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The Chequers Inn

The Chequers Inn was the first in the quarry area, now since the demoltion of the others, is the oldest pub in East Headington. Documented evidence dates back to 1805, although it`s certain that The Chequers Inn was operating as a public house during the 1700`s. Right through it`s history the village of quarry was renowned for it`s alehouses.

The Chequers Inn - History

The Chequers at 11 Beaumont Road, Headington Quarry is a stone building, part of which dates from the eighteenth century. It has a sunken garden that was created from a disused stone quarry.

The pub was extensively remodelled in 1930, as can be seen by comparing the photograph above with the nineteenth-century engravings below. Its front wall was taken down; the club room on the right was removed; and it was greatly extended on the right-hand side and given a new entrance.

Before the First World War, the Chequers was the centre of Quarry village life, and Quarry’s first post box was set in its wall.

It is interesting that St Andrew’s Church opened its first school, the Free School, not in Old Headington but here at the Chequers (in its outbuilding, shown on the right of the above engraving). This was the home of the school from 1807 to 1874. The Master was James Waring, but a George Phillips is recorded as being a schoolmaster when he and his wife Mary Silver had their first seven children baptised at St Andrew’s Church. Phillips is, however, described as a publican at the baptism of his last two children in 1828 and 1830, implying a connection between the school and the pub.

The building was later used as a club-room, where the Quarry morris-dancers practised. The club-room was pulled down in 1930, around the time Quarry got its own village hall in Margaret Road.

The Headington Rate-Book for December 1850 shows that the Chequers was then owned by the brewers Henry Hall & Co and occupied by Charlotte Goodgame. It is described simply as a “House & Garden” with a rateable value of £7 and a gross estimated value of £10 per annum.

The Chequers was always a family pub, and remained in the hands of three local families (the Goodgames, Coopers, and Meesons) for over a hundred years. The early landlords (as in most other Headington pubs) combined working at the pub with other occupations: Thomas Goodgame was also a stonemason, while Thomas Cooper was also a hay and straw dealer.

The Chequers pub closed in January 2007, but was reopened by Scottish & Newcastle the following November. That brewery then put the Chequers up for sale for £550,000, advertising it as having “development/ refurbishment potential”. It was bought by Steve Jenkins, landlord of the Red Lion in Old Marston, and reopened after refurbishment on Saturday 12 April 2008.