28 Holywell Street

28 Holywell Street

Grade II Listed Building: List Entry Number 1047228. Built c.1661, with remodelled front. Fireplace and overmantel dated 1661, and rainwater-head dated 1662.

Now owned by Harris Manchester College.

A forthcoming auction of this house was advertised in Jackson's Oxford Journal of 9 August 1856, when the proprietor was John Prior, the Butler of Brasenose College:

Very desirable PREMISES, No. 28, Holywell-street, which comprises an excellent front house, with dining, drawing, and breakfast rooms; eight sleeping apartments; cellar and servants' offices, with a very large and delightful garden at the back, extending to the road to the Parks, together with a large enclosed kitchen garden, on the north side of the said road, now let to Mr. Day.

This Property is held by Lease from Merton College for Forty Years, from the 5th day of April, 1851, subject to a Reserved Rent of 4l. 3s.

By 1861 this was a boarding house of New College School.

The house was later owned by Manchester College, which provided higher education to religious nonconformists. This had been founded as the Warrington Academy in 1757 before being refounded in Manchester in 1786 as the Manchester Academy, and after periods in York, Manchester a second time, and London, it finally moved to Oxford in 1893, changing its name to Harris Manchester College in 1996. They named this house Wedgwood & Bentley, after the famous potters and Unitarians who supported the Warrington Academy. The crest to the left is that of Josiah Wedgwood, and the one to the right that of Thomas Bentley.

28 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

John Prior (45), a college servant, lived here with Esther (40) and Sarah (20), James (20), Esther (15), John (15), and George (14). They had one lodger and two female servants.


John Prior (55), now more fully described as “Purveyor or Manciple at Brasenose College”, lived here with his wife Esther (53) and their children John (26), Esther (25), Charles (23) and their granddaughters Katherine and Florence Brazier (aged 5 and 3). They had one servant.


William Tuckwell (31), Head master of New College School, lived here with his wife Rosa (30) and daughter Rose (1). Boarding with them were the Mathematics teacher and six of the boys at the school, aged from 9 to 13. They had five female servants. They were described as living in both 28 and 29 Holywell Street.


Catherine Deakins (43), a widow, lived here with her son Robert (17). They had a cook and a housemaid.


The owner of the house was away on census night, and it was occupied by two servants (a cook and a housemaid).


The house is listed as unoccupied.


Edwin Craig (35), a college tutor and examiner, lived here with his wife Sophia (32). They had two servants (a cook and a parlourmaid).


The Revd Laurence Pearsall Jacks (50), a Professor at Manchester College and an Editor, lived here with his wife Olive (42) and his children Oliver (19), Stopford (15), Evelyn (11), Graham (10),and Hector (9). They had three servants.

Occupants of 28 Holywell Street listed in directories etc.

Survey of Oxford

Frontage:8 yds 2 ft 20 in
Mr Arnold


John Prior
Butler of Brasenose College
(also in Private Resident list as “Mr John Prior” in 1852)


Revd William Tuckwell
[New College School Boarding House; and at 29 next door]


Mrs Evans


Mrs Deakins


Revd Henry G. Woods


W. Hobhouse, M.A.
Student and Tutor of Christ Church


Louis Neville


Edwin Craig
College tutor


Rev. Lawrence Pearsall Jacks, M.A.


Revd Henry Watson Fox, M.A.


Maurice Leonard Jacks
Fellow & Tutor of Wadham College


Richard H Gretton, M.A., Tutor of Keble College
Mrs Mary S. Gretton, J.P.


Harold William Spicer, M.A., organist, Manchester College

with Revd Raymond V. Holt, B.A., B.Litt, lecturer in political philosophy & economics
    of University College & lecturer in English literature, Lincoln College in 1930
with Revd Lancelot Garrard, bursar & tutor, Manchester College, in 1935
with Stephen N. Bertram, architect in 1936
with Revd W. Thomas Williams, tutor & bursar, Manchester College in 1947
with Mrs Noel Davis 1945–1956


No listing


Part of Harris Manchester College

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