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A Brief History

1863 -

The Rose & Crown may not be amongst the most ancient of Oxford hostelries, but it is nonetheless of interest historically since it reflects the development of North Oxford in the last century. Before 1830 the land between St. Giles Church and the emerging village of Summertown was open farmland belonging to St. John's College. The speculator, Crews Dudley, was a solicitor with offices in Broad Street, who joined with various partners to buy up land and build houses. In the case of North Parade Avenue, Dudley's partner was one Richard Carr yeoman and the land 'between the turnpike roads' was parcelled up into 42 lots which were sold at auction at the Horse & Jockey p.h. in May 1833. Two of the lots - numbers 28 and 29 - were designated as the sole possible sites for the construction of a "public house or beer - hall", and these failed to find a purchaser. Three years later, however, in 1836, part of these two lots were bought privately by 35-year-old Daniel Stokes, a servant who had not long since married Harriet Quartermain, and who clearly intended to set up a public house. The demands of a growing family make it clear that Daniel Stokes was unable to do more than to build a cottage on the site & make a living as a market gardener, under which profession he appears in the censuses of 1851 & 1861. Not long afterwards he became sufficiently prosperous to build and open the Rose & Crown, the first mention appearing in 1867. It then consisted of one small bar. Ten years later, in 1877, Daniel was probably thinking of taking retirement since he sold the house as a going concern to Halls Brewery. It seems his son, Will, continued as tenant of the pub, and in 1887, Daniels grandson, Harry, took over as licensee remaining till 1925. The families sixty years of almost continuous occupancy was nearly matched by the Woodward family when Arthur took over in 1935 followed by his widow and his son, Gordon.

Witty & Flippant

The Rose & Crown nearly ceased to exist in 1954 when the licensing justices made a report criticising the toilet and accommodation facilities. The locals at once sprang to Arthur Woodward's defence and mustered a formidable array of professions, including a University Professor, a Composer, a Company Director & a retired schoolmaster. At the hearing, the composer, John Veale, described the pub as the "home of cultured, flippant & witty conversation". Fortunately this was not to stand as the Rose & Crown's epitaph.


Flippancy & wit have continued to be the hallmark of the Rose & Crown. In the early 70's it became the headquarters of the obscure habit of grommet collecting, while to generations of students it will always mean the launderette stop. During the 80's the pub became involved in the team sport of Dongola racing where six members paddle a punt. Its history dates from Lord Wolseley's Nile Expedition of 1884 to relieve Gordon at Khartoum. The Rose & Crown team won the African World Shield at Sunbury Regatta in 1984.

Freeholders, starting with the latest:
19th August 2000 : The Rose and Crown freehold has been purchased by Punch Pubco
19th December 1996: The Rose and Crown freehold was purchased by Inn Business Group (Lichfield?)
1st June 1992: The Rose and Crown freehold was purchased by Sycamore Taverns
The Rose and Crown is transferred to Ind Coope Retail, Marlow. UK
21st February 1983 Halls Oxford & West Brewery Co. (Allied Breweries)
The Rose and Crown is transferred to Allied Breweries regionlised dept., Hall's Oxford Brewery Co.
The Rose and Crown is owned by Ind Coope (Oxford,Watford and West)
1877, The Rose and Crown freehold was purchased as 'a going concern' by Halls Brewery
1867, the census makes the first mention of the Rose & Crown.
1836, part of these two lots were bought privately by 35-year-old Daniel Stokes
                        ... at present we hold a  NON-ASSIGNABLE TENANCY.

... the gallery (museum of Art Oxford, formerly MOMA) moved to its permanent home
in Pembroke Street in September 1966. This was the old Halls Brewery Premises ... 

The visitor leaves CARFAX (the city centre) and walks through St. Giles, leaving by
the right hand exit road to reach North Parade (Avenue) and the Rose and Crown PH.

A diagramatic tour of the city centre streets.