Sheep Street (south): Nos 39-43 (formerly Culverclose)
In contrast to the houses further east, buildings from here to the end of Sheep Street resulted from 16th- and 17th-century development of what was then largely open land.
In the 15th and 16th centuries the site of Nos. 39–43 was part of a large pasture field next to the road, enclosed by a wall and hedge. It was called Culverclose (i.e. Dove Close) after a nearby dovecote. Thomas Poole left it to his wife and then to charity trustees in 1500, and in 1580 it was leased to Ralph Wisdom, who built four houses along the frontage by 1598. In 1630 the close and four houses were leased to Edmond Redman of London, gent, and by 1659 (when the charity trustees leased the houses and close separately) there were evidently five houses.
Probably these were the houses known later as Nos. 39, 41, and 43, along with a since-demolished house further west. The gabled façade of No. 39 links two much-altered late 16th-century houses, which were probably united in the mid 18th century when this was the Golden Fleece inn. The inn closed c.1862, and in the 1880s–1910s the house was occupied first by a laundress and later by a journeyman cooper. The 17th-style doorway and mullion windows are 1930s replacements. No. 41 next door was built c.1600 and refronted in the 18th century, having been let to yeoman farmers. Successive 19th-century occupiers included an agricultural labourer, a baker, and a former schoolmistress.
No. 43, also of c.1600, was let between 1659 and 1707 to a chapman, yeoman, and hatter. It was remodelled as two labourers' cottages in the 19th century, and reverted to single occupancy in the 20th. The fifth house was documented from 1659, and housed labourers, a shoemaker, and a Greenwich pensioner in the 19th century. In the early 20th it probably included Henry Bond’s bell foundry, which later moved to Witney Street. The building was later demolished.
See: RH Gretton, The Burford Records (1920), 334, 336, 339–40, 342, 351–2, 355–9, 519; M Laithwaite, 'The Buildings of Burford', in A Everitt, (ed), Perspectives in English Urban History (1973) 64; Listed Buildings Description