replaced with new floor structures and internal divisions. The recent archaeological investigations showed that the brick offsets of the north and south warehouse wall footings finished short of the east wall by a few metres and that the foundations at the east end were of deep shuttered concrete with brick offsets about 1m deeper than those to the west. Augur and borehole evidence also showed that man-made deposits extended to about 5.5m deep just west of the cut for these deeper foundations but adjacent to them the deposits continued beyond 6.3m depth. It has therefore been suggested that the reason for the deeper foundations is the greater depth of archaeological deposits which may be fills of a large, roughly north-south aligned, feature which might be a an extramural ditch to the city defences. The question of the exact position nature and development of the Oxford City defences in this area has not been resolved by the work that has been undertaken up till now and it is to be hoped that further opportunities to investigate and understand them will arise in future years.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects:Geographical Areas > English Counties > Oxfordshire
Period > UK Periods > Post Medieval 1540 - 1901 AD
Period > UK Periods > Medieval 1066 - 1540 AD
ID Code:653
Deposited By: Scott
Deposited On:29 Jul 2011 15:30
Last Modified:22 Aug 2014 14:36

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