CORNMARKET, OXFORD

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59–61 Cornmarket Street: Greggs


Moss Bros at 59-61

The original Crown Inn used to stand on this site at Nos. 59, 60, and 61 Cornmarket: see below. Also see separate page for the adjacent Crown pub, which is set behind Cornmarket, on the site of the old inn's former stables. (Neither of these establishments should be confused with the Crown Tavern on the opposite side of Cornmarket at No. 3.)

In 1890/1 the old inn building was replaced by the present premises, originally for use as a bank.

The building on this site was in the parish of St Martin's (Carfax) until that church was demolished in 1896, whereafter it was in the parish of St Martin's & All Saints until All Saints Church was deconsecrated in 1971. It is now in the parish of St Michael-at-the-Northgate.


The original Crown Inn at Nos. 59–61

The original building of Crown Inn here was a private house from 1032 to 1220. It then became known as Drapery Hall.

In 1364 it became Spicer's Inn, named after William le Spicer and his family.

It became the Crown Inn in 1600, and was of a considerable size, as in 1666 it paid tax on fifteen hearths. The Morrell family acquired it in 1672.

Anthony Wood describes in his diary (ii:152) how he ate and drank at the Crown Inn on 18/19 March 1669 with Sir Edward Bysshe, and also records a death here in January 1687 (iii.206):

2 Jan., Sunday, in morne, died suddenly at the Crowne Inn Oxford of a sore throat (alias the French pox) Robert Thacker, designer to the King, and the next day was buried in S. Martin’s church at the west end near to the font, aged between 40 and 50”.

It became a coaching inn in the early eighteenth century.

The building ceased to be an inn in 1750, and lost its frontage in 1774 when Cornmarket was widened.


Crown Inn in 1848

The Wellington pub

By 1823 the old Crown Inn had been converted into the Wellington (or Duke of Wellington) pub to the south (No. 61) and two shops to the north Nos. 59 & 60).

The engraving on the right from the Illustrated London News of 1848 shows this building, with the Wellington pub is on the left-hand side and the name of Greatbatch the fishmonger can be seen over the door on the right. There is also a glimpse of Boffin the baker in the adjacent building on the left (No. 62)

The following advertisement appeared in Jackson's Oxford Journal on 30 January 1864:
“WANTED—A few more CUSTOMERS to the WELLINGTON INN, CORN MARKET, where they will get a good Dinner for 7d., an excellent Likeness for 6d., or 12 Carte de Visite Portraits for 7s. 6d.”

Landlords of the Wellington at 61 Cornmarket Street included:

  • 1823: J. Freeman
  • 1830: Thomas Freeman
  • 1839: T. Roberts
  • 1841, 1852: Mrs Mary Ann Roberts

The Wellington pub closed in about 1871.

On 14 October 1871 Jackson's Oxford Journal reported that John Falkner, the woollen draper at Nos. 59 & 60, had added the former Wellington public house at No. 61 to his premises, with the building converted by G. Jones of Osney.

Falkner remained in all three premises until 1890, when not only was his building (the former Crown Inn) demolished but also another four shops to the south (Nos. 62–65), and the bulk of St Martin’s Church

The present building

In 1890 Nos. 59-61 were rebuilt by H. G. W. Drinkwater as the single unit they are today for the Metropolitan & Birmingham Bank, which then moved across the road from the former building at 11 Cornmarket. The following report appeared in Jackson's Oxford Journal on 11 October 1890:

METROPOLITAN AND BIRMINGHAM BANK.—The demolition of the old house in the Corn Market, which dates from 1540, is rapidly proceeding, and upon the site the directors of the Metropolitan and Birmingham Bank propose erecting new premises for their Oxford branch. Much as been said and written against the destruction of this relic of old Oxford, with its half-timbered front and picturesque gables, but we venture to think that few of those who have advocated its retention would, had they seen its condition, have cared to live within its walls. In pulling down it was found that the gables, which were evidently modern, did not even take the place of older ones, but were built on the top of a lead flat, some seven feet wide, which ran along the full length of the older part of the building. It was also found that the building had, at the same time, narrowly escaped destruction by fire, for a quantity of charred timber was found among the framing Some interesting fragments of painted decoration on wood were found built in the framing, and are evidently a portion of some older building. The plaster panels will be carefully taken out and will, with any other portions of the old front that can be preserved, be placed with the consent of the curator in the Ashmolean Museum. The new building will be set back from the present line of frontage as much as five feet at the southern end, and will be the commencement of the widening of Carfax contemplated by the City Council. The ground floor of the new premises will be devoted to the business, and will consist of a large bank room, with a manager's room at the back, and strong room in the basement. The upper floor will form a residence for the manager. The front will be built with Doulting stone, and in style will harmonise with many of the old buildings in Oxford. The builder is Mr. T. H. Kingerlee, and the architect, Mr. H. G. W. Drinkwater, F.R.S.B.A.

