Most of the stones used in the construction of Oxford have corroded over time. Below is a summary of all the stones that have failed at considerable cost to the numerous Colleges, religious establishments, the government for their civil and public buildings and the private landlords.


Once Headington Freestone had been discovered, Wheateley Stone was quickly dropped (mainly due to its increased distance from the town). Headington was so popular between the 14th and 18th centuries that eight of the colleges actually bought their own local quarries there.

As years went on it became more evident that Headington Stone could not cope with the city environment and was crumbling. Most of the stone would need replacing or recladding!


Both Tynton & Milton stone came from the same outcrop situated near the picturesque village of Burford. The problem was that whilst Tynton Stone was of excellent quality, the inferior but identical looking Milton was often passed off as the former.

The Milton Stone soon failed to the elements. The reputation of both stones shared the same fate as masons, could not risk using either.


Burford Stone occasionally used across the city but got a reputation of breaking down after 150 years of exposure to the elements.


Bath Stone was once seen as the savoir of Oxford as the masons and specifiers put their misguided faith in the stone. Vast areas across the city centre were systematically re-clad in Bath Stone but to the astonishment of all and to the horror of the college Bursar (treasurer), Bath Stone started to go the same way as the others. Buildings re-clad in Bath Stone would now require re-cladding once more!


Doulton Stone was brought in for use on many colleges from the year 1879 but hopes in this stone were dashed when it started to break down in a mere 5 degrees of frost!

The city of Oxford has been saved by the skin of its teeth by one stone and one stone only, Clipsham from the countries smallest county, Rutland.

See The History of Clipsham Stone by Goldholme Stone, one of a series. Click here to read about the history of Clipsham Stone