CORNMARKET, OXFORD

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3 Cornmarket Street: Vodafone (former Crown Tavern)


3 Cornmarket in 2003

The original timber-framed building dating from the mid-sixteenth century hides behind the present eighteenth-century front of this house, which had twenty rooms. It is owned by Oxford City Council, who bought it from New College in 1921. It is a Grade II* listed building (list entry 1185643).

It was in the parish of St Martin's (Carfax) until that church was demolished in 1896, whereafter it was in the parish of St Martin's & All Saints until All Saints Church was deconsecrated in 1971. It is now in the parish of St Michael-at-the-Northgate.

Early history of 3 & 4 Cornmarket Street

There was a medieval inn on the site of 3 and 4 Cornmarket, known first as Pate’s Inn. It then became Somenour’s Inn, which was owned in the fourteenth century by John de Stodley, followed by Sir Robert Treslian.

The property then passed to New College.

Nos. 3 & 4 Cornmarket were rebuilt in about 1500 as the Bull Inn. At some point before 1555 the property was divided into two separate houses

Thomas Malyson had the lease of No. 3 in 1555, and Edmund Benet was the tenant in 1560.

John Tatleton leased this house from 1564 until his death in 1581, and his initials were found over a fireplace in the back room upstairs. It was during this period that the famous wall paintings upstairs were executed. His widow Elizabeth remained in the house for another year until her death in 1582.

In 1583 the leaseholder was John Underhill, D.D of Lincoln College (a relation of Joan Hough, née Underhill); and in 1592 the leaseholder was William Hough the younger, with the furrier William Hough the tenant.

From 1647 to 1651 this house at 3 Cornmarket was the Salutation Tavern, and it then became the Crown Tavern (not to be confused with the Crown Inn on the other side of the road at 59–61 Cornmarket).

By 1600 John Davenant and his wife had moved to Oxford, where he took over the wine tavern here at 3 Cornmarket. In 1604 he was awarded one of the three city licences to sell wine here. Shakespeare is believed to have stayed at this house. Anthony Wood wrote:

John Davenant was a sufficient vintner, kept the tavern now known by the name of the Crowne, … was mayor of the said city in the year 1621, … was a very grave and discreet citizen (yet an admirer of plays and play-makers, especially Shakespeare, who frequented his house in his journies between Warwickshire and London).…

John Aubrey also reported the same:

Mr William Shakespeare was wont to goe into Warwickshire once a yeare, and did commonly in his journey lye at this house in Oxon. where he was exceedingly respected.

Shakespeare was rumoured to be the actual father of Davenant’s son William (born 1605/6), who became a playwright.

Between 1658 and 1691, Anthony Wood recorded over fifty visits to the Crown Tavern, and on 2 January 1667/8 he met John Aubrey there.

On 29 September 1659 the council granted a widow, Mrs Anne Turton, a licence by the city to sell wines for ten years at a rent of £10 per year. This licence had been formerly held by Henry Southam, who had died on 16 March 1658/9.) William Morrell married Mrs Turton soon afterwards in 1660 (also taking in her daughter Mary). On 14 September 1660 he requested that his new wife’s city wine licence be made over to him. Thereafter the couple jointly ran the tavern here at 3 Cornmarket Street. Soon after he took over this tavern, Charles II was proclaimed King and Morrell provided the council with sack and claret to the value of £11 6s. 6d. In 1665 Morrell paid tax on nine hearths. Anthony Wood wrote on 1 February 1670 that he and his friends went to "Morrell's" in the evening. In 1696 Joan Turton paid tax on 20 windows at this tavern.

In 1772 a survey of every house in the city was taken in consequence of the Mileways Act of 1771. According to Salter, 3 Cornmarket was then in the occupation of Alderman John Austin and had a frontage of 9 yards, 1 ft. and 7 in. Austin had a mercer's shop here which was regularly visited by Parson Woodforde.


The wall paintings in the Painted Room

Early in the seventeenth century, around the time that Davenant moved in, oak panelling was installed to hide the old-fashioned wall-paintings. The panelling was in turn was covered with canvas and paper, and the paintings were not rediscovered until 1927. The 1630 oak panels have now been put on rollers so they can be pushed aside to reveal the wall paintings when the room is opened to visitors.

Start of frieze

The frieze that runs along the top of the north wall and finishes beside the chimney breast on the east wall (above and below) reads: “And last of the rest be thou / gods servant for that hold i best / In the mornynge earlye / serve god Devoutlye / Fear god above allthynge.”

