Staple Hall Inn
In Witney at the junction of Bridge Street, West End, Broad Hill
and Newland, to the north of the River Windrush.
The original Staple Hall that stood on this site in Bridge
Street is said to have been erected by Sir Roger de Stapleton in
the 14th century at the same time as he had Exeter College built
in Oxford . It is thought that at one time Oxford colleges
used the building as a place of refuge from the plague. It
presumably acquired its name through being sited close to a wool
The stone building that stands there today is mainly 17th
century and was almost totally rebuilt as an inn following a
fire, by Ursula Marriott (an ancestor of the Marriott blanket
making family of Witney) and her husband William Townsend in
1668. It remained in their family until 1795 and although
William was killed by a falling tree in 1686, his widow Ursula
presided as the Grand Old Dame of the inn for very many years;
she died in 1731 at the impressive age of 106 . The Staple
Hall Inn became popular with local wool merchants and
fellmongers on their way to and from the Cotswolds and for many
years it was also a staging post for the 'Rival' and
'Retaliator' horse drawn passenger coaches .
Staple Hall Inn, Witney - name stone by a side gate.
It was here that the Witney Blanket Weavers' Company held some
of their general meetings for the first nine years of its
existence from 1711 until the Blanket Hall was built. Dinner was
provided by the Townsends at sixpence a head and was paid for
out of the Blanket Company's funds . The building today
houses a nursing home.