Golden Cross, Oxford

The original structure on the site dates from 1193, when it was called Maugershall after the then owner, and consisted of shops with an inn on the upper storeys. The building structures now on the site date from the late Fifteenth century, when they were used as a traditional coaching inn, as is intimated from its layout and historical documents [see photographs from earlier times].

There are various examples of early wall paintings and hand painted wallpaper on the upper floors of the building, still easily accessible and viewable via the pizza restaurant that currently occupies the upper floors of the north range of buildings.

There is strong but circumstantial evidence to link the buildings with William Shakespeare, given his players company’s known performances in Oxford and the route from Stratford-on-Avon to London passing through Oxford. It is believed that Hamlet was performed in the inn courtyard and his reputed signature can be seen on the wall in the bursar’s office on the first floor of the adjacent building occupied by New College.

The buildings were comprehensively restored in 1986/87 when the buildings were converted into a variety of retail uses, and a new structure carefully integrated into the existing building ranges to allow a sensitively constructed direct route through to the adjacent Covered Market. The adjacent covered market was constructed in 1774 but no direct access had been possible from the main retail street of Cornmarket up until the completion of this development.


6 photos