8–10 Cornmarket (former Roebuck Inn)

Boots at 8-10 today

Above: Boots at 8–10 Cornmarket occupies the former Roebuck Inn building, shown below in about 1900. Much of the eighteenth-century fabric remains, and Nos. 8–10 form a Grade II listed building.

The Roebuck

The Roebuck Inn (so named in 1610 after the arms of Jesus College) originally faced Market Street, but by 1740, when it had become a large coaching inn on the London to Gloucester run, its yard and main entrance faced on to Cornmarket Street.

Roebuck in 1840s


Left: Originally the Roebuck Inn only occupied No. 8 on the right, while No. 9 was the Little (or Old) Cross Inn. The two inns are shown here in 1850, shortly before they were rebuilt as a new hotel to rival the Star on the opposite side of Cornmarket.

No. 10 to the north (only a tiny part of which is shown on the left of this picture) was Chaundy’s tobacco shop in the 1830s, but he moved to 17 Cornmarket early in 1842. In 1865 this shop together with the coaching office and an ostler’s house were demolished so that the Roebuck Vaults could be built in Market Street around the corner as a tap to the main inn

Roebuck in 1924





Right: The Roebuck in the early 1920s, shortly before it closed.

In 1924, the southern part of the Roebuck Hotel was converted into Woolworth’s first Oxford store, and the northern part became H. Samuel Ltd, jewellers.

In 1938 the old vaults facing Market Street were rebuilt and renamed the Roebuck, and this later became an Australian theme bar called the Bar Oz (now Wagamama).

Woolworth’s moved across the road in 1954 to its new store on the site of the old Clarendon Hotel. In 1958 Boots the Chemist next door at Nos. 6–7 expanded into No. 8, while H. Samuel retained Nos. 9 and 10 into the 1980s.

Since at least the 1990s, Boots PLC have occupied the whole site of the former coaching inn at Nos. 8–10.

In the censuses


No. 8: Richard Gurden (50) is inn keeper at the “Roebuck Inn” . He lived with his wife Elizabeth Gurden (45), Caroline Gurden (9), and five male and four female servants. There were ten guests in the inn on census night.

No. 9: Ann Smith (40) is the victualler at the Little Cross , and she lived here with another Ann Smith (20), one female servant, and a coachman.

No. 10: the tobacconist Richard Chaundy (35) is living here with John Lyne (35), a printer, and Sarah Lyne. They have one female servant.


No. 8: Richard Gurden (60, and born in Elsfield) is still the inn keeper here at the newly-rebuilt “Roebuck Hotel”. He had his wife Elizabeth (55) were living with two of their daughters: Ellen Bough (3)) and Elizabeth Matthews (31). They have nine servants: a housemaid, kitchenmaid, cook, an upper- and under-chambermaid, waiter, under-waiter, and a boots and under-boots. There are five guests at the inn: a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, a saddler’s ironmonger, a graduate of the University of Cambridge, a rail contractor, and a farmer.

No. 9: William Matthews (40, born Faringdon) is publican at the “Little Inn” (usually called the Little Cross) at 9 Cornmarket. He lived with his wife Clara (38, born Dorchester, Oxon), and his son John (6, born Oxford). They have no live-in servants, and three lodgers (two labourers and a blacksmith).

No. 10: George Hanowak (26), described as a “tobacconist manager” is living here.


No. 8: John Matthews (41) is the innkeeper at the Roebuck Inn at 8 Cornmarket in 1861: he is unmarried, with no family living with him. There were nine live-in servants (two waiters and a boots, and six women, who are all simply described as domestic servants). On census night there were seven guests: the ship merchant William Mayne and his wife and daughter, and four commercial travellers.

No. 9: Edward Southam (52), described as inn keeper and pensioner, is at the Little Cross in 1861 together with his wife Elizabeth and three male lodgers (a coachman, a carrier, and a tinman journeyman).

No. 10: Listed as “shop only”, so the tailor’s business evidently occupied the upstairs.


Nos. 8, 9, & 10: The Roebuck now includes Nos. 9, and 10 Cornmarket, and the hotel keeper is William Park (51), born in Vauxhall, Surrey. He is living with his wife Louisa (49) and their daughter Charlotte (24), and they have nine live-in servants (a barmaid, a waitress, and two male and five female domestic servants). There were three guests at the inn on census night: George Pearson (the Vicar of Coombe near Hungerford); Arthur C. Sharpe (an accountant), and Henry Smythe (a commercial traveller for the timber trade).

Occupants of 8–10 Cornmarket listed in directories etc.


No. 10 (left)

No. 9

No. 8 (right)


Richard Chaundy

Little Cross Inn

Innkeepers (not subject to 19C university wine licence):
John Norgrove (1794)
John Rogers (1823)
James Liley (1830)
Thomas Atkins (1839)
Ann Smith (1841)
James  John  Lyne (1842) William Matthews (1846–1852) Edward Southam (1861)

Roebuck Inn

Innkeepers (subject to 19C university wine licence):
ohn Probat (1783)
M. Richards (1823)
Richard Gurden (1830–1855)
John Matthews (1861)


Oliver Washer


Probably a
tobacconist shop


Hayward & Judge
Robe makers,
hosiers, hatters &c.

Roebuck Inn

William Park (1865–1890)
J. Austin Drayton (1895–1911)
George Saunders (1914)
E. M. Beazley (1921)


Samuel C. Pottage
Tailor & robe maker


The Roebuck Hotel


H. Samuel Ltd



Boots the Chemist


Boots the Chemist

Old pictures on other websites and in books

Drawing of the Roebuck before 1846, showing Chaundy’s tobacco shop at No. 10, the Little Cross at No. 9, and the Roebuck at No. 8 with a carriage outside

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