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The Hill (west): No. 164 (former court house and police house)

The police station and court house were built in 1869, on a site bought by the Oxfordshire Clerk of the Peace the previous year. The design is by William Wilkinson, a prolific architect responsible for Oxford's Randolph Hotel and numerous North Oxford villas. The rubblestone façade of the court house, with ashlar dressings to mullioned windows and a four-centred arched central doorway, is a deliberate attempt to fit in with the local vernacular, though the iron railings are more Oxford than Burford.

From the 1870s to 1970s the police house at the rear was usually occupied by two officers and their families, most commonly an inspector and constable (whom local wags in the 1960s nicknamed 'Ploddy' and 'Noddy'). The cells survived until the police house was converted to domestic use in 1978–9.

An earlier house here belonged apparently to the merchant Edmund Silvester (died 1558) and later to the Jordans, who let it; in 1665 it was taxed on 5 hearths, suggesting a moderately substantial building. Earlier 19th-century occupants were bakers.

See: A Saint, 'Three Oxford Architects', Oxoniensia 35 (1970), 53–102; M Laithwaite, 'The Buildings of Burford', in A Everitt (ed), Perspectives in English Urban History (1973), 110; RH Gretton, The Burford Records (1920) 446, 455; Oxfordshire Hearth Tax 1665 (Oxon. Record Soc.), 216

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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