HOLYWELL, OXFORD

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New College Scott buildings west (was Nos. 75–86)


New College west

Part of a Grade II Listed Building: List Entry Number 1300697. Built by George Gilbert Scott in Taynton and Milton stone. (It is jointly listed with the rest of Scott’s block to the west, and with the Robinson Tower over the gateway and Champneys’ block to the east.)

No. 75 was advertised for sale by auction in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 18 February 1860:

Convenient DWELLING HOUSE, with good GARDEN, No. 75, HOLYWELL STREET, OXFORD …
The House comprises two sitting rooms, kitchen, back itchen, fuel-house, seven bed roms, some convenient closets, and two cellars. Adjoining the house ia a good garden, with fine fruit trees, and enclosed by walls.
This Property is held by lease from Merton College for 40 years, from the 10th of October 1853, subject to a trifling reserved rent.

No. 79 was where the Knowles building firm began life, and the leaseof this house and No. 83 in the same group ended up in the hands of Mrs Sarah Knowles. Following her death, both houses were advertised for sale in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 14 November:

HOLYWELL STREET, OXFORD

DWELLING HOUSES AND GARDENS, STONE MASON’S YARD,
WORKSHOPS, OFFICES, STABLE, AND SHEDS

TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, By Mr. R. PIKE

On Friday, November 27, 1846, at the Roebuck Hotel, Corn Market-street, Oxford, at Six o’clock in the evening, the following PROPERTY of the late Mrs Knowles, in two lots: —

Lot 1. — All that DWELLING HOUSE, situate on the south side of and known as No. 83, Holywell-street, now unoccupied, containing large cellar in the basement, two sitting rooms on the ground floor, and four bed rooms over, with wash-house, garden, stone mason’s yard, and scaffolding shed thereto belonging, extending a depth from Holywell-street of 132 feet, and adjoining the grounds and other property of New college, on the south east.

Lot 2 — All that DWELLING HOUSE situate on the south side of and known as No. 79, Holywell-street, in the occupation of Mr. Brazier, containing on the ground floor large front parlour, with kitchen behind; on the first floor large front dining room, back sitting room, and bed room, with closets; on the second floor four bed rooms and two attics over; in the basement are capital arched wine and beer cellars , and wash-house and garden at the back; the whole well adapted for the residence of a large family; and also all the Yard adjoining, as now marked out, and occupied and used by Mr. Knowles, as a stone mason’s yard, together with the workshops, sheds, offices, and two-stall stable erected thereon, with a large gateway entrance thereto from Holywell-street.

Lot 1 is held by Lease under Merton College, Oxford, for a term of 40 years, from 5th of April, 1837, subject to an annual Quit Rent of 3s. and one bushel of good and sweet barley malt; and Lot 2 by Lease under the same College, for a term of 40 years, from 5th of April, 1840, subject to an annual Quit Rent of 10s., and one bushel of good and sweet wheat.

The premises may be viewed on application to Mr. Knowles, 79, Holywell-street; and further particulars known of Weston Aplin, Esq. solicitor, Chipping-Norton, or the auctioneer, 2, St. Aldate’s-street, Oxford.

Both of those houses were demolished towards the end of their lease.

No. 82 was advertised for sale in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 20 November 1847:

Peremptory sale of a leasehold dwelling house, No. 82 Holywell Street Oxford

… All that DWELLING HOUSE and PREMISES, known as No. 82. Holywell-street, Oxford, containing a parlour and kitchen on the ground floor, and four bed rooms over, a small yard at the back, and a pump of excellent water. The Property is held by Lease under Merton college, Oxford, for a term of 40 years, from 5th of April, 1836, subject to an annual Quit Rent of 1s. 3d., and one peck of good and sweet wheat, or the value thereof.

The first phase of New College’s building programme on Holywell Street was from 1872 to 1874, and involved the demolition of these twelve houses. The architect George Gilbert Scott built four new staircases to the west of the present Holywell entrance. The following article appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 12 October 1872:

JOJ on New College, 12 October 1872

In the event, the building was slower than anticipated, as it was held up a the strike of stonemasons in May 1873. The edition of 24 December 1874 announced that three-quarters of the development was then ready for occupation, and that the rest would be ready for Christmas, and that the five houses to the west were already being demolished ready for the next phase.

