It is believed to be very likely that the Globe Room was used regularly by Oliver Cromwell as his headquarters and more interestingly, as a court room to sit in judgement in one of the several Royalist trials that took place during the Civil War.
We know this because of an engraving showing him seated behind a desk in front of the great mullioned window with an unfortunate captive in front of him. A copy of this engraving can be seen in the Globe Room.
It is also thought that Cromwell may have used the Globe Room to plan one or both of the sieges of Banbury Castle that stood on the north side of the Market Place
A Well Travelled Room:
The Globe Room’s pannelling has a very colourful history. John Harris, in his book ‘Moving Rooms The Trade in Architectural Salvages’, gives the following account..what a character.
“Dealers and indeed brewers, saw inns as potential sources of conquest for exportable rooms. The Complicated saga of two rooms from inns, the Treaty House uxbridge, and the Reindeer Inn, Banbury, are related case studies of attempts to export pannelled rooms in 1912 that neatly encapsulate the machinations of the transatlantic trade at this time. Fancis Lenygon was involved at Banbury, and would certainly have been interested in Uxbridge, had he not been publicly crucified by Lord Curzon over the purchase of Banbury’s Globe Room. According to Banbury historian William Potts, proposals to move the globe room had first been made in 1909 and 1910. The architect and archtectural historian J.A. Gotch had examined the room when he and members of the Architectural Association had visited Banbury in 1885, and he published the room and chimneypiece in his Early Renaissance Architecture in England, 1901. It was also included by L.A. Shuffrey in The English Fireplace in 1912, so it had received ample publicity. Lenygon was well aware of the importance of this room installed in a wind of the inn dated 1637, especially as the chimney piece was reputed to be a ‘work of [the] famous carver Inigo Jones’, although Gotch himself as a future biographer of Jones would surely have been sceptical. In the Banbury Guardian there was a flurry of concern and protest: ‘It is with regret that we have to announce the Hook Norton Brewery Company have accepted [an] offer for the purchase of the ceiling, panelling, windows and fireplace of the historic Globe Room… We understand the gentleman purchasing represents a London and American firm’ – the ‘gentleman’ of course being Fancis Lenygon.
The Intensity of the opposition to the export of the room was such that attracted the attention of Lord Curzon, who had recently been fulminating a the proposed export of four Tudor chimneypieces from Tattershall Castle, Lincolnshire, and even the proposed export of the castle itself, to an ‘American syndicate’, This was a potential transatlantic tragedy, for having been sold in 1910 by the Hon. Hugh Fortescue to a spectator, mortgaged to a bank, sold on to other spectators, bought by an American syndicate who planned to remove the castle brick by brick to the USA, it was saved by Curzon after the National Trust had discussed the problem between 18 April 1910 and 18 December 1911. In triumph Curzon found the fifteenth-century chimneypieces in packing cases in Tilbury Docks. They were bought back in 1912 at the cost of £5,155, and returned in a procession of wagons decorated with the Union Jack. After this, it is not surprising that apropos the Globe Room, on 1 August 1912 Curzon laid into Lenygon in The Times. on the following day Lenygon vigorously replied, observing that in 1909 he had approached the Victoria and Albert Museum, who had declined to purchase of the room because they already had the Sizergh Castle room and were looking for a Elizabethan linenfold room. In a further letter of 6 August, Lenygon castigates Curzon for his ‘offensive expressions’ and ‘abuse’, and explains that responsibility for the removal of the room rested entirely with the brewers; for two years the room was ‘publicly on sale’, and he says the ‘various museums’, local bodies and influential people were approached by myself and others to buy it’. There can be little doubt that had Curzon not intervened, the room would have been exported. Lenygon had won the Times contest, but at a cost. The Globe Room never did get exported, and at war’s intervention it was put into store. Significantly it was White Allom who advertised it in the Connoisseur in 1929 and 1930 following that firm’s exhibit at the Daily Telegraph Exhibition of Antiques and Works of Art at Olympia in July 1928, when they also exhibited rooms from Coobme Abbey, Warwickshire, the Chantry House, Newardk, Nottinghamshire, and an old house in Worcester. The Globe Room survived the London Blitz, because it had been stored outside central London, but its ceiling did not. The panelling was eventually returned to Banbury, where it was first installed in the Library and Museum in Marlborough Road, opend on 12 May 1966, and it then was happily returned to the Old Reindeer Inn and opened there on 17 February 1984.”
Moving Rooms The Trade in Architectural Salvages
by John Harris
Ye Olde Review:
In 1906 Charles G. Harper gives this pre-TripAdvisor review of The Reindeer in his book, The Old Inns of Old England – A Picturesque Account of the Ancient and Storied Hostelries of Our Own Country..
