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Latest News

21/03/14 08:23pm
In April and May a series of exciting events will be taking place celebrating the industrial and cultural heritage of the Oxford Canal. Organised by the Heritage Lottery funded Oxford Canal Heritage...
28/03/13 09:58am
The Jericho Living Heritage Trust is seeking a part-time manager to lead a project which is ‘Celebrating the heritage of Oxford’s canal’. The post-holder will oversee implementation of a grant...
28/03/13 09:45am
Today, the Jericho Living Heritage Trust, working on behalf of the Oxford City Canal Partnership has received a £65,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project in Oxford....
30/03/12 10:34am
We have reached another key point in the campaign to acquire and develop the boatyard site for the community, and would like to bring everyone up to date. In the first stage of this project you...

Living Heritage

A brief note on Jericho's heritage . . .

Jericho dates from the thirteenth century and has tremendous historical significance as both Oxford's earliest industrial base and as the location for some of the most significant episodes in the lives of the Pre- Raphaelites, the only British art movement to have international significance. It was in Jericho that Burne-Jones and William Morris first clapped eyes on Rosetti's paintings in Printers' House in Great Clarendon Street and where they decided to abandon their theological studies in Oxford and become painters.

Jericho has also been home to a number of Oxford thinkers, such as Isaiah Berlin who lived here, and St Sepulchres' Churchyard houses their remains – notably those of Benjamin Jowett ("I am the Master of Balliol College, and what I don't know is not knowledge.") and Thomas Combe the pre-Raphaelites' first patron and the inventor of Oxford India paper upon which the OED was printed. Jericho's landmark, St Barnabas' Church with its magnificent Romanesque tower, has inspired scenes in Thomas Hardy's novels, as well as those of Colin Dexter and Philip Pullman, on whom, of course, Jericho's boaters have had a powerful influence featuring in Pullman's work as the "Gyptians."

The Church is the subject of an idyllic poem by Betjeman, celebrating its magical architecture, and Betjeman himself was also instrumental in both preventing Jericho's canal from being filled in and stopping a road from being driven through Jericho in the 1960s (linking it to a now-abandoned road-building scheme part of which was planned to run across Christ Church meadow). Betjeman's daughter recently wrote a piece in 'The Oldie' extolling "unassuming small-scale Jericho"; its unique history and its distinctive canal-side atmosphere with its "myriad streets of modest two-up and two-down cottages". Speaking of the church of St Barnabas she wrote: "It must be one of the most powerful Victorian interiors in the land."

Lewis Carroll took delivery of the first edition of 'Alice in Wonderland' here, and Jericho's canal was regularly used by T.E.Lawrence whose childhood was spent in nearby Polstead Road; it was also visited by George Eliot who wrote glowingly of it as did Keats to his sister Fanny. Jericho is the one place left offering the same access to the canal which, once upon a time, all of the above enjoyed.


The Lady of Shalott - Waterhouse The Jericho Tavern Isaiah Berlin Oxford Bridge

Last modified: 19 April, 2011