Six recusants listed in
1577 included John Hearbes, presumably John
Herle (d. 1581), the lord of Northmoor, and two
members of the More family. (fn. 88) No papists were
noted later. In 1768 there were said to be two or
three Anabaptists in Northmoor, without a
meeting place of their own. (fn. 89) In 1821 Ephraim
Dix, later a prominent Primitive Methodist,
registered a meeting at his house, (fn. 90) and in 1826
Northmoor joined the Faringdon Primitive
Methodist circuit. Membership fluctuated
between 14 in 1826 and 26 in 1835. (fn. 91) Since many
'Ranters' were said in 1834 to attend the parish
church and even to take the sacrament, (fn. 92) relations at that time were presumably amicable.
About 1841, however, a hostile farmer bought
the 'chapel' and turned the congregation out;
some members were even dismissed and evicted
from their cottages. A temporary building
erected in 1842 was replaced the following year
by a brick chapel built north of the village
on the east side of the later Chapel Lane. Local
Baptists, notably the Gileses of Standlake,
gave substantial assistance, and the preachers at the opening service were all Baptist
ministers. (fn. 93)
Despite its modest size, (fn. 94) the new chapel reportedly provided 140 free sittings. On census
day in 1851 90 people attended in the morning
and 150 in the evening, a marked contrast to the
50 and 60 respectively attending the parish
church. (fn. 95) The curate in 1854 estimated that there
were 12 or 13 families of Primitive Methodists,
presumably meaning subscribers. (fn. 96) Membership
in 1867 was drawn from at least 14 local families. (fn. 97)
Two members of the Taylor family (a carpenter
and a sawyer) were recorded in 1861 as local
preachers, and the chapel steward (an agricultural labourer), also a local preacher, had as a
visitor on census day that year the minister of
Faringdon chapel. (fn. 98)
In the later 19th century nonconformity continued to benefit from the non-residence of
Northmoor's vicars. In 1878 the vicar asserted
that there were only 20 'professed dissenters', (fn. 99)
but it was more credibly claimed that most
parishioners were either Primitive Methodists or
Salvationists. (fn. 1)
The chapel was transferred to the Witney
Circuit in 1916. (fn. 2) It was closed and sold in 1920,
the proceeds being used to support evangelistic
services during the winter; by c. 1930 it had been
demolished. (fn. 3) Thereafter local nonconformists
went to Witney.
Recusant Roll, 1577 (Cath. Rec. Soc. xxii), 113-14; cf.
above, Bampton: Lower Haddon, nonconf.
||O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. d 559, f. 141.
||Ibid, c 644, f. 233.
||Ibid. MS. Oxf. Dioc. b 39, f. 275.
||O.S. Map 6" Oxon. XXXVIII (1883 edn.); Primitive Methodist Mag. (1853), 618.
||Drawing of 1873 in Bodl. MS. Top. Oxon. d 218, f. 201.
Ch. and Chapel, nos. 320-1.
Wilb. Visit. 104.
||O.R.O., MS. Oxf. Dioc. c 344, f. 285.
Oxf. Times, 26 Aug. 1882.
||O.R.O., NM2/B/A5/8. The statement in trade dirs. that a new chapel was built in 1891 has not been verified: Kelly's Dir. Oxon. (1893 and later edns.); cf. O.R.O., NM2/B/A5/8; ibid. NM2/23/F1/1.
||O.R.O., NM2/B/As/8; J. Stowell, Glimpses of Northmoor Through 800 Yrs. (priv. print, c. 1930), 13: copy in Bodl. G.A. Oxon. 8° 1055 (17).