The line of trees from The Perch to the river conceals a footpath. There is a landing stage of sorts.
This section in The Stripling Thames by Fred Thacker
1910: This section in Thames Valley Villages by Charles G Harper
2007: The Perch caught fire and lost most of its roof in May -
The Perch fire damage 2007
1977: An almost identical fire
2008: September - The Perch reopened after the fire
Moorings on LEFT bank. The woodwork on the moorings was not very secure, be careful!
Tying up here you then walk the hundred yards or so straight into the pub garden. Good pub grub. Children's Playground.
The Perch, which is owned by Christchurch College, dates partly from the 17th century.
1761: 20th July, James Woodforde, a scholar at New College wrote in his diary -
At Binzey for victuals and drink. I was in the water coming down 20 Times.
At skettles with Bell at Binzey; won 1 - 0
1831: The Perch was then called The Fish.
1842: 'The well-known Fish'.
1862: The Perch at Binsey, George Price Boyce.
The Perch at Binsey in 1862, George Price Boyce, 1826-1890
1870: The Perch, Henry Taunt -
The Perch, Henry Taunt, 1870
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; HT1014
1922: The Perch, Dr A H Church -
The Perch, Dr A H Church, 1922
© Oxfordshire County Council Photographic Archive; D213670a
At the church in
Binsey is the holy well known as the Treacle Well (i.e. Healing Well)
which is sufficiently strange as to be mentioned in Alice in Wonderland.
1909: The Stripling Thames, Fred Thacker -
"Excuse my ignorance",
a visitor said one day to the jolly landlord and his wife at the Perch,
"but where are the Binsey treacle mines?"
And the roar of laughter that went up was Titanic. By no less a title does local humour christen the mud holes that winter rains and floods leave in the neighbouring roads and footpaths.
They say too, that the inhabitants of the little place, so idyllic in summer, will reply, if asked where they live:
"At Binsey! Where do you suppose?" when sunny days are with them.
But in winter the groan goes up at the same question: "At Binsey, Lord help us!"
Binsey, St Margaret's Well
At the west end of this chappel, about three yards distant, is the well or spring, antiently and to this day called St. Margaret's Well, being the very same that she by her prayers at the building of the chapple opened. Of which heare a certaine old English poet, who in the life of St. Frideswyde in the legend of English saints, speaking of her various fortunes and of her passage from Bampton to this place, saith thus:
Ther fer with her felaisis [fellows]. she be laft ther
And to serve Jhesu Christ . a chapel leet arere [raise]
Ther as is yit a fayr cort . and a cherche fayr and swete
Arerid in the honour . of her and Seynte Margrete
As this mayde wonyd [lived] ther . in holy lyf and clene
The maydenes that were with her . gone hem ofte be mene [bemoan]
That water was sum del to fer . hem ofte for smale dede
And cride on Seynt Friswid . that she schold hem therof rede [rid]
This mayde Seynt Friswid . bad our lordis sonde
That he water thorw his gras . hem sente ner honde
So sprong ther up a welle . cler inowf [enough] and clene
That fond hem water inowf . tho dorst hem nought be mene[bemoan]
That beside the cherche is yit [it] . in the west syde
That mony a mon hath bote do . and that men seggeth wide.
There are other stories - though the nineteenth century enthusiasm for them has rather obscured any genuine medieval stories, to the point where we cannot be certain of any detail.
1938: An Oxford University Chest by John Betjeman -
... Binsey is still unspoilt and its prospect of Port Meadow viewed from its yellow public house,
is the best view of Oxford to be had from the West.
Further down the lane is the little church, and a once famous holy well beside it. Here a ritual has been devised. Drop a small stone into the well and ask yourself a question. Walk into the church without saying anything and open the Bible on the lectern. The first verse you see will give the answer to your question.
Wytham and Binsey are the less hackneyed of Oxford's lost causes on the edge of Oxford. I have a fear that they will not be lost much longer.
Black Jack's Hole (bend above the Perch)
1787: Before Godstow Lock was decided upon there was discussion about a pound lock at Black Jack's Hole.
1909: The Stripling Thames, Fred Thacker -
Black Jack's, once a willowy island, is now part of the meadow. The River is still very deep and dark at Black Jack's ("Black John's Pitt" in Wood), though once much deeper. To scare youngsters from bathing there a bogey tale was told them of an evil goblin who would leap upon them and keep them under water in his cave.
Port Meadow (RIGHT bank all along here).
Site of Peel Yate Ford in Port Meadow (mentioned by Jessop in 1789).
1791: Samuel Ireland -
THE beauty of the scenery a little below Godstow still encreases, and the river nobly expanding itself, seems proudly urging its course, to pay its tribute to that ancient and noble seminary of learning, Oxford, whose venerable towers and lofty domes all happily unite to form a general mass of objects superior to any thing which this country can boast.
Oxford Skyline from St Edward's Boathouse over Port Meadow
1859: The Thames, Mr & Mrs Hall
... the meadow - "Port Meadow", which, containing 439 acres, reaches almost to the city, whose property it is, and has been from time immemorial, as recorded in Domesday. Every citizen has the right of free pasturage for cattle, or, rather, a right for which he pays the annual tribute of two pence for each horse or cow found there on the day upon which the city authorities meet for inspection - a day of which, of course, no previous notice has been given. It is usually overflowed in winter, and has thus time for repose.