Headington history: Listed Buildings/Structures

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Manor Farmhouse, Dunstan Road

Manor Farm

List entry for Manor Farmhouse: 1369368
List entry for Manor Farmhouse garden wall: 1047295

As its name suggests, Manor Farm once belonged to the Lords of the Manor of Headington, who in about 1802 moved away from Holton and made Sir Banks Jenkinson’s former house to the south of the farm their Manor House.

Until the 1920s, the garden of Manor Farm extended over the present Ethelred Court, while its farmland stretched over part of the John Radcliffe Hospital grounds and the Copse Lane area. It was a working farm until the 1920s, and people of Old Headington came here to get their milk. Its farmhouse was then sold as a private house and the farmland was rented out and eventually developed.

The farmhouse was converted in c.1935 by Richard Hartley Rose-Innes whose arms (3 molets and a Border checky) are over the new porch.

The farmhouse was described thus by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, published in 1939:

(273) Manor Farm, house 350 yards W.N.W. of the church, is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of rubble and the roofs are tiled. It was built in the 17th century but has been much altered. Inside the building, the dining-room has an original stone fireplace with moulded jambs and four-centred arch in a square head; on the N. side is an original partition of panelled framing. There is a second fireplace, of similar character, on the first floor. Some irregularities in the field S.E. of the house are marked Palace on the O.S. Condition—Good.

Manor Farm was already known as Holly’s Farm when on 8 December 1806 the Lord of the Manor Thomas Whorwood took out a mortgage on both the farm and the Manor House itself with William Fletcher and John Parsons of Oxford, bankers. The farm was then 320 acres in size, as this advertisement which appeared in Jackson’s Oxford Journal on 3 January 1807 shows:

Manor Farm to let in 1807

The tenant farmer by whose name the Manor Farm was known for many years was Thomas Holley, who married Mary Godfrey at St Andrew’s Church on 30 May 1789: they appear to have had only one daughter. Thomas received just over seven acres to the north of Old Headington village in the Headington Enclosure Award of 1804, and his wife Mary was granted 48 acres of the Quarry field and a 4-acre meadow below Barton. Mary Holley died at the age of 70 in 1832, and Thomas Holley at the age of 76 in early 1835.

Following the death on 24 October 1806 of Henry Mayne Whorwood, Lord of the Manor, all his farming stock was put up for auction: this included 150 ewes and lambs, seventy fat sheep fit for the butcher, four oxen, eight heifers, and over forty pigs, two waggons, a dung cart, a market cart, a winnowing machine, ploughs, and harrows.

A new tenant farmer must have taken over in about 1821, as on 27 July 1833 the following advertisement appeared in Jackson's Oxford Journal:

A very superior STOCK FARM,
In a high state of Cultivation (having been in the hands of the Proprietor for the last 12 years), with the privilege of SPORTING over three Manors.
TO be LET, and entered upon on the 29th day of September next,— Headington Manor Farm, consisting of a Farm House, with the usual Farm Buildings, and about 320 Acres of Arable and Pasture Land, within a ring fence. The greater part of the Arable Land consists of black sand and deep loam; and the Farm is situated within one mile of the City of Oxford….

On 28 September 1833 there was an advertisement for the auction of all the stock at the farm, including 246 long-woolled ewes, 198 lambs, 72 meaty shearhogs, fourteen cart horse, eight cows, and 20 pigs, as well as all the farm machinery.

The farmhouse and its remaining 73 acres were still known as Holly’s Farm when they were put up for auction by the Lord of the Manor (the Revd Thomas Henry Whorwood) at the Angel Hotel in Oxford on 3 August 1836.

The next short-lived tenant was Richard Young. On 30 August 1834 Jackson's Oxford Journal announced that he was leaving the farm and advertised a forthcoming auction of all his farming stock. The lots comprised live and dead farming stock including c.500 superior long-woolled sheep and lambs (including 100 fat shearhogs); 28 young cows, heifers, and sturks, and a two-year-old bull; 26 useful and promising cart horses, mares and colts; six sows and pigs and in-pig ditto; 18 fine stores; 5 waggons; 4 dung carts, and 1 market ditto; ploughs, harrows, drags, and rolls, sets of good harness, hurdles, sheep cages, cow racks, 9 good rick stadles, winnowing machine, and barn implements; young poultry fowls, ducks, turkeys etc; , ricks of corn and hay, and implements

In 1836 the Lords of the Manor of Headington put the Manor up for sale, including Manor or Holly's Farm, shown below. The tenant of the farm was then a Mr Smith.

Plan of Manor Farm in 1836

Above: detail from the “Plan of the Headington Estate” in the auction catalogue of 1836 (which covered the sale of the whole of Headington Manor). The 73  acres of Holly’s (Manor) Farm are outlined in green. Manor Farmhouse itself is in the area marked “Homestall” (to the south of Mr Latimer’s land, which is now Headington Cemetery).

Bellow: the description of the farm from the auction catalogue:

Description of the farm

It appears that the farm did not sell in 1836, and ten years later on 3 October 1846 the following notice of another auction was inserted in Jackson's Oxford Journal:

Notice of Sale of the division into small desirable Farms.
Several valuable Inclosures of first-rate LAND, and also eligible
Building and Garden Ditto, of the
Freehold, Tithe Free, and Land Tax redeemed, within half
a mile of the University and City of Oxford
By Messrs. T. MALLAM & son,

At the Mitre Hotel, Oxford, on Wednesday the 28th day of October, 1846, at Two o'clock. This extremely valuable Estate contains 163A. 3R. 11P., and will be divided into twelve lots, viz.:—The Farm House, Homestead, and Buildings, together 57A. 2R. 4P. of capital Arable and Pasture Land; a compact Farm adjoining, of 42A. 2R. 2P.; a Ditto of 21A. 1R. 37P.; and 10 other lots admirable adapted for occupation, building, and garden purposes, commanding most delightful views, and intersected by good roads, varying from One Acre and a Half, to 14 Acres, in a lot.

