The Painted Room
The Painted Room is an example of what we do best, unlocking the history and stories of Oxford’s lost places.
Hidden gem… It is easy to miss, or dismiss 3 Cornmarket Street, the home of the Painted Room. In amongst the shoppers and commercial hubbub of the city, you have to look past the much altered c18th century façade, the ground floor Vodafone shop with the bookies Bet Fred above. To climb the stairs beyond is to be transported back in time, and into the 14th century timber-framed Crown Tavern with its paneled walls and early fireplace with its remarkable surviving Elizabethan wall paintings. What makes the whole thing even more special are the known links to William Shakespeare, who was friendly with the vintner John Davenant from London days, staying here on his regular journeys between London and Stratford-upon-Avon. John’s wife, Jane, is the only name linked to romantically to Shakespeare other than Anne Hathaway. Their son William Davenant, was Shakespeare’s godson, himself becoming poet laureate, and wont to suggest that he was son and not godson to the Bard. All this adds to the rich history and mystery of the Painted Room, and makes it all the more remarkable that Oxford’s ‘place where Shakespeare slept’ remains hidden and inaccessible to the public.
OPT top tip: For more wall paintings visit OPT’s medieval Merchant house at 26 and 26A East St.Helen’s Street. Click here for more details.
Two other painted rooms, of very different designs, can also be seen in the former Cross Inn, now Pizza Express, in the Golden Cross.