Church House, 14 St Andrew’s Road
Church House, so named because it is immediately opposite St Andrew’s Church, is at 14 St Andrew’s Road (called Church Road until 1955), next door to the White Hart. It dates from around 1700.
This house was held under the Manor of Heddington, and was described simply as “a messuage, yard and garden with appurtenances”.
In 1721 its copyhold was acquired by Henry Sellar and Hannah his wife, and in 1765 it was inherited by their son, William Sellar, a cordwainer. (Parson Woodforde in his diaries mentions a number of visits to “one Sellar a Shoemaker of Eddington” with whom he ran up large bills for new shoes and repairs: and in 1774 he records how he gave a shilling to his son who was with him.) William Sellar senior died in 1779, and his widow Mary carried on the cordwaining business through her son William (baptised at St Andrew’s Church in 1762). But Jackson’s Oxford Journal for 22 September 1781 reported her intention to employ another person, because her son William, a minor, had married without her consent: this family quarrel explains why the copyhold was not officially assigned to William Sellar junior until 1791. He remained a shoemaker, and appears to have married twice bringing up eleven children in Church House.
In 1797 Church House was conveyed to James Eldridge, and in 1802 to the Revd James Palmer (who is presumably one and the same as the Revd Palmer who was curate of St Andrew’s Church at the time of the Inclosure Act of 1805). Palmer died intestate in 1819, but it was thirty years before Church House was formally transferred to his only son and heir, the Revd James Nelson Palmer of Breamore Rectory in Hampshire.
From 1819 to the mid-1850s, Church House was let out, first to the Revd William Oddie, and then to the famous wood engraver Orlando Jewitt, who lived there from about 1838 to 1856. The Headington Rent-Book of December 1850 accordingly lists Jewitt as occupier, and the Revd Nelson Palmer as owner, and its rateable value as £20. Jewitt had moved out by 28 June 1856, when the forthcoming auction of Church House, which was copyhold of the Manor of Headington, was advertised thus in Jackson's Oxford Journal;
A HOUSE pleasantly situated near the Church, for many years the residence of the Rev. Wm. Oddie, and now unoccupied. The House is substantially built, and contains three sitting rooms, six bed rooms, cellar, laundry, and servants' offices. There is a good Garden at the back of the house, extending to the lane, where there is a back entrance.
At that auction Frederic Latimer, son of Edward Latimer (the former Lord of the Manor of Heddington) and the brother of Digby (now Lord) bought Church House for £150 from the Revd Palmer with a mortgage from Adam Briggs, a draper of St Clements. Frederic, who had grown up in Headington House, was a wine-merchant at 11 High Street in Oxford, and had previously been living at 37 St Andrew’s Road. Frederic only lived at Church House for four years, and the following advertisement appeared on 18 August 1860:
HEADINGTON, NEAR OXFORD.
VERY DESIRABLE RESIDENCE, IN THE CENTRE OF THE VILLAGE
The House contains dining, drawing, and morning rooms, 7 bed chambers (cottage sizes), 2 water closets, kitchen, scullery, larger, and cellar; at the back is a good garden, tastefully laid out, with summerhouse, and back entrance.
This Property is Copyhold of the Manor of Headington, and is situate near the Church, and from the acknowledged salubrity of the air and soil of Headington, offers an opportunity to any one seeking a healthy and comfortable residence in a superior village, and within a short distance of Oxford.
Frederic Latimer and his family moved down to a villa on the Iffley Road in early 1865, and the following advertisement appeared on 4 February 1865:
HOUSE to be LET, LEASED, or SOLD,—A large old-fashioned COTTAGE, opposite Headington Church, containing 3 sitting rooms, 7 bed rooms, kitchen, back kitchen, and large larder, lately modernized; w.c. inside, and w.c. outside the house; with flower garden.—May be viewed March 1, and entered on Lady Day next [25 March].
Church House was not sold at this point, and Frederic Latimer let out to a Mrs Lovell.
