Headington history: Listed Buildings/Structures

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Headington Lodge (White Lodge & Sandy Lodge), Osler Road

White Lodge

List entry for White Lodge and Sandy Lodge: 1047174
List entry for their boundary wall fronting Osler Road: 1047174

White Lodge in Osler Road (above) is the south wing of the mansion that was known as Headington Lodge. The main part of the mansion to the north is now known as Sandy Lodge.

In the late 1700s the brewer Edward Tawney (1735–1800) built a “gentleman’s farmhouse” in the Croft (Osler Road did not exist until 1802). On his death in 1800 he left that farmhouse to his cousin’s daughter, Mrs Ann Wharton (née Tawney), with instructions that it should go to her eldest son Theophilus Wharton after her death. The Headington Enclosure Award map of 1805 shows that Mrs Wharton’s house was on the site of White/Sandy Lodge.

That Enclosure Award of 1805 granted Theophilus Wharton (1778–1831) all the land to the east of Osler Road as far as the turning into the Croft, excluding the farmhouse owned by his mother:

One Plot of Land or ground numbered 63 containing five acres one rood and twenty eight perches situate in Pound Field bounded on the North by the allotment numbered 63(a) on part of the South East and on the North East by the House and premises of Mrs Wharton on the remaining part of the South East by the allotment numbered 62 [Headington House] on the South by the Road numbered I [London Road] and on the North West by the Road numbered VIII [Osler Road]

Theophilus Wharton eventually inherited his mother’s farmhouse on her death in 1824. Initially, however, he and his younger brother Bryan (1782–1839) continued to live at Wick Farmhouse in Barton, which they had bought in 1813.

Jackson's Oxford Journal of 28 May 1825 describes an alarming fire that broke out at the farm in Old Headington on Saturday 21 May, caused by a lad firing off a gun in the yard, the wadding from which set fire to some straw. The fire spread to the thatch of an adjoining outhouse, and then to the barn and the pigsties, and the farmhouse was at one time in imminent danger. The total loss, which amounted to £700, was covered by insurance. The newspaper report states, “The farm house was at one time in imminent danger, and was only preserved by the active exertions of the persons present. It is a tribute due to many Gentlemen of the University and others to state their exertions on the occasion were unceasing; we wish we could say as much of some of the lower orders, who seemed more intent on looking after liquor than assisting in extinguishing the flames.”

On 2 July 1829 at St Andrew's Church, Pershore, Worcester, Brian Wharton married Catharine Grape (the sister of Mary Grape who had married the current Lord of the Manor of Headington, Thomas Henry Whorwood, in 1807).

Theophilus Wharton died at the age of 52 on 21 October 1831. His brother Brian did not remain long at Wick Farm, which he believed it was haunted, and just a month later on 26 November 1831 an auction of his furniture there was advertised in Jackson's Oxford Journal.

It was probably at this point that he converted his mother's farmhouse in Old Headington into the regency villa it is today. It was originally known as Headington Lodge, and its main entrance was in Osler Road, where its own little lodge (or gatehouse) still stands to the south, beside Cuckoo Lane. The present house called Greenways is in part of what was Wharton’s garden.

Brian Wharton died in Headington at the age of 57 in August 1839 and was buried at St Andrew's Church. His widow Catharine returned to Worcestershire.

Headington Lodge


This detail from the 1899 map of Headington (right) shows Headington Lodge, with its garden stretching from the Croft to the north and Cuckoo Lane to the south. Its western boundary is Osler Road, and to the east is its next-door neighbour, Headington House.

Its former lodge (below) is shown in the south-west corner of the map: it is now 38 Osler Road.

38 Osler Road

Theophilus Wharton left Headington Lodge to his nephew Mark Theophilus Morrell. At the time of the 1841 census Morrell was not at home, and “M T Morrell's Headington House” was occupied only by his servant Thomas Frogley and his family. Morrell died in Headington at the age of 29 early in 1842, and the house then passed to his cousin, Charles Tawney (1780–1853), who was a partner in the Hall & Tawney Brewery and had been Mayor of Oxford in 1837 and 1840. His town home was Brewery House in Paradise Street, Oxford, but he must have used this house as his country retreat, as the Headington Rent-Book for December 1850 shows him as both owner and occupier at this time. Its rateable value was then £58.5s.0d, and its estimated extent just over 5 acres.

