30 Holywell Street

30 Holywell Street

Livery stables in 1876


Grade II Listed Building:
List Entry Number 1047229
A seventeenth-century house refashioned in the eighteenth century.

Owned by Harris Manchester College.

The large gateway to the right of No. 30 led to livery stables, which can be seen stretching far to the north in the 1876 OS map (left).

James Woodforde of New College wrote in his diary on 25 January 1764, “I put up my Horse at Jacksons in Holliwell, who keeps a Livery stable”. The 1772 Survey of Oxford shows that Mr Jackson lived here at No. 30, and

Woodforde described his stabling arrangements more fully on 1 June 1774: “My Mare is to remain in Oxford, & is to be had to Jacksons Livery Stable to Morrow Morning in Holliwell. I agreed to give Jackson per Week — 3. feeds a day 8: 0.”

In the nineteenth century, the man who kept the stables usually lived at No. 30 to the front, although Charles Symonds must have done well, because in the 1850s he moved to a finer house in Holywell Street and put his foreman into this one. Symonds’ livery stables appear to have been the best in Oxford. In Cuthbert Bede’s The Adventures of Mr Verdant Green, Charles Larkyns says to Verdant, “We’ll go to Symonds’: I keep my hack there and you can depend upon having a good one.”

Symonds and his wife Emily had two children baptised at Holywell Church: Frederick Murray on 13 November 1842, and Georgina Blanche on 21 January 1844.

The stables survived until well into the twentieth century, when the area behind the house became the Layton Garages.

Bede describes Verdant Green’s visit to Charles Symonds’ stables thus:

So they made their way to Holywell Street, and turned under a gateway, and up a paved yard, to the stables. The upper part of the yard was littered down with straw, and covered in by a light, open roof; and in the stables there was accommodation for a hundred horses. At the back of the stables, and separated from the Wadham Gardens by a narrow lane, was a paddock; and here they found Mr. Fosbrooke, and one or two of his friends, inspecting the leaping abilities of a fine hunter, which one of the stable-boys was taking backwards and forwards over the hurdles and fences erected for that purpose.

Symonds' livery stables

The above picture of Charles Simmonds’ stables in c.1850 is taken from The Further Adventures of Mr Verdant Green, where Larkyns says, “Well come along, Verdant, we’ll go to Charley Symonds’ and get our hacks. You can meet us Harry, just over the Maudlin Bridge; and we’ll have a canter along the Henley road.”

Below: the same view in 2009:

Gateway of No. 30

30 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 Symonds (23), a stable keeper, lived here with Emily (15) and one female servant.


Charles Symonds (36), a livery stable keeper, still lived here with his wife Emily (30) and two servants.


Thomas Day (49), a Gloucestershire-born ostler, lived here with his wife Ann and children Thomas (17, clerk in a solicitor’s office), Henry (12), Mary Ann (7). They had one servant.


The house is listed as unoccupied.


William Joseph Wheeler (44), a horse dealer, lived here with his wife Harriett (32) and his children Alice (8), William (7), Edith (3), Gertrude (1), and Emily (5 months). They had one general servant and a nurse.


William Joseph Wheeler (54) was still a horse dealer here, living with his wife Harriet (40) and their chldren Alice (17), William (16), Edith (13), Gertrude (11), Emily (9), Violet (7), Charles (5), and Reginald (2). They had one servant.


The head of the household (Edgar Frederick Carritt) was away, but his brother-in-law, John Lyttleton Etty (25), who was a secondary schoolmaster, was at home with two servants (a housemaid and a cook).


Naser Odeh, a Turkish national born in Palestine an now Curate of Warkworth, Northants, lived here with his wife Mary (64) and his daughter Margaret (25). They had one servant.

Occupants of 30 Holywell Street listed in directories etc.

  No. 30

Yard behind No. 30
(sometimes numbered 29½)

Survey of Oxford

Frontage: 10 yds 0 ft 9 in
Mr Jackson


Charles Symonds 1839–1851
(lived at No. 33 subsequently)

Thomas Day in 1861

Mrs Day in 1861 and 1871

Thomas Day
Foreman of the livery stables, in 1866

Charles Symonds,
Horse dealer & livery stables


William J. Wheeler

W. Wheeler
Livery stables


Henry Harris

William Franklin
Livery stables

Robert Anstee (Vine Cottage)


William George Telling Bedford


Mrs Franklin

Harold J. Fletcher
Livery stables (to 1901)


Edgar Frederick Carrett, M.A.


Harold Brewer Hartley
Fellow & Science tutor & lecturer in Physics, Balliol College


Rev. Naser Odeh


George Walter Young, M.A.
Private tutor 1914–1930

Harold Spencer Young
and Miss Young in 1926

Miss Young by 1952

The University & County Posting Stables Ltd


The Layton Garages


No listing


Mrs P. E. Waller


Harold W. Spicer, M.A.


Part of Harris Manchester College

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© Stephanie Jenkins

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