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Newland Street

a virtual tour

Newland Street is an impressive bit of mediaeval town-planning.

As the village and the Abbey got more prosperous, the demand for land increased and in 1215 Abbot Adam decided to extend the village. He drew up a plan for a whole new community to the north of the original village. This was called Newlands. It was a separate borough, with its own court.

It included what is now Newland Street and Queen Street (as far as the Queen's Head), and north as far as the bridleway.

No 15, Newland Street - Seventeenth Century, remodelled in the 1810s.
The bridleway was Eynsham's original by-pass, carrying the salt traffic from Droitwich to the Salt Wharf on the Thames

Amazingly the original charter still exists. So do some of the regular 110 yd plots - you can see them on maps - see below. Tenants were charged 16 shillings a year, four times the arable rent, so the Abbey did well out of the New Land.

The street is quite wide because it was originally designed to be a market street - to replace the original market close to the abbey. The Abbot apparently found the stall-holders there too rowdy.

The White Hart
The building where the present White Hart Inn now stands was the Court House of the new (new in 1215 that is) borough of Newland. It is probably the oldest building in the village - it is probably the Hall mentioned in Eynsham Abbey documents of 1366. The tenants elected their own court officers - including a beer-taster.

It was converted to an inn in 1750 - and licensed as The Haunch of Venison in 1785 - and was later called the Angel. The Manorial Courts and the Vestry Meeting were held here - also cockfighting. It became a coaching inn in 1828 and at the back it had stabling for 36 horses.

The blue door is where the old court house was.

You can't see much of The Gables from the street. Parts are Mediaeval, part 1600s and part Nineteenth Century. It has particularly fine chimney stacks.

In the garden are some of the original false-acacia trees (see far left) that William Cobbett (of Rural Rides fame) brought to Eynsham in the 1800s. This one is 200 years old - the big blob to the left of the picture is mistletoe (click here for more on Cobbett and this tree).

The house was owned at the time by James Swann, who also owned the Eynsham papermill and supplied the paper for Cobbett's Weekly Political Register, thought by the Government to be so seditious that two of its workers were arrested and publicly flogged.

Newland House was built in the Seventeenth Century, and extended in the Nineteenth. It has a fine wisteria climbing up the front, and there is a copper beech tree in front of it. Round the corner, in Hawthorn Road, some Abbey stonework has been incorporated into the gateposts. It is now the Beech Court Residential Home.

The top of the front is largely for show; from Hawthorn Road to the side, you can see sky through the rainwater hole in the wall, showing how thin the facade is.

No 15, Newland Street - Seventeenth Century, remodelled in the 1810s.
The Old Malthouse, part of The Gables complex (see above) - now the Spiceorama Indian restaurant. It was built in about 1820 by James Pimm for James Swan, who owned The Gables and the Eynsham papermill. It was at the papermill that the tar-and-paper roof was made.
Click here for some memories of someone who lived in Cherwell Lodge in 1939.
Click here for some memories of someone who lived in No 3 Newland Street from 1937.
Cherwell lodge, built in about 1830, In the '40s, the left front room was used as an embroidery shop - more on this

Much of the south side of Newland street is taken up by a row of cottages which at first sight look quite similar. In fact they were mostly built separately and at different times.
Coulters (No 16) is a Sixteenth Century house, extended a couple of hundred years later.
Numbers 12 & 14 with a datestone saying 1776, about 200 years after Coulters
Number 6 - built about the same time as No 12.
If you're interested in historic buildings, Images of England has photos and technical details of 58 of the listed buildings in Eynsham on their site. Eynsham starts at the bottom of the first page.