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Sheep Street (north): Bay Tree Hotel

Established in 1935, the Bay Tree Hotel encompasses two earlier houses. Its detached right-hand part (east of Lavington Lane) began probably as a late 17th-century cottage, which has a later north range and an east wing of c.1936. The doorway in Lavington Lane is 20th-century. The hotel's main part incorporates on the right a house built soon after 1649, when it was leased to the yeoman farmer Thomas Baggs. Constructed on a two-room cross-passage plan, it has three attic gables to the street with mullioned windows and drip-moulds, and two 17th-century fireplaces survive inside. As noted in a modern wall plaque, an earlier house here belonged to the Tanfields: in 1629 Lady Elizabeth Tanfield bequeathed it for maintenance of the Tanfield family tomb in Burford church. None of the fabric is that early, however, and despite local tradition there is nothing to suggest that any of the Tanfields (who lived at The Priory) were particularly associated with the house. The lower part of the present hotel range, on the left, is a 20th-century extension.

In the 1660s Baggs still occupied the gabled house with an adjacent barn, and in the 1680s the lessee was Henry Godfrey, gent. From the 1830s the occupiers were solicitors: first James Scarlett Price (died 1876), who bought the freehold in 1860, and later Thomas Brown (1870s–1920s). Occupants of the separate cottage beyond Lavington Lane included a solicitor's clerk in 1851 (son of the head of household), who presumably worked for Price. In 1935 the main premises were bought by Miss Sylvia Gray, founder of the Bay Tree Private Hotel, and the buildings were further extended to the rear. Also at the rear are several renovated 19th-century outbuildings, including stables and a cart shed.

See: Listed Buildings Description; M Laithwaite, 'The Buildings of Burford', in A Everitt, (ed), Perspectives in English Urban History (1973) 77, 79; RH Gretton, The Burford Records (1920),  391, 453, 461, 479; ODNB (Lawrence Tanfield); R Moody, The Inns of Burford (2007),  74–7

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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