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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'Northmoor: Local government', A History of the County of Oxford: Volume 13: Bampton Hundred (Part One) (1996), pp. 165-166. URL: Date accessed: 21 November 2014.


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Courts were held for Northmoor manor by 1279. (fn. 62) In the earlier 16th century there were reportedly two courts a year, (fn. 63) but from the later 16th only one was recorded every two or three years. (fn. 64) Annual views of frankpledge were held in 1279 by the bailiff of the earl of Gloucester, then lord of Chadlington hundred, who received the fines and 4d. cert money. (fn. 65) In 1590, however, the Crown sold Northmoor manor including its court leet and view of frankpledge, (fn. 66) and though only courts baron were recorded in the later 16th century and earlier 17th, views were held regularly from 1661. (fn. 67) Seventeenth-century lords also claimed waifs, strays, and felons' goods, certainty, and royalties of hunting, hawking, and fishing. (fn. 68) No courts are known after 1712, though in 1741 trustees of the church house reserved the lord's right to hold courts leet and law days there. (fn. 69) In the 16th century the Mores may have held separate courts for their reputed manor, since they reportedly granted a copy in 1574. (fn. 70)

Recorded courts for Northmoor manor dealt primarily with copyholds and agricultural affairs. Two field wardens were appointed in 1564, and courts in the later 17th century elected a constable, mentioned from the 14th century, and tithingmen for Moreton, West or Upper, East or Lower, and Middle tithings. (fn. 71) Other 17th-century officers, chosen apparently by the vestry, were a hayward, 4 grass stewards, and 2 surveyors of highways. (fn. 72) In the 19th century the vestry appointed or nominated a constable and 2 surveyors or, later, a waywarden; in 1850 it fixed parishioners' carriage duties towards road repairs, and in 1859 resolved to contract out repairs. (fn. 73)

There were two churchwardens by 1530 (fn. 74) and still in 1995. From the early 17th century and probably in the mid 16th their income included rent from the church house, later the Red Lion, and from nearby cottages, (fn. 75) and from the mid 18th century they received rent from land and cottages left by Richard Lydall (d. 1721) towards upkeep of the church tower and bells. (fn. 76) The Red Lion was sold in 1908. (fn. 77)

There were two collectors or overseers by 1653. (fn. 78) A deputy overseer was noted in 1784 and a salaried overseer in 1817, (fn. 79) but a proposal in 1790 to farm the poor (fn. 80) was evidently abandoned. Expenditure on poor relief rose irregularly from c. £5 in the mid 17th century to c. £25 in the early 18th, and to sometimes over £100 in the later 18th; by the 1790s it sometimes exceeded £300, and in 1801 was c. £700, c. 42s. per head. (fn. 81) Expenditure remained exceptionally high, 73s. per head in 1819, c. 38s. in the mid 1820s, and 69s. by 1834, (fn. 82) and high poor rates attracted comment. (fn. 83) In 1803 there were 29 adults and over 100 children receiving regular out relief, 23 children in schools of industry apparently, outside the parish, and 21 people receiving occasional relief; (fn. 84) the proportion of casual relief gradually increased, chiefly because of rising unemployment, and 25 adults received occasional and 21 regular relief in 1815. (fn. 85) Regular payments were from c. 1812 related to weekly bread prices. (fn. 86) A rented workhouse with accommodation for 20 inmates was noted from 1776 to 1799, when it housed 1 man, 4 women, and 6 children; (fn. 87) it had closed by 1803, but continued to be rented as pauper accommodation. (fn. 88)

In the 1750s and later some poor were employed spinning hemp, flax, and sometimes wool, carding, and, less frequently, weaving. (fn. 89) Spinning wheels were occasionally supplied or repaired, and in 1799 the workhouse contained cards, cardboards, and 4 spinning wheels. (fn. 90) Roundsmen were mentioned frequently in the early 19th century, and in 1816-17 some poor were employed on the roads. (fn. 91) Occasionally paupers' children were apprenticed or put into service. (fn. 92) In 1705 the overseers built a house on the waste near Newbridge, (fn. 93) and from the mid 18th century paid rent for several houses, including, in the 1760s, the church house, and in the early 19th century cottages between Dag and Chapel Lane belonging to the tower and bells estate. (fn. 94) Medical expenses were paid frequently, and from c. 1812 an Appleton doctor was contracted for c. £20 a year. (fn. 95)

After 1834 Northmoor belonged to Witney union. (fn. 96) The vestry continued to appoint. 2 overseers and to regulate rating, and in 1854 it apprenticed a Northmoor child then in the union workhouse. A salaried assistant overseer was appointed in 1867. (fn. 97) From 1894 the parish belonged to Witney rural district, and from 1974 to West Oxfordshire district. (fn. 98)