William Spooner (Warden of New College 1903–1924) wrote that Scott’s buildings, which are in a dominating four-storey block,

cannot be regarded among his happier efforts; they are formal, ponderous and lacking in spirit. He was not indeed primarily responsible for their inordinate height making them so disproportionate to the quaint, pretty old street in which they stand. As originally designed by him they were a storey lower, but the first plans seemed lacking in dignity and impressiveness to the Fellows to whom they were submitted; while the addition of a storey was also recommended to some of them by their desire to keep the cost of each set of rooms within a moderate figure. The result however was decidedly unfortunate and the buildings remain a useful acquisition of which posterity will scarcely be proud.

75–86 Holywell Street in the censuses

1841

No. 75
Ann Knowles
(50) lived here with her son Edward (15): both are described as plumbers & glaziers. They had five lodgers and one female servant.

No. 76
Moses Simmons
(60), independent, lived here with Jane (60) and three lodgers.

No. 77

No. 78

No. 79

No. 80
John Bailey (35), a college servant, lived here with Martha (30), Charlotte (13), Elizabeth (11), Sarah (9), and Esther (3), and four lodgers.

No. 81

No. 82
John Gill
(60), a cook, lived here with a lodger and her daughter.

No. 83
Sarah Knowles (80), independent, lived here with one female servant.

No. 84

No. 85
John Green (45), a groom, lived here with Elizabeth (45) and John (10).

No. 86

1851

No. 75
Joseph Bryan
(37), a college servant, lived here with his wife Sarah (36) and their children Robert (4), Mary (3), Joseph (1), and John (4 months). They had a student lodger, and one servant.

No. 76
Mary Slatter (62), a widowed grocer and general shopkeeper, lived here with her daughter Clara (20).

No. 77
Robert Osborn (44), a plumber, lived here with his wife Jemima (52).

No. 78
John Watkins (43), a college servant, lived here with his wife Mary (42) and their daughter Sarah (7).

No. 79
Edward Knowles (36), a mason employing six men, lived here with his wife Margaret (30) and their children Thomas (10), Edward (9), James 97), Mary (6), Charles (4), Margaret (3), and Walter (1). They had one servant.

Listed between 79 and 80 (presumably part of 79)
William H. Charsley (31), an unmarried Classical teacher, lived here with his sisters Catherine (32) and Matilda (28), and his cousin Clara (7).

No. 80
John Bailey (51), a college servant, lived here with his wife Patty (46) and their daughters Elizabeth (21), Sarah (18), and Esther (13). They had two student lodgers.

No. 81
Ann Williams (86), a widowed proprietor of houses, lived here with her granddaughter Ann Hatton (34). They had one servant.

No. 82
Thomas Fairfax
(46), a college servant, lived here with his wife Mary (43) and their niece Letitia Morgan (18), who was a dressmaker. They had one servant.

No. 83
Henry Meadowcroft (38), a college servant, lived here with his wife Sarah (37), who was a laundress, and their children John (12) and Henry (2). Also living in the house was his brother-in-law Arthur Harper (30), who was a journeyman baker, and his wife Elizabeth (36).

No. 84
John Ring (40), a college gardener, lived here with his wife Christiana (39) and their children Harriet (16), who was a dressmaker, and Charlotte (13). They had four lodgers: Henry Parker (16), who was a college butler’s son and himself an assistant butler, and his siblings William (14), George (13), and Elizabeth (15).

No. 85
John Green (52), a groom at New College, still lived here with his wife Elziabeth (52) and their son John (20), who was an assistant groom .

No. 86
Sarah Hilsden (60), a widowed straw-worker & sempstress, lived here with her son William (26), a market labourer or porter, and her daughter Katherine (18), who followed the same trade as her mother.

1861

No. 75
William Hughes
(42), a stationer & college servant, lived here with his wife Harriet (44) and his children Elizabeth (19), Catherine (18), William (16, an apprentice grocer), and Marianne (14).

No. 76
Mary Slatter
(73), a widowed milk seller, lived here with her unmarried sister Susannah Dowse (3), who was a college servant; her widowed sister Sarah Turner (65), who was a dressmaker; and her widowed daughter-in-law (?stepdaughter) Mary Ann Tanner (37). They have two lodgers: an annuitant and a hairdresser.

No. 77
Jemima Osborn
(a widow of 62) lived here with her lodger Caroline Blay (20). Both are described as house proprietors.

No. 78
John Watkins
(53), a college servant, lived here with his wife Mary (51) and his daughter Sarah (17).

No. 79
Henry Audley
(a widower of 33), the Curate of St Mary the Virgin, lived here with his children Ann (6), Alice (4), John (3), and a nurse and a general servant.

No. 80
William Carter (29), a college servant, lived here with his wife Elizabeth (31) and his children Arthur (5), William (2), Ann (2), and John (1 month), as well as his grandmother, Hannah Carter (99).

