26 Market Place


Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II

List Entry Number: 1047799

Date first listed: 28-Oct-1974

Date of most recent amendment: 15-Dec-2014

Location Description: 26 Market Place, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire


Ordnance survey map of 26 Market Place
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Location Description: 26 Market Place, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Oxfordshire

District: South Oxfordshire (District Authority)

Parish: Henley-on-Thames

National Grid Reference: SU7596682650


Commercial premises with accommodation above, of probable C16 origin with later alterations and extensions.

Reasons for Designation

26 Market Place, a building of probable C16 origin with later alterations and extensions, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: a later front conceals a substantial surviving portion of a C16 timber-framed building, extended and possibly heightened early in its history; * Group value: with other listed buildings on Market Place.


The building is located on the north side of Market Place opposite the Town Hall. It occupies a long burgage plot of early medieval origin with a 23ft (7m) frontage. The tenement was rebuilt in the C16 as a fully-ceiled structure with a jetty to the street front. The ground floor may have included a shop facing the street with manufacturing or processing activity in the yard and domestic accommodation above. It is likely that subsequent episodes of rebuilding, extension and possibly heightening relate to investment in leasing and sub-letting.

Analysis of the C19 census returns suggests that leather processing, cutting and boot-making trades all latterly occurred at 26 Market Place. In 1907, when the freehold was sold at auction, it was described as ‘brick and stucco built and tiled […] capital double-fronted shop with office in the rear, six bedrooms, WC, kitchen, scullery and cellar, there is also a side entrance’. The garden was at that point separately let as two parcels of land with separate access. A photograph of 1901 shows a rendered street front with sash windows above a fascia which reads 'Fry's Refreshment Rooms'. This was later re-fronted with the present applied half-timber finish.

By 1901, then, the premises had been converted to dining rooms, reflecting Henley’s growing status as a resort town. The proprietor in 1911, John Goodchild, was still in business in 1927, by which time the property was named the Excelsior Refreshment Rooms, offering ‘comfortable board residence’. In the later C20 the ground floor was successively occupied by a hairdressing salon and boutiques. A substantial programme of renovation c.1989, which included the renewal of much of the rear western range and the addition of the rear eastern range, coincided with the investigation of the building by the Henley-on-Thames Archaeological and Historical Group. In 1998 the ground floor became an Oxfam charity shop, and planning permission was granted for the conversion of the first and second floors to two residential dwellings.


Commercial premises with accommodation above, of probable C16 origin with later alterations and extensions. The street elevation was refaced in the early C20 and major renovations were carried out c1989.

MATERIALS: 26 Market Place is a timber-framed structure with infill of various materials. The three-storey street front has render and applied half timbering to the upper floors and a late C20 brick and plate glass shopfront, while the two-storey gabled rear elevations are clad in stained weatherboarding. In the ground floor shop, modern suspended ceilings and cladding mask earlier fabric, surveyed in 1989. The late C20 shopfront* and the suspended ceiling* and shop fittings* of the ground-floor retail unit are not of special interest. A cellar of clunch, flint and brick extends underneath the front bays. Roofs are of plain clay tiles.

EXTERIOR: the street elevation, of early C20 date, is of two bays. The upper storeys are of applied half timbering with leaded casement windows, those to the first floor set within canted oriels. The jetty is underbuilt with a late C20 shop front* (not of special interest), incorporating a separate entrance to the upper floors.

PLAN / INTERIOR: the initial phase of construction is the jettied front range of two bays, originally divided by a stud partition wall. To the north-west is a quarter landing staircase; the form of the turned balusters at second floor level suggests a date in the first half of the C18. To the rear are two parallel gabled ranges of two storeys. That to the west was timber framed and clad with weather boarding; the range was partially renewed c1989. The renewed portion of the north-west range is not of special interest. The north-east range* was added at the same time, and is not of special interest. No evidence of hearths, chimneystacks or other sources of heating was observed.

A substantial proportion of the original timber-framed structure survives behind later cladding. The ceiling structure, presently masked by a suspended ceiling, includes the jetty and chamfered joists, laid flat and tenoned into a bridging beam. Trimmer beams to the rear of the eastern bay indicate a possible stair opening. The original ground floor partition to the front range has been removed, and the partition between the shop and entrance hallway to the upper floors is probably an early C20 insertion. On the first floor, the principal posts and stretcher beams are connected by curved braces (or evidence for removed braces in the form of peg holes). The first floor partition remains, including a possible intercommunicating doorway. The original studs of the western party wall have been replaced by a series of rails tenoned into widely-spaced studs.

Little structural framing is visible in the second floor of the front range. The eaves level of the rear pitch is at floor level, whereas that of the front pitch is at ceiling level. The rear pitch is steeper than that of the front, and has a side purlin with arch braces. The partition incorporates a rail c 0.5m above floor level into which is tenoned a post which terminates in a V-cut joint. Both front rooms have plank and batten doors with fixtures of later C17 or earlier C18 date. The roof was not inspected, but a rafter removed in 1989 was inscribed ‘DWD 1726’. It is possible that the front range was originally of two storeys, and that the present second floor represents the heightening of the former roofspace.

* Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that these aforementioned features are not of special architectural or historic interest.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 246206

Legacy System: LBS


Books and journals
Townley, Simon (ed), A History of the County of Oxford, vol.XVI, Henley-on-Thames and Environs, (2011), pp.49-72
Gibson, Ruth, '26 Market Place, Henley-on-Thames , Oxfordshire'. Unpublished report for the Henley on Thames Archaeological and Historical Group. Report no 56/1989.
Gibson, Ruth, 'Henley Historic Town Centre Survey 1990-93'; unpublished report, copy at Henley Library local studies collection.
Sales catalogue of 15 August 1907 for 26 Market Place; copy at Henley Library local studies collection.

End of official listing