Rob Forsyth & Cecil Kerridge

Until 1953 the property variously known as The Hermitage or Old Corner House comprised the following present properties.

On the Bullring and Horsefair:
o    The Hermitage
o    Old Corner House
o    Horsefair Cottage

On the north side of the Horsefair there were kitchen gardens which are now occupied by:
o    Holly Tree Club, four cottages on Earls Lane and grounds between
o    Holly Trees (on Earls Lane)
o    Victoria House

Extract from The Victoria County History of Oxford – Deddington -  HM Colvin.

‘In  1611 it was reported that rent from certain lands and tenements in Deddington, Bloxham, and Over Worton had, since time immemorial, been used towards the payment of fifteenths levied on the parish; that the rent of a house called the Hermitage was employed towards the relief of the poor;’
From the records of The Feoffees, Deddington

1612. At “an inquisition, taken at Chipping Norton” it listed various premises, land and rents in Over Worton, Bloxham, Deddington and Hempton that provided Deddington’s charitable income. Donations from individuals were also noted and The Hermitage was mentioned by name as being “employed for and towards the relief and maintenance of the poor” of the parish.

1635. The Trinity guild's property, which included the Hermitage, was at first leased by the Crown, but was later sold and in 1635 the freehold passed from Thomas Wickham of Fifield to John Lane of Clifton. Some of the property came into the hands of the town feoffees.’

Extracts from The Story of Deddington by Mary Vane Turner (November 1932).

1852  ‘Lawyer Kinch resided at the Hermitage, where Lawyer Coggins lived later’(page 49)

1860’s  ‘…the November Fair stretched along the Market Place to the house called the Hermitage’  (page 63)

1872.  ‘Mr Duffel Faulkner, Deddington’s antiquarian lawyer who lived in Hudson’s Lane, is quoted by the Rev.E.Marshall as writing some 60 years ago [i.e. 1872]: "A building of this name (Hermitage) still exists in the garden near the school..." ‘ (page 33)

‘The site of the Pilgrim’s Rest … is believed to be in the garden extension belonging to the Hermitage,…where indeed  the holy man who gave his name to the property is supposed to have had his habitat.’(page 67)

Kelly's Directory

1895 lists W Kinch Esq as owner

1911 lists George Coggins as owner

1911 Census:

George Coggins, aged 64, born Deddington, widower, solicitor, living at the Hermitage, Market Place (ten roomed house plus scullery etc.) with two domestic servants.

1914 – 1927 This gravestone stands in garden of the Holly Tree club under a tree.                    

Dog Corps
1914 -1919
Died 1927

*British expeditionary Corps


Jack was almost certainly George Coggin’s dog which lived on after George died in 1920. This implies that the house remained in ownership of the Coggins family

Extract from Probate records

30 Nov  1920. George Coggins of The Hermitage, Deddington, Oxfordshire. Died Nov. 1 1920.  Probate granted to Edward Coggins, gentleman, John Theodore Coggins, solicitor and Cyril James Coggins, bank manager, Effects valued at £11,531 0s 3d.

1920  to ?? it was probably owned by the Coggins family with Jack also resident.

1929 Arthur Stansfeld Dixon (1856-1929) was a friend of William Morris and Philip Webb, and was an accomplished silversmith and copper worker. Records show he was living in the Hermitage when he died on 8 January 1929.

1929 - 1936 Unknown

1936 – 1940 owned by Thomas and Favell Van Oss and family who called it The Old Corner House. The reason for the change of name is not known. Click HERE to read more about Thomas who was a distinguished artist employed on camouflage work in WWII; he was killed when his boat struck a mine.

Recollections of Cecil John Kerridge (b1940)

‘I grew up in Horsefair Cottage from 1940 to 1964 when the cottage comprised part of the Van Oss family’s property. My parents (Ben & Elsie) were gardener/nanny to the Van Oss family until 1940. My Dad continued to look after the gardens for Mrs Cora Collin when they left. I recall that the small building in that part of the garden that was across the road was colloquially called the ‘Doss House’ and had a door onto the main road side which, in the old days, it was said had been for poor travelers to come in by to seek shelter off the road. The lintel for this can still be seen by the pedestrian crossing.

That part of the house on the corner of Horsefair and Bullring  was referred to as ‘the flat’.

Further history

1940 Purchased by Mrs Cornelie (Cora) Dura Collin (widow)

1953 Part of the gardens on the north side of the road were sold to Mr Jim Franklin to build Holly Trees.

1955 Listed Grade II* as The Hermitage - the main house name had been reverted prior to or at the time of the listing. Victoria County History described it as:
Substantial house. Mid C17, re-fronted early C18 and extended late C18/early C19. Limestone ashlar, and marlstone ashlar with limestone ashlar dressings; Welsh-slate and plain-tile roofs with ashlar gable stacks. Double-depth plan with rear wing. 2 storeys plus attic. Regular 4- indow limestone front, with chamfered plinth and heavy wooden modillion cornice, has 12-pane sashes in moulded stone architraves; entrance in bay one has a similar architrave and a
wide recessed 6-panel door with an ornamental overlight. 2 moulded early-C18 lead rainwater heads. Attic has 3 renewed roof dormers. Steep-pitched double-span roof has C17 gable parapets with triangular copings and moulded projecting kneelers; double stacks have moulded caps and plinths. Marlstone gables retain leaded 2-light ovolo-moulded stone-mullioned windows with labels, and the wing returning from the left has a similar 3-light transomed window. A slate-roofed marlstone-ashlar range, infilling the angle, is probably late C18/early C19 and has further sashes with stone flat arches. Interior not inspected but noted as having a C17 oak dogleg stair with turned balusters. (Buildings of England: Oxfordshire: p571; VCH: Oxfordshire: Vol XI, p87)

At the same time that part of the property on the corner was separately listed as The Old Corner House Grade II*. It was let as a tenancy.

17 February1965  Mrs Cora Collin conveyed to the Trustees of the Holly Tree Trust the former hermitage building (then known as the Doss House now known as The Holly Tree Club) together with part of the gardens around it on which she also paid for the building of the four Holly Tree Bungalows on Earls Lane.

June 1965  Mrs Cora Collin sold Horsefair Cottage to its then occupants Ben and Elsie Kerridge.

1978 Mrs Cora Collin died. The remainder of the gardens on the north side of Horsefair were sold to Miss Lilian Von Versen to build Victoria House.

1979 The Hermitage and The Old Corner House were both purchased by John and Caroline O’Donnell who developed and sold the barn at the rear of the property and also sold the Old Corner House as a separate property.

1982 The Hermitage was purchased by Mrs Merlyn Pennink.

15 September 1995 The Hermitage was purchased by Philip and Suzanne Allan