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High Street (west): Nos 82-84 (including Library)

This united rubblestone front conceals a jumble of rooms and phases and some re-used timber. As the ridges either side of the chimney stack do not quite match up, probably there were once two separate houses on the site. Both had medieval origins: the roof structure of No. 84 has been dendro-dated to 1432, while No. 82 is about 100 years later.

The right-hand part of the building may once have been part of No. 80, since the rubblestone façade extends across both buildings, and a blocked opening in the north gable can only have connected them. When Nos. 82 and 84 were united, probably in the 18th century, the present rubblestone façade with ashlar quoins was built out beyond the earlier building line to link them. The canted bay windows to each floor, and the parapet with a small pediment, could be later additions of c.1800. In the 1840s–60s the house was occupied by Richard Minchin (a hotel proprietor) and his sister Susannah, followed in the 1880s by a wheelwright. By 1910 William Smith owned it with No. 80. The shopfront is 20th-century, the pattern in the paving stones suggesting that its predecessor once had a central doorway. A safe remains inside from when the Burford Bank operated from here.

A building at the rear, converted into a new County Council library in 2005, was linked to No. 82 by a series of ad hoc spaces. Like many rear outbuildings it shows signs of light industrial use, including taking-in openings at first-floor level and wide doorways to the ground-floor passages. Two round-headed doorways faced west. Unusual features such as sink-like depressions and darkened timbers suggest it may have been the studio and darkroom of Henry Minchin, a mid 19th-century photographer who did not live here, but who may have been related to Richard Minchin.

(Photo by Jessica Brod, Oxfordshire Buildings Record)

See: Post Office Directory 1864, 1869

Content generated during research for the paperback book 'Burford: Buildings and People in a Cotswold Town' (ISBN 13 : 9781860774881) for the England's Past for Everyone series

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