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Marston history: Listed buildings

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King's Mill House, off the Marston Road


King's Mill HousePhotographed in 2012

King's Mill House is Grade II listed (List Entry No. 1047222). It stands on the bank of the Cherwell and lies off the Marston Road, at the end of King's Mill Lane (which runs along the north side of the Centre for Islamic Studies and marks the beginning of the walk to Oxford through Mesopotamia).

This area was originally part of Headington. In the Domesday Book of 1086 the King's Mill that stood here is one of the “II molini de . L . solid. / V. piscariae de. xx . solid.” (two mills at 50 shillings, five fisheries at 20 shillings) recorded under Headington, which was then held by the King.

A later mill here on the River Cherwell was built by St John's Hospital.

The present mill house dates from the late eighteenth century. A mill still operated here in 1825, but by the 1850s it was a private house: Jackson's Oxford Journal of 7 February 1857 advertises an auction of three properties then held by lease from Merton College, namely Holywell Mill, a dwelling house, “and also the Building known as KING'S MILL, but now occupied as a cottage, and which, with a Garden, comprises about One Acre”.

This area of Marston became much more accessible to the people of Oxford in the 1860s, as the following report of a communication from the Vice-Chancellor of the University published in Jackson's Oxford Journal of 18 February 1865 makes clear:

The University have, at a very considerable expence, purchased additional land, and formed an entirely new Walk from the south-east corner of the old Parks, with bridges across the two branches of the Cherwell to King's Mill adjoining the Marston Road. It will be proposed by the Council to Convocation to throw open this Walk to the public during the day time – A power being reserved of closing the Walks during the night for the interests both of the University and City.

No time was wasted: by 11 March it was reported that the walk was almost ready, and that “numbers of people have already availed themselves of the additional promenade thus provided by the University”.

King's Mill House and the lane leading to it were extra-parochial until 1886, when they were taken into the parish of Marston.

More information about the boundary stone towards the left of the above photograph

© Stephanie Jenkins

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