Cripley Meadow

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Cripley Meadow
Cripley Meadow is located in Oxfordshire
Cripley Meadow
Cripley Meadow
 Cripley Meadow shown within Oxfordshire
District Oxford
Shire county Oxfordshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Oxford
Postcode district OX2
Dialling code 01865
Police Thames Valley
Fire Oxfordshire
Ambulance South Central
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Oxford West and Abingdon
Website Cripley Meadow Allotments Association
List of places

Coordinates: 51°45′36″N 1°16′26″W / 51.760°N 1.274°W / 51.760; -1.274

Cripley Meadow lies between the Castle Mill Stream, a backwater of the River Thames, and the Cotswold Line railway to the east, and Fiddler's Island, on the main branch of the Thames to the west, in Oxford, England.[1] It is to the south of the better known Port Meadow, a large meadow of common land. To the south is Sheepwash Channel which connects the Oxford Canal with the River Thames.


Goldwin Smith, a 19th-century Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford University, who organized opposition to planned GWR carriage-making workshops at Cripley Meadow.[2]

In October 1554, John Wayte (later Mayor of Oxford) was appointed along with two others to travel to London to give instructions concerning Cripley Meadow and Port Meadow.[3]

In 1865, there was the possibility that the Great Western Railway (GWR) could become a major employer in Oxford since the company's railway carriage-making workshops, that were expected to provide 1,500 jobs, were to be sited in the city, moving from Paddington in London.[4][5] The City of Oxford corporation, which thirty years earlier had opposed the railway, offered a lease on Cripley Meadow for the workshops. There was great enthusiasm for the initiative.[6] However, the University of Oxford opposed the proposal, led by Goldwin Smith, a historian at University College, Oxford whose father had also been a director of GWR.[2] A contract for the Cripley Meadow site was already in place, but a change in leadership at GWR meant that the workshops were built at Swindon instead.

File:Cripley Meadow Allotments entrance, Oxford.JPG
The entrance to Cripley Meadow allotments.


Before 1891, it is likely that Cripley Meadow was used for horse grazing, similar to Port Meadow, and also hay production. By March 1891, about 14 acres of the land was let to the North Oxford and Jericho Allotments Association for allotments. Over the following years, the city engineer organized the deposit of street refuse on the site to raise its level above the river.

Cripley Meadow Allotment Association is managed by an annually elected committee. Oxford City Council lease the land to the association and devolve its management to the committee. Since 2004 over 160 plots have been cleared and put back into use. It is now is a thriving site supporting over 200 members in growing local food.

Cripley Island Orchard has also been established.[7]


Main article: Castle Mill
File:Panorama of graduate housing from Port Meadow, Oxford.jpg
Panoramic view of new Oxford University graduate housing on what was Cripley Meadow, looking south from Port Meadow across.
File:Obscured view of St Barnabas campanile from Port Meadow, Oxford.JPG
St Barnabas Church campanile obscured by new Oxford University graduate accommodation, looking across Cripley Meadow at the southern end of Port Meadow.

Since 2012, the Castle Mill site (400 m by 25 m) between the Cripley Meadow Allotments[8] and the railway tracks is being developed as extensive student accommodation for the Oxford University Estates Directorate by Longcross.[9] There is a badger run at the site.[10]

The development of Castle Mill has been controversial since the four- and five-storey blocks overlook Port Meadow.[11] Campaigners have warned of damage to views of Oxford.[12][13] There has been an online petition[14] and concern has been raised by the Oxford Preservation Trust and the Green Party.[15] Anger has been caused even among members of Oxford University.[16] The development has been likened to building a "skyscraper beside Stonehenge".[17] In February 2013, Oxford City Council entered negotiations with Oxford University to reduce the height of the buildings by two storeys.[18]


  1. "Cripley Meadow Allotments (Oxford)". Wikimapia. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Brock, M. G.; Curthoys, M. C., eds. (1998). The History of the University of Oxford. Volume VI: Nineteenth-Century Oxford. Oxford University Press. p. 459. ISBN 978-0199510160. 
  3. "John Wayte: Mayor of Oxford 1555/6 and 1561/2". Mayors & Lord Mayors. UK: Oxford History. Retrieved 22 October 2012.  External link in |publisher=, |work= (help)
  4. "History". UK: Cripley Meadow Allotments Association. Retrieved 22 October 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  5. MacKenzie, Norman H.; Phillips, Catherine (2008). Excursions in Hopkins. Saint Joseph's University Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-0916101763. 
  6. "Triumph of the Great Western Railway". Punch. 48–49: 207. 1865. 
  7. "Breaking new ground at the Cripley Meadow Allotments". Panoramio. Retrieved 22 October 2012. 
  8. "Planning issues: Cripley Road/ Roger Dudman Way development of Castle Mill Site". UK: Cripley Meadow Allotments. Retrieved 18 April 2013.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  9. "Longcross at the University of Oxford, Castle Mill Phase 2 ∙ Innovation in action". Longcross. Retrieved 23 October 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  10. "Longcross Secures Student Accommodation Project at Oxford University". Longcross. July 2012. Retrieved 23 October 2012.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  11. "City 'has to pay a price' to preserve Green Belt". The Oxford Times. 1 November 2012. pp. 1, 3. 
  12. Little, Reg (2 November 2012). "Save our famous views for hideous developments". The Oxford Times. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  13. Little, Reg (2 November 2012). "Save our famous views for hideous developments". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  14. Dhall, Sushila (2012). "Port Meadow, Oxford. Damaged views". Care2petitionsite. 
  15. Little, Reg (1 November 2012). "Planning: Controversy over student flats at Roger Rudman Way — The battle of Port Meadow". The Oxford Times. p. 10. 
  16. "Tall storey". The Oxford Times. 1 November 2012. p. 32. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  17. Little, Reg (7 February 2013). "Historian takes university to task over 'visual disaster' of Port Meadow flats". The Oxford Times. p. 3. 
  18. Hughes, Pete (14 February 2013). "U-turn over meadow flats". The Oxford Times. p. 3.