Godstow Lock and Monastery, a wonderful place in the Oxford

By Renato
Godstow Lock
Godstow RdOxford - OxfordShire (United Kingdom) (OX2 8PJ)
Godstow Lock

Godstow is a region on the banks of the River Thames between Wolvercote and Wytham approximately 4km from the center of Oxford and has access via Bus 6 from the Oxford Bus Company, stopping at the “Home Close” point and walking about 10 minutes. The region is a beautiful green field where you can contemplate nature and enjoy a sunny day for a walk on the banks of the River Thames. In Godstow it is possible to see many trees, rabbits, grazing cows and the ruin of a monastery of the year 1200, plus a dam built in 1790. On this day I also enjoyed the beautiful blue sky for a beer in the pub The Trout Inn, which is very close, passing the bridge over the River of Ruins.

The Godstow Lock

Godstow Lock is a lock on the River Thames in Oxfordshire, England. The first passage was built in stone by Daniel Harris for the Thames Navigation Commission in 1790. It operates with mechanical (electro-hydraulic) operation – each door latch uses a manual beam to block the lock. When it was built people above the River  noticed a significant difference in the level of the water and the Ditch underwent a transformation in 1872 and in 1896 the house of the Lock was constructed. Next to the lock in Godstow are the ruins of the convent of Godstow. Above the sluice, the river is crossed by the Godstow Bridge and by the A34 Bridge that takes the deviation of Oxford. Above Godstow, the river becomes narrower and more winding as it passes through Pixey Mead.

The ruins of the Abadia of Godstow

The Convent of Godstow was built in 1133 and housed an order of Benedictine Nuns and was consecrated as a church in 1139. The building was expanded in 1176 with the help of Henry II when he paid for the nuns to take care of his mistress, Rosamund Clifford who came to die in 1176. Then the King made a donation so that it was buried in front of the altar of the church. The site became a popular sanctuary until 1191, two years after the Henry’s death, when Hugh of Lincoln, a bishop, perceived Rosamund’s tomb in front of the altar  filled with flowers and candles, demonstrating popular worship to her. Calling Rosamund a prostitute, the bishop ordered the removal of all Rosamund’s remains outside the Church. One legend says that Rosamund’s spirit has been disturbed by this change, and his ghost is vague among the remains of the abbey to this day. In 1284, Archbishop Peckham instructed the nuns to avoid contact with Oxford scholars after reports of impure behavior on their part. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries (1536 – 1541), Godstow had 16 nuns under the convent. The abbey was handed over to Henry VIII’s doctor, George Owen. Owen overthrew the abbey church and built a mansion called Godstow House from the ruins of the abbey. In 1645, Godstow House was badly damaged in the Civil War, and the stones of the site were stolen for other local buildings.

The site passed to the Earl of Abingdon in 1702, and remained part of Abingdon’s estates until 1902. In 1924 it was given to the University of Oxford. The remains of the abbey stand show a large rectangular enclosure delimited by walls of rubble. There is a locked door on the east wall and a couple of blocked arches on the north wall. The best preserved part of the abbey ruins is an early 16th century chapel in the southeast corner of the site. The chapel may have been part of the abbess’s lodging. The most striking feature of the chapel is a large east window with finely done tracery. There were numerous burials discovered at the site of the church, and shingles were found on the bank of the river, suggesting that the abbey’s buildings stretched eastward to the water, which is now much more west than it was originally.
The south and west walls look medieval, but the rest is probably from the sixteenth or seventeenth century. Oxford writers CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein have always been in the vicinity of the ruins.


Viajar é conhecer lugares diferentes. Nossa proposta não é apenas viajar para os locais, é ir além. É passar um período maior, interagir com as pessoas da cidade e sentir a cultura e o dia a dia de cada local. Da lista de países que conheci, optei por morar em alguns lugares para vivenciar a experiência com mais profundidade e poder compartilhar com mais detalhes e exatidão além de descobrir os segredos de cada local, não se limitando aos pontos turísticos mais famosos.

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