Headington history: The quarries

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The Quarries of Headington


General introduction

Two former quarries that are now Sites of Scientific Special Interest

Magdalen Quarry (formerly known as the Workhouse and the Corporation Pit)
This is situated just to the west of Gladstone Road, off Willilam Kimber Crescent.

Rock Edge (formerly known as Crossroads Pit or Windmill Pit)
This is situated at the south-east corner of Windmill Road

Other pits and quarries

Saccy's Pit or Horwood's Pit
On the site of the present Beaumont Alley.

Pit on Green Road
Jack Phillips's Pit

Jack Phillips's Pit
This was on the corner of Green Road and Quarry High Street, as shown on the 1921 OS map (right)

Vicarage Quarry
This was opposite the vicarage in Quarry Road

Blondin or Munt's Pit
On the site of Quarry Hollow and the adjacent play park

Clayhills Pit, also known as St Ebba's Pit
On the corner of Quarry Road and Old Road, now the site of Stansfeld Centre

Harry Bear's Pit
This was on the east side of the Slade, 250 yards south of the junction with Old Road

Coppock's Quarry
This was to the west of the present Gladstone Road, to the south of the Magdalen Pit. It was closed in the 1880s. “Stone in Archaeology” Database: Coppock's Quarry

Mason's Pit
This was behind the Mason's Arms, and was the largest and most enduring of the Quarry pits. It was in this pit that in 1861 four gipsy families headed by Wisdom Smith, Thomas Smith, Reconcile Smith, and Mrs Ann Smith camped with their families.

Pound House Quarry
This was at Shotover Hill Place (the area of the east end of Old Road, which was in the ecclesiastical parish of Holy Trinity, Headington Quarry but in the civil parish of Forest Hill with Shotover).

Hundred Acres Pit
This was owned by Thomas White, the farmer at Wood Farm, in the late nineteenth century.
See this report in Jackson's Oxford Journal of 11 March 1899 on the inquest held at the Crown & Thistle into the death of Edward Morris (61), who was undermining the rock at this pit with a long-handled paddle for the purpose of bringing about a fall of rock by drawing out the sand when a large piece of stone fell on him and buried him alive.

Claypit at The Kilns in Risinghurst
There were brickworks to the south of Kiln Lane until the twentieth century, and the lake at C. S. Lewis's house is actually a flooded claypit.

Greening's Pit, later known as Gale's Pit, was worked by
a gang from Quarry, but was actually situated in Cowley.

Below: Boulders in a sandbank of one of the Headington Quarries in 1918

The quarries around Headington are regularly advertised to let in Jackson's Oxford Journal. This advertisement appeared on 24 August 1822:

TO be LET on a Lease, for 12, 14, or 21 years, and either together or separately,—The two capital STONE QUARRIES on Shotover Hill, near Oxford, producing the celebrated Headington hard stone, and excellent free stone, in inexhaustible abundance. The multiplicy of new buildings, as well projected as in actual progress, in an near Oxford, and the extensive demand for stone from these quarries from distrant places, must ensure to them for many yhears a brisk and never-failing trade; and they undoubtedly offer to persons in that line a most advantageous opportunity of a profitable establishment.
   The Quarries may be entered upon immediately.
   For terms and further particulars apply at the office of Mr. H. Taunton, Oxford.


© Stephanie Jenkins

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