Franklins of Deddington

 Rob Forsyth

The successful joiner's and builder's business of Robert Franklin (1787-1864) was turned by his sons Henry R Franklin (b.1850) and William L. Franklin (b.1854) into a firm with an international reputation for high-quality restoration work on church and college buildings in London, Salisbury, Oxford and elsewhere. Abroad, their contracts included the pulpit and chancel screen of Hobart Cathedral, Tasmania, Australia, where they are still to be seen. Henry Robert Franklin lived at Castle House and William at The Blocks (now Featherton House)

At its height the workshops employed as many as 200 skilled masons and woodcarvers. Its work can be seen in Deddington Church - pulpit, lectern, communion rails, altar pieces and restoration of the roof timbers - and in Hempton Church


David Hancox was head wood carver & joiner. He had joined the company in December 1884 aged 27.

He is on the left in the photo - date and location are not known (click on images to enlarge)



More about the Hancox family and David's four sons - three of whom were killed in WWI and are commemorated on a wooden tablet carved by David in the church - can be found HERE.

David kept a notebook & diary including his work at Franklins. It records that work started on the pulpit and chancel screen for Hobart Cathedral in Tasmania was completed in January 1916. 

HobartChancelScreen FranklinscreenandpupilinHobartCathedral



The workforce of H. R. and W. Franklin, joiners and builders, photographed in 1895. The same photograph with some names attached can be seen in the Gallery


The firm continued in business until 1917 when it was forced to close because of bankruptcy caused by a loss on a major order for the army. Hancox family records suggest that the specification the firm was given for stretchers for the army was incorrect but the War Office said they were six inches too short and refused to pay.

The site is now occupied by Johnsons of Deddington, Builders' Merchants

Banbury Museum Exhibition - 1985

The design and content of this exhibition was curated by Sally Straddling of Oxfordshire County Council. The Oxford Mail ran two extensive articles on it in January 1985 and again in July. Both give detasils of the bankruptcy. Sally wrote accompanying notes for the exhibition and about the woodworking tools that Franklin workers used


Ruth O'Quigley for photographs and information about David Hancox 

Sally Straddling for her exhibition notes

The photographs of Hobart Chancel Screen and Franklins workforce are reproduced by kind permission of Oxfordshire Photographic Archive, Centre for Oxfordshire Studies, Central Library, Westgate, Oxford OX1 1DJ. Tel: 01865 815749,