The Hill (west): No. 174 and Wells' Yard
In the 17th and early 18th centuries this was the Star Inn, owned and sometimes occupied by members of the Taylor family. The fine ashlar façade was added in the later 18th century, its closely paired windows probably designed to count as one for window tax. Behind, however, is a much earlier house: medieval elements include a 14th-century arched doorway and fireplace, and a decorated beam. Possibly it began as a timber-framed jettied townhouse with twin gables and a stone rear wall. It was remodelled in the 17th century when a stair turret (visible at the side) was added at the rear; the stone walls and stone mullioned side window were probably also built then, and a carriageway (of which no external trace survives) was created to the north when it became an inn. In the early 18th century it belonged to the mercer Richard Whitehall (died 1736), passing to his daughter Maria (died 1768) and her husband Edward Patterson. In the 1890s–1910s the occupant was a painter-glazier.
A small cottage yard nearby was mentioned in 19th-century censuses, housing the family of an agricultural labourer and (later) of a poulterer. In 1901 it was called Wells' Yard, after the occupant of No. 174; presumably it occupied part of the side or back plot.
See: N Pevsner, Buildings of England: Oxfordshire (1974), 513; Listed Building Description; R Moody, The Inns of Burford (2007 edn) 70–1