65 Holywell Street

65 Holywell Street

Grade II Listed Building: List Entry Number 1369381. This house dates from 1639, but the front has been altered, probably in the eighteenth century. There is a coachway to the east. It is owned by New College.

The first-floor windows have the original carved wood brackets of grotesque beasts, and the two to the west are carved with “ASCS” and 1639” respectively:

Grotesque 1 Grotesque 2 Grotesque 3 Grotesque 4

The following notice in Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 9 March 1839, advertising this house for sale, gives a description of the house, the yard, and the second house in the yard:

Slatter house for sale

On 21 March 1846 another auction of this house in Holywell Street was advertised:

A convenient and roomy DWELLING HOUSE, fronting the above street, being No. 65, and capable of being divided into and now occupied as two tenements, together with a spacious yard and carriage entrance thereto, sheds and workshops behind the same, in the occupation respectively of Mr. Maxey, upholsterer, and his under tenant: and also a convenient Cottage situate in the yard and occupied by Mr. John Slatter. The above premises are in good repair, and are held under Merton College for a term of 40 years, from Lady Day, 1845, renewable every 14 years, at a trifling reserved rent.

Henry Maxey died here at the age of 56 in January 1854, and the following advertisement appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal for 30 September 1854:

To Cabinet-Makers, Upholsterers, Brokers, &c.

TO be DISPOSED OF, THE STOCK in TRADE, extensive YARD, and WORKSHOPS, occupied by the late Mr.  Henry Maxey, where a flourishing trade has been carried on for several years; the situation is very good, in the centre of Holywell-street, No. 65. The House, which is well adapted for letting lodgings, contains thirteen rooms, may be entered on immediately; the Furniture and Sock in Trade to be taken at a fair valuation, as the widow is leaving Oxford. Rent very moderate. A Lease may be had, if required.

Jane Burden gave 65 Holywell Street as her place of residence in 1859 when she married William Morris, but the 1861 census (below) shows her parents and her sister Elizabeth living in Brooks’ Yard, which was behind the main house. The Historic England photograph below, taken in 1913, shows that yard:

65 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


No. 65
Henry Maxey
(52), a cabinet maker, lived here with his wife Esther (40) and his nephew George Lovegrove (16), who was his apprentice.

”Cottage in yard at No. 65”
John Slatter
(68), a widowed carpenter, lived here.


No. 65
Moses Brooks
(61), a farrier & dairyman, lived here with his wife Ann (58) and his son George (17), who was a law clerk in the probate court.

Brooks’ Yard
(1) Robert Godfrey (31), a college servant, lived here with his wife Sarah (38)
(2) Robert Burden (53), an ostler born in Stanton Harcourt, lived here with his wife Ann (36), born in Alvescot, and their younger daughter Elizabeth (19).


No. 65
Willilam Brooks
 (29), a dairyman, lived here with his wife Elizabeth (21) and their daughter Anna (5). They had a lodger.

No. 65A
James Hatton
 (25), an undergraduate, lodged here.


No. 65: Albert W. Brooks (49) was still a dairyman, living here with his wife Elizabeth (46).

No. 65A: Thomas Plaister (51), a cabinet maker, lived here with his wife Ann (46) and their children Eveline (17), who was a confectioner's assistant, Maude (15), Reginald (14), who was a librarian assistant, and Winifred (7).


No. 65: Albert W. Brooks (39), a dairyman, lived here with his wife Elizabeth (36) and his daughter Annie (15). They had an undergraduate lodger living with them.

No. 65A: Samuel Wray (70), a bootmaker, lived here with


No. 65: Albert W. Brooks (59), a dairyman working from this house, lived here with his wife Elizabeth (51), who was a lodging house keeper. They had one general servant.

No. 65A: Thomas Plaister (61), a cabinet maker working from this house, lived here with his wife Ann (56), and his daughters Maud (25) and Winifred (17), who were shop assistants.


No. 65: Albert William Brooks (70), now a retired dairyman, lived here with his wife Elizabeth Rogers Brooks (67).

No. 65A: Thomas Godwin Hendy (74), a pensioner who had formerly been a publican, lived here with his wife Clara (54) and his son Sidney (22), who was a bootmaker’s assistant.


Occupants of 65 Holywell Street listed in directories etc.


No. 65

No. 65A/ 65½ (the yard behind)
and the cottage there

Survey of Oxford

Frontage: 8 yds 1ft 2 in
Mrs Slatter


Henry Maxey
Cabinet maker & upholsterer

John Slatter
Carpenter & joiner (also 1830)


Moses Brooks
Farmer & dairyman
(previously at No. 31
and then No.  37)



Albert William Brooks
Dairy (by 1866)


Mrs Brooks (by 1916)

W. Carter

Robert Godfrey
Robert Burden


Swadling & Ovenell
Bookbinders [advertising in JOJ from 1861]


Mrs Lineham


Samuel Wray


Mr Heath


Thomas Plaister


Frederick J. Allen


Thomas Godwin Heny (1911)
James Augustus Prestidge (1914)
Philip Maycock (1916)
Graham G. Hargraves (1921)
Keith O. Newman (1926, 1930)

65B (in yard at rear of house):
Holywell Typewriting office

(H. Goalen/Miss Goalen 1916–1930)


William Hancock


New College annexe


New College annexe

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© Stephanie Jenkins

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