Behind the 18th C facade of 3 Cornmarket St, is the remains of a 16th C house, with a preserved Elizabethan painted room. Thanks to the Oxford Preservation Trust, I had a guided tour today.
It’s thought that the paintings date from between 1564 and 1581, when it was a private house occupied by John Tattleton, a tailor and local dignitary. The ‘painted room’ would have been the principal bed chamber. A painted room like this, was the cheaper alternative to wall hangings.
Later, the house was the ‘Crown Inn’, run by John Davenant, a friend of one William Shakespeare. It’s thought that Shakespeare would have stayed in the room when travelling between London and Stratford-upon-Avon.
The tour guide repeated some Elizabethan scuttlebutt, viz. Davenant’s son William, was in fact Shakespeare’s, the evidence: he was called William; Shakespeare was his godfather; John Davenant was a grumpy old cove (unlike his wife); and William Davenant became a famous poet. Now if said son has been called Horace, and after his birth Davenant and Shakespeare had never spoken to each other again…then I might have thought there was something in it. It makes me MAD that poor Jane Davenant’s reupation is still being traduced.
The room has been clearly restored in places…