“But the most picturesque inn at Banbury is the ‘Reindeer.’ History is silent as to the why or the how of its acquiring that name, and is indeed dumb in almost every other respect concerning the old house. The “Reindeer,” both in itself and in its situation, is scarcely like the “Red Lion,” an hotel. You look in at the “Reindeer” for a drink and for curiosity only; for the house does not precisely invite guests, and probably does most business on market days, when country folk from neighbouring villages throng the strait and crooked streets of Banbury and put up their traps in its yard and insist on liberally drinking the health of one another. Parson’s Street, indeed, the situation of the “Reindeer,” is a market-street and crowded shopping centre, where brazen-tongued salesmen exhort housewives to “buy, buy, buy”; or indulge in rhapsodical, exclamatory passages in praise of their goods. You are gazing, let us say, outside the “original” Banbury-cake shop, opposite, upon the magpie black and white of the “Reindeer” frontage, when a parrot-like voice is heard exclaiming, in ecstatic rapture, “O what loverly heggs!” and, turning, you perceive, not a grey parrot in a gilded cage, but a white-aproned provision-dealer’s assistant, unfortunately at large. Fleeing into the courtyard of the inn, you still hear faint cries of “_There’s_ ’am!” “O mother! what butter!”
The neighbourhood, it will be perceived, does not in these days lend itself to quiet residence, and although, by the evidence of its architecture, the “Reindeer” was doubtless at one time one of the chief hotels of the town, it has long ceased to hold anything like that position.
The old oaken gates and the black-and-white timbering above appear to be the oldest portions of the house: the gates themselves inscribed with the date “1570” on one side, and on the other
“IHON · KNIGHT ? IHONE · KNIGHT ? DAVID HORN.”
The great feature of the inn is, however, the noble oak-panelled chamber known, for whatever inscrutable reason, as the “Globe Room.” Exterior and interior views of it are the merest commonplaces in Banbury. There are, in fact, three things absolutely necessary, nay, almost sacramental, for the stranger to do in Banbury, without having performed the which he is a scorn and a derision. The first of these indispensable performances is the eating, or, at any rate, the buying of Banbury cakes. And here let me add that the Banbury cakes of Banbury have a lightness and a toothsomeness entirely lacking in the specious impostors made elsewhere. Just as there are no other such pork-pies as those of Melton Mowbray, and as Shrewsbury cakes can apparently only be made at Shrewsbury, so the “Banburys” made in other towns are apt to lie as heavy on your chest as a peccadillo upon a tender conscience. But in their native town they disappear, to the accompaniment of cups of tea, with a rapidity alarming to the pocket, if not to the stomach; for they cost “tuppence” apiece, and a hungry pedestrian or cyclist finds no difficulty in demolishing half a dozen of them.
The second of these necessary observances is the viewing of Banbury Cross: not the old original famous Banbury Cross of the nursery rhyme, to which many generations of children have been invited to “ride a cock-horse” to see the tintinnabulatory lady with bells on her fingers and bells on her toes; _that_ cross was destroyed by the Puritans, and the modern one is not even a copy of it, for no man knoweth what the original was like.
The third of these necessary rites is the viewing of the “Globe Room” at the “Reindeer.” What the exterior of that room is like, let the illustration of the courtyard show. The date of its building is still faintly traceable in the figures “1637” on the masonry of the gable. They charge you threepence to view the interior, and if so be you cannot frame to admire the richly decorated plaster ceiling for yourself, the printed notice that a cast has been taken from it, and is to be seen in South Kensington Museum, is calculated to impress the intellectually snobbish. For our own part, seeing things with our own eyes and judging of them comparatively, there seems no very adequate reason for South Kensington acquiring such a cast, unless, indeed, (which is unthinkable) the Department of Science and Art is bent upon copies of all the old ceilings in the country. This is, in short, to say that although the plaster decoration of the “Globe Room” is fine, it is neither so intrinsically fine, nor so original above all others, that it deserves so great an honour. The really supremely fine feature of the room is the beautiful Jacobean panelling in oak, now almost coal-black with age, covering the walls from floor to ceiling, and designed and wrought in unusually thorough and bold style. There is not a finer room of its period in the country, and it may even be questioned (leaving the mere matter of size alone) if there is even another quite so fine or in every detail so perfect.
The reason of this magnificently panelled apartment being added to the older and very much less ornate portion of the inn is obscure; and it will be noted, as a matter of curiosity, that, entered as it is only by a doorway from the open courtyard, the room is not, structurally a part of the house. The name of the “Globe Room” given to it is not explained in any way by the decorations or by its history, which is as obscure as its origin. Tradition says Cromwell “held a council” here, and accordingly, although history does not tell us anything specifically about it, a picture, reproduced in a variety of ways, showing a number of stern and malignant Roundheads interrogating an elegant and angelic-looking Royalist clad in white, and bearing a very strong likeness to Charles the First himself, is one of the commonplaces of the town.
How to Book The Globe Room:
For more details or to make a booking please call 01295 270972 (if calling from outside the UK 44 1295 270972) or use our contact form.