9th February 2018:

Oxford Archaeology is extremely pleased to have a section of stunning medieval tile pavement from the Greyfriars Cloister Walk now on permanent display within Oxford's new Westgate shopping centre

The display has been made possible by generous funds provided by the Westgate Oxford Alliance and Historic England. Oxford Archaeology worked with conservators from Cliveden Conservation and BDP Architects, whose expert and painstaking work has enabled thousands of pieces from the floor to be sympathetically displayed on a prominent wall at the heart of the new development.

The pavement was the only surviving element of decorated flooring to be recovered from our excavations at the medieval convent located on the southern edge of the city close to Oxford Castle. The Greyfriars church, built into a gap in the city wall in the mid-13th century, was excavated in the early 1970s by Tom Hassall (the first CEO of Oxford Archaeology) and visited by Queen Elizabeth II. The recent excavations, directed by Ben Ford, revealed the remaining stone buildings from the complex, including two cloisters, a kitchen range, the eating hall, and a massive enclosing wall, plus a possible sluicing house and mill. Together these excavations constitute the most extensively excavated remains of an urban friary in England.

With 15 million visits by members of the public predicted at the new Westgate shopping centre in its first year, this wonderful medieval pavement will have more public exposure than the treasures in the British Museum.

Click here for more information about the Westgate Oxford excavations. Information sheets, 3D models (including one of the pavement), images of just some of the finds and features recovered, and films of the Westgate talk series can accessed from a drop-down menu on the Westgate Oxford button. 

A report in the Oxford Mail about the unveiling of the pavement can be read here.


Ben Ford (centre) with Tom Hassall (right), first CEO of Oxford Archaeology who led excavations of the Greyfriars church in the early 1970s, and George Lambrick (left), excavation director of the neighbouring Blackfriars
Ben Ford with Tom Hassall, George Lambrick, David Radford (City Archaeologist), Jane Harrison (director of the East Oxford Archaeology Project), and staff from Laing O'Rourke, the Westgate Oxford Alliance and CgMs Consulting