No. 81
William J. Marriott (45), a college servant, lived here with his wife Elizabeth (45), his niece Bessie Garlic (13), and one house servant.

No. 82
Thomas Fairfax
(55), a college servant, lived here with his wife Mary (52). They have a boarder and a 15-year-old servant girl.

No. 83
Henry J. Meadowcroft (48), a college servant, lived here with his wife Sarah (47) who was a laundress, and their sons John (26) and Henry (13) who were college servants and their daughter Elizabeth (9). They had a house servant.

No. 84
John Ring (50), a college servant (porter), lived here with his wife Christiana (49) and their daughter Charlotte (23).

No. 85
William Castle (59), a college porter, lived here with his wife Mary (42) and their boarder (a gentleman’s valet)

No. 86
James Chapman (21), a tripe dresser, lived here with his wife Mahala (29) and their children Agnes (1) and Mahala (2 months).

 

The occupants of the twelve houses at 75–86 Holywell Street that had to be demolished to make way for this massive first block are listed below in three separate sections:

Occupants of 75–78 Holywell Street listed in directories etc.

 

No. 78

No. 77

No. 76

No. 75

1772
Survey of Oxford

Frontage:
4 yds 0 ft 0 in
Mr Rose

Frontage: 
6 yds 0 2 ft 4 in
Mr Whittingham

Frontage:
6 yds 0 ft 0 in
Mr Stevens

Frontage:
5 yds 2 ft 4 in
Mrs Allam

1839–1846

No listing

Robert Osborn
(1846)

J. Osborn (1861)

Mrs Osborne
(from 1866)

Moses Simmonds
(by 1841)

Edward Knowles
Plumber & glazer
(1839)

Ann Knowles
Plumber & painter
(1841–1846)

1851

John Watkins

M. Slatter
General shop

Mrs Slatter
(from 1871)

Joseph Bryan
College servant (to 1859)

1861

William Charles Shepperd
Stationer

1866

William Key
Stocking manufacturer

1871

James Ayris

1872

No listing. These are part of the group of twelve houses demolished in 1872 to make way for the first phase of Scott’s new buildings for the Holywell Quad of New College

Nos. 76–78 today

New College New Buildings

Occupants of 79–82 Holywell Street listed in directories etc.

 

No. 82

No. 81

No. 80

No. 79

1772
Survey of Oxford

Frontage:
4 yds 1 ft 0 in
Mr Davenport

Frontage: 
8 yds 2 ft 0 in
Mr Paine

Frontage:
8 yds 0 ft 3 in
Dr Chapman

Frontage:
 3 yds 2 ft 3 in
Mrs Sissil

1846

John Gill

No listing

John Bailey
(died 1855)

Knowles & Son
Statuaries (1830, 1846)

Thomas Knowles
Builder (1842)

Edward Knowles
Stone & marble mason
(from 1852)

Knowles & Son, builders (from 1866)

With the Revd Henry Anstey, Vice Principal of St Mary Hall (1866)

With Edward Bellamy (1871)

1851

Thomas Fairfax

Mrs Fairfax
(from 1866)

Mrs Ann Williams
Proprietor of houses

1861–1866

William Merritt

William Carter

Mrs Carter
(from 1866)

1871
Oxford City Directory

Mrs Etheridge

Mrs Webb

A. Pariscot de Cassell

1872

No listing. These are part of the group of twelve houses demolished in 1872 to make way for the first phase of Scott’s new buildings for the Holywell Quad of New College

Nos. 79–82 today

New College New Buildings

Occupants of 83–86 Holywell Street listed in directories etc.

 

No. 86

No. 85

No. 84

No 83

1772
Survey of
Oxford

Frontage:
5  yds 0 ft 9 in
Mr Potter

Frontage:
3 yds 0 ft 6 in
Mr Carpenter

Frontage:
4 yds 1 ft 9 in
Mr Potts

Frontage:
4 yds 0 ft 9 in
Mr Middleton

1839

No listing

No listing

No listing

Robert Fowler
Shopkeeper

1846

No listing

John Green

 

John Ring

 

Mrs Sarah Knowles

1851

Mrs Sarah Hilsden
Straw worker & sempstress

Henry J.
Meadowcroft
Servant

1861–1866

James Chapman
junior (1861)

J. Chapman
(and at 87)  (1866)

William Castle

1871

Thomas R. Knowles

1872

No listing. These are part of the group of twelve houses demolished in 1872 to make way for the first phase of Scott’s new buildings for the Holywell Quad of New College

Nos. 83–86 today

New College New Buildings

Holywell home

© Stephanie Jenkins

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