Headington history: Listed Buildings/Structures

Go forwards

Stowford/Stafford Farmhouse, Bayswater Road

Stowford Farm

List entry for Stowford Farmhouse: 1047573

1900 map

The lands of Stowford (or Stafford) Farm used to straddle the Bayswater Road (see 1900 map, left) immediately to the north of the Bayswater Brook. The remaining lands of the farm are now all on the west side of the road, as is the above farmhouse, which cannot be seen from the public highway. (The house shown on this map opposite the farmhouse on the east side of the Bayswater Road is a newer building, now called Stowford House.)

Although this farm was always listed in nineteenth-century directories under Headington, it was actually at the southernmost extremity of the parish of Stanton St John. It lies outside the current city boundary (marked by the Bayswater Brook), so comes under South Oxfordshire District Council and is in the parliamentary constituency of Henley.

During most of the nineteenth century it was described as Stafford Farm, and was only Stowford from the 1890s


The farmhouse on the west side of the road is one-storey high with attics and dates from the early to mid-seventeenth century, with nineteenth-century additions. It is now a private house.

The remaining lands of Stowford Farm were purchased by Harry Aubrey-Fletcher very soon after he bought Wick Farm in 2012, and they are now part of the large area in the Green Belt that Christ Church proposes to develop

Map of 1830Map of 1830 showing the position of Stafford/Stowford Farm in relation to Sandhill Farm,
the village of Headington, Headington Wick Farm, and Bayswater Mill

The hamlet of Stowford or Stafford

Stowford/Stafford is a lost hamlet believed to have been situated on the site of this farm, probably on the part to the east of the Bayswater road. Its entry in the Domesday Book reads: “Stauuorde: Reginald from the King. Forest”. Bayswater Bridge was known as Stoford Bridge in 1278, and Robert Bastard lived at Stowford in 1278.

In 1298 there was a perambulation to establish the boundary between Shotover Forest and Headington, and this mentions Stoford and the “pontem de Stoford” (Bayswater Bridge).

The hamlet was also mentioned among Oxfordshire's vills in 1316 and also in fourteenth-century tax assessment lists.

The extract below from a map of 1605 has North to the left. It shows Stafford Close (measuring 7 acres 2 roods and 20 perches), with Stafford Lane to the west running northwards towards Stanton St John: this is now the Bayswater Road. To the south (right) is the Bayswater Brook. The land to the south and east of Stafford Close was then owned by Corpus Christi College, who created this map and marked their fields “Coll.” for College: they were not interested in the unmarked land to the west of the Bayswater Road or south of the Bayswater Brook, as they did not own any fields there.

Stowford on 1605 map

In the eighteenth century the farm's fields were described as Stafford Grove, Stafford Close, and Stafford Lane furlong.

Some of the farmers at Stowford/Stafford Farm

Joseph Powell (by 1826 to 1857)

Joseph Powell was born at Rollright in about 1791. He married Catharine Perkins at Stanton St John Church on 24 May 1814.

Jackson's Oxford Journal of 20 May 1826 reports that twelve young apple trees in Powell's orchard at Stafford Farm were broken down, and a reward was offered for the conviction of the offenders. Less than two years later on 23 February 1828 it reported that a long-woolled wether sheep was stolen from Mr Joseph Powell of “Stafford Farm, at Forest Hill”

Joseph Powell can be seen living with his wife at Stafford Farm at the time of the 1841 census, and was listed as the farmer at Stafford Farm in the Headington section of the Post Office Directory of 1847 and 1854.

At the time of the 1851 census Powell (59), described as a farmer of 500 acres employing 30 labourers, was living in Stafford Farm House with his wife Catherine (59) and one house servant and one farm servant.

Joseph Powell died at Stafford Farm at the age of 66 on 29 November 1857 and was buried at Stanton St John Church on 4 December.

The following advertisement of an auction of Powell's animals and farming equipment appeared in Jackson's Oxford Journal on 22 May 1858:

500 capital Half-bred SHEEP and LAMBS,
10 Working OXEN, 8 CART HORSES, 55 PIGS,
All the IMPLEMENTS, &c., of the late Mr. POWELL,

TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, by Messrs. JONAS and THOS. PAXTON, On the premises at Stafford Farm, on Tuesday the 8th of June, at Eleven o'clock punctually; comprising 196 excellent half-bred couples, 26 double ditto, 48 tegs, 17 fat ewes, and 10 rams; 10 capital working oxen, 8 useful cart horses, 55 pigs, 4 wagons, 4 dung carts, 11 sets of harness, 6 sets of ox ditto, 41 dozen of new hurdles, 50 dozen of ditto (nearly new), a Suffolk drill, scuffle, hand thrashing machine, 3 turnip cutters, 5 iron ploughs, 2 sets of G O harness, winnowing machine, racks, troughs, harrows, 150 sacks, 4 large fagot piles, &c.; catalogues of which may be had at the Journal and Chronicle Offices, Oxford, or of the auctioneers, Bicester.

