6 (& 7) Holywell Street: Cardinal's Hat

6-7 Holywell Street

No. 6 is the very wide house on the right, and No. 7 (whose notional number is not used) is the taller, narrower house on the left. This pair of houses has been one large dwelling since the eighteenth century (with a frontage of over 30 yards in 1772: compare No. 5 to the right whose frontage was then only 5 yards). Hence No. 7 has no front door.

Grade II Listed Building: List entry number 1047265 (Nos. 6 & 7 listed jointly);
Rubble wall of c.1799 at rear of No. 7: List entry number 1299036

The whole front appears to be an eighteenth-century remodelling of a seventeenth-century house.
Owned by Merton College.

Nos. ^ & 7 on 1876 map

The above extract from the 1876 OS map shows that Nos. 6 and 7 were then known as the Cardinal’s Hat, a name which survived into the twentieth century. The large back garden of this house also extended eastwards behind Nos. 2–5 Holywell Street, and was reached via the gateway to the west of No. 7.

The Revd Charles Pourtales Golightly lived alone in this large house for at least forty years in the nineteenth century. A good description of the interior of the house is given in the following advertisement inserted by J. R. Mallam & Son in Jackson’s Oxford Journal for 10 November 1883, probably soon after Golightly (who died in 1885) had moved out:

THE LEASE of this commodious and desirable PRIVATE RESIDENCE to be sold.
THE HOUSE contains: —
IN THE BASEMENT — Extensive cellarage.
ON THE GROUND FLOOR. — Square pannelled entrance hall, study, dining room, drawing room, butler’s pantry, w.c., servants’ hall, kitchen, and offices.
ON THE FIRST FLOOR — Library with folding doors, three bed rooms, two dressing rooms, and w.c.
ON THE SECOND FLOOR — Four convenient attics.
There is a large and productive walled Garden; also a small Garden, a Yard with carriage entrance from the street, and Buildings that have been and are easily re-convertable into a coach house and three-stalled stable.
(The Greenhouses, Forcing Pits, &c., are Tenant’s Fixtures, and should be taken to as such.)
The Property is held under Merton College, Oxford, for a term expiring in April, 1901. Ground Rent, £6 4s. Land Tax, £1 2s 6d.
There are at present held and occupied with the above Premises two large Vegetable Gardens, situated immediately at the back of and communicating with the same, which are held by a lease expiring in March, 1887, at a yearly rent of £15.
The Purchaser of the Premises shall have the option of taking these Gardens under the present Agreement.
Further particulars concerning price of Lease, &c., on application.
To a suitable Tenant the House might be Let at a yearly rental under an ordinary Agreement for the term of 17 years.

In March 1915, the Cardinal’s Hat, then the property of New College, was let out to accommodate 16 Belgian refugees, and the Oxford Journal Illustrated of 17 March 1915 shows photographs of the exterior, one of the bedrooms, and the smoke-room.

6–7 Holywell Street in the censuses


The 1841 census for Holywell does not give house numbers, but it is possible to deduce where people listed that year lived by examining directory entries between 1839 and 1842 and later censuses

Charles Golightly (35), a clergyman, lived here with one male and three female servants. Another clergyman, John Tinker (50), was staying at the house on census night.


Charles Golightly (43), now described as “Afternoon Lecturer at Hedington and not having cure of souls” was still here, with a footman and two female servants.


Charles Golightly was evidently away, and the house was occupied by his housekeeper, butler, footman, and a general servant.


Charles Golightly (63) was living here with his three servants (a cook, housemaid, and footman).


Charles Golightly (73), Clerk in Holy Orders, still lived here, and a graduate scholar aged 23 was visiting him. He had two servants (a footman and housemaid).


James Hart (41), a college servant, lived here with his wife Mary (35).


Cardinal’s Hat
James Hart (51), a college servant, still lived here with his wife Mary (45).


John Henry Medcraft (46), a college caretaker, lived here with his wife Mary Ann.

Occupants of 6 & 7 Holywell Street listed in directories etc.

Survey of Oxford

Frontage: 30 yds 0 ft 10 in
Mr L. Jennens


M. Phillips, Laundress
(according to Robson’s Commercial Directory, but perhaps refers to a building behind)


Revd Charles Pourtales Golightly


Rooms attached to New College


James Hart, college servant


John Henry Medcraft


William Rudd


Philip Edward Adams, ophthalmic surgeon

+ Cyril George Wood, ophthalmic surgeon,
and the Revd Frederick Arthur Cockin, Vicar of St Mary the Virgin, in 1936


Arthur C. L. Houlton and Victor Purvis
ophthalmic surgeons (consulting rooms)

+and J. P. Francis Lloyd from 1952


No listing
Change of use from dwelling house to students’ hostel with alterations (67/18743/A_H)


No listing


Merton College annexe

Holywell home

© Stephanie Jenkins

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