In 1849 William Peppercorn, the solicitor acting for Whorwood in the sale, bought much of the manor, including Manor Farm, as well as the manorial rights.

Daniel Bolton was the tenant farmer of Manor Farm at the time of the 1841 census.

By 1849 Moses Brooks was the occupier, and he is listed as such In the Headington Rent-Book of 1850 (with William Peppercorn still the owner). The farm’s rateable value was then £189.14s.8d, and its estimated extent was just over 120 acres (57 acres larger than it had been at the time of the 1836 sale).

From 1890 to 1892 John Hartwell farmed Manor Farm.

John Wiggins (a relation of Hartwell) farmed here from 1893 to 1906. On 26 August 1899 Jackson’s Oxford Journal reported a serious fire at the farm’s barn:

Fire at Manor Farm

At the time of the 1901 census one part of the the farmhouse was occupied by John Turvey (49), a farm bailiff, and his wife Harriet (56), and the other part by a housekeeper, Elizabeth Busby (40), and three Wiggins children, each described as “Master’s child”: Harry  (7), Winifred (6), and Harold (4). This implies that John and Emily Wiggins still had the tenancy of the farm, but they were working as bakers and corn dealers in Oxford and living at 6 Market Street with three of their older children. (Unfortunately, however, at the time of the 1911 census John Wiggins was in Oxford Prison for stealing corn from Hall’s Brewery.)

In 1906 Colonel James Hoole bought Manor Farm and the Lordship of the Manor from William Peppercorn’s estate at the same time as he bought the Manor House (which he had been renting) from the Watson-Taylors.

At the time of the 1911 census the only occupants of Manor Farm were the housekeeper Edith Ethel Morris (22) and a housemaid.

The farm ceased to operate in the 1920s, and Manor Farmhouse became a private house. At first its farmland was used for extra pasture by Tom White, whose father William farmed Wood Farm, but it was soon developed: Copse Lane and Derwent Avenue now cover Bushy Close, while Coniston and Bowness Avenues lie in the Great Head-lay field.

Arthur Sanctuary lived in the farmhouse from 1926 to 1932.

Richard Hartley Rose-Innes, a consultant surgeon, bought the house and he added the two wings to the west (architect: Collcutt & Hamp). He lived there from 1933 to 1940, but soon afterwards contracted tuberculosis and went to live in South Africa.

In about 1936 the name of Dunstan Road replaced the former Cemetery Road.

Frederick & Molly MacGarvey had bought the house by 1943, and lived there until about 1965. It then appears to have been let, as Kelly’s Directory lists George Gibson there in 1966 and E. Gibson in 1967.

Mrs MacGarvey sold the house in 1968, and by 1969 Ethelred Court was built in part of its very large garden.

Philip Diplock is listed at Manor Farm from 1968 to 1970, and M. Diplock from 1972 to 1973.

By 1975 the house was occupied by Eric C. Oak, and he was still there in 1980.

Manor Farm from Dunstan Road



Left: Manor Farm as seen from Dunstan Road




Memories of
Manor Farmhouse
in the 1960s and 1970s

The Holley family of Headington

Holley Crescent is named after this family

Thomas Holley appears to be the first member of this clan to arrive in Headington. Between 1721 and 1736 he had eight children baptised at St Andrew’s Church, not of all of whom survived. A man called Thomas Holley was buried at St Andrew’s on 8 February 1759.

Joseph Holley (baptised 7 June 1734) was the son of Thomas Holley. He married Mary Godfrey at St Andrew’s Church on 28 June 1756, and they had at least one son, Thomas. In 1769 Miss Ann Griffin conveyed the copyhold of Church Hill Farm to Joseph.

Thomas Holley (b. 1758) is the man who farmed Manor Farm. He married another Mary Godfrey (the daughter of Henry & Mary Godfrey baptised at St Andrew’s on 12 September 1762) in Headington on 30 May 1789. They only baptised two daughters in Headington: Ann on 28 October 1792 and Mary on 17 November 1793 (buried the following month on 29 December); but six other infants who do not appear to have been baptised were buried in Headington between 1793 and 1815, and may well be their children. Ann Holley may have lived to adulthood, as someone of that name married Charles Browne of Holywell in Headington in 1815.

Thomas Holley received just over seven acres to the north of Old Headington village in the Headington Enclosure Award of 1804, while his wife Mary was granted 48 acres of the Quarry field and a 4-acre meadow below Barton. By 1806 he had already taken over Manor Farm.

In 1820 Holly and his wife sold Church Hill Farm to Charles Browne of Hanborough. They do not appear to have farmed here themselves, but let it to tenants.

Mary Holley died at the age of 70 in 1832, and Thomas Holley at the age of 76 in early 1835, probably at Manor Farm.

Thomas’s brother Benjamin and his wife Martha had nine children baptised in Headington between 1805 and 1822 (Elizabeth, Thomas, Ann, Mary, Sarah, Amy, Catherine, William, and Eliza). He is described first as a baker, then as a miller, and finally as a shopkeeper.

© Stephanie Jenkins

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