Description

Between July and December of 1872 four medieval buildings on Oxford’s High Street were demolished to make way for Oriel College’s construction of King Edward Street. The buildings occupying nos.106–112 had at various times been inns, housing, and shop fronts, and had all been acquired by Oriel College by 1392. The largest was Tackley’s Inn occupying nos.106–7, which was built by Roger Mareshal, and granted to Adam de Brome, the founder of Oriel College in 1324. Beside Tackley’s Inn were three other medieval buildings: Brasier’s Place at no.108; The Swan on the Hoop occupying nos.109–10; and St. Thomas Hall standing at nos.111–12. It was during the demolition of these historic buildings that architectural and archaeological elements of their original medieval construction were revealed. John Chessell Buckler, then in his eighties, visited the site on numerous occasions and recorded his observations in over 70 drawings dated from July–December 1872, identifying the separate buildings as different elements of Tackley. (See Julian Munby 'J. C. Buckler, Tackley's Inn and Three Medieval Houses in Oxford', Oxoniensia, no. 43 (1978), pp. 123–169.)

Buckler’s drawings, now in the British Library, record the various stages of deconstruction and demolition of the four buildings, with particular focus on fragments of medieval stonework. This drawing, dated the 23rd December 1872, shows what remained of the western medieval walls of St. Thomas Hall shortly before their total demolition. Buckler subtly outlines the medieval stone archway, which was uncovered during the demolition of the building, within the roughly (de)constructed walls of the Hall emphasising the archaeological significance and picturesque quality of the ruins. Buckler’s drawings of Tackley’s Inn and the adjacent buildings provide an invaluable record of Oxford High Street’s medieval construction, and provide testimony to Buckler’s own enduring interest in early architecture. 

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