Nos. 22–23: St John’s College accommodation

22-23 St Giles

22-23 old

Nos. 22 and 23 date from the early seventeenth century, but have nineteenth-century stuccoed fronts and are considerably restored. They are jointly Grade II listed (List Entry No. 1065714), and belonged to Christ Church until about 1999, when they were bought by St John’s College. They lie in St Giles' parish.


The detail on the left from an old postcard shows No. 23 with a bow window added downstairs: the card probably dates from the 1920s, when it was a tea-room. The very high building to the left was demolished in the 1960s to make way for the Mathematical Institute


No. 22

When the 1772 Survey of Oxford was taken, No. 22 (with its frontage measured as 6 yards and 5 inches) was occupied by a Mr Smith.

At the time of the 1851 census, the house was occupied by Miss Deborah Brain, a landed proprietor, and Mrs Elizabeth Smallbones, the relict of the wool dealer Richard Smallbones, Esq. of Hordley, and her younger sister Frances J. Brain. The Misses Deborah and Frances Brain were still there in 1861.

By 1881 it was used as a college house, and was occupied by George Shorey, a college servant, and his wife and children, and a student boarder.

In 1881 his house was occupied by Arthur J. Adams (33), who was a decorator, and his wife and four children.

No. 23

At the time of the 1772 Survey of Oxford, No. 23 (with its frontage measured as 5 yards 1 foot 9 inches) was occupied by a Mr Fowle.

In 1841 this private house was occupied by William Richard Hobbs, an accountant, who lived there with his wife and two children and a servant. Forty years later in 1881 he was still there, at the age of 69, with his wife and three of his grown-up children. He died the following year. In 1891 the house was unoccupied.

It was a shop from 1903 to 1967.

In 1967 the current owner of the two houses, Christ Church, was granted planning application for “conversion of shop and residential to wholly residential”. They were bought by St John’s College, who extended them at the rear in 1999 and use them as college accommodation.

The following planning application by St John's College was approved in 2019: “Sub-division of existing dwelling to create a 1 x 2-bed and 1 x 3-bed dwelling (Use Class C3). Erection of a single storey rear extension and formation of new fence to east elevation”: 19/00696/LBC

Occupants of 22 & 23 St Giles' Street listed in censuses and directories


22 St Giles

23 St Giles


Miss Deborah Brain
(died here in 1864)
Mrs Elizabeth Smallbones
(until her death here
on 19 October 1858)

William Richard Hobbs
(died here 28 May 1882)


Richard Berry Hobbs
Rate collector


George Shorey


Joseph A. Partridge

Adams & Son
Plumbers, painters, & decorators


Adams & Son
Plumbers, painters, & decorators


Mrs M. Paterson
University Lodgings

Adams & Son
Plumbers, painters, & decorators

Arthur John Adams
Builder (1900–1901)


Mrs H. Smith


Mrs Berrill & Hobbs
Milliners 1905–1906)

Miss Berrill
Milliner (1907–1908)


Miss E.H. Robson
Milliner 1909–1923

Miss E.H. Robson
Tea Rooms (1925)


William Simmonds & Son
Coal merchants


Miss Gertrude Alder
University Lodging House


Handel Davies


Handel Davies
Student and Mathematics tutor at Christ Church


Continued as Christ Church accommodation


St John’s College accommodation

These houses were originally known as “St Giles 1st Tenement” and “St Giles 2nd Tenement”. Christ Church lessees (who were not necessarily the occupiers) included the following:

22 St Giles (1st Tenement): Leases

  • 1612: Henry Page of the Inner Temple (with St Giles 2nd Tenement)
  • 1626: William Chillingworth of St Ebbe’s, maltster, of this “garden ground (whereuppon a messuage is builded, now in th’occupacon partly of Jane Boseley, widow and partly of Thomas Browne, husbandman)
  • 1650: Mercy Penne of St Giles
  • 1669: Renewal of lease of Mercy Penne, also of her son Mathew Penne, baker
  • 1683: Henry Page of Oxford, ale-brewer, and Edward Prince, gent.
  • 1687/8: William Langford of the University of Oxford, cook
  • 1714: Renewal of lease of Mary Langford (widow of William)
  • 1728/9: Mary Sherwin of Oxford, widow, executrix of Mary Langford
  • 1744: William Evans of St Giles, rag merchant
  • 1758: Timothy Evans of the University of Oxford, hat maker, and Robert Hobbins of St. Duke’s, London, coal merchant
  • 1782: Edward Jennings Wise of Oxford, poulterer
  • 1795: James Costar of Oxford, grocer (trustee for John Wise, son of E.J. Wise)
  • 1800: Purchase of lease by James Costar for £600 from Edward Bigg of Benson, Oxon., farmer, executor of E.J. Wise
  • 1823: Thomas Brain of St. Peter-in-the-Bailey, butcher

23 St Giles (2nd Tenement): Leases

  • 1612: Henry Page of the Inner Temple (with St Giles 1st Tenement)
  • 1626: Henry Hutchinson of London, mercer
  • 1650: Silvester Hutchinson, daughter of William Hutchinson of Yate, Glos.
  • 1672: Thomas Rowney of the University of Oxford, gent.
  • 1704: Thomas Rowney the younger of Oxford, esq. [built St Giles House at No. 16 in 1702, died 1759)
  • 1734/5: Thomas Rowney [the son of Thomas Rowney the younger]
  • 1763: The Hon. Robert Lee of Lee Place, Oxford
  • 1799: Sale to the Duke of Marlborough for £105, reserving rent.

22 & 23 St Giles (1st & 2nd Tenements)

  • 1842: Richard Smallbones of Oxford, gent., and Elizabeth his wife, and to Deborah Brain, spinster, for £55 consideration – now two tenements occupied by Deborah Brain [22] and by William Hobbes [23], with the Windmill [24 St Giles] to the north and Joseph Parker, esq. [21 St Giles], to the south.
  • 1862: Draft licence to Deborah Brain to assign (Elizabeth Smallbones having died on 10 October 1858)

St Giles’ home

Stephanie Jenkins

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