End of frieze

The brickwork of the fireplace (below) dates from 1350, and the letters over the fireplace from about 1450. These are either “ΙΗΣ” (the first three letters for Jesus in the Greek alphabet) or “IHS”, an abbreviation for the Latin Iesus Hominum Salvator (Jesus, Saviour of Mankind).

Chimney breast


Nineteenth century to present

No. 3 c.1900

For over a hundred years, from the 1830s to the 1930s, this was a tailor’s shop. The 1881 census shows that 40 to 50 assistants and workmen were employed here.

In 1921 the property was sold by New College to the City of Oxford.

For fifty years until the late 1970s it was a Lyon’s café.

The Oxford Preservation Trust had its offices upstairs until 1972, and its meetings were held in the Painted Room.

 

 

Online articles and books relevant to
3 Cornmarket and other Oxford taverns

 

 

 

Right: 3 Cornmarket can be seen
in the middle of this group in c.1900

Occupants of 3 Cornmarket Street listed in directories etc.

Dates Shop downstairs Accommodation and later office upstairs

1600s–1750

The Salutation Tavern, later the Crown Tavern

1772

Alderman John Austin's
mercer's shop

Presumably accommodation for Austin's family

1839–1932+

Hookham Tailors

Hookham & Minty

then Hookham & Company

then  Hookham, Gadney & Embling

then Hookham & Co

1839: G. R. Wyatt the surgeon

1841 & 1851: Richard Hookham

1861 & 1871: Ephraim Pottage, partner in Hookham's

1881 & 1891 Frank J. Gadney, partner in Hookham, Gadney & Embling

1901: Henry Mullard, a tailor's porter

1911: James House, police constable

1935/1936

J. Lyons & Co. Ltd.
Caterers

No listing for upstairs

1945–1972

Oxford Preservation Trust

+ English-Speaking Union (1945)
   St John Ambulance Brigade County Office (1947)
   Stevco Ltd coal merchants (1952–1954)
   Ormerod & Co, Turf Accountants (1958–1972)

1976

Workers’ Educational Association

J. & M. Shine (Oxford) Ltd, Turf Accountants (1976, 1980)

c.1985–c.2003

Adams
Children’s Clothes

Tote Bookmakers

By 2008– 2009

Republic
Clothes

2009-2013

Oxford Aunts (Painted Room put up for rent in 2011)

2013–2015

Reebok Oxford Fitness

Betfred

2015–present

Vodafone

3 Cornmarket Street in the censuses

1841

Richard P. Hookham (30), a tailor, lived here with his wife Anne (30) and daughters Mary (2) and Anne (six months). Also living with them were Catherine Hookham (35), who was likely to be Richard’s sister), a journeyman Henry Clarke (20), an apprentice James Venables (15), and two female servants. There were two other people (one independent, the other a shoemaker) who appear to be lodgers.

1851

Richard P. Hookham (43), described as a woollen draper, still lived here with his wife Anne (40) and children Mary (11), Anne (10), Richard (6), Frederick (5), Catherine (3), and Philip (eleven months). Also living over the shop were three servants (cook, housemaid, and nurserymaid), and a woollen draper’s assistant.

1861

The tailor Ephraim Pottage, who had been made a partner in the Hookham business in 1860, now lived over this shop, but he spent census night at Hastings. His wife Mrs Matilda Pottage (37) was here with their children Emily (13), John (11), Ephraim (8), Elizabeth (3), and Alfred (1). Also living over the shop were a porter and a general servant.

1871

Ephraim Pottage (43), tailor & robe maker employing 30 men, four women, and two boys, still lived here over his shop with his wife Matilda (46) and their daughters Emily (23), Elizabeth (13), and Louisa (9). They had two domestic servants.

1881

Francis Gadney (32), described as a robemaker and a resident partner employing 40–50 assistants and workmen, was now a partner in Hookham, Gadney, & Embling. He was now living over the shop with his wife Elizabeth (31) and children Ethel (7) and Herbert (6), plus his aunt Miss Catherine Gadney (67) and one general servant.

1891

Frank Gadney (42), tailor & outfitter, still lived over his shop with his wife Elizabeth (42) and their children Ethel (17), Herbert (16), who was a bookseller's apprentice, Cyril (6), and Gilbert (4). They had a 17-year-old domestic servant.

1901

Frank Gadney had now moved to 163 Woodstock Road, and the premises above the shop were occupied by the tailor's porter Henry Mullard (30), his wife Jane (31), and their children William (7), Herbert (5), and Edith (1).

1911

James House (37), a police constable, lived in just four rooms here with his wife Ethel (32) and their children Winifred (6) and Leslie (1).

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