58 Holywell Street

58 Holywell with blue plaque

Grade II Listed Building: List Entry Number 1335918.
A nineteenth-century refronting or rebuilding of what was probably a seventeenth-century house.

Owned by Merton College.

On the wall of this house is an Oxfordshire Blue Plaque dedicated to the architect John Chessell Buckler (1793–1894), who lived here from 1861 to 1889: he worked on the University Church, and also designed the 1851 buildings of Magdalen College School. He produced many drawings of Oxford street views (of which the Bodleian Library has 145 made between 1810 and 1830). He died at Melbury, Cowley St John on 5 January 1894 at the age of 100.

On 8 September 1883 it was reported that Hannibal Johns of 58 Holywell Street won second prize at the Bicester Agricultural Show for Black Spanish, Andalusians and Leghorns (cock & hen), suggesting that he kept poultry in his back yard here.

58 Holywell Street in the censuses

1841 & 1851

This house is hard to identify, and its absence from directories suggest that it was vacant.
(There is a laundress listed at No. 58 in 1851, but that is probably a mistake for 57A.)


58: John Chessell Buckler (67), a widower and architect, lived here with his two unmarried daughters Eliza (23) and Esther (17). They had one servant.

58A: Hannibal Johns (43), a Cornish-born college servant, lived here with his wife Elizabeth (48), his mother-in-law Elizabeth Noon (85), and one female servant.


58 (wrongly recorded as 57½): John Chessell Buckler (77) was here on his own with one servant.

58A (wrongly recorded as 57): Hannibal Johns (53), a college servant, lived here with his wife Elizabeth (60).


58: John Chessell Buckler (87) still lived here with his unmarried daughters Eliza (43) and Esther (37). They had one female servant.

58A: Hannibal Johns (63), a college bedmaker, lived here with his wife Elizabeth (71) and a general servant.


58: Elizabeth Dix (48), a widowed lodging house keeper, lived here with her children Elizabeth (20), who was a dressmaker, Edward (17), who was a college servant, and Ellen (14).
She also had a lodger Miss Sarah Anne Hazel (75) who occupied two rooms in the house.

58A: Hannibal Johns (73), who was still a college servant, continued to live here with his wife Elizabeth (90) and their 15-year-old servant girl.


Frederick Alder (49), a college servant, lived here with his wife Emma (47), a lodging house keeper, and his children George (20), a college servant; Mabel (16), a milliner’s apprentice); Dorothy (11), Eric (14), a railway clerk, and Elsie (8), plus his widowed mother-in-law Emma Hudson (77).


Frederick Alder (58), a college servant, lived here with his wife Emma (52) and his daughters Dorothy (21), who was a milliner, and Elsie (18), who was a draper’s cashier.

Occupants of 58 Holywell Street listed in directories etc.

Survey of Oxford

Frontage: 8 yds 0 ft 0 in
Mrs White

1839, 1841,
1842, 1846

No listing, suggesting it was empty during this period


J. C. & C. A. Buckler
John C. Buckler, Architect by 1866

(with Hannibal Johns at 58A, presumably the upstairs apartment)


Mrs Dix, Lodging house


Frederick Alder


Walter Edward Dore
Mrs Dore from 1945


John Piggot


Donald Roberts


Alfred P. Cole


Owain Waite


No listing


Merton College annexe

Holywell home

© Stephanie Jenkins

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