Headington history: Listed Buildings/Structures

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Croft Hall (former Baptist Church)

Croft Hall

List entry for Croft Hall (“Old Sunday School”): 1186142
Separate listing for its Boundary Wall: 1047333

Croft Hall was 1836* and was the first proper nonconformist chapel in Old Headington (but not in Headington as a whole, as Quarry had built a Methodist Chapel in 1830).

The land on which it stands belonged to the Latimers, who were Lord and Lady of the Manor of Heddington [sic] and owners of Headington House. The copyhold land was converted to freehold at a cost of £12 under a Deed of Enfranchisement in 1841 made between (1) Edward and Elizabeth Latimer of Headington House and (2) twelve tradesmen of the City of Oxford, and at the same time the chapel was put under the management of New Road Baptist Church. In 1875 the chapel acquired more land to extend its burial ground.

The Oxfordshire Religious Census of 1851 states that this chapel had 100 free sittings, and that on 30 March the general congregation was 4 in the moring, 25 in the afternon, and 42 in the evening.

In his 1854 Visitation Return the Vicar of St Andrew’s Church, when asked how many dissenting places of worship there were in his parish, replied that there was just one, and that very small.

In 1901 a new Baptist Chapel opened nearby in Old High Street, but this old chapel remained in the ownership of the Baptist Church until the mid-1970s. Initially it was used as a Sunday School, but this had to be closed in 1924 as the building had fallen into such disrepair.

In 1937 the Freemasons offered to refurbish the building as part of a leasing arrangement, and occupied it until 1944. After this the Exclusive Brethren used the building for seven years.

The building was then used as a carpenter’s workshop and after that by a carpet specialist. It was sold for £4,900 in 1976 and converted into a private house.

* Although Kelly’s Directory always states that the Baptist Chapel in the Croft was built in 1805, it must be wrong, as everything indicates that this chapel was built in 1836. It seems likely that Baptists may have met in a private house in Old Headington before that date.

© Stephanie Jenkins

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