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Pullen’s Lane: Mendip House

Mendip House

Mendip House was built on the west side of Pullen’s Lane by 1900, the year it is first listed in Kelly’s Directory. Its first occupant was Herbert Francis Fox (born at Brislington in Somerset in 1848). He was a tutor of Brasenose College and was away at the time of the 1901 census (boarding by himself at White House Farm in Benhall, East Sussex), but his two young children (Herbert and Rachel) were at Mendip House with two servants. He remained at the house until 1908.

The house has no listing in the directory for 1909, but from about 1910 it was occupied by Robert Howard Hodgkin, Fellow & Lecturer in Modern History at The Queen’s College. Hodgkin was away at the time of the 1911 census and the house was occupied by two servants. His son Thomas Lionel Hodgkin (1910–1982) who was born at the house became a famous historian (see ODNB). The Hodgkins lived there until 1918.

From 1918 to 1956 Mendip House was occupied by Joseph Hume Hume-Rothery (b. 1866), a barrister and patents lawyer from Cheltenham, and his wife, Ellen Maria Carter. Their son, William Hume-Rothery (1899–1968), came up to Magdalen College, Oxford in the same year that the family moved from Cheltenham to Headington, and they may have come here partly to support William, who had gone completely deaf in 1916 as a result of meningitis. William later achieved fame as a chemist and mineralogist (see ODNB) and lived in Sandfield Road.

The house appears to have been empty in 1958.

From 1960 it was occupied by A. D. Leggatt, a physician. In 1972 he built a new house below Mendip House called Brock Leys, and sold Mendip House to Dr Kenworthy Browne.

Dr Browne later extended Mendip House to the west. In 1985 it was sold and the western extension was at that time split off from the main house to form two separate flats. It was sold again in 1986 with the flats forming a separate freehold from the main house. A summer room was added to the south in 2005 and a garage to the north in 2012.

© Stephanie Jenkins

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