In Jericho, Oxford’s answer to Katesgrove, you will find Walton Well drinking fountain. It is situated at the junction of Walton Well Road with Southmoor Road and Longworth Road and right opposite the site of the former Eagle Ironworks. There had been a well, a spring and a ford at this point until the 1880s, but that had been filled in. Former Oxford Mayor William Ward presented the fountain in 1885.
Harry Moore, the architect appointed by St John’s College for the planned housing development that they were building in the area, designed the fountain. The mason was James Clifford of St Aldate’s. The drinking fountain is built into the front garden walls of two impressive four-storey red brick houses.
The material used is Portland Stone and there was once a small urn on top of the dome. Above the tap inside the fountain there is an inscription on a metal plate:
With the consent of the Lords of the Manor this drinking fountain is erected by
Mr William Ward
to mark the site of the celebrated spring
known as Walton Well adjacent to the ancient fordway into
Port Meadow called Walton Ford.
Around the edge of the dedication are the words “Drink and think of him who is the fountain of life”, an adaptation of a verse from the Bible “I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely” Revelation 21:6.
The fountain was unveiled with great ceremony on 3 September 1885 at the end of which:
… such a terrific storm of rain and wind, accompanied with thunder and lightning came on that the company were compelled to see shelter, which was no easy matter, and many received a thorough drenching.
The fountain is easy to reach from Oxford Station by a short walk north along the Oxford Canal as far as the first road bridge. You can then explore the rest of Lyra’s Oxford.
References and bibliography
- Oxford Journal 5 September 1885 p5
- John Sutton (2018). Walton Well: the Ford, the Fountain, the Foundry and the Prophet Elijah. The book also has information about the Eagle Ironworks (Lucy Group) and Victorian development of the area.
- Walton Well Drinking Fountain – Listing entry (1047105) Grade II
- Phillip Pullman (2017) Lyra’s Oxford