Nos. 62–64: Blackfriars
The photograph on the left shows the block of three houses numbered (right to left) 62, 63, and 64 St Giles that were demolished to make way for Blackfriars, a Dominican priory on the corner of Pusey Street, built by Dorian Webb in 1921–9 in a late-seventeenth-century style.
Pevsner describes it as a “domestic looking façade of late C17 character, with cross-windows and a pediment not in the centre”.
Blackfriars also took the land to the right of this group of houses, attaching itself to Pusey House to the north.
Professor James Adey Ogle lived at No. 63 and 64 St Giles, and during the period in which he was Aldrichian Professor of Medicine (1824–1851) he gave his lectures at this house.
His next-door neighbour at No. 62 was John Marriott Davenport, a solicitor who was Clerk of the Peace for the County of Oxford from 1831 and 1881; Secretary to two successive Bishops of Oxford; and District Registrar of the Court of Probate. He died at this house on 31 January 1882, and Mrs Davenport continued to live here until 1916.
Right: Close-up of the north section and main gate of Blackfriars. It is a listed building (ref. 1485/10067)
Below: A postcard of Blackfriars published in 1933
Dominican friars first founded a house in Oxford in 1221, and when Father Bede Jarrett was elected Provincial of the English Province in 1916, he was determined to build another Dominican priory in Oxford. He planned for a community of a hundred at an estimated cost of £100,000, and helped by his American friends (especially Mrs Jefferson Tytus) he was able to purchase 62, 63, and 64 St Giles.
The chapel and priory were opened in 1929, but the latter was not completed until 1954 (twenty years after Father Bede’s death).
It is now a permanent private hall of the University of Oxford.
|Occupants listed in censuses
(grey background = earlier building)
|Date||62 St Giles||63 St Giles||64 St Giles|
|1839||—||James A. Ogle
Keeper of the
|Henry John S.
Professor of Geometry
|C. L. Shadwell
Fellow of Oriel College
Tawney, D.L., J.P.
|1889–90||Rev. Canon George Rawlinson|
|1891–3||Rev. Charles Henry Bickerton Hudson|
|Walter H. Pater|
|1895–1900|| Robert W. Doyne, FRCS
|1905–8|| Rev. Henry Herbert Williams
Fellow & Lecturer, Hertford College,
chaplain of Wadham College
|1909–10|| John Wood
|1913–16||Girls’ Friendly Society Lodge & Hostel|
|1921||Ministry of Pensions
Rev. Aidan Elrington, O.P, D.Sc., superior
The 1851 census shows John Marriott Davenport, solicitor and Clerk of the Peace, in residence with his wife and his children Thomas, Susanna, Edward, Francis, and Alfred, plus four servants. He was still here in 1861, with Thomas now an undergraduate of 19 and a new young son, Arthur, waited on by a cook, housemaid, nursemaid, and footman. In 1881 he and his wife were still there with his daughter Susanna.
Dr James Adey Ogle (1792–1857) lived in this house, probably from the time that he was appointed Physician to the Radcliffe Infirmary in 1824. He was first elected Aldrichian Professor of Medicine, and then in 1830 Professor of Clinical Medicine, and gave his lectures in this house. Ogle’s wife died in 1835, leaving him with one son and five daughters, and they can all be seen at this house in the 1841 census, looked after by five servants; by then he also occupied No. 64 next door. He was still here in 1851, with three unmarried daughters at home. He was Regius Professor of Medicine from 1851 until his death in 1857. By 1861 the house was occupied by John Griffiths, an unmarried Clerk in Holy Orders, his spinster sister, and their two servants.
The early occupants of the original house on this site can be identified from Balliol College deeds for No. 68, which list the next-door neighbours to the north. The house was in the tenure of Richard Needle in 1601 and 1663. From 1697 to 1777 it is described as a Quaker meeting house,as well as having various occupants: Edward Spender in 1697, Mary Fletcher in 1708 (late in her tenure in 1737), and Major Hargreave in 1769 and 1777.
In 1841 Dr Ogle had this house, but it was empty in 1851, when he had retreated back into No. 63. In 1861 Miss Eleanor Elizabeth Smith, a fundholder, was at home with two servants.