*** The Sheep (which will be sold in the wool) are well bred, young, clean, healthy, and sound; the Horses are in good working condition, and the Oxen are quiet workers; the Implements also are of a most useful description, and the whole will be unreservedly sold.

This was followed by another auction of Mr Powell's property, advertised on 2 October 1858:



TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, By Messrs JONAS & THOS. PAXTON, On the premises, on Wednesday next, Oct. 6, at 11 o'clock; comprising bedsteads and bedding, chests of drawers, chairs, tables, thirty-hour clock, sideboard, 35 yards of new Kidderminster carpet, kitchen and culinary requisition, 19 good milk leads, cream cistern, churn, dairy utensils, brewing tubs, casks, neat gig and harness, dung cart, 52 head of poultry, and various other effects, fully particularised in the catalogues, which may be had at the local inns, or of the auctioneers, Bicester.

His widow Catherine Powell died at 67 High Street, Oxford at the age of 79 on 27 March 1870.

Daniel Walker Cook (by 1870)

Daniel Cook was born in Shenington, Oxfordshire and baptised there on 29 December 1841. Jackson's Oxford Journal of 7 May 1870 reported that Daniel Cook “of Stafford Farm, Headington” fell from his horse when riding home up Headington Hill and suffered a head injury. On 15 Feb 1871 he married Emily Sarah Sheldon at Stanton St John Church, and seven weeks later at the time of the 1871 census Daniel (29) described as a farmer of 116 acres employing three men and two boys, was living at Stafford Farm with his wife Emily (32) and their servant girl.

On 22 November 1873 the General Purposes Committee of the Oxford Local Board recommended that a George Edwards of “Stafford Farm, near Headington” should be summonsed for removing dung from the Clarendon Arms in Walton Street, Oxford ten days earlier: he is likely to have been a worker on the farm, possibly living in the farm cottage.

By 1881 Daniel Walker Cook had left Stafford Farm and was running a 700-acre farm in Ducklington. He died at the age of 79 and was buried in his home village of Shenington on 6 September 1920.

William Collett (by 1881 to 1898)

William Collett was born at Stowood in c.1820.

At the time of the 1881 census William (60), described as a farmer of 126 acres employing men and three boys, was living at Stafford Farm with his wife Ann (61) and their general servant. The situation was the same in 1891.

He is listed at Stafford Farm (again under Headington) in Kelly's Directory from 1883 to 1893.

Jackson's Oxford Journal reports various prizes he won “Mr Walker's Root & Onion Show” at Thame, in the category for farms of six acres and over, and always describes his farm as being in Headington:

  • Class 1: six green-top turnips weighing 95½ lb (8 November 1890)
  • Class 1: six turnips weighing 87 lb (8 November 1890)
  • Class 2: six globe worzels weighing 91 lb (29 October 1892)
  • Class 2: six globe mangels weighing 94 lb (28 October 1893)

At the time of the 1891 census William Collett was still living at Stafford Farm with his wife Ann and a servant, while George Dearing, a farm labourer, was living in the farm cottage.

By 1901 he had retired, and the census that spring shows him as a widower of 81, described as a retired farmer, living alone in a cottage in William (now Wilberforce) Street in New Headington village. He died there at the age of 85 and was buried in Stanton St John churchyard on 21 June 1905.

Edward Joseph Rose (by 1895 to 1911)

When George Dearing of Stafford Farm [cottage] was summonsed for carrying a gun without a licence on 20 August 1895, he was now reported to be in the employ of E. J. Rose.

Rose (who was born in North Aston and baptised there on 28 January 1849) was listed as the farmer at Stowford Farm, Headington in Kelly's Directory from 1899 to 1911.

The 1901 census shows Rose (51), described as a land agent & surveyor & farmer, living at Stowford Farm with his wife Alice (43) and their children Joseph (8) and Elizabeth (6), and one general servant.

In 1911 he was at home at Stowford Farm House (described as having nine rooms) with his son Joseph Edward Evans Rose (18), who was a pupil surveyor & land agent, and one general servant.

By 1914 Edward J. Rose had given up farming and was working as a surveyor & land agent at 58 Cornmarket Street, Oxford. His wife Alice died at the age of 57 in 1915, and in 1916 he married his second wife, the widow Mrs Elizabeth Fanny Eldrid (née Gardner).

He died on 15 March 1931 at 70 Kingston Road, Oxford at the age of 82 and was buried at Stanton St John five days later.

© Stephanie Jenkins

Headington home Shark Oxford History home