The bank was renamed the Metropolitan Bank (of England and Wales) in the 1890s. In 1914 it  was absorbed by London City and Midland Bank, which moved into a former shop (now HSBC) on the corner of Carfax.

The former bank building here at 59–61 Cornmarket has been a shop ever since.

Occupants of 59–61 Cornmarket Street listed in directories etc.

Date

No. 61 (left) No. 60 (Middle) No. 59 (right)

1829

?

T. & J. Greatbatch*
Glass & china warehouse

 

1839

The Wellington (1839, 1846);
The Wellington Dining Rooms (1867)

Landlords (not subject
to 19C wine licences):
1839: Thomas Roberts
18411851: Mary Roberts
1861: Albert James Clark

[Probably combined
with No. 59]

T. Greatbatch
China & glassware

1846

Thomas Greatbatch
Fishmonger

Levi Greatbatch
China & glass dealer
(moved to 15 High Street in 1849)

1851

 

Rowland Gifford
Fishmonger

1854–1867

John Falkner, Woollen draper & outfitter

1872–1889

John Falkner, Clothier

These old shops were demolished in 1890 at the time the bulk of St Martin’s Church was removed

By 1898–1914+

Metropolitan Bank of England & Wales Ltd
with George Hughes, the manager, living at Bank House

1925–1980

Montague Burton Ltd, Tailors

By 1988–1994

Our Price Records

By 1996–2018

Moss Bros
[moved to the new Westgate Centre in 2018]

2018–2020

Vacant

2020–

Greggs

* Thomas Greatbach had been matriculated by the University of Oxford as a privileged person (fictiliorum et vitreorum venditor) on 17 December 1828. The Greatbatches announced in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 10 October 1829 that they had opened a glass & china warehouse here, selling cut glass, china, stone ware, bronze articles, Paris lamps, earthenware, etc.

59–61 Cornmarket Street in the censuses

1841

No. 59/60: The china dealer Thomas Greatbatch (40) lived here over his shop with Elizabeth (40), Thomas (6), and Jane (5).

No. 61 (The Wellington): The victualler Mary Roberts lived here with Ann (16), Sarah (15), and Matilda Roberts (10). Also in residence are two printers.

1851

Nos. 59/60: James Turrill (34), a poulterer & butter factor, lived here with his wife Rosetta (35), his children Maria (6), Sarah (5), James (3), Susan (1), and Alfred (6 months), and his sister-in-law Marilla Smith. They had one female servant.

No. 61 (The Wellington): The victualler Mary Roberts (48), described as a widow, lived here with her daughter Annie (18), who was a milliner. They had a lodger, and one general servant.

1861

Nos. 59 & 60: John Falkner (39), a widowed clothier, lived here with his unmarried sister Ann (24) as his housekeeper. Two assistant clothiers – Charles Parmenter (28) and Joseph Harris (22) – are lodging with them, and they had one female servant.

No. 61 (The Wellington): Albert James Clark (42), a cordwainer & publican, lived here with his wife Emma (4) and his children Anna (12) and Edwin (9). They had no servants.

1871

Nos. 59 & 60: John Falkner (49), tailor & clothier, still lived here with his sister Ann (34), who continued to act as his housekeeper. They had one general servant, and an assistant clothier lived with them.

No. 61 (former Wellington): Not listed: probably being taken over by Falkner's Draper's & Outfitter's.

1881

Nos. 59, 60, & 61: John Falkner (59) still lived over his extended shop. Described as a tailor and clothier, he was now a widower, and his spinster sister Anne Maria (43) served as his housekeeper. Two assistant clothiers – John R. Lane (3) and Arthur James Cave (17) – were living in the household, and they had one general servant.

The three shops in the old Crown Inn building were demolished in 1890

1891

Listed as being rebuilt.

1901

George Hughes (49), the bank manager of the Metropolitan Bank downstairs, lived here with his unmarried sisters Elizabeth (51) and Margaret (42) and two servants (a cook and a housemaid).

1911

George Hughes (59), the bank manager, still lived here in twelve rooms over the Metropolitan Bank with his wife Marion (46) and their children George (8) and Elizabeth (7). Also living with them were the children's governess and two servants (a cook and a  housemaid).

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