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Lacies Court, Abingdon School

History

(see long history)

Lacies Court is the headmaster’s house at Abingdon School but it had a long and colourful earlier history. In the Middle Ages there was a farmhouse here belonging to Abingdon Abbey, and the core of the present house may indeed be medieval. After the Dissolution it passed to Christ’s Hospital, who rented it out. One of the tenants was Walter Dayrell, a lawyer and an important citizen in Abingdon in the early seventeenth century. Dr Peter Heylyn, clergyman and historian, arrived in 1653, and may have been responsible for building the small timber-framed extension at the west end for his oratory.

The house was acquired by the school in 1895, and in 1902 was radically extended and restored in an Arts and Crafts style by local architect Harry Redfern, a former pupil of the school. He seems to have moved features like doorways and staircases, but he may have also brought some of these in from elsewhere. There was a further major reconstruction after a fire in 1935 when the east end was largely rebuilt. In the 1950s an historic fireplace from 7-9 High Street was installed in the house.

The atom spy, Klaus Fuchs, stayed there in the 1940s when it was a lodging for Harwell scientists.

The house is within the grounds of the school and is private property.

See Glossary for explanations of technical terms.

© AAAHS and contributors 2013

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Walter Dayrell

Dr Peter Heylyn

Klaus Fuchs

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