62 Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 733; Tax. Eccl. (Rec. Com.), 44; cf. Cal. Pat. 1317-21, 430-1, mentioning suit at the prior of Deerhurst's court of Taynton.
63 Valor Eccl. (Rec. Com.), ii. 472; cf. P.R.O., SC 2/197/20-1; ibid. SC 6/Hen. VIII/1260, m. 45d.
64 Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. b 21, ff. 4v. sqq.; ibid. MSS. d.d. Harcourt c 122/1-14; c 123/1-12.
65 Rot. Hund. (Rec. Com.), ii. 733, 736.
66 P.R.O., C 66/1342, m. 17; ibid. C 142/233, no. 89; cf. ibid. SC 2/197/20-1.
67 Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. b 21, ff. 4v. sqq.; ibid. MSS. d.d. Harcourt c 122/6-14, c 123/1-12.
68 Ibid, c 74/14; ibid. MS. Rawl. D. 384, ff. 110-11.
69 O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Northmoor c 3, item a, lease 1741.
70 Bodl. MS. d.d. Harcourt c 69/15; above, manors.
71 Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. b 21, f. 8v.; ibid. MSS. d.d. Harcourt c 122/1-14, c 123/1-12; for earlier constables, P.R.O., E 179/161/42; E 179/161/177.
72 Bodl. MSS. d.d. Harcourt c 122/10-12, c 123/4, c 123/11; O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Northmoor e 1, pp. 61, 144, 309, and passim.
73 O.R.O., Acc. 3878, vestry bk. 1847-1959.
74 Visit. Dioc. Linc. ii. 49.
75 Bpdl. MS. d.d. Harcourt c 123/13; St. John's Coll. Mun., XV.36; O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Northmoor c 3, item a; ibid, e 2, passim; ibid, f 1, passim.
76 O.R.O., MSS. d.d. Par. Northmoor c 3, item d; e 1, pp. 103-4; e 2, passim; f 1, passim; ibid. MS. Wills Oxon. 139/4/48; ibid, tithe award, mistakenly listing the Red Lion under the tower estate.
77 Courage Arch., Bristol, C 163, p. 125; Sale partics. (1908) in Red Lion, 1995.
78 O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Northmoor e 1, p. 1a.
79 Ibid. pp. 435, 451 sqq.; O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Northmoor c 2, f. 176.
80 Oxf. Jnl. Synopsis, 27 Mar. 1790.
81 O.R.O., MSS. d.d. Par. Northmoor e 1, passim; b 1, items a-b; cf. Census, 1801.
82 O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Northmoor c 2, passim; Poor Abstract, 1804, pp. 402-3; ibid. 1818, pp. 354-5; Poor Rate Returns, H.C. 556, pp. 136-7 (1822), v; H.C. 334, p. 171 (1825), iv; H.C. 83, p. 159 (1830-1), xi; H.C. 444, p. 154 (1835), xlvii; cf. Census, 1801-41.
83 Bodl. MSS. d.d. Harcourt b 35; c 265, f. 32.
84 Poor Abstract, 1804, pp. 402-3.
85 O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Northmoor c 2, passim; Poor Abstract, 1818, pp. 354-5; D. Eastwood, Governing Rural Eng. 140.
86 O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Northmoor c 2, ff. 54v. sqq.
87 Ibid, b 1, item e; e 1, p. 430; O.R.O., Cal. Q.S. ii, f. 4; Poor Abstract, 1777, p. 141.
88 O.R.O., MS. d.d. Par. Northmoor c 2, ff. 19, 157; Poor Abstract, 1804, pp. 402-3.
89 O.R.O., MSS. d.d. Par. Northmoor b 1, item a; c 2,passim.
90 Ibid, b 1, item a, s.a. 1768; item e, inventory 1799; ibid, c 2, ff. 19, 36, 162-3.
91 Ibid, c 2, f. 144 and passim.
92 Ibid. f. 93v.; ibid, e 1, p. 33.
93 Ibid, e 1, pp. 96, 147; ibid, b 1, item b, quitrent receipt 1762.
94 Ibid, b 1, item a, passim; c 2, passim and s.v. new hos.; cf. ibid, c 3, item a, leases; 8th Rep. Com. Char. 491.
95 O.R.O., MSS. d.d. Par. Northmoor b 1, item b; c 2, ff. 66 sqq. and passim.
96 O.R.O., RO 3251, pp. 201-3.
97 Ibid. Acc. 3878, vestry bk. 1847-1959.
98 Ibid. RO 3251, pp. 201-3; RO 3267.