Oxford History: The High


139–140: Oxford Gifts

139-140 High Street

Nos. 139–140 date from the twentieth century. The building is owned by Oxford City Council.

At the time of the 1772 Survey of Oxford, Mr Field occupied the former building on the site of No. 139 and Mrs Preston that of 140.

The building straddled two parishes until 1896: No. 139 was in the parish of All Saints until that church was deconsecrated in 1971, while No. 140 was in the parish of St Martin's (Carfax) until that church was demolished in 1896 and then in All Saints parish until that church was deconsecrated in 1971. It is now in the parish of St Michael-at-the-Northgate Church.

The two pubs that formerly stood side by side on this site were:

  • The Red Lion at No. 139 on the left
  • The original Jolly Post Boys at No. 140 on the right.

Morrell’s bought the lease of the Red Lion from Hall’s some time after April 1851 and closed the old Jolly Post Boys, but to confuse matters they transferred the name of the Jolly Post Boys to the former Red Lion next door in around 1852 or just after. The Post Boys, as it was usually known, remained at No. 139 until 1935, when the building was demolished.

No. 139 (The Red Lion)

At the time of the 1841 census Frances Harrison, a widow, was the victualler of the Red Lion and lived here with Frances Margetts (her daughter by her first marriage) and a female servant. She was still here in 1851, aged 54, with her son, James Margetts, a confectioner, plus a general servant.

James Winfield moved here from the pub next door along with the business soon after the 1851 census, and was listed as the licensed victualler here at the time of the 1861 census. He died shortly afterwards, and his wife Jane took over the pub tenancy. In 1871 she was living here with her two daughters, a barmaid, and a servant, and: in 1881 with one daughter, a granddaughter, and her sister (who was an inn servant), plus one general servant.

In 1901 George Albert Kelly (36) the publican here at the Postboys Inn, lived on the premises with his wife Margaret and their son. The three of them still lived there with a servant in 1911.

No. 140 (The Jolly Post Boys)

At the time of the 1841 census the publican John Jackson lived here with Elizabeth Jackson and their servant, plus two lodgers.

In 1851 James Winfield was the landlord at the Jolly Post Boys and lived here with his wife Jane and a general servant. After he moved into No. 139, the old pub at No. 140 became a jeweller’s shop, and at the time of the 1861 census it was occupied by Abraham Davis, a jeweller & silversmith, and his wife, and his assistant, who was a watchmaker; he was still there in 1871.

By 1876 it had become a chemist’s shop, and in 1881 the chemist Josiah Jessop lived upstairs, with a dentist lodger. He still lived here in 1901 and 1911 with his unmarried brother and sister and their servant.

Occupiers of 139 & 140
Darker background = former building now demolished


139 High Street

140 High Street


Red Lion
John Margetts (1830)
Mrs Fanny Margetts (1839),
who was Mrs Joseph Harrison from 1840
Henry Harrison
(bought by Morrells c.1851)

Jolly Post Boys

Alfred Teddar (1839)
John Jackson (1841)
John Gallaway (1846)
James Winfield (by 1851–1852)
(sold by Morrells c.1852)


The (Jolly) Post Boys


James Winfield (c.1852)
Mrs Jane Winfield (by 1861–1889)
C. D. Williams (1889–1890)
William Charles Darbey (1890–1896)
George A. Kelly (1896–1923)
Albert Henry Kelly (1923–1935)

Shop hereafter

Abraham Davis
Watchmaker & jeweller

Josiah Henry Jessop
Homoeopathic pharmacy

Thornton, Murray & Thornton
(later Thornton & Thornton)
Chartered accountants

Styles & Whitlock
Auctioneers (1927–1934)


Martin's Bank Limited
Upstairs: Mrs M. G. Moule, Café


Oxford Trustee Savings Bank
Upstairs: Mrs M. G. Moule, Café (to 1947)


Oxford Information Centre


Bradford & Bingley Building Society


Oxford City Council Payments Office (later renamed Payments & Parking Shop)


Crew Clothing Co.


Oxford Gifts (originally University Gifts)

©Stephanie Jenkins

Last updated: 11 June, 2021

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