What's the Oldest Building in Oxford and Can You Visit It?

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What’s the Oldest Building in Oxford and Can You Visit It?

What's the Oldest Building in Oxford and Can You Visit It?

Oxford has a large variety of beautiful historical places. But what’s Oxford City’s oldest building? And can you visit it today? Let’s go some of the hidden gems this amazing place has to offer… or scroll down for the final reveal!

Oldest Oxford Buildings: 5. Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral is perhaps the most stunning college chapel in Oxford. It was built as a place of worship in the late 12th century. Though one of England’s smallest cathedrals, it’s a wonderful example of late Norman architecture – and it’s definitely one of the oldest buildings in Oxford. Christ Church Cathedral was originally St Friedeswide’s Priory, a priory of Augustian canons that was established in the time of Henry I. St Friedeswide, in case you didn’t know, also happens to be the patron saint of Oxford.

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Christ Church Cathedral - Oxford. Image courtesy of Randy Connolly

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral is perhaps the most stunning college chapel in Oxford. It was built as a place of worship in the late 12th century.

Oldest Oxford Buildings: 4. 24-26 Cornmarket Street (1386-1396)

24-26 Cornmarket Street, in Oxford, is a timber-framed building built in the late 14th century. Apart from being one of the oldest buildings in Oxford, it’s also -without a doubt- one of the prettiest. This medieval jewel belonged to a wine merchant who ran it as an inn, the “New Inn”. What remains is about half of it, as the “complete” one would have had a central courtyard. The building is mostly original, although parts of it were from a restoration funded by Jesus College in the 1980s.

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24-26 Cornmarket Street. Image courtesy of Chuca Cimas.

24-26 Cornmarket Street, Oxford

24-26 Cornmarket Street, in Oxford, is a timber-framed building built in the late 14th century. It belonged to a wine merchant who ran it as

Oldest Oxford Buildings: 3. Mob Quad in Merton College (1274)

Mob Quad in Merton College is probably the oldest quadrangle in Oxford. The quad is so old, it actually doesn’t have any chimneys! (they weren’t in widespread use in England then). 

Mob Quad, Merton College. Image courtesy of Caro Wallis

Mob Quad in Merton College

Mob Quad in Merton College is probably the oldest quadrangle in Oxford. The quad is so old, it actually doesn’t have any chimneys! (they weren’t

Oldest Oxford Buildings: 2. Saxon Tower of St Michael at the North Gate (1040)

The Saxon Tower of St Michael at the North Gate was once by the North Gate in the walls of Oxford city. The tower was built in 1040, from rubble / coral rag. It still stands strong today as Oxford’s oldest building. 

Oldest Oxford Buildings: 1. St George’s Tower in Oxford Castle (1020)

St George’s Tower in Oxford Castle is one of two surviving towers in Oxford. It was built around 1020 (we’re not sure when, exactly) AD. Nearly 25 meters high (it might have been higher when first built), the tower is the oldest building in Oxford.

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