Local government


Victoria County History



Alan Crossley, C R J Currie (Editors), A P Baggs, Eleanor Chance, Christina Colvin, C J Day, Nesta Selwyn, S C Townley

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'Shifford: Local government', A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 13: Bampton Hundred (Part One) (1996), pp. 107-108. URL: Date accessed: 27 November 2014.


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Courts for Shifford manor were held by 1269, when pleas and perquisites totalled 6s. 8d. (fn. 96) Perquisites from East Weald (Claywell) in Ducklington were recorded separately, suggesting a separate session and possibly court, but by the early 14th century the homages of Shifford, Aston, and East Weald (which evidently included the manor's tenants in Cote) all attended the Shifford court. (fn. 97) In the 14th century and earlier 15th the court met up to four times a year, but by the early 16th apparently only twice, usually in March or April and October, and from the later 16th it met at other times also. (fn. 98) View of frankpledge was reserved for the hundred court, where Shifford's tithingman presented in 1500 and paid 3s. cert-money apparently for the half year, a sum which tenants complained in 1505 had been illegally raised to 8s. for the two annual views at Bampton. (fn. 99) Edward North held a view at Shifford in 1544, and in the 17th century the manor was sold with its court leet and view of frankpledge, (fn. 1) but in the 1670s the Bampton court retained some jurisdiction and habitually fined Shifford's inhabitants for failure to scour watercourses. (fn. 2)

Medieval courts settled pleas of debt and other petty disputes besides granting copyholds, exacting childwite and fines for agricultural misdemeanours, and issuing licences for marriage and, occasionally, for going outside the manor. (fn. 3) Reeves and apparently rent collectors were elected throughout the 14th century. (fn. 4) Officers in the late 15th century and early 16th included a hayward, 2 water bailiffs, and in 1506 2 supervisors of fields, fisheries, and waters, and in 1616 there were 2 grass stewards. (fn. 5) Constables, mentioned from 1642 to the 1750s, were appointed by the Bampton court. (fn. 6) Copyhold grants continued throughout the 17th century, and courts baron, with courts of survey, were held in 1699 and 1707; no-later courts are known, and although the manor was sold with its courts and perquisites in 1755 they presumably lapsed following Shifford's inclosure soon after. (fn. 7)

In the 19th century and probably by the late 15th Shifford had 4 church- or chapelwardens, appointed by Shifford, Chimney, Cote, and Brighthampton, (fn. 8) though only 2 wardens were mentioned in 1530. (fn. 9) After the division of Bampton parish in 1857 Shifford 'vestry', so called by 1859 and attended by representatives of those townships, continued to appoint usually 4 wardens, but from the 1880s sometimes only 2 or three. (fn. 10) There was one warden in 1990. (fn. 11) In 1817 there was a 'parish' clerk, whose income the chapelwardens agreed to increase following intervention by a vicar of Bampton. (fn. 12)

Shifford may have shared an overseer with Chimney in the earlier 17th century but had its own probably by 1666, (fn. 13) and in 1759 may have had two. (fn. 14) Only a single weekly allowance was being paid c. 1755, and total parish expenditure rarely exceeded £4. (fn. 15) In 1775-6 £3 17s. was spent on poor relief, between 1783 and 1785 an average of £3 6s., but in 1803 £21. By 1814 the total was £34, and in 1820 £66, or 30s. per head; from 1821 expenditure ranged usually between £38 and £45, rising in 1831 to £68 or c. 29s. per head. (fn. 16) In 1803 there were 2 adults and 4 children on regular out relief and 5 people on occasional relief; from 1813 to 1815 two or three people received relief regularly and the same number occasionally. (fn. 17)

After 1834 Shifford belonged to Witney union, and from 1894 to Witney rural district. In 1974 it became part of West Oxfordshire district. (fn. 18)


96 Eynsham Cart. i, pp. 10-11.
97 Ibid.; Bodl. MSS. d.d. Harcourt c 126/2-4, c 126/14, c 127/1.
98 For ct. rolls 1318-1707, Bodl. MSS. d.d. Harcourt c 126/1-16, c 127/1-18; B.L. Harl. Rolls L. 8-9, 11-17; P.R.O., SC 2/197/62-3.
99 Arundel Castle, MS. M 535; Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt c 127/3, cts. 5 Oct., 28 Apr. 21 Hen. VII; cf. ibid. c 128/6. For earlier discharge of suit to the hundred ct. by a tenant, above, econ. hist.
1 Bodl. MSS. d.d. Harcourt c 109/2, 6, 13; c 127/6.
2 Longleat House (Wilts.), NMR 3315, passim; below, this section.
3 e.g. Bodl. MSS. d.d. Harcourt c 126/1-16.
4 Ibid. c 126/4, c 126/7, c 126/14 (cts. 5 Nov. 1 Hen. IV, 12 July 3 Hen. IV); cf. Eynsham Cart. ii, pp. 10-11.
5 Bodl. MSS. d.d. Harcourt c 126/16; c 127/3-4, 16; B.L. Harl. Rolls L. 16-17.
6 Longleat House, NMR 3315, cts. 2 Apr. 1667, 29 Sept. 1669; Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt c 133/3, p. 17; Protestation Rtns. and Tax Assess. 9.
7 Bodl. MSS. d.d. Harcourt c 127/12-18, c 112/5; above, econ. hist.
8 D. & C. Exeter, MS. 6016/8, notes re division of par. c. 1845; Eynsham Cart. ii, p. lxvii; cf. Protestation Rtns. and Tax Assess. 1, 8-9; O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 24, f. 373; ibid. MS. Oxf. Archd. Oxon. c 99.
9 Visit. Dioc. Linc. ii. 52.
10 Shifford Vestry/P.C.C. Mins. 1859-1976, in custody of vicar and par. officers of Bampton; O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Bampton Aston d 1.
11 Oxf. Dioc. Yr. Bk. (1990), 87.
12 O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. d 577, ff. 80-1.
13 Protestation Rtns. and Tax Assess. 1; P.R.O., PROB 11/322, f. 363v.
14 Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt c 136/2, p. 17.
15 Ibid. c 133/3, p. 17; c 134/4, p. 17; c 134/7, p. 17; c 135/3, p. 17; c 136/2, p. 17.
16 Poor Abstract, 1804, 1818; Poor Rate Returns, H.C. 556, p. 135 (1822), v; ibid. H.C. 334, p. 170 (1825), iv; ibid. H.C. 83, p. 157 (1830-1), xi; ibid. H.C. 444, p. 153 (1835), xlvii; cf. Census, 1801-41.
17 Poor Abstract, 1804, 1818.
18 O.R.O., RO 3251, pp. 201-3; RO 3267.