A historical house
On 6th January 1785 Sir William Elias Taunton bought from the City of Oxford a piece of ground and water covered in arches for five guineas on which he intended to build a town house; it adjoined garden grounds he already owned.
Taunton was born in 1744, the second son of Rev. Elias Taunton, and became Clerk of the Peace for the county and Town Clerk of the city of Oxford; he was knighted in 1814 and buried in St Aldate’s in 1825. Within his family of four sons and five daughters he was known as ‘the Town Clerk’ to distinguish him from his eldest son, the second Sir William Elias Taunton, who was known as ‘the Judge’, being a judge of King’s Bench. The father appears among Dighton’s caricatures of well-known Oxford figures of the time.
Sir William’s second son, Thomas Henry Taunton, was born in Grandpont House and like his father became Clerk of the Peace for Oxfordshire; unlike his father, who was small, he stood at six feet three inches. Whilst his elder brother, the ‘Judge’, occupied the family home Freeland Lodge near Eynsham, Thomas took over Grandpont House; he had six sons and four daughters. His widow continued living in Grandpont House after his death in 1831, until her death in 1867, although the house and grounds were sold to Brasenose College in 1847.
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