14 Long Wall Street

14 Long Wall Street

No. 14 Long Wall Street is described in a city lease of 1812 as having been “lately erected”, but Historic England says that it probably dates from the late seventeenth century and was remodelled in mid-eighteenth century. The windows date from the eighteenth century, and the one on the ground floor has shutters. It is Grade II listed (List Entry No. 1369410).

This house belonged to the City until 1921, when it became the property of New College by an exchange.

On 1 July 1812 the City granted a lease to the Headington carpenter William Jeffcoat of “seven messuages, lately erected”, being Nos. 9–15, and In 1825 and 1839 he was granted further leases, and the occupants of No. 14 were William Taylor (1812), Ann Taylor (1825), and John May (1839),

John May was a stable-keeper and flyman, and his his stables were presumably accessed via the double door. Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 29 June 1867 reports on the death of both John May (66) and his wife Martha (68) that month. His daughter Sarah inherited the business, and soon afterwards she married James Higgs, who was prosecuted a number of times for driving his cabs furiously. On 19 February 1887 his bankruptcy was reported in Jackson’s Oxford Journal:

The debtor is a well-known cab proprietor and job master in Oxford. He commenced business in July 1868, about which time he married his wife, to whom the business then belonged. Subsequently he took to farming [of Noke Farm]. The debtor cannot read, but he can write his name. His books were kept at first by his wife, and then by his daughter ; but as he could not read them he was not able to estimate his financial position. I notice his preferential claims are placed at 123l. 19s. 2d. These include a sum of 90l. for the rents of Nos. 14 and 15, Long Wall; but No. 15 is underlet at 45l. per annum….

On 18 April 1888 Higgs’s wife, Sarah Ann (49) died aged 49, and he continued to live in the house with his son Percy, who helped him in the business, and his daughter. In December 1892 he was charged with the “felonious assault” (rape) of his sixteen-year-old servant girl Alice Buckingham, but the jury decided she had given her consent and he was found not guilty.

Occupants of 14 Long Wall Street listed in directories etc.


John May
Livery stable keeper, fly proprietor, and funeral coach proprietor


James Higgs, Cab proprietor and Job master


Frederick Alder

John Payne


George Alsford

John Payne or Pain


William Joseph Wheeler


Charles Parker


Harold Oliver

At 14 Long Wall Street today

New College accommodation

14 Long Wall Street in the censuses


The 1841 census does not give house numbers, but it is possible to give a tentative assignment based on census order and known inhabitants

John May, a stable keeper, lived here with his wife Martha and his children John, Sarah, and Elizabeth.
Mary Farmer (45) and John Dean (9) also lived here, as well as the college servant Edward Whitbread with his wife Mary and children Harriet, Edward, and Louisa.


John May (50), a flyman, lived here with his wife Martha (53) and his children John (19), who was also a flyman, and Sarah (17).
Three other children in the household appear to be described both as John May’s children and his lodgers: Rebecca, Sarah, and Richard Richmond (aged 7, 6, and 5). The family had a 15-year-old servant girl.


John May (60), a fly proprietor, lived here with his wife Martha (60), his mother-in-law Emma Humphries (65), and his daughter Sarah (24).
A second household also lived on the premises: the waiter William Jennings (36), his wife Emma (35) and his children Eliza (4), William (2), Agnes (1), and Lilly (under one month). They employed a 15-year-old housemaid.


James Higgs (32), a corn dealer &c, lived here with his wife Sarah (32) and his daughter Laura (1). They had one servant.


James Higgs (44), a livery stable keeper, lived here with his wife Sarah Ann (44) and his children Elizabeth (11) and Percy (9). They had one servant.


James Higgs (50), the manager of livery stables, lived here with his children Elizabeth (21) and son Percy James (18), and his unmarried sister Eunice (40).


George Alsford (39), a domestic coachman, lived here with his wife Susan (43) and his children Eleanor (17), George (15), Beatrice (13) and Edith (11).
A second household lived on the premises: John Pain (35), also a domestic coachman with his wife Amy (36) and his children George (3) and Gladys (2).


John Pain (45), a coachman, still lived here with his wife Amy (40) and his children George (13), Gladys (12), and Cecil (9).

Long Wall home

© Stephanie Jenkins

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