Joseph HIGGINS the Younger (1826/7–1877)
His wife Eliza HIGGINS, née Thornton (1822/3–1893)
With a mention of two of their sons who died elsewhere:
George HIGGINS (1859–1885) and Edwin HIGGINS (1856–1891)

St Paul’s section: Row 13, Grave A 19½ [St Paul ref P10]

Higgins grave

This is one of a pair of adjoining graves occupying a double space.
See later grave

of Joseph & Eliza’s son
John William Higgins




JUNE 27 1885 AGED 29 YEARS

IN … … … …Y

WHO DIED AT …LTH …, 1893




Joseph Higgins the Younger was the landlord of Jericho House at 57 Walton Street (now northern half of the Jericho Tavern) from the 1850s to the 1870s.

His father, Joseph Higgins the Elder, was the previous landlord; and his son John William Higgins succeeded him



Joseph Higgins the Younger, as he was known, was born at Jericho House, Walton Street in 1826/7, the son of Joseph Higgins senior.

At the time of the 1841 census Joseph Higgins the Younger was 14 years old, and living at the pub with his father, who was a widower, and his sister Elizabeth (8). By 1851, when he was 24, he was his father’s manager, and living with his father Joseph Higgins the Elder (49), his brother William (22), who was a farmer; his sister Elizabeth (18) and his cousin Ellen Higgins (19), who were both pub assistants. The other two members of staff living in the pub were a potboy and housemaid.

Eliza Thornton was born in London in 1822/3, the daughter of the servant John Thornton. She came to Oxford to work as a servant in St Giles’s parish, and on 30 October 1851 she married her first husband, the widower George Whetton, at St Mary Magdalen Church. He had a wholesale and retail family brewery in Friar’s Entry and his first wife, Harriet Ferris, whom he had married at St Mary Magdalen Church on 5 October 1829 was buried on 1 November 1850. He himself died at Friar’s Entry at the age of 45 about ten weeks after he married Eliza and was buried on 21 January 1852. In Jackson’s Oxford Journal of 29 May 1852 it is reported that Eliza applied to the magistrates to give a decision in accordance with the College Servants’ Provident Institution in respect of a claim of £100 she had made as due to her on a life policy effected by her husband: she won her case.

On 13 September 1852 at Newington Church in London, Joseph Higgins the Younger married Mrs Eliza Whetton, née Thornton. They were both living in Weymouth Street, Newington before their marriage, which was announced in Jackson’s Oxford Journal. They came back to Oxford and took over Jericho House, where they had the following children:

  • Joseph Thomas Higgins (born at Jericho House in 1853/4 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 3 March 1854)
  • John William Higgins (born at Jericho House in 1855 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 3 June)
  • Edwin Higgins (born at Jericho House in 1856 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 14 December)
  • Mark Higgins (born at Jericho House in 1858 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 20 June)
  • George Higgins (born at Jericho House in 1859 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 9 October)
  • Arthur Higgins (born at Jericho House in 1861 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 13 February);
    died aged four
  • Samuel Higgins (born at Jericho House in 1862/3 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 22 February 1863)
  • Eliza Catherine Higgins (born in Oxford in 1865 and baptised at St Paul’s Church on 16 July)

(There is a photograph of Joseph and Eliza Higgins standing outside Jericho House with their seven surviving children, taken in 1866 when Eliza was still a baby, in The Changing Faces of Jericho, Book 1, page 11.)

In November 1856 Joseph Higgins the Younger was elected a councillor for the North Ward.

Jericho House

Jericho House

The present Jericho House was built at the beginning of the nineteenth century on the site of an earlier pub. It originally occupied just 56 Walton Street, the taller building on the right, so was not on the corner of Jericho Street. The area was then quite rural, and in 1813 it was reported:

“The house was small, with extensive farm buildings and ricks, the roads grass grown, any man’s land in fact, and chiefly used by a knackerman for grazing his horses whilst awaiting slaughter. The chief attractions of ‘Jericho House’ were its rurality, its skittle alley, and its beer”.

In 1818 the landlord William Higgins (probably Joseph Higgins the Younger’s grandfather) built a brewery near the building.

