Scope and Content

Oxford St. Cross lies outside the city walls, to the north east of the centre of Oxford, in an area long known as Holywell, after a sacred well near the church. The church should therefore officially be known as "St. Cross", but is often called Holywell Church, after the parish it serves.

For many centuries it was a chapelry of Oxford St. Peter in the East, and two disputes in 1294 and 1555 only served to confirm this. Since St. Peter in the East was a living of Merton College, St. Cross tended to be served by members of Merton College acting as curates there. By the mid-18th century, however, St. Cross had gradually become more independent of St. Peter in the East, although it remained a perpetual curacy. In the 19th century, St. Cross became one of the more prominent supporters of the Oxford Movement.

In 1957, St. Cross was united with St. Peter in the East, and in turn in 1966 the parishes were united with Oxford St. St. Mary the Virgin. When the church of St. Peter in the East closed in 1965, the area covered by that parish became incorporated into that of St. Cross.

The records of Oxford St. Cross have been deposited in several instalments. Deposits were made with the Bodleian Library in 1958, 1967, 1970 and 1982, before their transferral to Oxfordshire Archives. Later deposits were made directly with Oxfordshire Archives in 1987 February and March 1997, and September and December 1999 as Acc. Nos. 2656, 4207,4217, 4582 and 4679 respectively. Two appendices list the contents of each deposit, and provide a concordance of old and new references.

Catalogued by Robin Darwall-Smith in August 1997, with additions made by Hannah Jones in August 2003.


The Victoria County History of Oxfordshire, Vol. IV (the City of Oxford), 1979, pp.376-378.

Access Information