On 18 April 1868 it was advertised thus to let:
A large old-fashioned COTTAGE, containing parlour, drawing room, and a pretty little room now used as a store room, seven bed rooms, two w.c.'s, good force pump, never-failing well of water, kitchen, back kitchen, and a large airy larder, capacious underground cellar, garden, about 40 yards by 15, summer-house, a useful out-building, with back entrance to premises. Rent £30 per annum. Situated opposite the Church at Headington.
Latimer made another attempt to sell Church House in July 1868, according to this sale notice in the Bodleian Library:
Headington, near Oxford: Mr John Fisher is instructing F. Latimer Esq to sell by auction at the Black Horse Inn, St Clement’s on Thursday, July 30th, 1868 at 6 o’clock, a large, old-fashioned Cottage opposite the Church, containing Parlour, Drawing Room, and a Pretty Little Room, now used as a Store Room, Seven Bed Rooms, Two w.c.’s, Good Force Pump, never-failing Well of Water, Kitchen, Back Kitchen, and a large Airy Larder, Capacious Underground Cellar, Garden, about 120 feet by 45, Summer-house, a useful Out-Building, with back Entrance to Premises. This Property is Copyhold of the Manor of Headington and is subject to a Quit Rent of 2s annually, and land Tax of 17s. 3d. Further Particulars may be known of Sturman Latimer, Esq., Headington, or of the Auctioneer, 8 High Street, Oxford
Again it did not sell. Frederic Latimer died in 1870, and in 1871 the house is listed as unoccupied. On 11 February 1871 another forthcoming auction of the property was advertised thus:
A comfortable DWELLING HOUSE opposite the Church at Headington, comprising two sitting rooms, seven bed rooms, kitchen, store room, and servants' offices; together with a capital garden at the back, containing summer house and useful outbuildings.
This Property is Copyhold of the Manor of Headington, and is subject to a Quit Rent of 2s., a Land Tax of 17s. 6d. annually, and a Heriot of 10s.
On 23 March 1872 another auction was advertised:
HEADINGTON, OXON. A LARGE AND CONVENIENT
STONE-BUILT HOUSE AND GARDEN, Opposite the Church, Headington....
The House contains in the basement two cellars; on the ground floor two sitting rooms, parlour, kitchen, scullery, and store room; and on the two upper floors 7 bed rooms and w.c. A large Garden in the rear, with summer-house, fowl-house, and the usual out offices. (Followed by same details about Copyhold as before.)
In 1873 Church House was sold for £227 to Frederic’s widowed sister, Mrs Caroline Latimer Nichol, by the sons of the man who had granted his mortgage. She renamed the house “De Crespigny Lodge” after her previous home in De Crespigny Park in London.
Mrs Nichol died in 1880, leaving the house to her brother William Latimer.
William Latimer died in 1881, leaving the house to his son, William Lawford Latimer of Wheatley. He immediately sold it to Thomas King of 85 St Aldate’s.
The widow Mrs Jane Edgecumbe then moved from Linden House (now the Priory) and rented Church House in the early 1880s. She bought the house for £370 in 1883, and made improvements to it, as reported in the Oxford Chronicle for 11 October 1884 (p. 7f):
The old Church House, at Headington, has had recent additions and alterations, and now forms a compact residence for Mrs. Edgecombe. Mr. J. Ward, builder, 7 Pembroke street, St. Aldate’s, executed the work from the designs of Mr. H. J. Tollit, architect.
Mrs Edgecumbe enfranchised Church House in 1891, and continued to live there until 1895. Her daughter, Miss Edgecumbe, still lived there in 1910. According to Within Living Memory, Mr & Mrs Surman then lived in the house: they are not listed in directories, but may have rented it.
From 1915 to 1925 Church House was occupied by the retired schoolmaster Herbert Field and his wife (just Mrs Field from 1921). Mrs Field’s son by her first husband, Alan Young, died in the First World War during this period. Herbert Field died at the age of 63 and was buried at Headington Cemetery on 8 February 1919. Mrs Maria Burrell Field remained in Church House until 1925.
Sir Charles Nicholson, a famous church architect, then bought the house. At first he and Lady Nicholson let it out to Mrs Sandys, but they lived in it themselves from 1931 to 1958.