The Carfax Conduit at Nuneham Park (engraving of 1892)
On ceremonial occasions the Oxford Waits performed at Carfax, the crossroads at the heart of the city, where stood the conduit, an extraordinary fountain erected in 1610. It was carved with the image of an ox from whose pizzle issued water - or wine
on special occasions. The Waits played loud music on shawms or ‘hoeboys’ as we know from the diaries of Anthony Wood:
‘May 1683. The Duke and Duchess of York rode to Carfax through a lane of bachelors and undergraduates. At Carfax,
they were received by wind musick of hoeboys by the city musicians who stood on a gallery on the east side of the conduit, who played till they were out of hearing. During this time, and for about half an hour after, the conduit ran claret at two places. All
which the vulgar sort and rabble received in cups and hats, and drank the Duke’s health.’
In 1787 the Carfax conduit was taken down and removed to Nuneham Park where it still stands today.