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Headington history: Miscellaneous

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Old Headington: Fire of 1718


The diarist Thomas Hearne gives some interesting glimpses of life in Headington in the early eighteenth century. Like Anthony Wood before him, he was in the habit of walking up the hill and drinking at a local inn. Here he describes a fire that The fire started in a brew house in St Andrew’s Lane, which is “just below the Church, on the right side”, and then then “went down the Street that runs Southwards”, which must be Old High Street. One of the two houses which survived there was the Hermitage (No. 69).

Thursday 1 May 1718
Yesterday, about four clock in the Afternoon, a Fire began at Heddington near Oxford, wch (the wind being pretty high) in a short time burnt down 24 dwelling Houses, besides out Houses, Stacks of Corn, Hay, &c. It began just below the Church, on the right side, and then went down the Street that runs Southwards, taking all in its way, excepting about two Houses which were stone buildings, whereas the others were old thatch’d Buildings. Near three Years agoe a Fire happened in the same Street that runs Southwards. One Godfrey’s House was then burnt. It was now just rebuilt by Contributions he had got. But it is now burnt down again. It began in a Brew-House.

Saturday 7 June 1718
Yesterday I walk’d to Heddington near Oxford, with Mr. Dyer and Mr. Ward of Oriel-College, where we dined upon Beans and Bacon, and took a distinct view of the Ruins of that part of the Town which was lately burnt.

The Cross called Small-Man’s Cross, which I have mentioned in one of these Volumes upon account of a sad Accident that happened there some Years agoe, stood just beyond the Hedge, before we come to the Garden at Heddington, viz. about a Quarter of a Mile before we come to Heddington. There is now a great Stone lying in the Ground which seems to have been part of it.

 

© Stephanie Jenkins

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