Why Jericho?

Information from a new booklet

Posted - May 08, 1980

The name Jericho was first recorded as being associated with this neighbourhood by a man named Anthony Wood who, witha friend named Stephens, spent 6d at Jericho Gardens in 1668. Jericho was then the name of an inn that stood on the site now occupied by the Berni Inn in Walton Street which is still known as Jericho House. In those days the name Jericho was often used to denote an area that was remote, and the wayside inn on this site must indeed been remote when its name was first recorded over 300 years ago.

An old map dated 1675 shows a track running along the line of what we now know as Walton Street with no buildings on either side (it was not called Walton Street until 1772). Another track ran eastward along the line of Little Clarendon Street to St. Giles Church with a few buildings on its north side. There is no record of any other buildings at that time between St. Giles and the river.

When Anthony Wood visited Jericho none of the buildings we know in this area today existed except the Pump Quad and the Old Cottages on the south side of the Main Quad of Worcester College and the building on the north side of Worcester Chapel that now contains the Senior Common Room. The Jericho that we know today was mainly built to provide homes for people who came here to work at Lucy's Ironworks and the University Clarendon Press, both of which were built and opened in the eighteen seventies. St. Paul's Church was built for them in 1836 and St. Barnabas Church in 1869.

Most of this information is taken from a newly revised booklet on "Gloucester Green and Jericho". It is one of several booklets in a series with the general title "On Foot in Oxford" published by the Oxfordshire County Libraries. They are written as guides for local walks, but they also provide fascinating information for anyone who lacks the time or energy to spend an hour or two on foot. They can be obtained at the central and branch city libraries, the Information Centre in St. Aldates and the Oxford Museum in Blue Boar Street just round the corner beside the Town Hall, price 20p each.

Did you know?

Who owns the houses?

In Jericho in 2011, only 21% of households were owner occupiers. Instead, many more people rented their homes: 58% from private landlords and 20% from ‘social’ landlords, mostly the City Council.

What St Barnabas Church cost to build?

Thomas Combe the Superin­tendent of OUP and it was he who commissioned and paid for the construc­tion of the church in 1869 at a cost of £6,492. All the interior fittings were provided for about £900. The campanile was erected in 1872 for £800.