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Pullen’s Lane: High Wall

High Wall
© Arpad Turmezei

Engraving over front door
© Arpad Turmezei

High Wall was built in 1910 for Miss Katharine Feilden by the architect Walter Cave.

The engraving over the front door (right) shows Miss Feilden’s initials (KF), the date 1910, and the coat of arms of the Feilden family (a silver shield with three gold lozenges on a blue fess).

For more on Katherine Josephine Dolores Feilden (1864–1954), a major benefactor to Headington, see separate page

The house is built in narrow red brick and Clipsham stone. It shows a strong Italian influence in a setting of terraces, fountains, pergola, and temple. Pevsner describes it as “a very handsome big house in C17 style”. The extensive grounds include a glade, rocky stream, and a round shelter in Headington stone amongst groups of mature ornamental and native trees, with yew predominating.

The garden of High Wall was laid out as a series of formal terraces and enclosed gardens, with beautiful tree groupings and a glade with a rock garden and a stream. English Heritage registered High Wall in 1999 as a Grade II garden.

At the time of the 1911 census the service cottage for High Wall, Jean Cottage (now accessed from Feilden Grove) was occupied by Miss Feilden's Prussian housekeeper Olga Holtzmann and a parlourmaid, but there is no listing for High Wall, which was presumably still in the process of being built.

Soldiers recuperating
© Arpad Turmezei

Miss Feilden came from a military family, and during the First World War she allowed High Wall to be used for officer casualties.



Left: Soldiers recuperating on the terrace of High Wall, c.1918

1921 map

The 1921 OS map (right) shows the original huge extent of High Wall. Even its service house (Jean Cottage at the top left) is a substantial building: it is now accessed from Harberton Mead.

High Wall had a paddock of about two and a half acres to the west, and this is now occupied by the houses of Pullen’s Field

During the Second World War Miss  Feilden again relinquished High Wall, this time for use as a Joint War Organization Auxiliary Hospital. She never moved back, remaining in Jean Cottage in the grounds until her death in 1954.

The widow of Miss Feilden’s brother Percy, the Hon. Mrs Feilden, moved into High Wall in 1946 and lived there until her death on 21 July 1959.

Robert Maxwell rented the house for Pergamon Press social functions from 1960 until about 1971, although it was also let out to M. M. James from 1967 to 1969.

Brian Lloyd
© Arpad Turmezei

In 1971 High Wall was purchased by Dr Brian Beynon Lloyd, Emeritus Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford and the first Director of Oxford Polytechnic. Dr Lloyd (pictured left on his 85th birthday) was also Chairman of the Health Education Council and Director of the International Nutrition Foundation. As Chairman of the HEC he strenuously campaigned to raise public awareness of the dangers of smoking, for which he received the CBE in 1983.

Brian Lloyd lived in High Wall until his death on 29 June 2010. See his obituary in the Oxford Mail of 12 August 2020:
Dr Brian Lloyd - nutrition expert headed creation of polytechnic

The house continued to be occupied by Brian Lloyd's family until 2018 and is still in private hands..

Restored pergola and pavilion, High Wall, 2007, © Arpad Turmezei

High Wall photo gallery

© Stephanie Jenkins

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