Victorians got it wrong about Oken

Oken House
Oken House

Your edition of January 2 included an item from 150 years ago about the ‘restoration’ of Oken’s House in Warwick. Unfortunately, however, the Victorians got it wrong, and this myth has been perpetuated ever since. The truth is that, while Thomas Oken owned ‘Oken’s House’ in 1545, he lived at what is now 3 High Street. The evidence for this was given in an article in the newsletter of the Friends of Warwickshire County Record Office in April 2012, the evidence including his will and a tax list of 1545/6.

The house known as ‘Oken’s House’ is, in fact, two, small, houses of different dates which have been knocked through to make one property.

The part including the garage is the oldest house, and has a medieval ‘open hall’ with the soot surviving in the roof space. The other part is probably 16th century in date, but has been greatly altered both internally and externally.

Steven Wallsgrove, Priory Road, Warwick