Charles Tawney died in 1853 and his wife in 1854, and their children, Henry Copland Tawney and Mrs Elizabeth Copland Fisher (husband of the surgeon Thomas Richard Fisher) inherited the house.

Between 1861 and 1902 Headington Lodge was let out to various people: Mrs Williams was there in 1861, the Misses Hillderson in 1862–3, and John Martin, a retired storekeeper from Portsmouth Dockyard in 1871.

The following advertisement for the letting of the house appeared in Jackson's Oxford Journal on 20 July 1872:

TO be LET (with early possession), at Headington, near Oxford,—A very convenient and pleasantly-situated DWELLING HOUSE and PREMISES, known as “HEADINGTON LODGE, with extensive pleasure grounds, two large kitchen gardens, poultry yard, stables, coach-house, &c.; there are three reception rooms, seven bed rooms, two dressing rooms, kitchen, butler's pantry, store room, and summer-house. The gardens and grounds are all enclosed, and well stocked with fruit and other trees. There is a lodge at the entrance, a good supply of water, and the situation is one of the healthiest and best in the neighbourhood.

George Crundwell was the occupier of the house in 1875, and his death there on 2 May 1876 was reported in Jackson's Oxford Journal. Mrs Crundwell remained in the house until October 1876.

Colonel (later Major General) John Desborough lived at Headington Lodge from 1877 to 1883, while he rebuilt The Priory).

The house was put up for auction while Desborough lived there, and the following advertisement appeared in Jackson's Oxford Journal on 18 December 1880:

Sale 18 Dec 1880

The mansion was duly bought by William Wootten Wootten (formerly William Wootten Undershell), the Oxford banker who with his wife Sarah had moved into Headington House in about 1850, and he continued to let it out. In 1888 his widow gave it to their son Montague William Wootten (baptised Montague William Wootten Undershell at St Andrew's Church on 20 March 1853) on his marriage to Mary Sheard, but initially they remained in his home at Crossways, 143 Woodstock Road.(The whole family, parents and nine children, changed their surname from Undershell to Wootten on 1 July 1867, and the family banking firm also changed its name from W. W. & J. Undershell to Wootten & Company at the same time.)

Frederick Evans rented the house off him from 1890 to 1895, and Mrs Burch in 1896–7.

In about 1900 Montague William Wootten, who was a banker, moved into this house that he owned. At the time of the 1901 census, when this whole house was known as White Lodge rather than Headington Lodge, Montague (48) is listed here with his wife Mary Sheard and their three-year-old son Kenneth Savile Wootten: they were looked after by six indoor servants, plus their gardener who lived in the lodge.

Sandy Lodge


Right: This postcard (reproduced by permission of Jeremy’s of Oxford) taken in the garden of White Lodge probably shows Montague and Sarah Wootten (towards the centre, with toddler Kenneth) and other family members in about 1900.

Montague Wootten death in Times


Eight years later, in 1909, Montague Wootten committed suicide in this house as a result of financial problems: he was a partner of Parsons, Thomson & Co. (Barclays) at the Old Bank in Oxford’s High Street.

Left: Report in The Times of 4 June 1909

From 1910 to 1914 the house was leased by a Mrs Newall or Newhall.

The next lessee, Miss MacGregor, founded Headington School in this house. It was opened by the Bishop of Liverpool in 1915 with ten boarders and eight day-girls. By 1918 the school had transferred to Brookside.

In 1920 The Lodge was bought from Montague Wootten-Wootten’s estate by Edwin J. Hall, who lived in Clifton House on the London Road and built the cinema in New High Street in his garden.

Hall divided it into the two separate houses it is today, naming them White Lodge (whose address was Manor Road, later Osler Road) and Sandy Lodge (whose address was The Croft. He let them out to Walter Smith and Raymond Holmes respectively.

The novelist Elizabeth Bowen lived at White Lodge from 1960 to 1965: she is listed in directories under her married name of Mrs. A. Cameron.

© Stephanie Jenkins

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