Headington history: Old postcards

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Former Vicarage, St Andrew’s Road

St Andrew’s House

The above postcard shows St Andrew’s House on the corner of St Andrew’s Road and Osler Road in about 1905. This was the vicarage of St Andrew’s Church from 1881 to 1977.

The postcard below, kindly supplied by Ian Garrett, shows the same view in about 1930, after telegraph poles and street-lamps came to Headington.


The picture below (left) shows the same scene at the end of 2001. It is no longer possible to photograph the house from the same angle as the old postcard in summer (right), because of the tree that has been planted on the triangle of land in front of it!

Old vicarage today

Old vicarage today in summer

Most of the early vicars of St Andrew’s were Fellows of Oxford colleges, and did not need a house in Headington, because they had curates to do most of the work for them. And in the earlier part of the nineteenth century as Thomas Henry Whorwood (Vicar from 1804 to 1835) was also Lord of the Manor of Headington from 1806 and thus owned the Manor House, a stone’s throw away from the church.

The next incumbent, Joseph Charles Pring (Vicar 1835–1876), lived with his family at 6 London Place in St Clement’s, at a convenient distant between New College, where he was on the foundation, and Headington. He was the son of the organist and composer Joseph Pring (1773–1842).

John Robinson, who had been appointed Curate of Headington by 1863, appears to have lived in St Andrew’s House, even though it was not at that time owned by the Church. He caught smallpox visiting a sick man and died on 22 November 1864. At the time of the 1871 census his widow Mary was living somewhere in Church Street (now known as St Andrew’s Road). On 2 June 1877 an advertisement for a short let of this house was advertised in Jackson's Oxford Journal:

“ST. ANDREW'S HOUSE,” Headington, from Midsummer next to Michaelmas, or for a shorter time. The House contains 2 sitting rooms on the ground floor 8 rooms on the upper stories, and the usual offices. There is about a quarter of an acre of garen ground, a two stall stable and coach-house; the hole is pleasantly situated near the Church, and opposite the “Rookery.”

By 1881 Mrs Robinson's address was specified as “St Andrew’s House: Vicarage”, so it appears it was then being rented by St Andrew's Church.

Meanwhile in 1881 Edmund Francis Guise Tyndale (Vicar of St Andrew’s Church from 1879 to 1889) is shown as living on his own in far less style in New High Street with a widowed housekeeper.

Alleyn Ward Pearson (Vicar 1876–1879) lived at the Hermitage at 69 Old High Street.

This extract from the Headington Parish Magazine for October 1881 shows that negotiations had then just been completed to purchase St Andrew’s House to be a vicarage for the Revd Tyndale:

Parishioners will be glad to hear that the negotiations with Mr R. Godfrey for the purchase of S. Andrew’s House as a Vicarage for this Parish have been completed during the past month, and that at last the reproach of having no place of residence for its Clergyman has been taken away from the Parish. The late Bishop of Oxford (Wilberforce) so long ago as 1847, felt so strongly the necessity of procuring a house for the Vicar here, that soon after coming to the Diocese, he put it down as one of the objects to be attained by him. Those who have read his Life, and the account of its earnest toil for the benefit of the Parishes in his Diocese, must have regretted that, whilst successful in obtaining so many objects which he felt to be necessary for those committed to his care, he never lived to see the accomplishment of this one. They must rejoice that at last his wish is fulfilled.

Thanks are due to the ladies who worked so zealously for the bazaar last June year, and especially to Mrs Desborough who so successfully organized it; and to Mr G. H. Morrell, Miss Nichol, and Mrs Stone, and others who generously subscribed; and also to the Governors of Queen Anne’s Bounty, who met local generosity and efforts by grants amounting in all to £400.

The Vicar hopes to begin his residence at the Vicarage at Christmas.

The Vicar moved in in 1881/2. The curate’s widow Mary Robinson continued to live in style: she appears in the 1891 census living in Park Crescent (now part of Park Town) in north Oxford.)

Nine vicars in all lived in St Andrew’s House:

  • Francis Guise Tyndale (Vicar 1879–1889) moved here near the beginning of 1882. His wife Marcia Louisa Tyndale gave birth to five children in this house: : Mary Elfrida (3 February 1882), Dorothy Frances (10 June 1883), Oriane Sophy (2 July 1884), Marcia Edersheim (13 August 1886), and Henry Edmund Guise (10 December 1887).
  • John Holford-Scott (later known as Scott-Tucker, Vicar 1889–1899) can be seen living here at the time of the 1891 census with his wife, four children (the last of whom was born his house), and three servants.
  • Robert Walter Townson (Vicar 1899–1916) can be seen living here in the 1901 census with his wife Gertrude Annie and his first two daughters, as well as his sister-in-law Miss Agnes Poland and two servants. His third daughter was born in this house, and he and his wif were still here ten years later in 1911 with three daughters, a governess, cook, and housemaid.
  • Alexander Nenon Armstrong (Vicar 1916–1924)
  • Henry Edward Bird (Vicar 1924–1946)
  • George Edmund Day (Vicar 1946–1956)
  • Derek Ian Tennant Eastman (Vicar 1956–1964)
  • Christopher Robin Paul Anstey (Vicar 1964–1971)
  • Robert Martin Colquhoun Jeffery (Vicar 1971–1977).

In 1977 St Andrew’s House was sold by the church, and one of the rebuilt cottages just across the road became the new vicarage.

In an article about Old Headington in the Oxford Mail of 14 January 1955, S.P.B. Mais said of the building: “Curiously enough, the one house in Church Street which does not seem quite so old as the others is the L-shaped tall vicarage which, compared with the neighbouring houses, is a skyscraper.”

The above picture on the Historic England website was taken by Henry Taunt in 1888 and shows the Revd Francis Guise Tyndale with his wife and five children and their nursemaid outside the garden door of this house.

© Stephanie Jenkins

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