From the 1820s the north part of Walton Street became built up: the ironworks came in 1825, Oxford University Press in 1830, and finally the large working-class suburb of Jericho. The pub became the focal building of the area, and during the time that Joseph Higgins the Younger was landlord, these are just some of the activities held there:

  • Inquests into deaths in the area were regularly held here.
  • In January 1866 a new Lodge of Odd Fellows, the Loyal Walton Lodge, was established, with its headquarters at Jericho House, where “Mr. Higgins provided an excellent spread” at the opening dinner for over a hundred men. This dinner became an annual event.
  • In November 1867 the meeting about a proposed new canal bridge at the bottom of Jericho was held here.
  • By 1870 the members of St Paul’s cricket club had their annual club dinner here.
  • Perhaps the most interesting event was on 24 March 1871, when the Oxford gipsy encampment in Binsey Lane held a ball in a marquee in the lane, and Joseph Higgins of Jericho House provided all the refreshments.
  • In June 1871 the Druids of Lodge 59 met at Jericho House to determine the opening of Lodge 59, and it was agreed it would be opened on 3 July, and “that the occasion be celebrated by a dinner the same day, at five o’clock, in a tent on the lawn at host Higgins’s”. Thenceforth they too held their annual dinner here.
  • In December 1874 the opening dinner of the North Oxford branch of the Oxford Constitutional and Conservative Association was held at Jericho House, and over 150 people “sat down to a repast which gave the utmost satisfaction”. Again this led to an annual dinner.
  • In January 1875 the second anniversary dinner of the Oxford Licensed Victuallers’ and Beer-house Keepers’ Association was held at JH led to annual dinner

The Higgins family left Jericho House in about 1890, and the new landlord was Albert Attfield. In the 1890s it occupied 56 Walton Street to the south as well as No. 57.

At the time of the 1861 census Joseph Higgins the Younger (34) was the landlord of Jericho House, and his wife Eliza (38) was described as a pub assistant, but also had to look after Joseph (7), John (5), Edwin (4), Mark (3), George (2), and Arthur (three months).

Their son Arthur died in 1865, but does not appear to be mentioned on the gravestone, so was probably buried elsewhere in the cemetery:

† Arthur Higgins died at Jericho House at the age of four in January 1865 and was buried (probably at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery) on 27 January (burial recorded in the register of St Paul’s Church).

In 1871 Joseph Higgins the Younger (44) was still the brewer & publican here with his wife Eliza, and all six of their surviving children were still at home, with Joseph Thomas (17) and John (15) now assisting their father in the business. Later that year the pub was sold to Morrell’s, who closed the brewery section.

Joseph handed over the pub to his son John William Higgins, probably around the time of the latter’s marriage in May 1876, and moved to 58 Cornmarket Street to run a tobacconist’s shop.

See the separate page about the second Higgins grave
for more about John William Higgins and the subsequent history of Jericho House

Joseph Higgins the Younger died at Cornmarket Street in 1877 (and his death announcement in Jackson’s Oxford Journal stated that he had suffered a long illness):

† Joseph Higgins died at 58 Cornmarket Street at the age of 50 on 20 April 1877 and was buried at St Sepulchre’s Cemetery on 24 April (burial recorded in the register of St Paul’s Church).

His effects came to nearly £300.

His eldest son Joseph was married in 1878:

  • On 23 September 1878 at St Mary the Virgin Church, Oxford, Joseph Thomas Higgins married Kate Maria Sheldon . Joseph (24) was a tobacconist of Grandpont Villas, St Aldate’s, and Kate (18) was the daughter of John Sheldon, a servant of All Souls College, who lived at 4 Grove Street (now Magpie Lane).

By the time of the 1881 census Mrs Eliza Higgins, the widow of Joseph Higgins, had moved back to London, where she had been born, and was living at 15 College Place, St Pancras with her two youngest children Samuel (18), who was a warehouse assistant, and Eliza (15). She had four lodgers.

In June 1885 her fifth son George Higgins died of enteric fever at Suez, and a death notice was put in Jackson’s Oxford Journal:

† George Higgins died at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Suez at the age of 26 on 27 June 1885 and is remembered on the family grave in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery, even though he is not buried there.

Her youngest son was married In 1890

  • In 1890 at St Peter’s Church, Walthamstow, Samuel Higgins married Harriet Gertrude Brown.

At the time of the 1891 census Mrs Eliza Higgins (70) was living on her own in a flat at 183 Great College Street, St Pancras. Around this time her third son Edwin Higgins died in London:

† Edwin Higgins died London at the age of 35 in 1891 (reg. St Saviour’s second quarter) and it is unclear whether he is buried in the family grave in St Sepulchre’s Cemetery or just remembered there.

Mrs Eliza Higgins died in London in 1893:

† Mrs Eliza Higgins née Thornton died in London at the age of 73 in 1893 (reg. St Pancras first quarter). She is likely to have been buried with her husband in Oxford, but there is no record in the St Paul’s parish register.



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