38 Cornmarket (former Plough Inn)

38 Cornmarket, former Plough

The Plough inn sign

This building on the south corner of St Michael’s Street dates from the seventeenth century, and was once dated 1665 on its front window.

It is a Grade II listed building, but was mainly rebuilt by the architect Thomas Rayson in 1925, and only the windows and two pediments facing Cornmarket are original.

In 1772 a survey of every house in the city was taken in consequence of the Mileways Act of 1771. According to Salter, 38 Cornmarket in St Michael’s parish was then in the occupation of Thomas Ensworth, and had a frontage of 6 yards, 0 ft. and 3 in.



Left: the old inn sign of a man with a plough still survived in 2009, but Austin Reed has now gone

Below: “The Plough Inn from Ship Street”. This nineteenth-century painting by William Panter Vernon (1850–1923), a heraldic engraver, based in Wheatsheaf Passage off the High Street, is reproduced by kind permission of his great-grandson Mervyn Hughes


Plough Inn

In the Censuses


This pub (not named) is occupied by the victualler Elizabeth Randall (30). With her live the printer John Briton (30) and Ann Briton (20), and a 15-year-old dressmaker, Emma Feldon.


The pub (again not named) is occupied by the innkeeper John Pickett (38), who was born in South Leigh. With his is his wife Elizabeth (45), a “servant to work in stables”, and a lodger.


The pub is named the “Plough Inn”, and the licensed victualler is Richard Franklin (35), who was born in Mixbury. With his live his wife Emma (36) and daughter Emma Jane (4), who was born in Kent, as well as an ostler and a female servant.


William Robbins (46) is now inn keeper at the Plough, where he lived with his wife Mary (41), his niece Henrietta Tymins, who acted as a general servant, and his 7-year-old nephew Thomas Ludd. A “boots” also lived with them.

Occupants of 38 Cornmarket listed in directories etc.

To 1924

The Plough

Landlords (not subject to 19C university wine licence):

William Wells (1793)
Richard Wright (1823)
Ann Wright (1830)
R. Randell (1839); Elizabeth Randell (1841–1842)
John Pickett (1846–1852)
Richard Franklin (1861–1871)
William J. Robins/ Robbins (1880–1884)
Henry Laurie (1887)
George Benham (1890–1902), a circus clown known as the “modern Grimaldi”
George E. Dyer (1911–1921)


Domestic Bazaar Co. Ltd


No listing: probably being restored


Austin Reed Ltd

2016– present


Old pictures on other websites and in books

The Plough Inn by Henry Taunt c.1900

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© Stephanie Jenkins

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